Thursday, February 26, 2015
I turn 65 today. Bring it on: the codger jokes, Medicare, Viagra, the whole smack. Yes, I have a spray bottle of Formula 401 somewhere.
I tossed about a few ideas for a birthday-selfie blog and rejected them. Then, ruminating last night over a cold mug o' Genny, it hit me.
I am a lucky guy.
One of the luckiest you will ever meet.
To wax on this entails some soap-boxy, self-aggrandizing chest thumping. Meh.
I've been able to do (and experience) things that other people dream about. Name your medium: print, recordings, live music, classrooms (yes, that is performing, too) television, radio, advertising, standup semi-comedy, emceeing, video, advertising, stage, interwebs. No films yet, even though I could assay a damn proper aging street bum right now.
And those silly game shows, which is all everyone seems to remember. How I wish there had been some world dilemma (without injury) that preempted those programs. But I would still get all the "cash and fabulous" prizes, as Jay Stewart pronounced.
What was more important was that while I cavorted on the tube, spewing reams of useless "knowledge," and shitty puns, Tommy Holleran was fighting for his life. My eighteen-month-old nephew lay in Yale-New Haven Hospital while a team of doctors excised an extra chamber from his walnut-sized heart. Nurses (one of whom was an ex-sweetheart) moved a TV in for him to watch Uncle Tim frolic. They told me that he was trying to point to me on the tube, but his arms were strapped to boards to keep his IVs in check.
What matters more?
Yes, it was a thrill to watch SNL 40 and see so many friends appear. Then came the slap of seeing those who have passed.
Ah, music. I remember the thrill of hearing my banging on the radio for the first time. I can listen to almost any station and hear other friends play and sing.
If you read my scribblings and FB effluvia, you know I have rediscovered my love for drumming. I have played huge venues, recorded with amazing people and have a sizable trove of war stories. But the other night in Lewisburg, PA, I played for some of the best few minutes of my life behind the tubs. The front man was the amazing Frank Wicher (who is, far and away, the most powerful and original performer I have met here). The tune was by Waylon Jennings. I am about as country as a bunch of wiseguys eating sfogliatelle at Rao's. Couldn't even name the song. We launched into it, and within eight bars, I was transported. The Groove was locked in. From there the song was bliss.
For me to feel this way, after the thousands of gigs I have played in my checkered career, is just magic.
Did I say, "Lucky?"
I have already heard from a ton of fACEbookers today. Many of these people are my heroes.
I started a new life in Coal Country 2½ years ago. I've made (again) wonderful friends, found new family and am able to celebrate the town where my parents grew up. Yes, I miss real pizza, Portuguese rolls and Saint's.
I've been fairly healthy. My bike gets me around town, as soon as we escape the tundra. I pray for my friends, some of who are battling serious odds. I cannot bring myself to mention those who have gone before me.
But how am I luckiest? Easy, in tripartite fashion.
Posted by Ace Holleran at 9:05 AM