People and new opportunities wind up crossing regularly. What you do when you run across a new one depends . I believe in what Yogi Berra used to say, “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.”
In my Folkie days, it was the entire rationale for Frolicking Detours; if a particular “adventure” looked interesting, follow it. If I was offered a ride to Louisiana to meet someone’s cousin who was a great slide guitarist—Hey! I was game for the trip—game for the journey and ready to learn the lessons offered.

I was careful what I consumed with strangers, bailed out mid-way on adventures going sour, and avoided going anytime I felt suspicious about the credibility of something. I didn’t believe in certain types of coincidence. Some things were too good to be true, and magic carpets did not exist.
Being born and raised in New York City helped, and having suspicious parents also worked out well. My father had been a Merchant Marine in the thirties and forties and shared his experiences freely. So by the time I was on the road, I was both innocent and well on my way to becoming a suspicious adult. I didn’t have to wait for a bulb to light up over my head to know when a deal was off, and it was time to split the scene.
My mother had been orphaned at an early age and had experienced the subtle manners people use to delude children. From her, I learned to question people’s motivations for apparent kindness.

Here is the rub. I’m the type of guy who wades slowly into the cold water. So how does that fit with the adventurer who wanders off at the drop of a hat? Shouldn’t I plunge in eagerly? No.
New experiences are worth having. I’ve gone to see the elephant many times. And I’ve seen the consequences of a lack of care just as I’ve benefitted from the journey. So I know it pays dividends to be adventurous cautiously. The combination of an adventurous spirit and a cautious nature cluster well together.

And that’s how I’m still game to try the next fork in the road.


There was no way I could have kept body and soul together on what I made in the Greenwich Village coffeehouses. I worked some dissolute day jobs as well. For a while, I was selling Time clocks and their supplies in New York’s Garment District. I was treated very kindly by the factory owners who didn’t have a wonderful reputation for being mellow, mild types. Their time clocks were works of art produced near the turn of the century in lovely hardwood cases, and working perfectly. Why did they need a new one? Actually, I think they thought me to be a bit meshuggeneh (nuts) and felt sorry for me. One elderly sweatshop owner always insisted on my stopping and having tea. But, I could not make a living on not selling time clocks.
Then I became a messenger for the Quik Speed Messenger Service. I was delivering messages, documents, and small packages from Mid-Town down to Wall Street. I remember delivering legal documents to a distraught Lennie Bruce, contract documents to singer Eartha Kitt, and patterns to my old friends in the Garment District. I made a regal one dollar an hour, but the tips and the people I met were great.
Then I did a stint as an inside “tour guide” for tourists interested in lapping at the fountain of Bohemian creativity that was the Village. A few friends and I would arrange a tour of some of the Village’s most suspect retreats, coffeehouses, dive bars, and restaurants for a reasonable fee. Our tours featured the sort of places that in more recent days you’d never find in a Zagat’s guide.
In addition to all this, I did my regular gigs at the Cafe Why Not, the Dragon’s Den, and wherever else I could scare up a gig.
The adventure in all this was finding the time, and sometimes the place, to sleep. Life was not dull, and it was a relatively happy time.

%d bloggers like this: