Tribute To A Misfit

Editors note: this is a re-post, which just seemed fitting for memorial day ~ sekanblogger

 The Kinks became one of my favorite groups, but only after the release of the album Misfits in 1978. I graduated from high school that year. Of course, growing up on 70’s rock, I knew about the Kinks. Everybody knew the song “Lola,” and most people can only name that one song of theirs. That’s about all I knew too, until I moved to Wichita in ’78. The same day I moved there, a guy I kinda’ sorta’ knew moved there, too. We got re-acquainted and started hanging around each other. We both had the same habits, that is, drinking as much as possible and smoking more weed than anybody we knew. He had a Stratocaster knock-off, and was always playing some Kinks stuff. He had some of the older stuff, but I remember him mostly playing along with the 1979 album Low Budget. I could identify with that. It was a good album, but I wasn’t hooked yet!

 I became a real Kinks fan when I picked up a copy of Misfits. In my humble opinion, this album is one where the Davies brothers really bared their souls. At the time, I felt like a misfit, and all my friends were similar. One friend in particular really liked the title cut, and I decided it fit him to a tee. So this is dedicated to my long-gone friend Mark Fabrycky. As far as I’m concerned, it could be Mark’s ballad.

 Mark was a tall, muscular guy. He never knew a stranger. I was a sophomore in high school when we became friends. His brother and my older brother had been busted for weed together and we were birds of a feather.

 He refused to conform to almost everything. He would skip school on a whim, doing whatever came to mind, and rarely wore shoes, even in the winter. The first time I realized how different Mark was, he had gone to a forensics meet out of town. While someone else was on stage, he jumped up on the side of the stage and broke into an impromptu interpretive dance! They removed him from the meet, so he spent the day in a field across the street, brewing coffee in an old tin can and rolling cigarettes.

 Later that summer, we jumped a boxcar and rode to the next town, got arrested there for it, too. One night we slept in a cemetery, using dead leaves as a bed. We slept on the top of the spillway at a state lake while doing LSD and watching the stars. We would sleep on gravel bars out on the Neosho river. We canoed streams in Missouri and generally enjoyed being teenagers. Mark enjoyed climbing water towers just for the hell of it. He was arrested in Pittsburg, Kansas, after he climbed a tower with a mutual friend, Crazy Vince. The police came and asked them to come down. He replied that he would as soon as his weed was gone. They waited while he smoked the weed.

 He was a brilliant guy who had a Masters’ degree in agronomy from K-State, but he never conformed there either. Mark was always wearing old second-hand clothes, and a WW2 green trench-coat. He had a running joke with the ladies who ran the student union in which they would touch a long string hanging from his trench-coat (which he conveniently left there), as a parody of Christ healing the lady of faith. His hair would be shoulder length for awhile and the next time you’d see him, it was shaved, eyebrows and all. I asked him, “Why the eyebrows?”. His answer? “Shock effect, I want to be different.” IT WORKED.

 He quickly made friends with some chemistry students, and they supplied Mark with all the windowpane LSD he wanted. This was most likely his downfall, but that was years later. No matter what drug, food, or drink was around, Mark needed more. If you did a hit of acid, Mark would do six! If you grilled chicken, he needed a whole chicken for himself. Weed? He inhaled it like the breath of life itself.

 After graduating from college, he ended up in California. Lived in a commune with an older lady as his partner. Grew ‘community gardens’ in any extra space he found. I remember him picking veggies right out of the field and eating unwashed anything.

 Anytime Mark came home to see his Mom, he would always make a point to come see me. I felt honored. His mother said he never cared to see anyone else here. The last time he came home, his mom called me, saying Mark was having some mental problems. She was warning me that he was coming to my house, and she hoped I could handle him. I did, sort of. He spent the night, and ate everything in the house, right after he smoked all my stash. It was obvious he was in some trouble, as his mind was racing and he was speaking in broken sentences. He had a portable typewriter with him, and cranked out ‘beat’ poetry like crazy. He drank all the booze, and never slept a wink.

 The next day, I knew I had to get him home. I finally got him loaded up, and he made me take him to the old MKT hospital. They had a mental ward at the time, and he insisted he was due to check in there. I was relieved, until they told me they didn’t know Mark and there was no knowledge of his problem. He walked the hospital halls, scaring the hell out of everybody. I finally got him to his mother’s.

 That was the last time I saw Mark alive. His mom got him into a hospital in Pittsburg. The hospital took a group to an AA meeting a few days later. Mark walked out of the meeting and into oblivion. The police found him dead, underneath the same water tower he had been arrested at. Vince, his old friend, had come back to town when he heard about Mark being here. He was at my house when we heard the news.

Mark was gone. He had went to mingle with the stars.

Mark, my misfit friend, this is still your song to me.

The Kinks – Misfits Lyrics

You’ve been sleeping in a field but you look real rested
You set out to outrage but you can’t get arrested
You say your image is new, but it looks well tested
You’re lost without a crowd yet you go your own way

You say your summer has gone
Now the winter is crawlin’ in
They say that even in your day
Somehow you never could quite fit in
Though it’s cold outside
I know the summer’s gonna come again
Because you know what they say
Every dog has his day

You’re a misfit, afraid of yourself so you run away and hide
You’ve been a misfit all your life
Why don’t you join the crowd
And come inside
You wander round this town like you’ve lost your way
You had your chance in your day
Yet you threw it all away
But you know what they say
Every dog has his day

Look at all the losers and the mad eyed gazers
Look at all the loonies and the sad eyed failures
They’ve given up living ‘cos they just don’t care
So take a good look around
The misfits are everywhere
La la la la la la

This is your chance, this is your time
So don’t throw it away
You can have your day
‘Cause it’s true what they say
Every dog has his day

You’re a misfit
Afraid of yourself so you run away and hide
You’ve been a misfit all your life
But why don’t you join the crowd and come inside
You wander round this town
Like you’ve lost your way
You had your chance in your day
Yet you threw it all away
Now you’re lost in the crowd
Yet, still go your own way



Filed under Kansas, Music, ODDITIES, Rock and Roll, Short Story, Tributes

10 responses to “Tribute To A Misfit

  1. Lynn

    i swear SB, you and i are simply sympatico with our tastes in music. i always enjoy your selection.. do more!

  2. Lynn

    iknow this is totally off-topic but do you remember concerts in the 70s? damn. the lights went down and people lit up. that’s just the way it was..everyone tucked away safely and enjoying the show. some shows i’ve seen that are still instilled inmy brain are the likes of Steppenwolf, CSN&Y, Tom Petty, .etc…but my all time fav is the Grateful Dead!

    • Yes, I remember those concerts.
      I could do a nice long post about those.
      The biggest one I went to was outside at Tulsa.
      12 bands in one day, at the Tulsa speedway.
      The two guys I went with are also gone, and I could do a similar post about each of them.

      I don’t want today’s youth to think that living like I did is without consequences. The friends I had then are dead. I’m the lucky one.

  3. RIP Mark, I am sure wherever you are you still don’t know a stranger 🙂

  4. ninjanurse

    there’s a thin line between a madman and a saint, it’s not always a bad thing to be a misfit. sorry the spirits got him, you wrote a beautiful tribute.

  5. Jeff Devine

    Enjoyed it. Lived a similar situation growing of age in the mid 70s, and lost friends. I came on board one album earlier, Sleepwalker. But also love Misfits.
    An underrated era of power pop (right after the quirky English stuff and before the stadium rock) of an unrated bank.

  6. I think I knew this guy – did he move to Kansas from Indiana? Was his older brother named Steve?

  7. Tom Kilavos

    Mark was a very good friend of mine here in Valparaiso Indiana. We were in Boy Scouts together and did many of camp outs. We would also lay in the weeds and stare at the stars. The last time I saw Mark before he left for Kansas he traded me his jean jacket for a bag of weed. Mark was different and I’ll never forget him.

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