One Hit Wonders

I lived in Point Richmond, California on and off for about five years. Some apartments were converted hallways, some were the leftover spaces of a remodel. One apartment was actually an apartment on the top of a hill, at the end of a cul de sac. I didn’t have a view, but if I walked outside and crossed the street, there was a vacant lot, and I had the whole bay spread before me. I would often take my morning coffee there, sitting in the grass and slight breeze.

I had noticed another guy, a neighbor, that periodically walked around the area. He had a bar across his shoulder with two super 8mm film cameras mounted side by side. It looked odd and warranted a question.

Finally, after a few weeks I asked him two questions. 1) what are you doing, and 2) what do you do that allows you to be free most mornings. I had assumed that he had a swing job similar to mine.

His response was that he was trying to master 3D movie making, and he didn’t have a job, he just got a monthly royalty check.

Completely disinterested in his passion, I pressed on to ask “a check? For what reason?” Very rude of me, but I was young.

He said that he wrote a song.

I pondered this quickly. Could I write a song to allow for more free time? He said song, singular. That couldn’t be hard. So I asked the name of his song and did he make a record.

He said he didn’t sing it, he just wrote it. Then he said he really didn’t even write the tune, he just wrote the lyrics. Damn, I could do that!

Apparently he made enough money to live comfortably, buy a car, rent a nice apartment, and walk around with movie cameras. Okay, what wonderful song was this?

He replied, “Puff, the Magic Dragon”!

He became a multi-millionaire, not because of Puff, but Puff allowed him to become the world’s foremost expert on 3D, and his technology is currently in 25,000 theaters world wide.

I focused on the songwriting, the easy one hit wonder. I was young and… stupid.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
This entry was posted in Commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to One Hit Wonders

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another great story my friend . Amazing

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh…Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i. Summer, 2006 was the last time, sigh…Never did see Puff though.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.