Monday, March 23, 2009

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Not to get all Nic Cage Knowing, but...

It started innocently enough. Because of a theatrical screening of Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan, my friend and I realized that the most deadly drinking game could be played along with this concert. Every time guitarist Rick Nielsen pops up the brim on his ball cap during the concert, you have to drink. And seeing as how he pops it thirty-plus times in an hour, the B.A.C. levels soon turn deadly.

Recounting this drinking game for an acquaintance of ours (and wondering why in the world Nielsen was such a jittery freak on-stage), he tells a story about how he was friends with Rick Nielsen's son growing up, and that Nielsen's coke habit was painfully evident even to a youngster. Upon receiving a gift of a Chicago Cubs ball cap, our friend recounts that Nielsen disappeared in the bathroom so as to go "try on the Cubs cap," returning a good ten minutes later. While none of us do blow anymore, we coined the phrase "trying on a Cubs cap" to be the new code word for doing coke.

It fell away for awhile, at least until the day the Times ran this photo of Rod Blagojevich hiding his male pattern-ness with --what else?

And still, I didn't want to see the broader implications. But a throwaway line in the recent New Yorker article on David Foster Wallace's struggle with depression and suicide gave me pause:
Wallace joined the debate and glee clubs, and smoked a lot of pot with friends. One day, though, toward the end of his sophomore year, Costello walked into their dorm room to find Wallace sitting alone, slumped over, his gray Samsonite suitcase between his legs, a Chicago Cubs cap on his head. "I have to go home," he told Costello. "Something's wrong with me."