Aunt Linda called from Santa Monica last week.
"Hi, I found albums and wanted to know which ones you want. I have Dylan, Firesign Theater. I already promised Robbie a Country Joe and The Fish album."
Since record hunting is now a three player sport in our household, I told Linda to send them all. Between me, Robbie and Joey, we'd pick that carcass clean.
Box one arrived yesterday. Joey was at work, so Rob and I got a sneak preview. We'd already discussed the rules that I proposed. First, everyone has to chip in to pay for postage. Three bucks each, but, as Rod Blagojevich said, you gotta pay to play. Second, we would draw lots to decide who'd pick first. Some might say that as the father, I should go last, or not at all, but, hell man, we're talking records here. Every man for himself.
I checked out the pile often, and it was on second, or third, glance, that I beheld the miracle. Blonde on Blonde was a mono copy with the rare Claudia Cardinale picture in the gatefold. Joey assumed he'd get it, since Rob and I both have copies already, but now it was up for grabs.
When Joey got home, he looked through the records and we used Scrabble pieces of Nate's initials, N, E and K, to decide who went first. The tiles were shuffled on the kitchen table. I picked the K, worth 5 points to the other letters 1. Before I chose, I informed Joey of the Dylan problem. Had he picked first I would have told him as well. Fair is fair. He was crushed, but so you have it. I also told him that inside the Are You Experienced? cover was Meet the Beatles.
It was Joey's turn. He chose John Wesley Harding. I was stunned, and when Robbie quickly snatched The Doors' first album, I had to ask.
"Hey Joey, you've been talking about that Doors album for weeks. I can't believe you didn't pick it."
Here's what happened: in pre-selection talks, Robbie had mentioned he wanted that one Dylan record. Brotherly spite clouded good judgment and Joey went for JWH. So it goes. It's finders keepers, or first come, first serve. Either way, Joey was Door-less.
I ended up getting what I wanted - Fugs, Kaleidoscope's first album, stuff the two of them wouldn't know or care about. After the session was over, Joey was downcast. The Doors mishap had him reeling.
"Hey," I said. "You came back from Chicago with about 60 new albums. Trade with Rob."
The two disappeared and a little while later I went up to Robbie's room. There, leaning against his bed, was All Things Must Pass, George Harrison triple vinyl masterpiece.
"Whoa, Joey traded you that for The Doors?"
"I kinda pressured him into it."
I'm still the father here, and, as such rule setter and commissioner. I had to make a snap judgment.
"No sir. You can't get three albums for one." Joey ended up giving Rob Squeezing Out Sparks instead.
Later, I spoke to Linda, who told me another box of records is on its way. Controversy is sure to follow.