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An Email Chain Between 4 People Depicted in Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”

from: David Tompkins
to: Paul Dimaggio, JOHN, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 9:04 AM
subject: Piano Man

 

Dear Friends,

I found your email addresses on your web sites. We have not spoken in a long time but I heard a song on the radio last night and I believe you fill find it interesting. The song is “Piano Man”.

Do you remember the gentleman who played the piano and sang at the Executive Room in Los Angeles in the 70s? Well it turns out that the lounge singer Billy Martin (he now goes by the name of “Billy Joel”) wrote a song about us.

I read the lyrics and I’m fairly certain that he’s referring to us:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/pianoman.html

Hope you’re doing well.

 

David Tompkins, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Ret.

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from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 10:15 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

david–

where the fuck have you been and how have you not heard of this song until now? it’s basically impossible to not have heard that song 100 thousand fucking times since it came out like 40 years ago.

you guys remember how during his breaks he would come around and talk to us like he was one of the guys? fuck, that guy was so condescending

also, great to hear from you David!!

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

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from: John
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 10:31 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

Hey guys!!

Great to catch up again! Yeah that song sucks but frankly I’m amazed that you’ve never heard it before, David. Anyway, so glad you tracked us down, what a pleasant surprise! How have you been my friends?

–John “at the bar”

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from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 10:32 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

i mean i’m just trying to get a drink with my friends and he’s gotta act like he’s mother teresa lifting our burden or something. no man, you just fucking interrupted our conversation (begging for tips!) and then i make the mistake of telling him i’m writing a novel and he puts me in his song as a “real estate novelist.”

i’m a fucking novelist with a day job as a real estate agent, i’m not writing novels about fucking real estate you fucking twat!

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

* * * * *

from: Elizabeth Weber
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio, John
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 10:34 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

unsubscribe

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from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 10:35 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

and BTW i have a pretty successful fucking career as a writer! i mean i’m not earnest Fucking hemingway or anything but I’m not selling homes anymore!

fuck you elizabeth!

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

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from: David Tompkins
to: Paul Dimaggio, JOHN, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 11:19 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

John and Paul,

It’s wonderful to hear that you are doing well. Paul, it’s good to see you’re still your colorful self. I don’t think the song is as bad as you say it is and I find the tune to be catchy although I prefer German choral music (Heinrich Shütz is a favorite).

I am sorry that you were mischaracterized so poorly by Mr. Martin and I feel that I was given a similar broad strokes treatment that did not do me justice, specifically in the line “and he’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy and probably will be for life.”

I never liked that Mr. Martin called me “Davy.” I have always gone by my full name “David” and the sobriquet was condescending. I looked past it at the time because he seemed so unhappy and untalented.

The next line, however, does not sit well with me. The notion that I’ll “probably be in the Navy for life” was accurate for the most part. To fill you in on my life since then (hard to believe that that was that 40 years ago already), in 2001 I retired from my service with the U.S. Navy after 32 years of service. I made it all the way to the rank of Rear Admiral and I consider myself a Navy man for life, my recent foray into the hobby of cabinet-making notwithstanding.

But the way Mr Martin tells it, you would think I was resigned to this fate, when in fact I am very proud of my service and would have not chosen it any other way. Naval service made me the man I am today and gave me a sense of purpose and achievement in my life.

I have led men (and women) in battle and taken the fight to the bad guys all over the world. I have also lost friends who were very close to me. Later in my career I taught at the U.S. Naval War College and helped to modernize the Navy during the Clinton administration to make it more agile and prepared for the changing nature of modern warfare and emerging threats such as terrorism. I have personally met three presidents and mentored many young and promising Naval officers, all of which I am proud of.

 

David Tompkins, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Ret.

* * * * *

from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 11:22 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

i mean seriously — “a real estate novelist”???? does this guy thing he’s bob Fucking dylan or something???

BTW did you guys see he just won a noble for literature?

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

* * * * *

from: Paul Dimaggio, JOHN, eweber
to: David Tompkins
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 12:45 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

Another point that I would like to make.

Mr. Martin’s condescending attitude towards me in particular and the U.S. Armed Forces in general is representative of what I feel is a concerning lack of respect amongst civilians for those of us who have chosen to dedicate our lives to serving and defending our country.

Popular culture does not do Americans any favors by contributing to this gap and minimizing the courage and sacrifice of those of us who have served. The idea that those who choose military service should be seen as “lesser” in any way does not sit well with me.

 

David Tompkins, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Ret.

* * * * *

from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 1:18 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

jesus F christ i was just in the car with my granddaughter on the way to her dance recital and that fucking song comes on the radio and i go to change it and she’s like “grandpa! i love that song! dont change it!!”

i tried to explain about what a fucking shit song it is but she’s too young. case in point! it’s music for children!!

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

* * * * *

from: David Tompkins
to: Paul Dimaggio, JOHN, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 4:22 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

Paul,

How wonderful to hear that you have a granddaughter!

Joan and I have been blessed by three daughters of our own and a son (who chose to follow his father into the Navy), plus six grand-children with another on the way.

I tried to attach some photos so you could see what a wonderful family I’ve been blessed with but I cannot figure out how to put them in an email. Joan usually helps me with computer matters but she’s away this weekend at a 40-year college reunion.

I’m going to surprise her by refinishing the deck while she’s away. If I have time later on I will attempt to send the photos again.

Kind regards.

David Tompkins, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Ret.

* * * * *

from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 4:31 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

updat — now my daughter=in=law is pissed at me for making my granddaughter cry…

FUCK THAT SONG.

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

* * * * *

from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 4:32 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

sing us a song you’re the piano man!!!
sing us a song tonight!!!
well we’re all in the mood for a melody!!!
and you’ve got us feeling alright!!!!!

THAT NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”

* * * * *

from: John
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio
date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 6:50 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

Hey guys,

It really is great to connect with both of you after all these years (I removed Elizabeth from the chain as she doesn’t seem interested in catching up) and I wanted to add my own perspective to the song.

The truth is, there was “someplace I’d rather be” as Billy said. I wasn’t sure whether or not I should share this but I feel comfortable as we’ve all been opening up a bit.

The 70s were a troubled time for me, as they were for many young gay men. I spent a lot of time in and out of work and got caught up in the drug scene in L.A. I later moved to New York and came out, which was very difficult for me.

My parents disowned me but I also felt a new sense of freedom, with help and support from many friends in New York I was able to get clean and find a place for myself in the world. I started acting (a lifelong dream) and singing and even did some productions on Broadway musicals.

I relapsed again in the 80s – the pain of losing so many friends so fast to AIDS was something I could not bare. But again with the help of friends I was able to get clean again and turn a new page in my life by founding a community center in Brooklyn devoted to helping at-risk young gay men.

Anyway, this little exchange prompted an idea – I was wondering if you would be interested in perhaps a little reunion? We could meet in New York or of course I would be happy to meet somewhere more convenient for you. It would be great to see both of you and catch up face-to-face.

 

Best,
John

* * * * *

from: John
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio
date: Sat, Oct 31, 2015 at 10:14 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

Paul and David,

Have you given any thought to my proposal? It would be really great to see both of you!

Best,
John

* * * * *

from: John
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio
date: Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 3:15 PM
subject: Re: Piano Man

I just wanted to let you know that I’m directing a musical that I wrote in New York, called “Autumn for John.” It’s a bit of a memoir for me, about my life and struggles with addiction, HIV, and growing up as a gay man. It would mean a lot to me if you could attend, but I understand completely if traveling to New York is too much for you.

It opens on March 10. I’ll send you all the details if you’re interested!

Best,
John

* * * * *

from: John
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio
date: Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 7:35 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

You two must be quite busy and I just wanted to fill you in on recent events – the musical was quite the success! We had a short run at the Old Playhouse and The Village Voice said it was “a touching and hilarious reliving of gay New York in the 80s.” I’m sorry you both missed it but we may be remounting it later this year. I’ll keep you posted!

Best,
John

* * * * *

from: John
to: David Tompkins, Paul DiMaggio
date: Sat, Oct 22, 2016 at 3:15 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

Hey guys, everything OK? I hope you weren’t put off by my revelation. Perhaps I was too forward.

* * * * *

from: Paul DiMaggio
to: David Tompkins, John the bartender, eweber
date: Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 11:14 AM
subject: Re: Piano Man

 

hey john —

no worries about the gay thing and sorry i haven’t gotten back to you in forever.. my life has been a bit of a fucking mess to say the fucking least. that little granddaughter-in-the-car incident set off a huge fucking thing between me and my wife and brought up a lot of shit that had been “simmering for over a decade” (ACCORDING TO HER!!!!) and long story short we got divorced.

well if that isn’t fucking perfect – all because of that fucking song!!

anyway… i ran into david a few months ago in LA. completely fucking random. we got shitfaced drunk at just for old times sake (I got a fucking DUI on the way home which did NOT help with the shit going down between me and my wife).

we were going to totally come to your play but you know all this shit kind of took over and it slipped my mind.

BTW, david died last week. really sad. i got kicked out of the funeral because wouldn’t you know it, the fucking organist at the church had to play PIANO MAN and yeah, I “made a scene.” whatever, he was a good man, he deserved better.

here’s a link to my latest novel: www.amazon.com. can you share it on facebook? sales are low and my agent keeps telling me that to sell books now you have to be good on social media whatever the fuck that means.

 

Paul DiMaggio
NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Infernal Machines”