Monday, May 29, 2006

The Fourth Boy

We all know the story. They were just about to hit the big time. They had conquered their home town and beyond and with every appearance the legend began to grow. Four cheeky lads. But behind the scenes there was discontent. The rhythm guitarist and the bass player, who shared singing duties, were said to be jealous of the drummer's dark brooding handsome good looks. Or that's what the drummer's mom said when asked to explain why the rhythm guitarist and the bass player ended up firing the drummer and replacing him with a sickly (and somewhat homely) lad.

We'll never know if the Beatles would have been as big, or bigger had Pete Best remained the drummer and Ringo Starr had been left to bum around back in Liverpool. We'll never know if Pete was a better drummer than Ringo. We may never know the real reason for the personnel change.

Whatever. This past week may have been just as momentous as the one where the Beatles switched drummers. This was the week where the three boyz of a certain Hamline Avenue brick abode were joined by a ghostly fourth finally shedding the baggage of being part of an involuntary quartet where the parts of the trio added up to a much greater sum than being lumped in with the spare wheel who wasn't one of their own species.

The aquatic newbie may not have the graying good looks of who he's theoretically replacing in the group but he is much more likely to add charisma to the chemistry.

For those of you in need of a program in order to keep track of the players here's a quick run down: Thompson and Diego-san are the skilled duo that were originally brought together through a quirk of fate. Diego-san is the cute charmer with multiple, if at times cloying talents. Thompson is the neurotic edgy one. Together their differing personalities blend into something magical.

Theo is younger than Thompson and Diego-san and sometimes follows the two around like a lost little brother. But Theo has his own abilities that can't be overlooked even if sometimes they're overshadowed. He's also probably the most likely to return to his eastern spiritual roots in search for answers.

The newcomer? He's Bucky the beta fish. The auburn hair lass was kind enough to buy Bucky to give him a new home. And granted he isn't an actual resident of the household that holds the other three boyz, rather he's an absentee member who lives a ways down the street in the Hennepin County Government Center. Bucky isn't a flashy beta fish- he's mostly silver with flashes of a spectacular shade of blue. He seems to perk up when the overhead lights are turned on and the dour and increasingly sour office holder finally appears in the morning.

Bucky's small goggle shaped tank with a plastic plant and purple rocks sits right next to a photo of the late great Mr. Max- the Elvis Presley of cats (without the self indulgence and self destruction). Bucky seems leery of the image of Max and yet often spends a lot of time on that side of the tank as if curious about that sweet face looking in on things.

It's quite possible that the group of four will never be in the same location at the same time but the bond is there in spirit nonetheless. Each provide a great reminder to one not always keen on life itself, that this moment, this shared time, maybe the best of all, no matter what has gone down before.

And like the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, the one responsible for bringing this group of four together has his manic moments but nothing is ever enough to overwhelm how proud he remains of all these special beings and how lucky he is to know them. Yes the group may not have the ability to surpass the Dixie Chicks (the 21st Century answer to the Beatles) as the most popular group of the day. And yes everyone involved has to tip their caps or beanies or hats to the country trio's great new song, "Not Ready to Make Nice" that channels anger and hurt in such a searing way, proving an artful testament to the knowledge that time doesn't really heal all wounds. But this is not to say that one day the four won't find the way to do something just as big, just as impressive. Just you watch.

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