Steve was not what you'd call handsome. He had acne scars from his teen years that were not going away any time in this life. We always assumed those scars had a strong influence on everything he did. He took to challenges like a beaver takes to a tree; completely and methodically and often without a real good reason.
His dad had been a test pilot in the Right Stuff era, and he was a middle child in a large family. He had also turned into the black sheep of that large family. He was holding bitterness like a teacup at an uncomfortable garden party. It never really overflowed onto the lawn, but it was always right there in front of you being balanced precariously with just a couple of fingers.
I met him through a Sicilian guitar player ex-Marine who married a stunning brunette that they'd both swapped around a few times before some Magic 8-Ball of Love told them that it was Nick who would get that one and Steve would have to wait.
We were at a bar in Atlanta. We'd driven there to see Little Feat just before Lowell George would keel over and die in a hotel room in June of '79 in Arlington, Virginia. Oddly enough, the same Arlington, Virginia, where Nick and Steve both went to high school and where they first met. The three of us had worn out at least two copies of Sailin' Shoes and we all had a sort of calling to see that band play live. Nick couldn't make it, due to his brunette harpy of a wife telling him so, so Steve and I drove all day to Atlanta. We got there at least a couple of hours before the band was even scheduled to start, and they were known to never have started on time.
Steve prided himself on being able to say just the right thing to pick up just the right girl at just the right time. He often said that "pickup lines" were so clichéd and overused that any intelligent human could improvise and come up with better material. He considered himself some sort of Zen master at picking up girls. And, from past history, I had to say that I was often amazed at how he was able to go home with girls I would have considered out of his league. I was also amazed that Nick's wife was still fucking him on the side with everyone in the universe except Nick realizing that this was going on.
I'd seen Steve do things like go up to a really good-looking girl at a bar and just reach down and put his hand on her crotch and walk out with her less than five minutes later. He was brazen, and not very polite.
This day in Atlanta, there was a stunning blond at the bar. She was fending off suitors right and left. Steve turned to me and said, "I will have that girl." He said it like he was a Roman God issuing an edict. I just shrugged and said, "I wouldn't be surprised."
The rest of this story is what he told me when he returned from his failed conquest. I did not hear the conversation so I cannot attest to its validity. I did, however, see the transaction and the dialogue he related did seem to match what I saw.
According to Steve, his general strategy was this: The girl was so beautiful and there had been so may petitioners hitting on her with no result, he thought the best approach was to bring her down to earth. He wanted something that could put them on equal footing. So this was his opening gambit:
He walked right up to her and put his beer down on the bar assertively and looked her right in the eye and said, "You know what? I bet you and I are a lot alike. I bet you quit wiping your ass when the paper isn't brown any more, just like I do."
Without missing a beat, she said, "I'm blind. I have no idea when the paper isn't brown any longer." And she sort of looked over his head and reached out her hand just a bit, like the blind will do.
Steve came back to table where I was sitting and the band actually started early for a change. They began with their song Trouble, and I thought I'd never seen him so despondent as when Lowell George sang,
"Well, I'll write a letter and I'll send it away
And put all the trouble in it that you had today."
I did, however, see him a bit more dispirited when she walked by our table on her way out the front door with a fellow even less attractive than him. She turned around and looked right at him and winked.