Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity for a life reboot to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment. Would you capture it, or just let it slip. Yo
His hands are wrinkled, knees arthritic, palms sweaty and paralytic
Moms spaghetti he’ll discard again
There’s vomit on his cardigan, oops he slipped out a fart again, hope it doesn’t spot again
He’s quiet and nervous cause it was during church service
So he pretends it was gods purpose
But he dropped a bomb and he keeps forgettin
He keeps on sweating and just can’t remember
So he wrote it down and the nursing crowd gets so loud
He opens his mouth but nothing comes out
He’s choking, I’m not joking’ better get Heimlich I think he’s croaking
He’s bout to lose himself, the moment got to own it
Okay, no more M&M Bee Rabbit parodying, down to serious business
What if you could go back and change one thing from your past? Would you? And which moment? Of course you could go back to that time you took your first drink, or first joint, or not meet the person who introduced you to drugs but chances are it would only re-occur again at some other point. You could not meet and marry that one person who you regret but it may mean not having had some beautiful children, or maybe you would have been drawn to someone who did you even worse. So when a good friend asked me what I would change if I could go back and change only one thing from my past to make my present life better I had no answer. I told him “I don’t take much stock in that Wonderful Life George Bailey could have made a huge difference bullshit” Then it struck me because one of the words I used in my answer caused me to have a change of heart. The word stock. Like stock in Apple? No, I would’ve made a lot money but that’s not a paradigm shift. Stock up on Karma? Good thought, but no. It was Woodstock. How much would my life have changed if my older brother took me to Woodstock??
If I had an opportunity to go back into my timeline to make one adjustment I would choose to go back to Long Island when I was 14 and my brother was 17 smack him upside the head to tell him take his little brother to that little rock concert in upstate New York. It was almost his duty. Besides, as my big brother he was aware that my birthday was in July and Woodstock would have been the birthday present of the century. Granted at the time it only seemed as though it would be just another outdoor rock concert not the society altering rock statement of all time, but even so he should have taken me. Not that I hold it against that teenage piece of dogshit on my shoe excuse of a brother for not realizing how important it was but it kinda is on a big brothers job description. Like #1 rule, teach your little brother about coolness.
I admit that at the time I was grounded for some lame excuse my parents invented, or maybe I screwed up but that’s not what’s important. This rock concert loomed far more profound than mere parental acquiescence and would have been worth a groundation for the rest of the summer as far as I‘m concerned. At 14 years old I was ready for a Woodstock transformation. I had already made the leap from pop music to rock over a year ago when a friend in my eighth grade shop class lent me this album of his brothers by Iron Butterfly. Adios Monkees and Cowsills, hola psychedelic rock. As if the bands name itself wasn’t cool enough it had one long psychedelic song with swirling organ riffs, a killer drum solo, and some hard as hell guitar playing. Inna Gadda Da Vida! Not just music I was also building up a tolerance to cheap beer (Piels, Shlitz, PBR etc.), I knew how to remove the stems and seeds from reefer (using the album cover of Iron Butterfly) and how to portion off chunks of hash for optimal smoking pleasure. I wasn’t the best joint roller yet but practice will make perfect. I had tried uppers and downers and was primed and ready for some hallucinogens. What better place to have had my first trip than at Woodstock?
Imagine….. I’m looking around at all the weirdo’s and hippies, love children, flower children, and all the colors. So many colors and perspectives. Bending tangerine tree’s and marmalade endless skies. My brains would leave my head for a while and swirl around observing while my smile muscles stretched themselves to their limits and I would laugh for the entire weekend just taking it all in. The music would have infiltrated me ears to fill up my soul. Sometimes the music would make me dance like no one was watching and other times send me into groovy grooving trance. I would have been lifted to a higher plane, a new dimension of sight and sound absorbing all the cosmic energy the hippie counter culture had to offer. Enlightened, I would have found my Zen at age fourteen while enjoying three days of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. (Since it’s me doing the imagining it was a lot of sex. Really really good sex). I would have had a weekend of constant epiphanies, one after the other that would have left me totally altered, a new person. Basically being at Woodstock would have changed my life dramatically
Not that I was totally without rock and roll experiences I had already been to three concerts before Woodstock came around. Three Dog Night (with Stevie Wonder, Bloodrock, and Seals and Crofts), The James Gang, and Grand Funk Railroad, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to learn about outdoor rock concerts, tripping and what the hippies were all about. A bunch of my friends and I talked about going but it was mostly bravado and wishful thinking. At fourteen resources are limited. But at Seventeen my brother was the perfect age for Woodstock. Unfortunately he and his friends were far more interested in scoring with the ladies than scoring concert tickets for themselves and their little brothers. WTF? I mean they let me play football and baseball with them, they let me hang out after the games with them, hang out at the beach, I did all kinds of shit with the older kids. So why the hell did they not all get together and say “yo Jameson, why don’t we get some tickets for this Woodstock thing and take little JT?” But Nooooooooo! They wanted to get laid instead. (which probably didn’t happen that weekend anyway)
So that’s what I would change if I could go back. That would be my one shot. To force my brother to take me to Woodstock. If that had happened I would have had my first real religious out of body experience and would have converted to Hippieism much earlier than I did. Maybe even become a high (very high at times) priest, or Exalted Guru or something. I coulda been a contender. I would more than likely become focused my studies in some form of music or something or maybe seek the path of a journalist to write about important political happenings in the counter culture. Perhaps I would have been a revolutionary or at least a high (yes, very high at times) functioning member of the Peace Corps. Going to Woodstock is the one thing I can think of that would have truly changed my life. If I had that one shot, one moment to seize everything I wanted it wouldn’t have slipped away, it would have been my life changing moment. Being at Woodstock would have reshaped my entire life. Oh well, at least I have a plethora of Grateful Dead concerts on my cosmic resume…. What would you do?
4 thoughts on “ONE SHOT….8 Mile (an hour)”
I drove through Woodstock. I am from the Catskill Mountains and Woodstock was held in Bethel, a short distance from our house. My brothers went. My father, mother, grandmother and I drove through Woodstock trying to find them. They were 16. I was about 8. We never found them but I did see some sights.
Another path choosen in New York many years ago might have led to my death in the 9/11 destruction of the WTC where I lost some classmates from Stony Brook.
I can dig it, I worked at Windows for 2 years back in 1980-82… It was like a small piece of me died along with everyone.
I think that working for google would have been interesting.