Friday, August 9, 2013

No. 300 – Crystal Ball

Performer: Styx
Songwriter: Tommy Shaw
Original Release: Crystal Ball
Year: 1974
Definitive Version: Caught in the Act, 1984

I had wanted by Song No. 300 to be on Twitter and start tweeting out posts. I wanted to do this not only to drive more traffic to the blog but also to become familiar with the platform, which I believe is essential to my future career growth as a journalist.

I decided against it. I know enough about it to know that all it would take is one night of tequila courage, and I’d be cussing out every government official or celebrity with whom I had an ax to grind. I don’t want to have anything to do with the negativity that’s rampant on the Internet. Unlike the NRA, I believe that providing easy access to a tool of destruction is dangerous enough, and it’s best to just avoid the whole thing altogether.

Anyway, as I mentioned, I have a special relationship with my headaches. I’ve had them diagnosed twice now as clusters, which came as no shock to me, considering that my symptoms are almost identical to those of Dad, who also was so diagnosed, and that clusters are hereditary.

But unlike Dad, I’m sure, I remember particularly epic ones, and the first epic headache that I remember having was in 1984, in Hawaii of all places. We were on the North Shore, and as we drove through the sugar-cane fields at Wahiawa at the end of the day, it started coming on as I sat in the back seat.

At the time, I might still have been taking Excedrin or Tylenol. I’m not sure over the counter Advil had even been introduced yet. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because I didn’t have anything in the car with me. I had no reason to be prepared for such an event.

By the time we completed the near hour-long drive back down to Ewa Beach, I was sick to my stomach and ready to take a hammer to my head. Crushing my skull would certainly relieve the pain. I took three of whatever it was I took and went to lie down.

We stayed at Laura’s family’s house. It was a three-bedroom bungalow. Dad and Laura took one guest bedroom, and Jin being a girl got the other. Scott and I were relegated to cots on the screened-in porch out back.

In no way am I saying that critically. Being a college guy, I didn’t need a lot of comfort, and, of course, the weather was perfect every day—no rain, 78 degrees, 68 degrees at night. I’m not sure I ever slept better.

So I crawled into my cot with my head pounding and just closed my eyes. I don’t nap; I didn’t inherit Dad’s ability to catnap on demand. Instead, I put the tape that had Crystal Ball on it, among other songs, into my Walkman. I turned the sound down to where I could barely hear the music above the rustling of palm trees in the late afternoon breeze, and as I lay there, I felt my headache … just … trickle … away.

It was a unique experience. Typically, I whack myself out on pills and lay as still as I can while holding my head until I fall asleep or into twilight until I come out of it with no more headache. But this time, I could feel it get less and less painful with each passing minute until it was gone. It was the best headache recovery I ever had, but I suppose that’s what being in Hawaii will do for you.

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