A regular person might not think Walter Becker or anybody else would need a posthumous Tarot reading. But, I mean, if you’re even asking that question I don’t really think you love Steely Dan.
Here are some cards that might be useful to Walter, now.
Here is my borrowed saxophone which was ALSO Walter’s original instrument.
Here is my most-public-ever sax debut, for which I wasn’t going to wear shades because what kind of asshole does that, but then I remembered Walter had just died, like the week before, and he was the best at shades, he wore them fiercely and not caring probably not even noticing what you thought. The shades were critical, as I understand, so that he didn’t have to see the audience. Could pretend there was nobody watching, could just be like “it’s just me here doing music.” So, I mean, I felt pretty good about wearing my shades, in tribute.
But then it was time to actually play the thing, and to be honest, I was not prepared. Want-to-throw-up unprepared. So, at that moment, I thought it best to take off the dark glasses so I could see my notes which were written not even as notes but as letters on large piece of poster board on the ground.
I am exactly 100% sure Mr. Walter Becker would have been unimpressed. Mr. Push-Past-Perfection would have had no time for my unreadiness. No way.
What I do think he might have appreciated, though, was my one-eyed command of the cheat sheet. Audience eye? CLOSED. Notes eye? Open, enough! It was some precision blinder work. I believe he would have appreciated that.
I also imagine, or hope, that he’d appreciate what the cards have to say.
So Mr. Becker. I’m sorry it ended so fast, I know you like to be prepared. I would imagine it bugged you to be robbed of the time to plan and execute perfect farewells. I hope it helps to know the cards suggest good things ahead. They suggest your undauntability. “Dead schmed,” they suggest, and I think they’re saying that ironically because everybody knows you do irony. The cards suggest that if anyone can glare an afterlife into submission and start pulling tones out of the clouds, weaving them into a groove, for nobody’s particular pleasure but also for the benefit of us all, the cards suggest it’s you.
Maybe this is the last installment in my Black Friday loveposts to Steely Dan, or maybe not, I’m not sure. While we all think about that you might read my 2015 Black Friday post which involved a speeding ticket here, my 2014 post in chalk right here, 2013 at Mall of America here, 2012 on Front Street (the best one! I think!) here.