Readers of my stories and gig announcements will often see a reference to a certain “Dr. Easy”. There never seems to be an actual, verified photo or video of him; he's nowhere to be found backstage at shows; no one that I know has actually seen him, nor heard him. The only evidence that I have his existence are some forgotten sunglasses (he likes sunglasses, even at night), an errant old hat (he loves hats of all kinds, but seems to lose them...probably just an excuse to get another?), or an empty rum bottle...or two. He never loses a cell phone because he hates them. Won't buy one, either, though he's quite happy to borrow one. He is no fan of technology and proudly admits to being "a analog mon inna digital worl'!" But I can assure you, he does exist for he's actually an amalgam of several, very real qualities.
Some wonderful colleagues in one of my prior lives as an Emergency Room psychiatric clinician got a kick out of my initials – DR – and took to calling me “Doctor” for no really good reason other than that. After one particularly grueling sixteen-hour night shift, I coined the “Easy” part as an ironic, 'gallows humor', tongue-in-cheek wink to the extremely necessary and difficult work we did.
The moniker stuck, but I am not the real Dr. Easy. The real Dr. Ea$y likes to spell his name using a dollar $ign instead of the letter “s”, and as is often the case, this is as close to any money of his own that he ever gets. He says he “likes to t'ink big and do t'ings dif'runt.” I tend to agree.
The real Dr. Ea$y seems to like me alright. He tells people that he's my wildly talented, though reluctant, contrarian muse - sort of a creative, alter-ego-sometimes-buddy with a crotchety disposition. Unless, of course, you have some good, Caribbean rum on hand! Then things can get jolly - and wild - real quick!
I never know when he'll present himself and am always surprised when he does. He doesn't return any of my calls. He says, “I am di-rek from the ether, meh-son. I operate on my own time.” So it would seem, but the 'ether' always seems to know when it's mealtime. Or that I'm in the shower. Or attempting to fall asleep. Or otherwise predisposed! It's in moments such as these that he offers his unsolicited two-cent's worth about whatever topic he cares to discuss, regardless of any interest I might have. You can almost always count on him to disappear when a helping hand is exactly what's needed, leaving behind a sink of dirty dishes, a few empties, the aforementioned sunglasses or rumpled hat and a faint odor of salt air. He sets the agenda - I do not - and I've come to understand from our interactions that I have to carefully mine any truly useful tidbits of info or good counsel like well-hidden, elusive diamonds sequestered within a mountain of dense blather.
Remarkably, though, the Doctor is almost always right - except when he is not. He likes to tell me how I should do things: Like how I need to play the guitar a particular way (despite his not knowing the first thing about how to play a guitar), or how I ought to interpret a song (though he sings like a howler monkey). That said, his choices of tunes are usually pretty good and make up a significant part of my repertoire. Should I choose to ignore him or his suggestions though, he'll sulk and get snippy with me.
Dr. Ea$y typically embodies the smooth, laid-back easy cool of several of my West Indian musician friends, speaking in their patois from time to time. However, his moods can swell up like a Caribbean squall and he can turn into a cantankerous old feral island cat just like that. I can tell that he enjoys hanging out with me - pontificating about almost anything, anywhere, anytime. But mostly he prefers to keep to himself. As he says, “I'm meh own bes' audience. You got ta take this here tip I'm offerin' you, bwoy.”
If you ever do see him out and about in your travels, say “Hello" to him for me, but don't ask him for any advice - or to play the guitar. Or sing. Others around you may think you are talking to yourself, but we know better, don't we.
By the way, the drawing above was done by a forensic artist from my best description. He says it was the most challenging piece of work he's ever encountered. 'Bout sums the good Doctor up, too.