It’s funny how one little decision can change the course of a life. Twenty-five years ago, I was a the goofy dude behind the DJ booth spinning records while drunken workfolk got their groove on. I was on my way to a Liberal Arts degree — whatever that was good for — and had no prospect for a job that would pay the rent. But one decision set me straight.
Let’s not be overly dramatic. It wasn’t the decision, it was the subject of that decision that changed my life.
It was actually a chance meeting two-an-a-half years earlier that set me on a collision course with bliss. She was partying with friends. I was shaking off a crappy relationship. She wore a gigantic sweatshirt with a cat’s face stamped on it. It’s big blue cateyes strategically placed so she’d never accuse me of not looking her in the eyes. I wore the beginnings of an afro.
I was drunk when I kissed her on the dance floor and watched my ex storm off in a huff.
We didn’t say much to each other after that. I ran through women (My term. She’d call them something less genteel. And was usually right.) When we’d see each other we’d party, but I was gonna be the first Ryan Seacrest and couldn’t picture life in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
I hate to think what might have happened if those free concert tickets hadn’t landed on my radio board.
The great Rick Little, midday guy at the 3000 watt, rock-n-roll blowtorch couldn’t show up at the Zebra show solo. I had always meant to call her. Maybe now was the time. It wasn’t like a date. It was a concert for a local group we both liked.
That show was 25 years ago today. I knew then I would spend the rest of my life with Miss Gail if she’d let me. She wasn’t so sure. I mean, she had seen what I had dated before. And she saw the crappy dead-end job a Liberal Arts degree afforded me. But she took a chance.
It was Miss Gail that pushed me back into college when no TV station would hire me. It was Miss Gail who pushed me out of a well-paying retail gig into a minimum wage TV job and took up the slack in the checkbook. Miss Gail jumped every time a new TV station in a new town wanted me to move half-way across the country. Miss Gail gave us two great kids and barely bitched at all when work forced me to miss dinner at home or a night out.
And all that pales in comparison to the dad she’s molded me into.
We’ve raised two sons together, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. They’re old enough to fend for themselves now, and I kinda enjoy getting to know my wife all over again. And she does’t even mind that I lost the afro-mullet.