I’ve received word from my publicist that you’re wondering what my rock and roll experience was like way back in the 1990s. I’d rather not talk about it.
OK, but just this once. The decade was progressing more or less like most decades, in fits and starts without a strong sense of how to distinguish itself from other decades in the history books, when my acerbic high school principal friend Bob reemerged into the US from Colombia, where he’d been teaching. Bedraggled and looking for work, he nevertheless came armed with word of the band Soul Coughing. I was made to pay heed – probably via a cd he had illegally smuggled through customs undeclared, that sneaky bastard! Which he then ripped so we could listen to it endlessly on our smartphones (which we had purchased on Amazon).
Anyway, I listened to the first album, Ruby Vroom, on my smartphone on and on and on in the early-mid 1990s, while driving and texting, and right around when the second album was coming out, the band played a fundraiser gig at the Middle East Club in Cambridge (that be in MA). The lineup, by order of appearance, was Dan Zanes (of Del Fuegos), the incredible Groovasaurus, now lost to history (but with videos on youtube!), Morphine Jr. (Morphine sans their injured drummer, whom the show was benefitting, but with the legendary Mark Sandman at the helm), and headlined by Soul Coughing, doing a short and spot-on set (with Doughty getting pissed at one or two choice mosh-pit bullies).
I saw Soul Coughing probably 4 or 5 times after that first show, and then they too were gone forever, living on only as a band-that-was, as front man Mike Doughty wanted nothing to do with the music or the bandmates.
Until this winter, when Doughty launched a tour in which he reprised Ruby Vroom, playing it beginning to end with the band Wheatus backing him up. To my great pleasure, he played the music with faithfulness to the original hip groove, even if his band (with little pepper on the drums!) didn’t quite manage to recreate the energy of those early years.
But don’t take my word for it. Check it, from some early iteration of the band, doing Moon Sammy. (As always, I don’t own these videos and can’t count on them sticking around forever, so watch them now).
When I use my status as an influencer to get my kids into a slot at a prestigious institute of higher education, I’m going to make sure they are treated just like everyone else in their class. I don’t want to find out that my kids are getting Eggs Benedict for breakfast before Math 1A while the rest of the students are getting Rice Krispies. My kids shouldn’t get special treatment just because I’m a famous blogger. I want everyone to get Eggs Benedict. And to achieve this I plan to make special donations to my kids’ colleges to establish “Eggs Benedict for Everyone.”
Of course, I know how colleges love to peel off large chunks of philanthropic gifts for “administrative costs” and will be very specific about the terms of my donations. Only Bays Original English Muffins may be served, not Thomas’. And certainly no bagels. If I find out that traditional bacon is used instead of Canadian Bacon, well, I’m going to demand that my donation be returned.
You must be wondering whether I’m going to donate a draw-down gift that will be gone by the time my kids graduate, or instead endow The Patrick McVay Fund for Eggs Benedict, thereby enabling Eggs Benedict to be served in perpetuity. I must admit I’m leaning toward the latter, so that long after I’m dead and gone my name would still be synonymous with the cholesterol-infused sandwich. Students the world over would wonder why they have to pay so much for room and board and yet can’t have Eggs Benedict like they do at my kids’ high-end universities, and the administration at these second-rate institutions would be forced to admit that they have no fund for Eggs Benedict.
Of course, if there comes a time when it is impractical to continue to serve eggs benedict because Canadians are no longer making their famous bacon, the terms of my endowment will allow the University President to use the funds to serve an egg dish that is in keeping with the spirit of my donation.
Need to start getting ads on this site so I can generate income for my donation.
Word on the street is that I don’t know how to tell a real emergency from yet more fake emergencies, but the truth is that I was directly involved in many an emergency over the course of my checkered health past. Did you know that I hang glided into a wall of rocks and broke ribs?
No, sorry, it was my cousin’s ex-boyfriend who did that. I’m much less clumsy than that guy! I’ve almost never broken ribs. Only in car accidents, beer-league softball games and via falling off bikes. It’s much less sexy to break your ribs falling off a bike that you shouldn’t have been on in the first place (icy roads) than by hang gliding. It’s like snapping a tendon in your left middle finger while trying to remove a sock. Who does that? (I did, but only once).
However, my most consistent exposure to emergency situations was provided by network tv in the 1970s via the aptly-named program Emergency! Each week, paramedics Roy DeSoto and John Gage were faced with several riveting emergencies. Choking victims; heart attacks; scorpions hitch-hiking back in luggage from exotic destinations, and so forth. One time, there was a construction worker whose leg was irrevocably wedged between collapsing beams in a building, and the whole shebang was about to come down upon him, his co-workers and our heros Gage and DeSoto. This called for the white-haired Doctor (Joe Early, according an Emergency episode I just watched on youtube) to come and do a quick amputation. He arrived with his kit bag (do they really have amputation tools in those?) but the team managed to extricate the victim and his numb leg before we could see the bloody details.
My favorite weekly Emergency! treat was to see the obligatory cardiac arrest, which required one of our paramedic heroes to karate-chop the dying patient in the chest in order to break ribs and facilitate chest compressions. That was always followed by defibrillator usage. “Clear!”
Now that it’s the future, we have learned that CPR can be done without karate-chopping, but it was so fun to see that back in the 1970s.
I don’t remember any episode involving an emergency wall being built, but maybe I just don’t remember all the episodes.
I thought I might give you a heads up about what my retirement party should look like. You’ll thank me later when I retire and you’re well-prepared. There’s no futzing around with emails to colleagues and friends about what the party should look like. Who wants that? All the headaches of who should pay need to be worked out well before I’m ready to stop working. And you might set up a committee to decide what kinds of drinks should be served.
Full bar is what I’m thinking. Not that the drinks are so important, but a full bar means you can concoct all sorts of goofy drinks in my honor, which almost never happens anymore. The last time someone concocted a goofy drink in my honor was, what, back in the ‘80s? “The Wintry Micks” they called it, naming it after me and a couple of other Irish guys, due to all the Irish liquor in the drink, and it became enormously popular among people who liked a Bushmills and Jameson mashup, with a jigger of Baileys and a shot of Murphy’s, steeped in wild-caught sleet and then flash-frozen.
Of course, they got in some trouble with the name later in life and lost it all. Ah, the vagaries of drinks-naming.
But my retirement party really should have that kind of can-do drinks-naming attitude. People should be given the opportunity to creatively name drinks after me, which will live on well-past my 150 years (or so) of life. Oh, sure, my “life” might be only a few remaining cells of tissue attached to a concoction of plastic, wires, microchips and so on, but in the future that will be all that’s needed, and the public will think it’s really hot.
I’d also like a hot tray of baked ziti.