You Enjoy MyPhish

Over the actual lyrics at a String Cheese Incident show, my husband was singing what sounded like Possum. “You’d rather be at a Phish show that bad, huh?”

First week of college and I’d managed to spend seven years knowing next to nothing about a sound that I claimed to like.

My new friend had the magic combination of a desktop computer in her dorm room, an Internet connection and a Napster account. During a moment alone, I drafted a list of about 20 songs that I needed to download for us and burn onto Molly’s Mix #1 (I think those Molly’s Mix CDs fizzled out after 15 editions). I showed the list to another new friend, with Bouncing Around the Room in the top five. She smiled and told me to write down another one by Phish, but “Yeah, go ahead, that’s a great song.”

Joe wore a skeleton costume at a Halloween show. I suggested he hand out homemade Thank-You cards and tell folks he was a grateful dead. He did.

They invited me along, but I couldn’t jump in a car headed to Vegas. Sure, they were breaking up. Yeah, it’d be fucking nutty fun with three of my college buddies, but I knew my limits and this was a farewell journey into a glittery abyss of lot kids and lost souls. I wasn’t a druggie.

Plus, they were breaking up and it’d be such a tease. I’d managed to skip their shows for years. Why start at the end?

“I get it!” she cried, standing atop a folding chair on the floor at MSG. So she came with us to the next one, too.

I took a photo of a divided sky.

We parked next to a pregnant couple and shared a pop-up tent at one of the 15ish shows I’ve seen. I thought she was the toughest woman and most generous wife – to sign up for a Phish show sober.

A few years later, that was me!

Aside from the terrifying three seconds I thought a 200-pound drunk man was going to barrel into my ballooning belly, I had a blast. Dancing with swollen, water-filled pillows for feet; hands in the air instead of holding up the bottom of my aching back – for a couple of hours the ever-present pregnancy pains were gone.

And then I drove us home, safely.

“This song is for people who think they like Phish, but they know nothing about Phish,” she said and rolled her eyes at me. I turned up the volume, stared her straight in the face and sang.

“You’re into Phish now like I was when I was 19,” says my 38-year-old husband, as he requests I settle down with the constant stream of YouTube Phish concerts over dinner. We’ve attended a few shows from our living room lately, and although I just KNOW my kid digs this stuff, maybe I could switch up the soundtrack to playtime once in awhile.

Ice-cold cocktails and a mariachi band greeted our wedding guests as they arrived in my parents’ mountain-ringed backyard. I snuck around to the back of the big white reception tent, waiting with my dad, clad in cowboy gear, for our grand entrance.

The crowd was milling about, laughing, drinking and smoking, and catching up. The show was almost ready to get on the road, so Scotty J. queued up the perfect signal for all to please take their places.


“Molly, never play studio Phish,” an old friend/regular said to me – lovingly – as I navigated through the iTunes library from behind the bar.

If they can give it another shot, so should I.

“What’s this?” I asked my older brother as I walked into his bedroom. He always played his music loudly, and even at 11 years old I could recognize all of his tunes. But this was new.

“This is Phish,” he said. In my retelling, I hear him copping a SoCal surfer dude accent, but we lived in a small Minnesota farm town, so I’m sure I’m glamorizing this moment for dramatic effect.

He followed up with a profound statement that made me giggle then, as it does now. As I poured over the double-disc black and blue live album in my hands, the one that started countless Phish fans, he said all-knowingly, “Now that Jerry’s dead, this is who everyone’s going to follow.”

We listened to Bouncing Around the Room two or three times before that brother-sister bonding session ended. We were both dancing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s