Standing in line was never one of my strong points. In general I was a dismal failure in the art and science of patience all throughout my life. I was born to run at a speed of one hundred miles per hour, but the world moved as though paced as a school zone five minutes after the final bell. I felt like a dog on a leash in a field of quadriplegic rabbits from the moment I was born until the very end when my frustration collapsed on itself and turned me into the black hole that swallowed the universe. Not sorry.
In those final moments of existence I was queued to ride an underwhelming roller coaster in a mediocrity-infested amusement park, neither of which had been my choice to attend. My inner rage was already boiling over the existential pot when the syrupy snapping point came dripping down from above, where a child waiting in line had dropped a popsicle on the metal grate between us, causing it to melt rapidly in the ninety five degree heat of midsummer. Even worse, it was blue raspberry, a flavor invented by sadistic chemists in order to commercialize byproducts of industrial processes.
Had I not been so obsessed with impressing Oxwich Plonamy, I would never had been there in the first place. Courting drummers is even more excruciating than first dates. They know they are in demand and can pick and choose who they play with, unlike bass players like myself, who are a dime a dozen. The only way I was going to pull off the vision for the two piece band I had in mind is to join forces with someone with the exact style and skill level of Oxwich, so despite the fact that I knew how horrible a day at the park in the sweltering sunlight would be, I accepted his invitation to join.
Besides being a top notch percussionist, Oxwich had an abundance of charisma. Where I was introverted and antisocial, he was outgoing and congenial. Where I was pudgy and besotted with full body eczema, he was athletic and handsome. As we walked through the park I watched the looks on women’s faces as we passed, which were unlike those I was accustomed to. I felt like a voyeur seeing their lusty gazes fixed upon his elegant facial structures and well toned upper body, which made me horny, ashamed and envious all at once.
My only consolation going in was the known presence of numerous beer tents scattered throughout the park, which would allow me to lubricate my social mechanisms just enough to tolerate this nightmare of alleged recreation. However the high cost and low potency of the available beverages made it almost impossible to reach the proper equilibrium of inebriation and apathy. Rather than relieve my tension, the ale situation exacerbated it greatly.
I could tell that Oxwich did not approve of the half dozen beers I had consumed in under two hours, so I gave up trying to mitigate reality with ethanol and ate some cannabis gummies I had stashed in my fanny pack. Usually that takes the edge off, but on that day it just made me paranoid, defensive and even more agitated. I decided it was best to speak as little as possible and focus all my energy on maintaining a facade of brotherly cheerfulness.
This was not easy. The spunky stick-swinger bounced from one topic to another, sharing his opinions on subjects ranging from politics to underrated solo albums, most of which I vehemently disagreed with silently. This entire day felt like some Rube Goldberg contraption that could only conclude in disaster. After an infuriating tirade on why Ringo was the greatest Beatle, Oxwich suggested we go back and ride the park’s ancient wooden roller coaster, which had been completely awful the first time around. I agreed with mock enthusiasm.
Being the most popular ride, the coaster had a long line, which my partner saw as an opportunity for socializing. As we crept ever closer to the whiplash device he struck up conversations with several park patrons, and even flirted with women I could never see a guy like him pairing up with. He confided to me that flirting costs nothing and practice makes perfect.
“You should try it, man. You look like a guy who could really use the tenderness of the fairer gender, no offense.”
I was definitely offended, but sucked it up and nodded my head in approval, as though this was the best advice ever bestowed upon me. And it was right in that moment that the first drip of popsicle juice touched down upon my forehead.
At first I was incredulous. Then another drip. Infuriated. Before I could move the third drip landed in my ear, and at that point I went existentially berserk.
I saw red.
Then white, but not just white. It was the light of a trillion stars colliding at once. I cried out to Oxwich, but he could not be seen nor heard. There was nothing but the blast. All of the heat contained in the universe combined in a single inferno that consumed all that ever was, is or would have been.
At some point I realized that my physical body had dissolved, and with that understanding I also concluded that all of the matter in existence had also been obliterated. My first reaction was panic and fear, but slowly I began to feel a great peace. For the first time in memory I was not irritated, as there was nothing left to unsettle me. I let my mind flow out into the waters of blackness that surrounded me. The calmness of raw, undisturbed chaos penetrated my consciousness like a divine Xanax bar, and I rested for what could have been seconds or centuries.
Finally I let myself coalesce back into the contrivance that was my worldly identity. From this vantage I could see how the emptiness was in fact a state of total possibility, and how I might direct and form that into whatever I could imagine. Then, mostly just as a joke, I said: “Let there be light.”
And there was light – and it was good.
Someday there will be multitudes of worshipers who will spread some distorted version of my instructions, and those who refuse to believe and obey will be sentenced upon death to an eternity writhing under the gooey, torturous drizzle of an infinitude of melting popsicles. And the faithful will be blessed with a bounty of homely drummers who know their place is to follow the bass.