The First Rock & Roll Casualty
His name was Brian Jones. To my recollection he was the first actual casualty of rock and roll from his own debauchery. He preceded Elvis by several years, with Jimi, Janice, and Jim bringing in the rest of the field slightly later. There are few today who even know his name, and those that do haven’t much of an idea who this character was unless they’ve done a lot of reading about him. His band, The Rolling Stones, have by and large been happy to “get over it” and not bring up the subject again. I don’t blame them. The story is ugly no matter who tells it. He was a brilliant light at a time when brilliant lights were popping up all around. He had a passionate regard for American blues music. His knowledge of R&B artists of the day as well as ones past made him a guru amongst his peers. He played harp like Little Walter and guitar like Elmore James. He turned on the British youth culture to the style that would come to be known as the “first wave”. Like a fireworks display he rose dramatically, bloomed in the highest night sky, and then fell into cinders back to Earth. Whenever he appeared his radiance captivated the moment. No wonder The Stones would rather quietly brush his debris off the table, he was stealing all the thunder, and becoming totally irresponsible at the same time. I’m no Brian Jones, but I do understand him. I can understand the forces that propelled him into his coffin. It is a matter of fate, and fate only. Nothing could have saved Brian Jones. It was his role to play, and the outcome was anything but a coincidence. Since his time of passing, many persons, young and old, have served similar sentences as victims of their own indiscretion. Some have survived and many haven’t. It all comes roughly in the same packaging: a sense of grandeur followed by disappointment from lack of recognition - a feeling that one is the reason for everything and the recipient of nothing. It is the presence of enlarged and under-nourished ego, heaping plates of arrogant recklessness, all making one feel omnipotent in the face of danger. I understand these forces because I know them from personal experience. In this very terminal mode I became the instrument of my own stumbling. I didn’t bother to address my weakness because I considered myself a brave explorer and distanced myself from my fellows just to show them how larger-than-life I really was.
As I approach the 6 month mark in my treatment, I feel like, not only am I going to make it, but I am fortunate to have such a small price to pay for all the insane things I did in the name of experimentation and bravado. I am also considerably blessed to have the support of my family, who put up with my bitchiness and tender sensibilities, which often times range from comatose inactivity to child like pettiness. Without my family’s constant support and tolerance I may have given up the ghost many times along the way. If I could make it on my own it certainly wouldn’t be with the same quality that I presently enjoy. I think that sometimes we try to inflict the same injustices on others that we feel that we have experienced in our own lives. This may be as a measure of revenge, or may be out of frustration because we can’t stop the redundant, self-perpetuating cycle of self-abuse.
I have no idea of how many people read this blog. If you are diagnosed as Hep C positive, it’s best not to ignore the diagnosis. If you know someone who is Hep C positive, encourage them to seek treatment. Someone is waiting for you to emerge a healthy happy person.
All my numbers are looking good these days. We will continue the treatment. I’ve grown used to it all. I’ll just keep on going until Dr. Bartley tells me we are finished. Whenever that will be -- I haven’t a clue. He tells me almost nothing. Sometimes I feel like a laboratory rat instead of a human being. I am dosed with unknown substances and graphed out on statistics sheets. But I know it’s all worth it in the end. I have more to think of than just myself.