Happiness Moments: The National Anthem
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride! ~ Hunter S. Thompson
So a new little writing experiment for the blog. I’ve been wanting to find a way to do some free writing as practice. And I’ve been wanting to capture the moments in my life that have brought me true happiness. I need that little pick me up right now with everything going on in the world and no real chance to travel. So, some writing about happy moments in my life, hope they bring you a little happiness too.
So to say that my life was out of control in the 80’s would be severely understating the obvious. I was dealing with multiple substance abuse issues, depression and a lot of anger. While attending my first college I had joined a fraternity which facilitated many of the bad habits and the madness I often found myself involved in. I’ve always found it ridiculous the way most anti-drug and alcohol programs work, particularly the lying. You see these programs come at illegal substance use by telling you how horrible it all is. It starts all of the way back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s with silly movies like Reefer Madness. It was this idea that one taste of an illicit drug and your life was over, you’d go mad. I can’t remember all of the times I’ve been told that doing LSD would lead you to jump out of a window because you would think you can fly.
Now in my case, my substance abuse led to some bad situations and absolutely some bad results. But let’s not be liars about this, in the midst of it all I was having a hell of a lotta fun. Sure there was some bad nights and screwed up things that happened and eventually it was the smartest thing I ever did getting clean. But there were some absolutely great memories as well.
Our fraternity system had a softball league that played it’s games just outside the fraternity house block on campus. Our fraternity was particularly close with the fraternity across the street from us. This was also 1982, so alcohol was still allowed on campus because the drinking in age in NY was still 18 about to go to 19 in the new year. Needless to say whenever you were scheduled for an 8AM game, particularly with your neighboring house, it meant only one thing. Very little sleep and mimosas and eggs for breakfast. As you can imagine, these games were rowdy, semi-organized affairs. On this particular morning though, there was an extra level of planning and madness. The umps called the start of the game but instead of taking the field both teams lined up down each base line, took off our hats and raised a glass. The umps looked confused until someone mentioned we couldn’t start the game until we played the national anthem.
A particular crazy member of our neighboring fraternity soon lifted his dorm room window and placed an amp on the sill. Then, at maximum volume, burst into a version of the Star Spangled Banner alla Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. It was a really wonderful moment and a memory that came flooding back to me yesterday as the national anthem was played before an NFL game. Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane