One of my best friends from high school, Lynn Barco, died this morning from kidney failure - and I'm finding it hard to believe that someone so constantly engaged with the world is no longer in it. Lynn was my first actual friend in high school - my violin stand-partner Karyn knew we were both huge Beatle fans, so she stuck us in a small room to talk about it. Lynn and I both found the situation ridiculous, but we did become fast friends, along with Karyn, Hamp, Steve, Dan, Marcie and a conglomeration of like-minded souls trying to get through the early '80s with our dignity intact.
I spent thousands of man-hours with Lynn in the school darkroom, developing pictures to be inserted in the yearbook, carefully making sure that we, ourselves, were never represented. Even at 14, we found that kind of thing ostentatious and creepy. The darkroom had a cassette player, and it was there she introduced me to the indie weirdos of the day: Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Aztec Camera, Let's Active.
Lynn always had a plan, was always on the way to a show, or an event, and you were free to join her if you wanted. She got excited about things, and while she shared our own teenage, grumpy, casual disregard for most of what Norfolk and Virginia Beach had to offer, she was willing to go on any adventure - musical, philosophical, literary - you had humming.
I remember staying late at her house with our friends, watching a VHS tape of Urgh! A Music War, drinking soda (not allowed at my house), listening to her sister's old Styx albums. I remember sitting on the porch in the summer of 1983, discussing whether or not "Every Breath You Take" was one of the Police's great songs (our take: no.) I remember going water skiing with her dad, and her teaching me that if you rub powdered meat tenderizer on your skin, the mounds of jellyfish in Chesapeake Bay would never sting you.
She was lovely, and unsentimental. She wouldn't have gone for any refrigerator magnet profundity, so I'll leave it with one of our favorite songs.
Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
To help with good Rocky's revival-