The Joy of Showing Gratitude
A friend of a friend had an all-nighter with Eddie Van Halen. Not only does that put me two degrees of separation from my favorite guitar player, but her sultry story fills me with salacious glee.
Everyone loves celebrity gossip, especially of the scandalous kind. Despite the otherworldliness we ascribe to the rich and famous (and likely because of it), we enjoy seeing the best at their worst.
Celebrities fucking other celebrities is interesting, but A-Listers banging the proletariat is particularly intriguing. As James Ellroy observed, it makes Gods human, and hints that we have a chance.
The fateful encounter began on a weeknight circa 1993, when Sally as we’ll call her was hanging out with several girlfriends at a bar on the Sunset Strip. Eddie and his brother Alex sauntered in.
“At first I couldn’t believe it was actually them,” reminisces Sally. “And then I really couldn’t believe it when Eddie made direct eye contact with me, winked, and gestured for me to join them.”
She sat with the legendary duo for a breathtaking hour or so, making small talk and bullshitting, until EVH leaned in and asked if she had a car. Sally nodded, Eddie smiled, and off they went.
“We were already making out in the parking lot before I opened the door,” beams Sally. “I must have been his type, because he didn’t have a moment’s hesitation, and I was utterly star struck.”
Finally in the car, Ed offered what would become a seemingly endless supply of cocaine. “We did lines off my dashboard, made out, did more lines. I remember driving down Mulholland...”
They finally got to her place and immediately got naked. The rhythm from the car repeated, both the sex and the drugs with ever-greater intensity, oscillating for hours and hours until dawn.
“In the morning,” smiles Sally, “I made him coffee and waffles. That’s the most memorable part. I fucked Eddie Van Halen all night long, but I’ll never forget him asking me to pass the syrup at breakfast.”
To me, though, mega Van Halen fan that I am, the most endearing part of Sally’s story is the denouement. “He was a gentleman throughout. A car picked him up, he kissed me goodbye.”
Fast forward a few years, and Sally was seated a few rows from the stage for the band’s next tour. In the middle of his guitar solo Eddie recognized and remembered her, gave her a big thumbs up.
“We make an impact in other people’s lives,” says Sally, “some large, some small — some good, some bad. I knew I’d always remember that night, but I was astonished that Eddie did, too.”
Life is a circus, full of surprises. Our memories are selective, but our thankfulness shouldn’t be. The list of vital things never taught in school is long, and at the top is the joy of showing gratitude.
“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” — William James