Today is the day. One year ago. One of my best friends passed. He was attacked by cancers. It started with a little spot on his knee
. I don't think it's over yet. I think of him everyday, I know all the rest of the El Paso Kids do too. First I want everyone to know how important it is to understand skin cancer. Skin cancer is the worst kind of pure and total shit. A tiny little freckle can steal something you love. Sun stole my friend from me. It made him go blind, made him sick, made him live in pain. It took his sight by moving to his brain.
You want the cliche of a fighter? Well Ray lived up to it, and then he went a couple steps past it and picked up his guitar. Ray fought skin cancer, and he beat it. At least that's what the doctors thought at first. He had lymphoma they said later, but he beat that and everything was alright for a couple years. It reemerged. I had moved out of Austin by that point. I kept up with him by phone calls, and not trusting him to tell me what was up, because he loved his friends and didn't want us to worry, by a network of friends. Bands would come through town on tour, artists that had done posters for Too Bad About The Kid, or people that had met him would give me info.
I got a call a year ago last march. It was from my cousin, he told me Ray wasn't doing so good. I remember feeling very important, I was going to law school, I was going to be a lawyer. I answered the phone, said hi to my cousin. He asked me if I talked to Silas or Sara yet. I said no, suddenly concerned, not happy. He asked if I heard about Ray. I never felt my soul sink faster. "He's okay right?" A lawyer can't do a god damned thing about cancer.
My cousin told me Ray couldn't see anymore, he wasn't doing well, they thought there was a brain tumor and it would be soon.
I met Ray when I was about 17. The first time we hung out we drank beers we got in J-Town with some of the other El Paso Kids and fucked around on a golf course. That kind of dumb, punk rock, get fucked up and fuck shit up kind of lifestyle is what we cherished. We weren't too much into drugs, other people ODed. It wasn't going to happen to us. If we got arrested, so what, but it wasn't likely.
Ray watched my cat for a whole year while I bounced around for a place to live. We shared our love of Teengenerate, Hickey, Screeching Weasel, and the Ramones. We argued about the relative wooing power of Built to Spill versus Jawbreaker. He was right in that regard, he had girls lined up around the corner.
I went to Atlanta at one point. I met a girl, I thought she dug me, so I went. I was lonely and this felt like hope. It fell apart pretty fast. I was left in a town I hated, with a job I hated and worst of all with myself, which I also hated. I called Ray everyday. I was embarrassed of why I moved, and what had happened. I wanted to go back to Austin, to be with my friends, but I couldn't. Ray listened to me talk and made me feel like it was OK. When I decided to come back I hung out with him first. We met everyone at a Hickey show and bought reflective Saint Anthony stickers.
Eventually Ray fell in love with Sara. Sara was hard on Ray at first. I didn't like her. She jerked him around, she was difficult. They broke up, got back together, and did it again. But when Ray first got sick she stood by him. They were going to get married. Sara was great, that's when I decided she was ok.
Anyway, Ray passed. He had a service in Sherman, Texas. I don't know if it was to the family's chagrin that we all showed up. A bunch of Mexican dirty punkrockers, who missed their friend so much, in the middle of Baptist country. Our friend Chip made it, fresh from duty in Qatar.
If I believed in God, or wanted to, I would hate him forever for stealing Ray. But I don't believe in God, so I hate cancer. I hate pain that falls on people for some unknown reason, I hate tumors that steal personality, I hate the feeling that I couldn't do anything for my friend.
I loved, actually I love him very much.
I study law and justice now. I can tell you something about justice. It ignored Ray.
A whisper soft blew through the air
On cold wind it traveled and fed on thought
Deep breaths in darkness I would not dare
For deceit in man will always be caught
Laid down in file, rows of wicked slate stone
If you want the truth you have bare bone
For trickery and lies of the soul they will eat
I ounce heard of a tale of a dead cat in the bag
Replaced carnations in wait for the 12th hour to strike
Childish anticipation to look upon a hoofed man
But through their fear filled eyes they never caught sight
I tell you death is a thief
Grey flesh, and broke bone is only plunder to keep.
by Ray Mynatt
The straight and narrow road only goes to nowhere
and I'm already there so why should I even care?
Just as long as there aren't any squares at my funeral,
It's okay, I'm to blame,
I've made my deathbed and now I'll lie in it
and finally get a little rest.
Just make sure there aren't any squares at my funeral,
Dying don't scare me.
Just promise me there won't be any squares at my funeral.
Ray, there weren't any squares at your funeral. But there were a lot of people who loved you.