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A Better World: Remembering Peter Tork, 1942-2019

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I’ve said it here and on Zilch, but as a reminder, Peter Tork isn’t wasn’t perfect. At times he could be challenging, quirky, occasionally self-sabotaging and, well, a bit bitchy. I knew that from the first time I met him (or any Monkee), in a little dive bar in Dallas with James Lee Stanley in the summer of 1997, when he wasn’t totally in the best of moods for whatever reason. Learning with my own eyes that one of my first crushes was a normal, flawed human being wasn’t a lesson I expected to learn as a naïve 20 year old, but it was a powerful one that stayed with me.

In no small part because of his imperfections and shadows, Peter still made this a better world with his music, wisdom, humor, and above all, love. More specifically, he made MY world demonstrably better. Go read the archives if you want more details or listen to any of a half dozen Zilch episodes, I’m not rehashing it. And because of the incontrovertible fact that Peter Tork made this a better world, the moment I saw his obituary I suddenly realized for an incontrovertible fact that I can be imperfect and challenging, quirky, occasionally self-sabotaging and a bit bitchy… and still create a better world. It’s time to stop fretting about self improvement and get on with climbing higher and higher in a different way.

This was the last time I saw Peter live. He also did this song the first time I saw him live. Amazing both times.

Dear readers and members of Zilch Nation, forgive me for thinking of myself here, but this is a lesson that came almost directly after I was asking it from the universe. Creepily so, actually–Peter’s obituary popped up on Zilch and my phone buzzed mere seconds after I was ruminating on the question. And then, voila, an instant epiphany after weeks if not months of banging my head against a doorjamb instead of moving two inches to the left to walk into the next room. Given that Peter was a kind, mystical, and wise teacher (and something of a trickster), and because of everything that has happened since 2012, this bit of synchronicity on his way to his next stop doesn’t surprise me one damn bit.

Thanks for the final lesson, Peter. One favor though–do give Anissa another one of your big hugs for Cin and Mich and Mattie and me, would ya? It’s been 22 years since I met you that first time and got my first hug from you, after asking you a little timidly because, like I said, I could tell you weren’t in the best of moods that night. To this day, that’s the best hug I’ve ever gotten from anyone aside from my parents or my husband. Probably because you’ve had a lot of practice over the years. If nothing else, that picture of you hugging her is my favorite pic of both of you.

RIP Peter Tork and Blessings to all who knew you.

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2 thoughts on “A Better World: Remembering Peter Tork, 1942-2019

  1. I knew you would have something beautiful and insightful to say. Thank you for your excellent perspective, and thank you for sharing such precious memories. Most of all, thank you for the joyous times we shared, chasing that blues band up the coast. I cherish those happy days.

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