Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Burning out, fading away and drifting.
"You havin' some deep thoughts in there Jack Handy?"
Dr. Rothstein's voice seemed as though it had traveled through time by the way it just "appeared". It wasn't until he addressed me that I even noticed I was all by myself in the lunch room. I guess that's just how little I cared about interracting with anyone.
"Yeah you could say that...I dunno....do you really care?" I asked jokingly.
I really didn't feel like being a "Share Bear" unless he was going to committ and actually give me some legitimate feedback. I hate pointless conversation.
"Totally, yeah man. I owe you for yesterday." he confirmed with a huge grin.
I assumed by the great mood he was in that my advice about going home and apologizing to his wife because he was an ass may have possibly resulted in a blow job or something. He never says he owes me for anything.
"Alright...ok....so do you remember that Def Leppard song "Rock of Ages"?
His eyes spun like jack pot's on a slot machine and his body jerked like it been hit with lightning.
"Do I know "Rock of Ages"? he condescended. "Py-Ro-Mania mutha-fuckah! Hell yeah, I had the fuckin' patch on my jean jacket....I had the freakin' Union Jack shirt!"
His Tourette's Syndrome has only been diagnosed by me and I could tell he was beginning to have an episode.
"O.k.! O.k." I tried to calm him back down. "Alright, so you know the line that says "It's better to burn out than to fade away"?
"Oh yeah, oh yeah" he said excitedly, waiting to talk.
"Well this whole "Michael Jackson" thing ...... I mean I tried to be such a hard-ass when he ate it but then I caught myself watching his old videos all weekend and by the 3rd time I watched "Thriller" I started thinkin' how different everyone would feel about him if he had just died in a plane crash back in 1984."
"Well sure, I mean.... " he stammered abit but soon found his footing "Ofcourse it's BETTER to burn out...well I mean it's better for the memory you leave behind. Like a "less is more" kinda thing. You'll NEVER be over the hill or irrelevant. You die a legend. Hell yeah."
He decided to cop a squat, pull up a chair and truly get involved.
"But it's not like this is an original topic to debate by any means." he quipped sassily.
My eyes turned into rifle scopes as I set my sights to "evil".
"I know that asshole, but up until just recently I actually thought that I believed it was better to fade away. I'm starting to feel differently now. I'm beginning to think that it's incredibly selfish to feel that way AND I'm wondering...what the fuck am I doing?"
I clasped my freezing hands together in front of me and leaned in on my side of the table as I prattled on.
"I mean I'm not burning out but I'm also NOT fading away. I'm just drifting. It seems so lame."
He took a long sip from his Fresca before asking "So why would you ever think it's better to fade away? And you're not drifting...we need you here."
I'm drifting and he fucking knows it but it was still nice to say.
"Look, ya know ......It has alot to do with my brother and my brother-in-law." I confessed quietly.
His facial expression looked like this was getting too heavy for him and that he may run for the hills at any moment but he quickly recovered and refocused. "Go on.." he said.
I thought he knew this stuff but realized we never really talked about anything when Ronnie or Jim died. He just gave me a hug and that was it.
"You really want to know about this shit?" I gave him one last chance to escape but he renigged and so I began to rant about how my brother-in-law was such a badass guitar player and how he patterned himself after "Dimebag Darrell" from "Pantera . I expounded about how he looked damn near just like him too with his long dark hair, beard and brooding eyes.
Then I told him about my brother Jim and how incredibly intelligent, gorgeous and athletically gifted he was. How he had 20/10 vision and could've been a fucking astronaut if he wanted to. Jim died second chronologically and that's the only reason I spoke of him after Ronnie.
I raged about how both of them could've have been or done anything but chose drugs and booze instead.
"How old were they when they died? I don't remember."
"Jim was 27 and Ronnie was 31."
He nodded woefully but said nothing.
I mean what can you say? I know that. They are sad fucking stories to be sure and I'll write about them in detail at a later date.
"But so you see where I'm coming from about the "fading away" thing? At least they'd still be here is how I reasoned it. But now "Michael Jackson's" death has got me thinking that maybe it was for the best. What would life been like for them had they continued on their roads of excess and pushed it to 50? Would I remember them like I do or would they have made me hate them by then?"
Rothstein began to smile sheepishly. "Look dude...I was just looking for some lunch....I didn't know we were gettin' all deep like this. I need some calories before tackling this topic."
I chuckled slightly but plodded on "I mean where do you think energy goes when you die? When I was in the room with Ronnie....the very moment he died I felt this ribbon of energy pass through me. It was pure elation that I've never felt before or since."
He began to run his hand through his ever thinning dark hair and I knew he was trying to think of what a "good Jew" would say.
"Look" I said "Take religion out of it. I'm asking you because I assume that you've seen people die during your career and I just wondered if you felt anything when it happened? Like I'm wondering if maybe you have to know the person to feel it. I've only been in the room with one person when it happened so I'm curious."
"O.k., I've been IN the room with 5 people in my life when they expired" he conceded "and the fact that I know instantly how many tells you what an impact it is. One was my wife's grandmother who I adored and I DEFINITELY felt her spirit pass through me and it was incredibly happy. The other 4 were during my Residency at Grady Memorial."
The fact that he had admitted that he had felt it too had me hanging on his every word. I almost wanted to stick a spoon in his mouth to scoop the next words out faster so I didn't have to wait.
"Now three of them were old and I can unequivically tell you that I didn't really feel anything. They were natural deaths. It was just like old dude's alive...... now he's not ya know? But one of'em was this dude in his thirties who came into the ER shot up all to hell and there was nothing we could do. I stood there as he bled out, completely helpless and the moment he died I felt an uneasiness creep through me that haunted me for months."
"Now" he pressed on "was that just the result of my witnessing his traumatic death or was it his very unhappy spirit leaving his body?......I couldn't tell you. But what I can tell you is that there is NO way to know what will happen sometimes. Ronnie and Jim may have cleaned up and went on to lead healthy, productive lives. You'll never know and that's what I LOVE about life. You just never fucking know....ya know?"
There was an excessive amount of "ya know's" in there but I defintely DID know what he was trying to say. If Mike Jackson had died after Thriller who knows what would have happened? Maybe Janet would've been so depressed that she never would've made "CONTROL" and my formative years as a teenage girl would've been even more fucked up than they were. Would that be worth not knowing what he turned into?