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The Burden of Being Evan

Posted by evankessler on October 28, 2004

At around 9:20 Thursday morning as I was getting dressed after getting out of the shower my phone rang and I thought, “this better be important. Who the fuck would call me at 9:20 am.” The phone # was a 201 number so I immediately assumed it was New Jersey, but when I picked up Curt Jones was on the other line. Curt is one of my best friends from Syracuse and he has been living in New Zealand for a little over a year now. My first thought was, “what the hell was curt doing in New Jersey.” Alas, Curt was not in New Jersey, the entire phone number from New Zealand just couldn’t fit on my phone display. Curt was drunk dialing me from New Zealand. How awesome is that? I think that’s the furthest I’ve ever got a drunk dial from. I think that might be a world record. I’m going to consult Guiness on the drunk dial distance world record.

Curt and I talked for about 20 minutes. We discussed our friend Jack’s wedding that is to take place next summer in the Czech Republic. We’re planning on making the effort to be there. I’m actually really excited about it. The Czech Republic kicks ass. The beer is cheap along with everything else and I’ve never seen more beautiful women than I did in the three days I spent in Prague, and you can buy absinthe there. What do you say we all move there?
The rest of the work day was sort of routine, but when the night came I had a dilemma. Do I go to the “Best Week Ever” party at 6’s & 8’s or do I go to Kristin Ertel’s company’s book release party for “Sticker Shock”. My original decision was to make both, but I only made it to Kristin’s.

Most of the time there Kristin was busy getting drinks for everyone so I ended up talking to Evan Thies for a riveting political conversation as well as an even more involved conversation about the pitfalls of having the name Evan. I know what you’re thinking, “what could be wrong with having the name Evan?” I’ll tell you. Well, personally I love my name. My problem is with the people who butcher it. I’ll demonstrate through a dialogue.

Evan: Hey nice to meet you.
Other: What’s your name?
Evan: Evan.
Other: Nice to meet you Kevin.
Evan: No, it’s Evan.
Other: Oh sorry Eddie.
Evan: No, It’s Evan.
Other: Oh, sorry Eric, nice to meet you.
Evan: No big deal (figuring that I’m never actually going to see this person again anyway)

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg people. Imagine everyime someone sent you a letter or an email and it read as follows.

“Dear Even,”

Now, if you don’t realize what’s wrong with the previous introduction then you deserve to be smacked upside the head if not brutally murdered. If you don’t realize that the word spelled E-V-E-N is the opposite of the word spelled O-D-D, then something bad needs to happen to you. I would even accept the spelling E-V-I-N, because that at least makes sense as far as pronunciation goes. Also there is no word spelled evin. You have no idea how it feels to have your name so often butchered in both written and spoken form. I’ve also often been called Evans as if I was surround by 11 other people named Evan and we worked as a collective being. Anyway, I was glad that Evan Thies understood my pain. It was a worthwile venting of frustration.

I left the bar around 11:20 and when I got home, I listened to perhaps one of the most beautiful songs ever, Billy Bragg and Wilco’s cover of the Woody Guthrie penned “Remember the Mountain Bed.” If you haven’t heard it, I hightly recommend it. It’s a perfect song.

Here’s the lyrics, enjoy them:

Do you still sing of the mountain bed we made of limbs and leaves:
Do you still sigh there near the sky where the holly berry bleeds:
You laughed as I covered you over with leaves, face, breast, hips and thighs,
You smiled when I said the leaves were just the color of your eyes.

Rosin smells and turpentine smells from eucalyptus and pine
Bitter tastes of twigs we chewed where tangled woodvines twine
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see
I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me.

Your arm was brown against the ground, your cheeks part of the sky,
As your fingers played with grassy moss, and limber did you lie,
Your stomach moved beneath your shirt and your knees were in theair
Your feet played games with mountain roots as you lay thinking there.

Below us the trees grew clumps of trees, raised families of trees, and they
As proud as we tossed their heads in the wind and flung good seeds away:
The sun was hot and the sun was bright down in the valley below
Where people starved and hungry for life so empty come and go.

There in the shade and hid from the sun we freed our minds and learned
Our greatest reason for being here, our bodies moved and burned
There on our mountain bed of leaves we learned life’s reason why,
The people laugh and love and dream, they fight, they hate to die.

The smell of your hair I know is still there, if most of our leaves are blown,
Our words still ring in the brush and the trees where singing seeds are sown
Your shape and form is dim, but plain, there on our mountain bed
I see my life was brightest where you laughed and laid your head…

I learned the reason why man must work and how to dream big dreams,
To conquer time and space and fight the rivers and the seas
I stand here filled with my emptiness now and look at city and land
And I know why farms and cities are built by hot, warm, nervous hands.

I crossed many states just to stand here now, my face all hot with tears,
I crossed city, and valley, desert, and stream, to bring my body here:
My history and future blaze bright in me and all my joy and pain
Go through my head on our mountain bed where I smell your hair again.

All this day long I linger here and on in through the night
My greeds, desires, my cravings, hopes, my dreams inside me fight:
My loneliness healed, my emptiness filled, I walk above all pain
Back to the breasts of my woman and child to scatter my seeds again.


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