Seattle’s Tuba Man, R.I.P.
For the record, I didn’t like the guy when he was alive. I mean, I got the joke… a man, a grown man, at seemingly every single sporting and most non-sporting civic event in Seattle, in the fucking rain, at night, all the time, busking for dough, playing a fucking tuba. Two days ago the Facebook “status reports” of a few Seattle pals referred to Tuba Man’s brutal beating and subsequent death, and it has taken me 48 hours to kinda process what this all means, to me, anyway… And while The Seattle P-I’s Art Thiel does a much better job, here goes some typing of mine on the same subject:
Many years ago, very many, but cannot remember when, exactly, early 90s maybe/maybe not, Ed the Tuba Guy entered my consciousness and has remained there ever since. The guy was, to put it kindly, differently-abled. It took me awhile to figure this out, that he was “slow” or, I dunno, not “with it”, whatever IT came to mean. I slipped him a dollar or ten over the years in dollar bill increments, but his shtick was dumb and I hated it. His non-sardonic deadpan, the non-ironic jokes, and the ironic-hokey songs he played were dumb and I hated them, even as I know the rule: every song is funny if played on a tuba; yeah, well, after 10 years, fuck you.
The title of this CSTB posting was the one-sentence joke Ed The Tuba Man would tell as you’d run by him moving South to avoid the rain and wind, past the Qwest Field landing where he’d crouch or sit during inclement weather, with his tuba and his bucket of wet change. It was his one joke, again and again.
It would be a disservice to humanity to add the sad news of the ruined life of Edward McMichael, Seattle’s “Tuba Man,” to a list of the reasons why the Seattle sports scene has been a bummer this year, but even as a human life shouldn’t be subject to this comparison, I will do so anyway:
The Mariners (61 and 101 in ’08, g-d did they suck)
The Sonics (worst or near-worst in the NBA / owned by greedy motherfucker Clay Bennett / are no more)
The Seahawks (jesus, this is depressing)
The T-Birds (4-10-1. next-to-last- Western Division, WHL; moving to KENT(!) next season)
I have since followed the flow of my paymaster’s teat to Silicon Valley, and in spite of all of the charitably “colorful” dopes I see frequently see around AT&T Park, HP Pavilion, and the the g-ddammed Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, or even The Castro and Mission districts on a good night, nothing really matched the strange, slightly antagonizing charm of Seattle’s Tuba Man. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to paste html links to similarly miserable Tacoma Rainers, Portland Trailblazers, Vancouver Canucks, and, eternally, the Seattle Music Scene. Nah, I’ll just say that Seattle lost some of its charm on Wednesday when The Tuba Guy bit it.
(photo: Karen Ducey; P-I / 2006; used w/o permission)
Requiescat, Tuba Man of Seattle. I miss you already.