Rest Well, Jeff Moody

My first experience with Jeff Moody was the same as many.  I was in high school and he was the worship leader at a Christ in Youth (CIY) conference I attended with my youth group.  CIY conferences were always a big deal and a big part of that was the worship sessions.  A lot of teenagers had their lives changed by the music alone.  My previous couple of CIYs were led by a band called “One-5-Oh!” that I really liked.  Jeff’s leading was new to me that year.

I was not a fan.

It didn’t have anything to do with Jeff as a musician or as a personality or whatever.  The thing that bugged me was that he was doing the “band in a box” thing at the time.  He had a live microphone, his guitar, and a live keyboard player, but the drums and other background instruments were all prerecorded and he piped them in through a sound system he kept next to him on the stage.  I couldn’t stand that, and I maintain that same position even now.  Why play tracks when you could just bring two other guys with you?  I was vocal about that to the rest of the group and they got tired of hearing it from me.

I made it through the week.  Made it through the next year.  Then that summer, he was leading again and I was vocally opposed to it again.  Even at the time, though, I was saying that he’s obviously a talented guy–a good guitarist, a good singer.  Why not just have a full band? Etc…

I put it out of my head from that point on and figured I’d never hear him again after that summer anyway.  Boy was I wrong.

Jeff started leading worship at a local church.  My friend Shane was the youth minister there at the time (this would have been around 2000 to 2002…somewhere in there).  Jeff was going to be hitting some nearby teen-events, leading worship.  A couple of them were pretty big too.  It was then that I learned that Jeff and I felt roughly the same about the “band in the box” and he was looking to go out with a full band.  He needed a bass player and Shane gave him my phone number.

The audition was brief.  He brought me in, I played some of the songs he knew he’d be doing, and he told me which weekends to keep free.  I had the gig before I left the room.

I don’t remember where the events were, except for the one at Lincoln Christian College, where I’d previously been a student.  One was in Indiana, but who knows what part?  I know that I was excessively exhausted at the first one, and I’d fallen asleep in the men’s room before the start of the event.  We shared the stage with a group called One Time Blind, who were a drama group.  I had struck up a conversation with one of their members (Tony) who took pity on me for being an insomniac and the next few times I saw him he called me, “My sleep deprived brother.”

While we were in Indiana, Jeff was trying to get the attention of a parking lot attendant to ask him if he could park his RV that we were all piled into on the lot.  He couldn’t get the guy’s attention from the road and pulled into the lot.  The guy ran over and started shouting at Jeff asking what he thought he was doing pulling into the lot, there’s no room for a thing like that, and so on.  Jeff was firm, but still basically polite in saying he was trying to get his attention from the street, but no one answered.  At that point the guy yelled “get this fucking thing out of here!” and a couple of us started looking for things in the RV to use as weapons in case we needed them.  A different lot worker with a cooler head came over and helped us back out.  It was insane for no reason…funny how I’m still dealing with lots that have crazy people working for them, but this is a whole other lifetime.

Jeff had a reputation that sometimes preceded him.  He was aware of it, so I don’t think it’s inappropriate to mention it here.  Jeff was “known” to be a little hard to work with.  I’ve heard people say he’s “particular” and others say he’s a “hot head.”  I spent real time with him, doing what he did, getting told what to do by him, and cashing checks he wrote me.  I also was dismissed from his band, but never really got an explanation–he just stopped calling.  (I think he probably just found someone he wanted to work with more and it’s not like I had a contract.)  I’ve got a unique perspective on Jeff’s reputation.  “Particular” is fair.  I see where people get “hot head,” but he was just “particular.”

When I worked with Jeff, he played a lot of songs that every church played.  I had played most of those songs a dozen times before breakfast and was a little on auto-pilot for some of them.  I know Jeff thought I was over-playing on a couple of them, but there was only one that he wanted me to play something really specific on.  (I forget the name of the song now.)  Of course, I didn’t remember the specific pattern he wanted–just started playing it the way I usually played it.  He turned around in the middle of the worship session and corrected me on stage.  Oops.  But it was the ONE thing he asked me to do…

And another time I saw him dress down a sound engineer who was a little too sarcastic with him.  The guy made some flippant remark when Jeff asked for more or less of something in the mix and although I don’t remember the full speech, I know Jeff started with “Hey, I’ve got a JOB to do…” and leaned on the guy a little harder than I might’ve.  I talked with the engineer later and the guy said, “Is he always that high strung?”  I think even then I said, “He’s kind of particular about what he wants.”  It was easy to mis-read Jeff.

Here’s what I saw in Jeff.  He was a guy who knew what he wanted out of himself and out of his band.  When something wasn’t going right, he wanted it fixed.  When he had an idea, if you disagreed or did otherwise, he didn’t have time to fight about it–just correct it.  That can read as hostile.  I don’t think he was ever malicious though…I think he just saw the path of least resistance as being the truth.  “I don’t like that, play it the way I told you” is a lot easier than “could you maybe try something else?”  When you’re in a band named after the guy who’s fronting it, you should probably listen to that guy.  If Springsteen wants to play Purple Rain as a Prince tribute, the only question the E Street Band should ask is “what key is it in?”

What I’m trying to say–and I’m sorry if it’s coming out otherwise–is that Jeff wasn’t unfair, he wasn’t unkind, he wasn’t hot-headed.  He was motivated, he was driven, and he knew he had one shot to go out there, give his best, and try to change someone’s life.  He ran his business as a pretty tight ship…but I genuinely believe he did it that way because he felt the weight of Heaven and Hell on his back, and he knew which one he wanted to point that room full of people toward.

Off stage and off the clock, I saw a different Jeff Moody than the guy who corrected my bass parts and rebuked sound-men.  I saw a guy who liked to laugh and like to hear other people’s stories.  It’s a shame that some of the people who only saw his business side didn’t know him that way.  Within an hour of knowing him, I think he’d heard my entire life’s story.  He asked me questions about myself and listened intently to the answers.  He liked a good Adam Sandler movie, when I knew him, too–we watched Billy Madison (I think) on the trip to Indiana.  Then backstage at one of the events, we were talking about Family Feud for some reason and he did a Louie Anderson impression.  It was hands-down the single worst impression of anyone I’ve ever heard anybody attempt.  We all laughed hard–Jeff laughed harder.  He was a good guy.  He really was.

Maybe the best summary of the Jeff Moody I knew was at the Lincoln gig–the last one I did with him.  We were warming up in the college’s chapel and a class started gathering to meet in there.  The Jeff I met offstage showed up ON stage at that point.  He was strumming his guitar gently and movingly.  There were probably about 50 students in the room and Jeff walked up to the microphone.  To the surprise of the professor he said, “Would you all please rise and sing with me?”  Most of them stood up and Jeff grinned–“just kidding!”  Big laugh from the students and band alike.  Then he told the band to follow his lead and turned back to the mic, “This is a new one…”  And he started playing and singing in two different keys.  Everybody in the band played something completely different and we made the ugliest noise you ever heard.  “No, just kidding, again!”  But when the actual set came around, he delivered.  We sounded good and people gave their lives to the Lord that night.

I think it’s fair to tell the “some people thought he was abrasive” stories, but only because they communicate a standard that was underlined by joy.  That’s the Jeff I knew.  I was not a happy person at the time I was working with him, and I think he could see that.  I think that’s why he talked to me so much between sessions–or rather why he listened so much.  He could be serious about getting a mix or a bass part right, sure…  But he brought that same intensity to his listening…

The last time I saw Jeff, I was working at SLCC in the Library.  I looked like a very different person from who I’d been in his band.  Short hair, wearing a suit, etc…  Jeff was doing a Chapel service at the college (I think he was speaking) and he came by the Library with a mutual friend.  The mutual friend said, “Derek, have you met Jeff?”  I said, “yeah, we’ve met.”  I saw a brief pause of, “yes…but when?” on his face and I said, “I actually played bass with you a couple times a few years ago–long hair and a goatee back then…”  “Oh…right…didn’t you lose your mom when you were young?”  Why would he remember that?  Of course after that, I didn’t feel right asking, “So why didn’t you ever call me for another gig, man?”

I’ve heard that in the last few years Jeff’s neck problems got the best of him.  Even when I knew him (15 years ago? Is that possible?) he had neck issues.  I heard a while back that he’d lost some degree of feeling in one hand and I think I heard he even had to stop playing.  That’s a shame to hear…  But I also heard that he kept doing youth outreach.  That he kept meeting teens where they were and kept listening.  He was a gifted musician, sure…but he was an even more gifted listener.  I’m glad he kept doing that.

Today, I was informed that Jeff died.  I don’t know the cause of death.  We haven’t been in each other’s lives in a long time.  Even the time I bumped into him at SLCC that day, THAT was probably close to 10 or more years ago by now.  I’ve done a little Internet snooping…but I haven’t bumped into a cause of death and I wouldn’t feel right asking people who knew him better.  I’m a little conflicted about going to the wake, even…  I don’t know his family at all, and the odds are I’d just bump into someone I knew a lifetime ago and then go home after saying, “Yeah, let’s get together soon!” to someone I knew I’d only see at the next funeral.  Asking for a cause of death seems out of place for me.  If someone tells me, that’s fine, if not, it isn’t my right to press on the family of a man I haven’t seen in years.

I was sad to hear Jeff died.  It caught me by surprise.  He was still young.  And I learned a lot from him.  I learned about what it’s like to travel with a band for a big gig.  I learned how to play a room with a few hundred people in it, but still make it feel like a small church service.  I learned a lot about acoustic guitar tone that’s difficult to describe in a blog post.  I learned that if you’re going to pee in a moving RV, you should sit down to do it–and that if the driver knows you’re in there he’ll purposely AIM for the speed bumps (very funny, Jeff).

But most importantly, I learned that if all you know is somebody’s reputation, you might want to look a little deeper.  I’m glad I saw the good guy under the businessman.  Jeff’s work-ethic was that he didn’t have time to mess around–let’s just get it done.  Today, it’s very clear that he really DIDN’T have much time to mess around.  I’m glad that I got to see his fun side, but I’m even more glad I got to see his serious side.  And I don’t mean the serious side that directs band members and road crews.  I mean the serious side that knew how important the Gospel was and knew how important someone’s STORY was.  I really do believe that his every act was motivated by that.  Even the hot headed ones, ha ha.

I’ve call Jeff a “particular” guy.  I’ve also called him a “good” guy.  In the end, I’m prepared to say that Jeff was a particularly good guy.  I’m glad I got to know him.  Today I am very sad that we lost touch.

I don’t know if this post is what I had in mind at all.  Jeff was one of the most human people I ever met.  And I’m sad to see him go…but at least he knew where he was going.  I’m sure there’s plenty of room for him to park there, too.

Two Tributes

Today is a sad day to be a fan of two very different, very specific things.

I woke up this morning and walked across the bedroom to turn on the light.  My phone was blinking.  I looked at it and the very first thing I saw was a link from my YouTube app telling me that “Wrestling With Wregret” had posted a new video about the death of Joanie “Chyna” Laurer.

I’m going to get it out of the way.  Yes.  I know wrestling is fake.  You know what else is fake?  Game of Thrones.  And Star Wars.  And Big Bang Theory.  And the Tonight Show is largely scripted and timed out.  And SNL is rehearsed.  And frankly a lot of the “legitimate” sports you watch feature guys who are cheating on their drug tests.  So stop telling me what I already know.

Now…

I was a WCW fan at the height of the “Monday Night Wars.”  I missed a lot of Chyna’s body of work when it happened live.  But I’ve come up to speed on it since.  It would be wrong to call me a Chyna fan.  It would be wrong for me to talk about how much I appreciate her, etc, etc…  I’m not the guy to talk about having a decades-long appreciation of Chyna as a performer or person…  But I do know an icon when I see one.

Chyna presents a difficult conversation when you talk about iconic wrestlers.  Her demons were well known.  The drug problems.  The mania.  The accusations she’s made about others.  The porn career.  (I’d like to clearly state I’ve never investigated the porn, by the way.)  The word that keeps popping up in the tributes is “troubled.”  Some even say “tortured.”  She had a hard personal life.

And people get hung up on her appearance.  Yes, we all know she was in many ways masculine.  Well, some women are.  Who says it’s a bad thing?  Not the WWF…they made her the one and (so far) only female to ever hold the Intercontinental title, considered her for a run with the WORLD title, and didn’t even CONSIDER putting the women’s belt on her because she’d have broken Sable or Sunny in half the second the match started.  The women’s division wasn’t in her LEAGUE.  (It still might not be.)  It took me a long time to understand that having her wrestle mostly men and hold what is traditionally thought to be a “man’s” title wasn’t a commentary on her looks…  Those things were part of her career because icons know no gender.  In some ways, the most egalitarian character to ever grace WWF programming was Chyna.  Because it wasn’t an issue.  The message of her wrestling career was, “A woman can do this.”  Her appearance was rarely even addressed.  She looked like herself, and kicked any ass in her way.  If her personal life had been a little cleaner, you could easily paint her as the most positive female character in the industry.

…but…  “Troubled.”  That’s the word for it.  And we don’t know that drugs killed her, at this point…but we do know that in the weeks leading up to her death, people were talking about throwing her an intervention (again).  We do know that she was working on a documentary of getting her life back together, which implies that it wasn’t together when the filming started. We do know that she’d burned a lot of bridges to the point that the WWE had previously outright stated they didn’t plan on her going into their Hall of Fame, despite her above listed accomplishments.  (Most speculate that the main reason for this is that they would not want to give a live mic to a woman who has in the past accused HHH, X-Pac, and Vince McMahon himself of raping her, while in the next breath asking why she’s not in the Hall.  As a note, I do not claim to have knowledge of if the allegations were true or not.)

We know that Chyna’s story is complicated, it’s sad, and it’s unfortunately over after only 45 years.  In a world where we’re watching the resurrection of the health of Jake the Snake Roberts and even Scott Hall, it is very, very sad that we do not get to see the resurrected Joanie Laurer.  Regardless of her past, she deserved a future with a smiling, laughing, celebratory Hall of Fame induction.  She’s almost a LOCK to get a posthumous induction now that they don’t have to risk giving her a microphone.  And that’s sad.  And it’s sad that in an industry I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, another iconic personality is dead before she turned 50.  I am tired of that headline.  Wether it’s a series of poor life-choices made by individuals or if it’s something systemic to the industry, I’d almost prefer that the whole business go belly up than to keep watching the stars do so.

Chyna had many demons.  I hope that the angels found her in the end.

And…  The rest of this post should really be in a purple font…

I was at work.  I went to the restroom and walked back in to see the president of my company walking toward me with a serious look on his face.  I thought we had a serious problem with a client or some sort of major office issue…  But then he told me that he’d heard on the radio that Prince had died.  He said TMZ had reported it–I said I needed a better source, and the office manager a few seconds later said it was all over CNN.  “Well THIS is what it sounds like when doves cry!” I exclaimed…  Then we talked about Purple Rain and 1999 and Let’s Go Crazy and Raspberry Beret and goddamn BATDANCE.  And I declared how great Art Official Age and Plectrum Electrum were in 2014.  And more than a few times throughout the remainder of the day I’d randomly blurt out, “Man…Prince is dead.”

I’m not Bowie-levels of sad…  But I’ve made no secret of how much I loved Prince.  I don’t remember exactly where it started.  I know that when I was in college, I bought about a half-dozen Prince records and ate up most of a paycheck from my church-job with it.  The clerk at Best Buy thought it was weird.  I know that when he played the Superbowl show, I was trumpeting how great it was going to be to all my friends for about a week leading up to it and most of them thought I was nuts…  Almost to a man, those same friends have since told me that it’s STILL the best halftime show they’ve ever seen (and they’re right). 

And I know that Prince just makes me smile, man.  His music is almost synonymous with joy to me.  He might not immediately jump into my mind if someone says, “Who are your favorite bands?” (although he would make my top 5 guitarists list without hesitation).  But only Prince could write a song that name checks both Michael Brown and Freddie Gray that still makes me want to dance.  I hear his stuff and I cheer up.  Can’t say that about most of the bands I like.

If you’re looking for a place to start with Prince, it’s easy enough to pick up a best-of…or just the “Love Symbol” album is a good entry point.  But, I recommend Googling his 2014 SNL performance.  It’s mind-blowing.  It’s an example of a guy who is already an icon, who should be able to rest on those laurels, choosing to instead completely up his game and move the whole field, not just the goal-post.  It’s 8 minutes of genre-bending, guitar driven, jaw-dropping power.  Or Google his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and watch him at his best as a guitarist.  His solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” will rip your heart out, paint it purple, slap your ass a couple times, and make you believe in Baby Jesus.

I don’t know what ended Prince’s life.  I know a couple of days ago, his plane landed for a medical emergency and he was described as having “flu symptoms.”  God, I hope it wasn’t drugs.  It would be a waste for this to have been drugs, after he’d hit a new artistic peak and gotten his life reportedly so in-order.  Prince was reportedly a Jehovah’s Witness in the last several years…I hope he was leaning on that and not on a substance.  It sucks to say it…but please, God, let it have been his heart.

My brother wrote in his Facebook status, “The world just got a lot less funky.”  Yeah.  And less uncompromisingly fun and artistic and celebratory of music as sheer, pure, unadulterated ecstasy.  But Dave’s status is more catchy.

So goodnight, sweet Prince.  I’m sorry you had to leave the party so early…but thanks for showing us how to throw one.

…oh, and happy 90th birthday to Queen Elizabeth, I guess.

“What was I laughing about? Oh, yes. That crippled Irishman.” – Montgomery Burns

Haven’t done an everything/nothing post in a while.  Thought it’d be fun.  So there’s the Simpsons quote that friends of the blog will recognize as a signal that it’s time to get random…

  1. Just bought a new laptop!  Well…not JUST.  But yesterday.  My previous one started experiencing “oops I’ve punched the screen” related problems and then finally completely died on Wednesday.  My fault–even if you remove the punching from the equation.  I’d been using it hooked up to a monitor, which is a little purpose defeating, but still functional…  What killed it is kind of complicated…  In brief, I’ve discovered that in post-Windows-8 platforms, Windows has a funny habit of forgetting where the DVD burner that was installed from day one is located.  Mine disappeared.  Fortunately, I’m not the only person it’s happened to and it wasn’t the first time I’d dealt with it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t re-read what I was supposed to do to fix it very well…  So I remembered the trick where you go to a certain folder and delete the “Upper and Lower Filters” and then reboot and the drive is there again.  Except it turns out that if you delete the filters from a folder that ISN’T the certain one you were supposed to find, you make the hard drive completely refuse to ever boot up again.  So…thank goodness Best Buy was running a sale!  I’ve still got to pull the hard drive out of the old machine and hook it up with some USB cables to retrieve some old info…but in the long run, now I’ve got a more powerful machine with a full terabyte of storage for the first time in my life.  So it worked out.  Kinda.
  2. The back pain I blogged about earlier hasn’t fully left me.  It’s lesser though.  Mostly just right between the shoulder blades now.  And the rash has if not completely disappeared, it’s so much lesser I’m not focusing on it.  So I guess I’m on the mend…but the back pain has hung on long enough that I wish I’d held out for some cool-ass pain killers (as opposed to cool ass-pain killers) at the doctor’s office, rather than just antihistamines that make me feel like time is happening around me rather than to me.  Still don’t know what I did to cause it.  I think the “allergic to something in the sushi” is probably the best guess I’m ever going to come up with.
  3. Went to the record store after work on Wednesday.  Along with a vinyl copy of The Who’s “Face Dances” I picked up three new records by acts I like.  So far, that’s seven new releases that I’ve picked up this year.  Since we’re a little over a quarter into 2016, here’s a quick summary of what I’ve picked up so far.  (The three I bought this week are the first three on the list.)
    1. Bob Mould – “Patch the Sky” – Sounds like Bob. Works for me.
    2. Cheap Trick – “Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello”  – Stupid title, but good rock and roll.
    3. Explosions in the Sky – “The Wilderness” – Ambient and moody, just like all their stuff.  Not in love with the drum sound.  But like it overall.
    4. Dream Theater – “The Astonishing” – I’m a little underwhelmed by it as a concept.  (People keep talking about it as being just a longer version of Rush’s “2112,” but a better comparison would be Styx’s “Kilroy Was Here.”)  However, it’s two FULL discs that doesn’t FEEL like two discs.  If nothing else, that’s…well…astonishing.
    5. Iggy Pop – “Post Pop Depression” – Puts you in mind of Pop’s “The Idiot” and stuff of that ilk/era.  Kinda boring.  Sounds like Josh Homme is involved…and oh look at that, he fucking IS…  Clearly Iggy wanted to make a Queens of the Stone Age album, and he did just that.  I might like it better if I give it a few more listens.  First song’s good, but it feels like the record meant to build to something, but then forgot to.  Which might be exactly what he was going for–it’s hard to tell with Iggy.
    6. Anthrax – “For All Kings” – Great, heavy, ballsy metal.  A common criticism is that Anthrax isn’t as fun as they used to be–the band that brought us Not Man is now bringing us lyrics like, “What would your God say to that, motherfuckers?”  But what it lacks in zaniness, it makes up for in thrash.  Not quite as good as “Worship Music,” but damn close.
    7. David Bowie – “Blackstar” – You know how I feel.
  4. Trying to get McCartney tickets, but pre-sales are for sucks.
  5. Bummed to hear about Merle Haggard dying.  I used to cover “The Running Kind” from time to time in my solo act, especially when I’d play churches. We could do the list of great Hag songs…but we’d be here all night.  He was more than just an “Okie” (which he wasn’t, by the way–he was born in California–you’ve always misunderstood that song).  He was one of our great songwriters and the magnitude of his loss hasn’t fully hit me yet.  I like that he died on his birthday.  It’s like the odometer hit “0” and reset.
  6. Just heard something outside that kind of sounded like a gunshot. But I’m hoping it was a firecracker. I kind of don’t like that I feel it necessary to question which it was. The times mixed with the town sometimes combine to make me more paranoid than I’m proud to be.
  7. Tonight I finished reading the 1965 novel “Stoner” by John Williams.  Picked it up on a whim at Barnes & Noble, because it was a “staff pick.”  It was a good one.  It’s about a teacher who won’t be particularly remembered for anything, but whose life had its moments that meant something to him if no one else.  I believe it’s in the genre of “Academic Novels” that people like Thomas Wolfe tend to rest in.  Not normally my cup of tea, but this one found me at the right place at the right time.  Highly recommend it.  Beautifully written prose about a man who really goes nowhere special.

That was short…but I’m tired from the antihistamines and they’ve made time move so strangely for me that I also can’t remember much of interest from the week.  Until last Sunday, it had been about 15 years since I’d been to a doctor.  I haven’t been on a prescription-strength pill in probably 20 years.  And the first thing I take is something that makes people sleepy even in the best of times!

Anyway…Derek go sleepy time now.

Rash Decisions

I’ve had a weird few days. Going to write about it here in case anyone needs a time line that might lead to a miracle cure like on House.

On Thursday, I left work like normal and went to the grocery store. Went to bed a little late but otherwise it was uneventful, at least while I was awake… But I apparently had a fitful night’s sleep. When I woke up on Friday, the first thing I noticed was that my back hurt. A lot. Like some of the worst back pain I’ve ever had. I had trouble even rolling over to reach for my phone…

And my phone wasn’t there. I have a hamper by one side of my bed where I set my phone at night. I’d somehow swept everything off the hamper onto the floor. With much effort–remember my back–I rolled over to grab my glasses off of the stool on the other side of the bed. No luck there, either. I’d somehow turned the stool over. At this point I noticed a couple of my pillows had been thrown to the ground. (I use three pillows. I know. Weird.) And more than that, my tongue was tingling. Apparently I’d bitten it.

My back hurt so much, I immediately called (texted) in to work. They generously took me at my word and covered for me. I went back to sleep for a bit, then staggered into the bathroom to shower and maybe loosen up my back with the hot water. That’s when I looked into the mirror and saw a rash on my right shoulder and neck (and maybe a little bit on my face?). It didn’t hurt or burn or itch…it was just THERE. And that’s when I discovered I couldn’t lift my legs up over the side of the tub without actually, physically lifting them, using my hands.

So…what happened?  Somehow in my sleep on Thursday into Friday, I turned a bunch of stuff over, bit my tongue, obtained a rash, and seriously injured my back. What was the deal??

I think it was a food allergy. I think the sushi I got–that I’ve never had before–caused me distress in my sleep and gave me a rash to go with it.

But I didn’t think of that right away. At first I thought I’d ignore it and see how it went. So I posted something about it on Facebook and went on my way. Which is when people started mentioning meningitis and shingles. So I freaked out.

I went to the doctor for the first time in like 15 years. I went to an Urgent Care. I don’t have a physician. I figured they’d at least know if it was an emergency or not…although having been there, now I’m not so sure. The guy who looked at me seemed to project that I was wasting his time. He poked at the rash briefly and asked me a couple questions, then told me he can either give me pain killers or drawn my blood. I asked if it was potentially meningitis and he said, “no” almost as if I’d insulted him. (Never trust your Facebook friends.) He asked if I’d recently done anything physical (ha!) and suggested maybe it was a bleed…which…wouldn’t you think THAT would be an issue?

I expressed that the rash worried me and he tried to have my blood drawn. They stuck a needle in me four different places but…did you know you can’t draw blood from somebody who’s dehydrated? Because that’s how I learned it. In the end, almost begrudgingly, the guy gave me a prescription for an antihistamine, “in case it’s a reaction.” As opposed to all the OTHER rashes out there that are just for looks?

Got the script filled and in thinking about how I could’ve gotten the rash, only two things occur to me. 1. I wore a tour shirt that I bought at the Who concert without washing it first. It’s best practice to wash new shirts before you wear them for exactly that type of reason…but it seems unlikely. Then (2.) I remembered the sushi. Grocery Store Sushi. With some kid of sauce I can’t identify.

That almost has to be it, right?

The antihistamine makes me tired. I’m not sure if the rash is getting better or not, but at least it isn’t worse. And the team at work did a pretty good job without me, but not so good that it looks like they don’t need me. So…that’s where we are.

If you’re the praying type, I’d appreciate it. I’d like for this whole ordeal to be over with the antihistamine and lotion (I decided on the lotion myself). And I’d like to go another 15 years before I have to see a doctor who doesn’t really care about me again. But if all of that’s too much…then just that the rash will fade and fade quickly. The back pain is healing nicely. Back pain in and of itself doesn’t freak me out at all. The rash scared me though. Never had that before.

There isn’t really an ending to this post. It just kind of stops.