No, not the King of Pop. The other King.
Yeah. Stephen King.
Okay, yes, it's taking place at the Majestic Theatre, and I'm in the cheap seats, and the odds of actually getting my precious volume of 11/22/63 anywhere near the Sharpie marker of the Master of Horror are extremely small. Arguing, for the moment, that I even have a volume of 11/22/63, because I don't at the moment and I don't think I'm funded to pick one up between now and then. But still. I'll be in the same room with the guy who created the Walkin Dude and Johnny Smith and Delores Claiborne. Blockade Billy and Leland Gaunt and Dr. Louis for Godsake Creed. I think that's worth missing pita bread, don't you?
So here's my Talk Thursday column, a day early and a little bit beside the point. The actual topic, from the Topic-O-Meter, was too long to fit into the title bar; it was something like, "If I had to go back to one event I've experienced and relive my life from that event forward, it would be..." See what I mean? But I think "From That Moment Forward" covers it. In any case, I thought about it for all of about five nanoseconds and knew exactly what moment we were talking about, here. We were talking, of course, about the night Stuart Adamson kissed me. And the happy-go-lucky days that followed.
Normally I don't smooch and tell, but since the other pair of lips is no longer in this world, I figure it's okay. Anyway, it's not the actual smooching I want to talk about. It's the happy-go-lucky days that followed, or hours that followed, or all the stuff that happened afterward. To make a long story short, I was in Birmingham, England at the time, which, if you've never been there, is kind of the British Detroit. I think they actually do make cars there, or did at one time, and it's a rough town where bad things happen to people sometimes (though, of course, never with guns). I was at a club, where a concert was about to happen, and a poll tax riot broke out (if you don't know what a poll tax riot is, ask someone). In the ensuing chaos I got whacked on the head with something and knocked cold for somewhere between several seconds and several hours. When I came around, a bouncer was holding up his hand and saying, "How many fingers? Who's Prime Minister?" I got the first one right but not the second one (Ms. Thatcher having retired some years before), so he figured I was fine and turned me loose.
Here's a news flash: If you're hit on the head hard enough to lose consciousness, you almost certainly have a concussion and possibly something even more serious. There are three things you need to do in this situation: You need to not drink alcohol, not go to sleep, and seek medical treatment immediately. What I did instead was chug a few beers, sing along with the crowd and then crawl back to the hostel where we were staying and fall fast asleep. Doctor? Nah. Never even occurred to me. Now this is the moment we freeze-frame so that I can go back in time, fix it and have everything turn out differently.
Instead of drinking, singing and sleeping, this is me going to the hospital and explaining I was just knocked unconscious. This is me, hanging around in the E.R., bored out of my skull, being observed by medical professionals until the following morning, when they've decided I'm not in any immediate danger. Instead of spending the next two weeks hanging around in England and Scotland and acting increasingly weird, I'm accepting the very wise suggestion of one of the medical professionals and going home early. Not the end of the world. I've already kissed Stuart Adamson; what else do I expect to do, knock boots with Sinead O'Connor? Oh hey, this is me, going to my Regular Doc once I touch down in the States. This is him, examining my X-rays and discovering -- gasp! -- a greenstick skull fracture above my right temple. This is the MRI I'm having that discovers the damage to my right temporal lobe, which has either caused (a long shot) or made worse (much more likely) my bipolar disorder.
Stars and garters, here's me at the tender age of twenty-one, seeing a psychiatrist for the first time instead of waiting until I'm forty. Here's me getting prescribed a sheepload of medication and adjusting, slowly, over the next eighteen months or so. Here's me not getting confused at work and wandering off; here's me not mouthing off at all the wrong times in front of all the wrong people; here's me not dealing with crushing migraines my whole last two years of college. Hey, see that tornado that started ripping up my life right around this time? Well, here it is not happening. Here I am getting out of a lousy relationship and being happily single. Here's me getting a decent job right out of college because I never screwed up all the jobs I had before that.
In short, here's me having a halfway normal life.
SCREECH!!! That's the needle skipping across the record and bonking against the metal thingy in the middle. (Do they even have record players anymore? I have one, but, you know, do people? Does anyone under thirty even know what one is?)
The fantasy just doesn't go that far. I may be halfway something, but normal isn't it. And let's face it; isn't normal a little--ya know--boring?