Saturday, December 10, 2005

"Them good ol' boys were drinking whisky and rye, singing 'this will be the day that I die..."

We all took the piss out of him a lot, and none of us had much respect for him because we thought he was lame for putting a price-tag on any and everything in the store that he could, but for the most part he wasn't always the complete cheezy-bastard that we made him out to be.

He graduated at the height of hippy idealism in 1968, and his love of music compelled him to work in a record shop called The Music Box until he could save enough to start his own. By 1974, he had achieved that dream. And what a great record store it was. He won numerous awards for his tongue-in-cheek, humorous radio jingles and racy television commercials. He orchestrated in-store appearances by some of the hottest artists of the day. He let the employees pretty much do whatever they wanted, and he held vast parties in the store after closing.

A bankruptcy and a downsizing changed that for him in 1982, but he still remained a committed music fan. The difference in the days of old and the "new era" was that he became a first rate penny-pincher and cut corners every way he could. By the time I started to work there in 1986 he was considered by staff to be a "really cheap & cheezy bastard." I didn't care though, because being a long time customer, I knew it was the best record store in town, and one of the oldest and greatest independents left in the country. I had wanted to work there for years, and one spring evening in 1986 as I was picking up a special ordered import LP, he asked me if I was looking for a job. I had a job at the time, but HELL YES I was looking if he was offering. He had me fill out an application on the spot, and two days later I started working at the Record Store.

I guess I feel a little guilty about all the slagging-off we employees did behind his back, because all in all, he wasn't really THAT bad of a boss. Hell, he usually fucked off home before 6pm and left us to our own devices until our midnight closing time. We got away with a LOT of crazy stuff that we'd have been fired for at any other place. He knew what those bottles of booze were doing in the back office fridge, knew several employees got stoned in the fire-exit hallway every weekend while on the clock, and he knew we got up to all sorts of other shenanigans. We were always eager to help customers, but we were also just as eager to take the piss out of their musical selections, and sometimes we intentionally put on certain albums just to piss people off. We thought it was hilarious. We also thought it was hilarous when he'd catch wind of something we'd done and get upset and huffy.

But as I said, he wasn't really as bad as we made him out to be. In fact, sometimes he could even border on "cool." He and his wife became vegetarian in 1970, and raised three vegetarian daughters. He and his wife were an inspiration for me, and it was because of them that I learned about TVP and how to fix tofu properly. They retained a lot of their "hippy ideals" and stood up for their beliefs. For their 25th wedding anniversary, they purchased a vacation home in Florida, and vowed that soon they would retire there. His dream was to work part-time at Disneyworld, because he loved the "happy vibe" he got from being in a place where everyone was enjoying themselves.

He passed away yesterday, never having achieved that dream of retiring to Florida and working part-time at Disneyworld.

He did, however, achieve his dream of owning the best damned record store the city has ever known.

Farewell Sav. Rest in peace.

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