Randy Oliver (1960-2005)

Posted: July 13, 2014 in Christianity, Livin' in the USA, Religion
Tags: , ,

My closest friend died nine years ago today. Randy Oliver–a huge (6’4″, 240) Apache bassist I played music with for many years–died of a broken heart. Back when such horrors were still common, he’d been given up at birth and was raised by Catholic parents in Phoenix.

He later converted to Mormonism when he married a Mormon woman.

When I met him, via a drummer we played with for years and years, and who’s still a friend, Randy had just left Mormonism and had become a born-again Christian. Surprisingly, we got along well. According to him, I was a “left-wing wacko,” and he was a “right-wing wacko.” He was so far to the right, and I was so far to the left, that we agreed about politics 90% of the time.

During the entire time I knew him, he was suffering from the shunning entailed in giving up Mormonism; it scarred him for the rest of his life. (His ex is a wonderful woman; almost alone among his kinfolk, I have nothing but good things to say about her–she’s kind. His daughter, as religious fanatics tend to be, was cruel and unforgiving–the loathsome treatment she meted out to Randy contributed to his death.)

Nine years ago, Randy had been staying in a trailer on my property. We’d rehearsed that night with our new band, felt good about how it had sounded, and were ready to go out the next day and start booking gigs. So, we celebrated–stayed up drinking and smoking while listening to blues and country music until maybe 1:00 a.m. Then, after I crashed–he knew I didn’t want that crap on my property–he decided to ride his bike down to South Tucson to score some dope.

I got a hysterical call the next day around noon from Randy’s girlfriend: he was in intensive care. He’d had a heart attack, had plowed into the curb with his head, and was brain dead.

And that was it.

I still miss him.

* * *
Zeke Teflon is the author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia.

Free Radicals front cover

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