Monday, March 17, 2014

No. 80 – History (Repeats Itself)

Performer: A.O.S.
Songwriters: Fay Lovsky
Original Release: Natural Born Killers: A Soundtrack for an Oliver Stone Film
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: None.

A.O.S. might be the most obscure band to have a song released on a major label. Wikipedia doesn’t have a page for them, and unlike other obscure bands, no one else online seems to know much about them beyond the name of the writer of this pretty dirge, which falls almost right next to Taboo on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack.

Laurie and I dated for three years before we spent a Christmas together. Oh sure, we celebrated the holiday and exchanged gifts every year, but finances and scheduling conspired to separate us on the actual day.

Laurie, naturally, would travel to Virginia to stay with her brother, who was about her only family. In 2004, I was home. After I moved to Chicago in 2005, I couldn’t afford a plane ticket to Virginia, so when Laurie headed East, I drove home.

In 2006, I had the money, but I didn’t have the vacation time. Also because of when Christmas fell during the week, it didn’t make sense to drive to Columbus, so I decided to stay in Chicago.

I was fine with being alone on Christmas. I long was past the point where Christmas ceased to be a big deal, and Laurie and I would have our celebration New Year’s Day as per usual, so it wasn’t as though I were skipping it entirely. Christmas meant a day off work, and considering how crazy work had been for the past eight months since I’d started, that was all I wanted anyway.

Well, the idea that I would be home alone depressed Laurie, so she mentioned it to members of the Posse, and Cliff and Janet took it upon themselves to invite me to come dine with them. Cliff’s two adult children were visiting from England, and they planned a huge dinner. I didn’t want to impose, but they said, what’s one more person? Well, in keeping with my recently newfound philosophy that as long as Christmas didn’t involve the exchange of gifts but just food, wine and friends, I was OK with making rather merry.

On Christmas, I drove over in the late afternoon. I realized I was a little low on cash, so I drove by an ATM, or at least where one used to be but now was gone, as I learned after pulling up next to the long-since abandoned (and now bulldozed) hospital close to where we lived.

As I pulled back out onto the street, I saw a lone jogger with what appeared to be a cavalcade behind him. As I drove past, I instantly recognized that the jogger was none other than the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, who was known to jog in these here parts. Hey, cool: a celebrity spotting.

The dinner was great, and I had a good time. Although I wanted to spend the day alone, I was glad Cliff and Janet invited me to join them. After she returned from a fairly miserable visit, Laurie was jealous.

Three years later, history repeated itself, more or less. Laurie and I were out to dinner with Steven and Michael at Sabatino’s, which is an Italian joint so old school, you expect to see Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci at the piano bar, waiting for their table.

Anyway, we were seated at a four top just inside the first of three dining rooms, and I had my back to the entrance. Suddenly, behind me I hear this voice announce, “Hi everybody. Richie Daley’s outside parking the car.” I turned around and I was looking up at the lone jogger—the no-longer governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich. He had just been impeached on charges of corruption.

His entrance line got a laugh, so he took it upon himself to do a little politicking, and guess whose table was right in the line of fire? He said something to both Steven and Michael, and before I knew what was going on, a guy at the table next to ours leaned in with a camera, and there was Blagojevich, arm around my shoulder like we were the oldest of pals, mugging for the camera.

Then he stood up and said, and I could not make this up: “I’m just gonna say two words, “not guilty.” OK? I’m gonna beat this thing, you watch.” It was completely insane and completely awesome (and completely false, of course, as we now know). Then he and his party went to their table in the next room. I reached for my wallet, and it still was there.

For the next hour, that was our dinner conversation: Did that really just happen? The guy at the next table asked for my email address and said he’d send me the image, which he did a few days later. It’s one of my prized possessions.

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