I never knew Kenny. I knew his brother George, by sight only. George was a year ahead of me and he was one of the school's true badasses. He hung around with John Panici, who was another one of the serious badasses. George and John were two guys that you just knew you shouldn't mess with; if you got into a fight with one of them, they'd fuck your shit up, probably beyond repair.
My class never seemed to generate anyone like that. Most of the soi disant tough guys in my class were just losers. Or maybe that was true of John and George, too, only they were able to carry off the image. I really don't know.
Anyway, George's brother Kenny--I never even knew he existed until I heard of his suicide. I can't even remember what year it was, 1986, 1987, 1988, much less the month and day. The story I heard was that he had been living far above his income, and had lost his job; the bank was going to repossess his Trans Am, so he shaved off all his hair, drove his car at full throttle south on Western Avenue, and didn't bother to wear a seat belt or stop when the road did. Considering that the Trans Am's top speed was somewhere north of 130, he probably did not live long after the car hit the embankment on the south side of Crete-Monee Road.
The impact left a scar in the embankment which is still visible to this day. The person who had told me the story of Kenny Easto's demise later named it "Easto Point". Every time I drive past there I see Kenny's divot and, if I am in a philosophical mood, wonder how long the divot will remain. It's been there around twenty years, now, but whoever buys that land is probably not going to leave it. Kenny's last mark on the world--left with a car which didn't really belong to him--will be erased.
There is some kind of metaphor for the futility of existence in there somewhere.
The group Trip Shakespeare, on their CD Across the Universe, has a song called "The Crane", which is about a young man who is up to his eyeballs in debt, and who decides he'd rather die than let them repossess his car... The last pair of couplets from the first verse:
When the dogs of the bank are upon me
And they've come to repossess my car
I'll be found at the base of the canyon
I'll be torn from the wreck of the motor