"Life is just a party, and a party wasn't meant to last." That's one of the challenges that comes with using words for your living. Prince was not a fatalist. Hedonist, maybe, but when you start to listen the words a path emerges.
But before we go too deeply into that, I should make this confession: I bought just two Prince CDs in my life. The rest of the Prince music that came into my life came as gifts and fortune. Good and otherwise. I bought 1999 from the bargain bin. Five dollars and ninety-nine cents. I had the triple disc hits and B-sides offered up to me by my brother-in-law as he converted his music collection to the cloud. The other CD of Prince tunes I owned was the Batman soundtrack. I confess that it was purchased more out of a sense of obligation to my Batmania than Prince fandom, but it was always a nice piece of purple obscurity to work into the mix.
The rest of the Prince pieces I enjoyed came to me via my buddy Darren. My college roommate and Okie from Muskogee was a Paisley Park aficionado. He was the guy who bought the first album. He didn't wait for the hits to be unveiled. He went out and tracked them down. He went to see Purple Rain on its opening weekend. He bought records by Morris Day and the Time and Appoloania. I lived with that record collection, and I confess that there were times when the steady stream of Minneapolis scene wore on me. It did until the PMRC started poking around Prince's music. My buddy Darren, besides being a Prince fanatic, was a proud and sometimes conflicted Baptist. What he told me was that he respected his idol's faith. All that dirty stuff that was being cherry-picked by senators wives was just the tip of a much more profound and thoughtful iceberg. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Prince couldn't be bothered to testify in front of Congress. He just kept on making music. Some of it was self-obsessed and nearly inaccessible, but even the forgotten bits you can dance to.
It's a shame my buddy Darren didn't live long enough to see Prince perform the halftime show at the Super Bowl. The sky opened up during Purple Rain, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the millions watching. Nor did it quell the fire burning from that guitar. It was magic. It was amazing. It was Prince.
Now Prince is gone too. Hard to imagine that such a force could be missing, but that seems to be the sad trend these days. So much loss, and still so many ears that haven't heard that sound. Here's something else the artist formerly known as Prince had to say:
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means forever and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you there's something else - the afterworld. A world of never-ending happiness. You can always see the sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr. Everything'll-Be-All-right, instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby. 'Cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld. This life you're on your own. And if de-elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy - punch a higher floor."
Aloha, Prince, danced across the Terra and you will be missed.