I was watching CoolTV a local music video channel that’s what MTV was before it became an outlet for inane reality shows. Seven to eight is occupied by The Ladies Room. It features videos by ladies, who would’ve thunk it? Eight to nine is Eighties at Eight. Again who knew? I was waiting on the water heater to get up to speed and was channel surfing. I landed on Janis Joplin singing, no, belting out Piece of My Heart. I was in love, again. Back in the day I had a massive crush on Janis. She was everything I could want in a woman. She was earthy, could sing her ass off and loved Southern Comfort. What’s not to like. When the switch to the Eighties came the Go-Go’s were up. They weren’t Janis but they had an appeal. Now, up until now I’d been bouncing an idea around. A piece of short fiction maybe something funny. It didn’t come. I was in the shower when it snuck in. I still had a crush on Janis even though she’s been dead some years. What if I could go back? Could I possibly meet her everything being perfect? No. The other thing was, is thinking about what you would do if you could go back. All the science fiction theories aside, what would happen. If you married that cheerleader that you dated for a year in high school. Would you still live up to what she saw in you then? Would she? If you didn’t take that job that you’re looking at short time to retirement. What if you partnered with your buddy and opened a book store/head shop? Would what financial security you have outweigh the fun and terror of running a fledgling business? What if you married and didn’t have kids? Would you and wifey be vacationing in Boca or the South of France?

A lot of questions, no answers. There aren’t any. Every time I hear Piece of My Heart or Summertime I still get a pang in the libidinous part of my psyche. I wanted to hold her, comfort her during those lonely times after concerts. Yeah me, a kid from Connecticut with no rock creds. It happens to all of us. We are victims when we sit around with our old good buddies. They don’t look forward. It’s uncertain and might just kill us. It’s easier to look back through the lenses we wear when what’s supposed to be the best years of our lives. I can’t say if they were. I wasn’t around for yours and I’ve repressed mine so much I’m living someone else’s past. Would I go back to high school? Me? Hell no. I was an outcast, had impossible crushes on women, some teachers, that I couldn’t deal with if I could act on them. The females that liked me saw something that I didn’t. I tried to be part of the in-crowd. I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through that. I was delusional. If I had any sense I’d have quit and joined a commune. The end result of being uneducated normally and able to contribute to society in some would have been preferable. Okay, this is not about me, it’s about you. Look back. How much of your past are you using? Unless you are a writer or are a grandparent, very little. The kids have grown and you’ve found out all the advice you got isn’t worth squat. Raising kids is about dealing with daily surprises. All the career counseling you got? Looked good on paper, not worth diddly in the real world. Hard work works for some but it’s usually climbing and occasionally a bit of back-stabbing. Marriage, it didn’t quite work out. You expected some arguments and hassles but damn all that advice your parents and in-laws could’ve given you would have been a help. It goes on.

Do you want to go back? Not if you’re sane. But if you look real deep there’s a little bit of a loon inside. My advice? Feed the loon, a little. Just a tad. When you’re sitting alone in your house, everybody’s away and those thoughts start coming to the surface. The girl in home room. Caroline? Catherine? The girl who sat next to you and smiled at you when you sat down in the desk next to her. She’s in that part of your mind labeled “Might Have Beens” She had a boyfriend, went to a different school. She was off-limits. But now, you go back. On graduation day she’s turning in her cap and gown. She sees you. She says “MY boyfriend is going away with his parents tis summer. Maybe you and I could go to a movie or something.” She pulls out a pad and pen out of her pocket, her parents are calling her. You scribble and exchange numbers. You wander away. You lose the paper. Maybe your mother washed it with your jeans, or you just spaced and tossed it. you never hook up. You’re still sitting there, what would happen if you ran into her at, say, the supermarket. You’d chat, maybe have a coffee. What happens next? Another question. How faithful are you I your fantasy life? Or how rich is your fantasy life?

A lot of questions. don’t try to answer them or make up permutations of your own. You’ll get migraines and some night after one too many Chablis, you’ll spill in hopes of getting something out of your partner. Monumentally stupid idea. You should never play “What If?” The answers might not fit your present template that you’ve cut for your future.

See you tomorrow.