Sunday, February 26, 2012

No. 830 – Everlong

Performer: Foo Fighters
Songwriter: Dave Grohl
Original Release: The Colour and the Shape
Year: 1997
Definitive Version: None

The video for this song was my favorite post-Nirvana video until Dani California came along, but I recall more a performance on The Late Show when David Letterman called it his favorite song by his favorite band. But what I associate it with most was my own birthday in 1997, shortly after this album came out, when I got the best birthday present of my life.

For many reasons, Cleveland was the baseball capital of the universe in 1997, and perhaps the biggest was that the All-Star Game was going to be there that summer. Attending one of those was right at the top of my baseball to-do list, behind only a World Series game, but when tickets went on sale to the public, I got skunked in my attempts to buy online. My guess was that after you took care of the season-ticket holders, the corporate shills and the general glad-handers and VIPs, maybe a dozen ducats were made available to the unwashed masses.

It was time to go high or go home, and I didn’t see that I was going to get a better and potentially less expensive chance to go to the Midsummer Night’s Classic (when you consider travel costs and staying in a Motel 6 on the outskirts of town), so I decided to go high: I would suck it up and scalp.

A month before, I turned 33, and I can’t remember where Debbie and I went for my birthday—definitely either Handke’s or The Refectory and probably Handke’s—but I remember the present she gave me: It was a birthday card of the Bambino. And inside were 10 portraits of Andrew Jackson done in green ink.

“I want to buy your ticket to the All-Star Game,” Debbie said as I pored over the money in shock. We’d just bought a house, and she’s not only encouraging my frivolity but participating in it. It doesn’t get much more awesome than that.

At this point, there was only one thing to do: Call Dave and see if he wanted to drive down from Flint, split a hotel room and hit up FanFest—the accompanying baseball expo that Dave had raved about as being the National but without any other sports besides baseball—maybe even hit up the Homerun Derby. He was definitely game, and I made the reservations.

Obviously, I’ll have more stories to tell about All-Star weekend, but it all started with what I’ll probably always consider to be the Red Ryder BB gun of all of my birthday presents.

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