Those Who Stay …

[There are two fundamental stories in humankind … a man goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town. It’s a theme that is central in Grendel: The Four-Chord Opera as well. Is the one who stays, Greg, a coward or simply smart enough to hold on to a good thing. Is Del a warrior? An adventurer? Or, a poor schmuck who is forced to the fringes of society? There ample evidence pointing towards the latter. This segment if Greg wrestling with the question, both from the perspective of the present and past. Interesting that he goes electric for this one. Distortion always clarifies thinking. SB SM]


You watch the news. You hear the body counts. Suddenly, everything took on a new dimension. Reality … I guess it’s called. Del didn’t write a lot, but he did tell us he was wounded in a training accident. I wasn’t until many years later when we heard more of the story. Mostly he sounded pretty miserable and depressed. Once in a while he would send a reel-to-reel tape of a song.

Greg: I thought a lot about the discrepancies in life. I was building up more and more rage about the folly of this war in Vietnam, but I’m doing it from the safety and comfort of a college dorm room where my biggest worry was whether or not I would wake up in time for my econ class.

I hated the war, but I didn’t hate the soldiers. I did hate the fact that most of them were there because they didn’t have the privileges that I enjoyed with my student deferment. And, honestly, if the deferment went away, I would (admittedly with Daddy’s help) probably find a doctor who would send a letter saying I had flat feet, or something equally flimsy.

This led me more broadly to thinking about human migration. The Brewster family was so proud that they were among the travelers on the Mayflower, but were they brave pioneers for setting off to live in foreign lands. Or, were they kicked out? Were they the losers who lacked the privilege and resources to stay in the homeland?

I haven’t really come up with the answer to that one yet. Once thing was crystal clear … I was the one who stayed, and Del was the one who had to go.

Part 2 of Old Rockers: The Musical Journey of Grendel is now Published!

Does Del find fame and fortune in The Big Apple? Does Greg wander astray from The Proven Path? Are you believing Cassandra? These are the questions answered in Part 3. See it, experience in on the Old Rockers, Part 2 tab on the home page of

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