Carpe Diem, Motherfuckers (The Rick James Lesson)

I have very few regrets in life. Seriously, even most of the shit stuff had to happen to teach me a lesson. However, I have one regret so great, so haunting, that I have to write about it now to share my one of my biggest shames.

I didn’t go see Rick James play when I had the chance.

Now, of all the regrets—shitty decisions, shittier boyfriends, bad behavior, substance abuse, on and on—why would I choose this? Because every single fucking time I hear Rick James, especially “Super Freak,” I am tormented just a little more, with the pangs of that once-in-a-lifetime chance gone, vanished, like the sands of the hourglass.

Here’s the deal. I had a very large freeloading roommate in Vegas. You know when you need a roommate so badly—and one of your friends needs a place to crash—that you think it will be a totally awesome fix to have them move in and give you some cash in exchange for a bedroom for a few months? Yeah, it’s a bad idea.

Anyway, large, freeloading roommate promptly moved in, doubled the costs of my electric bill since he left everything on all the time (hey, electricity coming from California during the whole energy crisis/brownout time ain’t cheap) and started eating my food. Here’s another life lesson: Don’t live with a roommate who’s bigger than you are—they will eat your food and they will eat way more than you do. I’d go to the store and spend $200 on groceries and it would be fucking gone almost all gone two days later. Two days! Christ.

But I digress. Large roommate was unemployed and had few prospects, but I felt guilty so I would take him to shows, events, etc., that I was attending for my media job. Usually I could get him in for free, but drinks ain’t cheap, and I’d usually feel guilted into buying him a couple drinks, even food, etc. The fact that he was bleeding me dry at home—and then I was paying an extra $100-plus a night to let him tag along—was killing me. I mean, I had just kicked out my Grown Man Baby boyfriend for the exact same thing. I was tired of taking care of these fucking men.

And, so, when a musician friend scored a gig Opening for Rick James at an AVN Awards Party—and freeloader expressed a huge desire to go to said gig—I, who had promptly had enough of it, said, “Nope, not gonna go” ’cause I thought I was making a stand.

What a dumb fucking mistake.

See, not only did I sit home and do nothing, but practically everyone I knew went to that show, including my boyfriend at the time who came home and gave me the rundown. You know how you skip going out and then the next day, someone says, “It was the greatest party of all time! Monkeys served us champagne! Pony rides! Hugh Hefner was handing out $100 bills, and then the Playboy playmates did a striptease and started making out! Free drugs and booze!”

Um, yeah, it was like that.

“That was the greatest show of all time!” My drunk boyfriend told me when he came staggering over later. “We were backstage, hanging out with Rick James and all the porn stars, and then at one point, he invited us to come onstage and sing ‘Super Freak’ with him! And we were dancing with porn stars!”

Now, any girlfriend might be pissed that their boyfriend was dancing with porn stars and singing “Super Freak.” Not me. I was pissed that I wasn’t there dancing with porn stars and singing “Super Freak” with Rick James.

rick james

And now he's dead.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is my greatest regret in life. What’s yours?