Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No. 337 – Rubina

Performer: Joe Satriani
Songwriter: Joe Satriani
Original Release: Not of This Earth
Year: 1986
Definitive Version: Time Machine, 1993

After I got out of the hospital in Flint in March 1994, after a week of recuperation, I was ready to get back in the saddle.

For example, I was ready to play some softball. For the men’s team, Doug joined an indoor league where we played inside a bubble. It was used during the day as a driving range, but at night, the owners put out makeshift basepaths on the racetrack-fast astroturf, and we played softball that was indoors in name if not climate. Sure, it didn’t snow inside the bubble, but there was no heat either. You had to bundle up, and you could see your breath.

I missed the first couple of weeks and wanted to get into it. The regular season was right around the corner, after all, but Doug put the kibosh on that. He didn’t want me exerting myself so soon after surgery. The first couple of games I got maybe one at bat and didn’t play the field.

Doug obviously showed far more common sense than I had when I was left to my own devices. Around this time, Paul and Marcia had a Saturday night party for Journal folks, and most of the sports crew showed up after getting the Sunday section out. At some point, a bottle of Jack Daniels was produced, which meant it was shots time for the sports crew. I did the pouring, and …

I was told later that, already feeling a little tipsy, I poured about half a glass for myself. Brendan said later that as soon as he saw me slam it, he knew I was in trouble.

Was I ever. Before long, I was catatonic on the couch when Paul, recognizing a train wreck when he saw one coming, took me upstairs to the bathroom.

I did what I had to do, and Marcia helped me onto the bed in the guest room, half hanging off the bed and still fully clothed, while I apologized profusely. When I came to, I could see that it was getting light out. I saw it was about 8 a.m. I didn’t feel like death warmed over, but I felt pretty sheepish about my deplorable behavior. It might not have been the right thing to do, but I just wanted to slink out of there and get home.

I crept downstairs, but Paul had slept on the couch—apparently everyone had had a pretty good time. I apologized profusely and thanked him for his hospitality. He said, well, you didn’t have your party legs yet. I guess, so … it was pretty clear what was going on upstairs, right? Paul formed his little impish grin that he’d get at times: “Yeah, we all heard your battle cry.”

Feeling properly and perfectly mortified, I left. Because there isn’t a lot of traffic at 8 in the morning on a Sunday east of Flint, I made it home without incident, even though my eyes were mostly slits. I crawled into bed promising never to drink JD again. I woke up about noon, went to the bathroom and crawled back into bed.

When I awoke, at about 6, it was getting dark. I had to work that night, Sunday night, and I was in charge of the desk, which meant I had to be in at midnight. I suppose I probably should have gotten up and gotten some dinner. Instead, I made the executive decision to set my alarm and go back to sleep, which I did until the alarm woke me at 11.

That entire Sunday disappeared. I slept more or less the entire day, and I think I drove through a McDonald’s drive-thru to grab something to eat before getting to work.

Despite having roughly 20 hours of sleep, I still was groggy, even after food and a shower—depleted probably was the more accurate description. Anyway, as luck would have it, Paul was my assistant that night.

He still was feeling the effects of the party when he showed up, and that probably was the quietest of any overnight shift I ever worked. We didn’t turn on the TV; we might have said 10 words to each other. But we got the section out, and we got it out on time. Play hard, work hard and live to tell the tale—that’s how we rolled in Flint.

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