February 24, 2007

(The third in a series of shameless self-promotion)

I was at my friend Darrick and Nancys house last night. We get together once a week write songs. It's always a good time. We let the world disappear and just play some fun music.

When we're done playing, we sit around and listen to what we came up with. We pick out snippets of songs that we want to keep and laugh at the parts where we screwed up.

I was just about to leave when Darrick asked me about the gallery. (I'm opening an art gallery) We talked about it some. I remember saying "It's a big chance. A big risk. What's the worst thing that can happen? I'll either crash or get punched in the head".

I thought about what I said for a second.
It was then I realized - exactly - what - I - really - was - saying.
It was a blast from the past.

Those words made me realize that where you've been has a direct impact on where you are.

Lets go back to the 1970s.

I was about 12 years old. Once a week my dad would drop me off at the Oak Lawn Roller Rink. (and then he would hit the tavern) Yep, I went roller skating... and it rocked. It was a total 1970s roller rink, with Ballroom Blitz blaring from the speakers. There were cute chicks with feathered hair that would skate the slow songs with you (bonus points if you could skate backwards as you looked into her eyes... oh yea). I loved that crappy little roller rink. It was an escape from everything that I had to face on a daily basis.

When the roller rink closed there would be a group of us kids standing outside waiting for our ride home. I was always the last one picked up. The other parents would roll down the windows of their wood paneled station wagons and ask me "Are you sure someone is coming for you?" I would just nod yes and tell them "I'm OK".

(As I write this now I realize I said that a lot back then.)

My dad was at the tavern

If I did take a ride home from one of those concerned paernts... Well let's just say I would get my ass kicked nine ways of sunday for the next week or so. One thing I learned at a very early age is that drunks don't like surprises. You were where you were supposed to be... no matter what the time.. or the temperature. You waited. You were there... Nowhere else.

After sitting outside for an hour or so you'd see the lights of the pick-up truck bounce over the curb as he pulled into the parking lot. You open the door and the greeting was always the same. "Didja have to wait long?" and a big drunken grin. You never said anything. You knew better. Besides, you had the drive home to deal with.

"Dad!" You say it loud, but not too loud. He's drifting across the median into oncoming traffic. He lifts his chin from his chest and loudly says "Huh?" . He turns the wheel just in time. He looks over at you and grins. "You're a good co-pilot". You smile back grimly. You know there's two more miles to go before you can run to your bed.

He turns up the radio. Hank Williams Sr..... Jambalaya... He mutters the words and starts nodding off again. I look up and we're drifting into the oncoming lane again. I say "Dad" loudly but not too loudly. Too loud and you get a punch in the head. Um...we're really across the line. "DAD" louder now. It's getting bad. No response.

The truck is halfway over the yellow line. It at this point where you have a decision to make. You see, if you grab the wheel and steer the truck back into your own lane, the motion of the truck will wake him up. At that point he'll see your hand on the steering wheel. In his world, that's a major offense. What happens then is that you get a punch to the head. Not a swipe, not a swat. A punch that will knock your head into the passenger window.

I learned there is a timing. Sometimes I could time it out and he'd snap out of it and steer the truck back himself.

Then sometimes.... you had to make the decision to save your own life.. but get punched it the head for doing so. I made that decision many many times. I survived.

Like I said before, where you've been has a direct impact on where you are. Last night when I said those words to Darrick... I had no idea what I was saying until after I said it.

It made me realize a couple of things.

All my life I've taken chances. I've seen things and done things that most people will never get to do. I've traveled. I've lived in many different cities. I've up and moved at the drop of a hat. I've never been afraid to love. If the question is do it or not... most of the time I say "What the hell" and go for it.

I like chances.

I'm going to open this gallery. Yea, I'll make sure it doesn't drift over the line.

This time I know who's steering.

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