Prince died one year ago today. His death was a terrible blow to the music world, and it was also a terrible blow to my wife, who is the biggest Prince fan that I know. I never doubted that she loved me more than Prince, but then again, the three of us never were in the same room.
Regardless of your personal thoughts, Prince was undeniably an amazing performer and a musical genius. In the days following his death, I stumbled across a video produced by the NFL that featured his unforgettable Super Bowl halftime performance at Dolphin Stadium in 2007. Football is tough enough in a rainstorm, but I can only imagine holding a twelve-minute worldwide concert in the driving rain. Come to think of it, I couldn’t play a guitar in high heels under perfect weather conditions.
The video is worth eight minutes of your life, but since all Prince fans have probably seen it and the rest of you probably won’t take the bait, I will share the best part. With the storm bearing down on Miami and threatening to ruin the show, a producer said to Prince, “I want you to know it’s raining…Are you okay?” Prince calmly responded, “Can you make it rain harder?”
When I have work to do in this life and adversity rears its ugly head, that’s the attitude I would like to be strong enough to adopt. Make it more challenging. It won’t stop me.
Happy Friday the 13th!
I suspect we are all more superstitious than we want to admit. I don’t like to switch positions on the sofa when my team is playing well on television, which just makes tons of sense. But, come on, because a particular numbered day falls on a Friday bad things are expected to occur? That seems a bit illogical.
So I consulted my friend, Google, and searched “good things that happened on Friday the 13th” for proof that all this is silliness. This returned several lists that shared the following highlights:
- Ben Franklin said “nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” (1789)
- The accordion was patented. (1854)
- Alfred Hitchcock was born. (1899)
- Black Sabbath released their first album. (1970)
Um. Those are the highlights? Maybe I should stay indoors today.
It didn’t help to learn that some really bad things have happened on Friday the 13th.
- The collapse of the Aztec Empire. (1521)
- The first of seventy-six consecutive nights that Germany bombed London. (1940)
- An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13. (1970)
- Tupac was pronounced dead. (1996)
I’m not feeling better.
And coincidentally (?) law school grades are released to our first-year students today. This will be a particularly good day for several of our students, but experts in mathematics informed me that 90% of the students will not be in the top 10% of the class (I double-checked their math to be sure of this). More disappointment than elation on the way.
So what to do today? Well, I have to go to work. But beyond that, I have a carefully designed plan of attack:
- Face the world head-on;
- Bob and weave; and
- Dive into the fray singing the classic song from our Malibu neighbor, Pat Benatar: “Hit me with your best shot!”
When I go down, misfortune will at least be worn out from the fight.
SCENE 1: It was August 2012 and the worst moment of my life. My mother was dying more rapidly than I and my sisters imagined, and I had spent the last hour holding her hand while she dozed in a special lift chair. The clock taunted me like an executioner. I knew that I had to fly back to California and leave her for the final time, and eventually, that time arrived. I went to grab my bag, but when I returned to say goodbye it was obvious that this would not go well. I stepped into another room to gain composure but failed, so I simply collapsed in loud tears into her shallow, yellowed chest, and through my sobs could hear her raspy, comforting, motherly voice whisper, “It’s going to be alright.” It sure didn’t seem so. When I stood to leave, I strode quickly out the door knowing that I would never leave if I looked back. A man should never have to turn his back on his dying mother, but I did.
SCENE 2: Three weeks later, I am on an afternoon flight from Los Angeles to Memphis. That night, through the miracle of air travel, I would sleep in the bed my mother died in that morning, two thousand miles from where my fateful day began. I reviewed the eulogy fortunately written the day before and fought off tears on what otherwise appeared to be a normal flight. Troubled and weary, I put away the notes and plugged in earbuds in a futile attempt at distraction and scrolled through the flight’s music offerings. For some reason, I selected Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and soon heard his hopeful, comforting, spiritual voice say, “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright.” The tears flowed easily now, and if anyone noticed, I didn’t give a fill-in-the-blank.
SCENE 3: It is February 2016 in Malibu, California, and I am driving down the Pacific Coast Highway for a lunch appointment with a good friend. It is sunny, blue skies, seventy degrees, and heavenly. Lunch will be served by the Pacific Ocean with surfers bobbing in the waves. It has been a bit of a rough month personally, physically, and professionally, but I am recently feeling better on all fronts. Per usual, my Legend CD by Bob Marley & the Wailers is playing, and my old friend is reassuring me once again that every little thing is gonna be alright. Mom was right. Of course. She always seemed to be.
Posted in Original Essays, Uncategorized
Tagged bob marley, confidence, death, hope, life, malibu, mothers, pacific coast highway, sons, three little birds