Jim’s career was exploding and he was getting a whole lot of recognition, not just in the industry, but in the streets too. Once “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” reached Number One on the charts, he was a real star, and there was hardly anywhere he could go without someone recognizing his face or his name.
As grateful as Jim was for acceptance of his music, he was rather shy about being famous. When we were together, he avoided crowds and conspicuous places, opting for unpopulated beaches or staying at home. But while Jim was renown, his pockets were still empty. The fact is, he hardly had any pockets at all.
By now we had moved to San Diego; and one weekend, we went down to a thrift store in Ocean Beach to outfit him for the road. As we were roaming the aisles of used jeans and jean jackets, the store clerk walked clumsily up to Jim to help him find stuff.
When the clerk got a good look at Jim, his eyes bugged out and he spoke in a slow, stoned drawl. “Hey man, you look just like Jim Croce, man. You could make a lot of money pretendin’ to be him man.” “Do ya think so?” Jim queried, and walked on shyly with a pair of used, faded blue jeans in hand, heading toward the counter.
After paying for the Levi’s with his last dollar, Jim, was about to leave the store when the unsuspecting salesperson stopped Jim again. “Hey man, I mean it. You look just like Jim Croce. He must be some kinda millionaire or something. You should try it, man.”