“I Could Have Died Back There!”

by pjmcbride

Blue Öyster Cult (album)

Blue Öyster Cult (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to (well, I don’t have to, but I am nothing if not polite) thank Nick for the subject matter of this post. He is currently at Busch Stadium, and remarked on Facebook that it was hot, and when I hear Busch Stadium and heat mentioned in the same sentence, this story comes to mind. Of course, Nick is just watching a boring ball game, and from the looks of things, getting drunk. (It’s like a game–One of These Guys is Not Drunk. Guess Which One and Win a Prize!) But I had an actual adventure! Of sorts. And involving alcohol, in a roundabout and icky way, as you will see.

Rom and I, in our early days (literally–I think we’d been together a month at most) went to Busch Stadium to see SUPERJAM ’78!! (You have to say it with all-capital letters and multiple exclamation points, just like when you say MID-AMERICA RACEWAY!! THE DRAG-RACING CAPITAL OF MID-AMERICA!!, which I was also at in the even remoter past. Ideally, you should say it with reverb, but I don’t know how to indicate that in print.) We were not actually there to see SUPERJAM ’78!! per se, but to see Blue Oyster Cult, my favorite band in those pre-R.E.M. days. (I’m guessing there aren’t many people who love both of those bands.) I had a stalker sort of fascination with B.O.C., which led to me writing a bad short story about them. And I saw them every time they came to St Louis.

St Louis has the same weather we do here, being in the Lower Midwest (or Mideast, as it should be called, if you just look at a map of the U.S., and when I rule the world I shall make it so) and on a big river. So, since SUPERJAM ’78!! was, I believe, in August, it was broiling hot, except that if you were being broiled, it would be less humid. And we got to sit with the teeming rock & roll masses on the floor? ground? of the stadium, which had been considerately spread with plastic, to protect the astroturf from our happy asses. So…sitting on plastic, blazing sun, being steamed like crabs…all the creature comforts. And to get to our place…we joined a long line threading our way through groups of people to get to a relatively unsettled area. The line stopped suddenly, but we couldn’t see why. It jerked forward intermittently, and then we found out why. Some guy had started drinking early, or just drank his beer to keep from dying of thirst, and passed out in a puddle of puke. So crowded you can’t step around it, so wide you can’t jump over it–and you didn’t want to try, lest you miscalculate, slip and fall right into it. The expression of each person in line as they discovered the situation was priceless. So, yes, I waded through puke to see Blue Oyster Cult. If only I could tell them.

{DIGRESSION: This is one of my two good puke stories. The other: We attended a party where a guy had puked in the gazpacho. The beauty part here is that gazpacho looks like puke anyway, so someone had to be stationed there to warn everyone who came up to the table until they could get it cleared away. [Gazpacho looks like human puke. Burgoo looks like cat puke. You’re welcome!] YES, YOU GET 2 PUKE STORIES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! You’re welcome again!}

So, we were finally settled in a location free of vomit. Unfortunately, B.O.C. was next-to-last on the bill, and we had to suffer through various acts first, the only one I remember being Eddie Money, and I remember him because he, having stepped right out of air-conditioning, said, “Hey! Bet you all love this warm weather!” and we spoke of rushing the stage and killing him.

But B.O.C. finally came on, and they were supernal as always, and I surged toward the front of the stage, and lost track of Rom, and, well, was not as dutiful about finding him again as I was about being sure I could see the band really well. (Together for a month, and yeah, it’s a feeble excuse.) But he tracked me down, and loudly declaimed that “I could have died back there!” And I was embarrassed, although not as embarrassed as I’d have been if I’d passed out in some puke. And why it seemed to Rom that I was worth staying with in those days (hell, those first few years) is beyond me.

And they all lived happily ever after.

I would like to welcome Officer A.B., having been recommended to him by Nick, and can only hope I meet his expectations. Although I have my doubts, having just gone on at tiresome length about my semi-sleazy past life. And I can’t even say, Well, that’s not typical! Because, you know, it just is.