Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No. 744 – Jesus Is Just Alright

Performer: The Doobie Brothers
Songwriter: Arthur Reid Reynolds
Original Release: Toulouse Street
Year: 1972
Definitive Version: Farewell Tour, 1983

In 1983, I still was getting Christmas presents for my buds, and the obvious choice for Mike that year was Farewell Tour, the document of what at the time was billed as the Doobie Brothers’ grand finale in 1982, which Mike and I had attended in Cleveland.

I went over on Christmas Eve, and my purpose was two-fold—give Mike his present and watch his team, the Seattle Seahawks, or Seaschmucks as he called them because they were so bad for so long, play its first playoff game. Why a Columbus guy would pick the Seahawks as a favorite NFL team was beyond me, but then my favorite team when I was a kid was the Los Angeles Rams, so who was I to judge?

My plan was to go over to Mike’s, hang out, watch the game and then head home to get ready for dinner and midnight Mass with Beth. Fate, and my complete lack of comprehension skills at the time, however, had other ideas.

The game went great. The Seahawks blew out the defending conference champs Dolphins in the wild-card round to advance, and the coolest part for me was that the final touchdown was a pass to tight end Pete Metzelaars, who graduated from Wabash the spring before I started there and was a Wabash legend for leading the Little Giants basketball team to the national championship in 1982. When he caught the TD ball, I broke into an impromptu rendition of Dear Old Wabash.

Night had fallen by the time I had to go, but there was one problem: My car wouldn’t start. One might be willing to conclude that this was the result of my poor maintenance of the Fart. My idea of maintenance back in the day was to make sure there was gas in the tank and none of the tires was flat. But it had more to do with the conditions.

The wind chill was 30 below or something. It was ridiculously cold, so obviously the Fart was having temperature issues and I needed a jump. I ran back up and had Mike and his dad come out and help me with that. It took a while, but we finally got it started after several failed attempts.

The delay, however, was a real problem. Why? Well, when Mike and his dad came to the rescue, they must have put on about a half-dozen layers of clothes—it was 30 below, after all. I, however, had on only my down jacket—no hat, no gloves, no extra layers. You’ll recall that I said I was a FAILED Boy Scout.

When you’re 19, you don’t care about staying warm; you only care about looking good, and I wasn’t about to put a hat on to mess up my hair. And the only gloves I had were mittens that looked hopelessly lame, so they were safely hidden away from discerning eyes at home.

Well, no matter how uncool you think you might look when you wear something lame, you’re unquestionably more uncool if you have to cancel a date with your girlfriend on a major night because you’re so sick you’re throwing up, which is exactly what happened that night. I started feeling bad the instant I got home, and the rest was a blur. I was fine the next day—albeit a bit depleted—and I was lucky in all honesty that I didn’t get frostbite.

Beth thought I must have been touched by something. Yeah, a touch of idiocy—it’ll get you every time.

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