for wordnerd, in the hope he can understand why
I had never heard this song before. My discovery of it came about in a strange way, at some point in 1994 or 1995, I don’t remember exactly. It was during the time after my death experience when I was grasping for answers to the strange messages and dreams that were overwhelming my resolve to attempt to lead a mostly normal life. While I tried to enjoy the fact that I had somehow suddenly gone from being a wallflower who had to fall into things for them to happen into some kind of magical dude who had the attention of everyone who came into his orbit, I was plagued with dreams and visions that continued to tell me that I had been given a gift. I had been given my life back for reasons that I had agreed to accept in return for having my life back. The sudden charisma and empathy that were bestowed upon me, abilities and gifts I never had before, were given to me for a reason and collecting women and sitting around partying were not the reasons.
Give me the answers
Give me some answers
She turned around to me
You know what she said?
She said, "I can help you,
But there’s something I want from you.
It's a gift.
In return for the information I can give.
I want a gift from you.
I want a gift from you."
I tried my very best to look up to the sky
Then I realized I had no eyes.
I was blind...
I began to get afraid
Afraid of the dark.
I was afraid,
Afraid in the darkness.
Then I thought about my friends,
Who have no eyesight,
I thought about the world we live in,
And how much it’s nicer.
I was not afraid.
I was not afraid any more.
The only version of this song I am familiar with is the version from the album Eric Burdon declares "WAR". This version clocks in at over thirteen minutes in length and contains a segment in the middle called "I Have a Dream" which in many ways parallels my experience.
Two things conspired to cause me to purchase this CD. The first was the number of times "Spill the Wine," from the same album, started appearing on the radio whenever I was struggling with doubt. The second was that while in a record store, a Newbury Comics in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, searching for a CD, it appeared in the bin I was looking for something else in. Twice. And in each case it was in no way related to what I was looking for. The second time it appeared, I started wondering why it was showing up twice in places where it did not belong. Then I saw it contained "Spill the Wine" and decided to buy it.
"We want something more than your eyesight."
I thought for a while,
What more could she want than my eyes?
And then a terrible feeling crept over me
As I began to realize that I understood what she was talking about.
Along the way, especially from 1994 thought 1996, I tried to avoid what I now see as my sole purpose in this life. I made every effort to block it out of my mind, in part because I had no idea what the dreams and visions were going on about, and in part because I did, in fact, understand in many ways. It scared the crap out of me. Raised and taught in the ways of rational, logical thought and more than willing to reject anything that didn’t fit the equation of the dogma of organized science, I wanted it all to stop, but along the way there were too many signs that I could not look away from. This version of Tobacco Road messed with me in ways that continue to this day. It was as if I was being read a script of my own experience as sung and played by someone else.
The morning after my suicide, I was paralyzed for six hours. I had no idea if I would ever be able to move again, but I was alive, and as time went by, I came to realize how important and meaningful it was that I was alive. Now all I wanted was to be able to walk again. Less than a day after I decided my life was no longer worth living, all I could think about was being able to walk again. Nothing else mattered. My drive to live was stronger that morning than it has ever been and I was willing to force myself to my feet, amidst an incredible amount of pain that seemed to come from my bones and not my muscles. I have never experienced such overwhelming and total pain as I did during the two hours it took to pull myself out of bed and down the stairs.
"Why can’t I fucking walk?!?" I screamed out.
"You gave up this life. Why do you want it back so badly?"
"I don’t know."
"I do. Are you prepared?"
"Whatever you want, I’ll do. Just let me walk. Get rid of this pain, I can’t stand it any longer. What the fuck use is my life if I am going to live it paralyzed like this?"
"Let go of the past and find the path."
"You will know it when you see her. You will have no doubt and the sky will turn to gold."
I passed out on the couch after making it down the stairs to the living room. When I woke up, the pain and the paralysis were gone. I haven’t been the same since.
But it’s got to be changed,
Yes it has.
I opened my eyes once more.
I breathed again,
I walked again.
I was ten times stronger.
They give it back to me
I’m gonna give it back to you.
Life is too precious,
Life is priceless.
Life goes on and on and on
It just goes on and on and on.
I’ve gotta change that road
I gotta build me a new road
We can walk that road together
Hand in hand.
There is a plan. We're just the slow kids on the back of the bus. That's why we're here.
That is my concrete.
Only a few will understand what that means.
Node for the aged.