Aimless Wanderings of the Mind

9 Jul

Yesterday, some friends invited me to spend the night on a houseboat. Figuring that there would be a lot of late night commotion on the boat, I took my iPod in case I needed some solitude for sleep. As it turned out, everyone conked out fast from a day filled with activity, but I plugged the iPod into my ears anyway. The Guns n’ Roses version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” came on and the following took place in my mind.

I immediately thought of the original Bob Dylan version as it played over the death scene of Slim Pickens in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, one of my favorite westerns.

From there, I thought about one of the times I saw Bob Dylan in concert. He and Willie Nelson had a tour where they played in minor league baseball stadiums. As I watched them from the infield, I kept wondering what the backstage party must have been like.

Then, I started thinking about a local legend involving Willie Nelson. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a famous honky-tonk in Nashville where singers and players would congregate between sets of the Grand Ole Opry.

It seems that one night Willie was in Tootsie’s drowning his sorrows at the bar. He wasn’t making it in Nashville, and, in a moment of depression, he walked outside and sprawled in the middle of Broadway. His intent was to be run over by a car. Fortunately, they got him out of the street; he went to Texas; grew out his hair; and became a legend.

When this entered my mind, I started thinking about the time I saw Willie with Ray Price and Merle Haggard. Price’s biggest hit was “For the Good Times“, which happened to be written by Kris Kristofferson, the one who played Billy the Kid in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

The other person on the bill, Merle Haggard, is one of my all-time favorites. He performed a song in a movie I recently watched, and I started thinking about a song that appeared in a John Wayne movie called Chisum, an inaccurate retelling of the story of Billy the Kid.

As you can see, Billy the Kid and a bunch of connections to his pop cultural self kept entering my mind. That’s when I started thinking about the last time I visited his grave.At least, that’s his headstone. Some people claim that Billy the Kid got away and lived to be an old man. That’s doubtful. Without a doubt, a flood swept through the cemetery and washed away all of the markers. It may have even carried off a few bodies. So, Billy is probably not anywhere near this piece of rock. However, I started thinking, “What if they had buried him above ground like they do in New Orleans?”

Obviously, this started me down another tread of thought. Earlier this year, we took some students on a field trip to the French Quarter (I know. Cool teacher.), and we toured the City of the Dead, one of their above ground cemeteries. One of the most interesting graves was that of Marie Laveau, voodoo queen of New Orleans.

The grave has offerings left behind by people searching for a blessing. I thought about that, but I also thought about a song by Redbone called “The Witch Queen of New Orleans“.

New Orleans. It’s a cool city, and a lot of movies have been made there. They started running through my mind, but one that I saw the other day stuck out. It was Live and Let Die, the James Bond film that has the scene with an agent watching a funeral parade in the French Quarter. When he asks whose funeral it, he is stabbed and placed in the coffin. That’s when the parade really cranks up. Then, the theme song by Paul McCartney and Wings entered my brain.

That’s when it hit me. Holy crap. “Live and Let Die” was another movie song that was covered by Guns n’ Roses.

By this time, my mind was mush, and I mercifully faded out.

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2 Responses to “Aimless Wanderings of the Mind”

  1. paintlater July 9, 2012 at 05:32 #

    Counting sheep wouldn’t be near as much fun…thank god for iPods.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles July 9, 2012 at 14:19 #

      Ain’t that the truth.

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