LB: Live! From Paradise #209 “My Sweet Angel”

(The intro to this column in a recently successful incarnation here on the web)

by Larry Brody

Back in the day, I worked for Glen A. Larson, the most prolific writer, producer, and TV series creator in Hollywood history.

Glen was responsible for shows such as B.J. And the Bear; Quincy, M.E.; Battlestar Galactica; The Fall Guy; Magnum P.I.; Knight Rider.

But his imagination always was tempered by practicality.

“Our job isn’t to make the best show possible, it’s to get the best show possible on the air,” he would say.

Because nothing counted if it wasn’t finished in time for Wednesday night at 9 pm.

“You’re overthinking,” Glen would tell me as we worked down to the wire, often finishing an episode within as little as half an hour before airtime.

I’d argue that I was doing only what needed to be done. And argue. And argue.

Until—

Well, until I moved outward and upward and found my way to Paradise.

Where I can overthink to my heart’s content and no one comes down on me with as much as even a breathy little, “Un-uh.”

This week’s overthink has me pondering issues that very easily could’ve been raised in one of Glen A.’s shows.

Am I alive or am I dead?

And if I’m dead, am I in heaven or hell?

Because of a song that keeps repeating in my head.

Not the whole song, just two lines from a real Golden Oldie, Jimi Hendrix’s Sweet Angel.

“And I said, ‘Fly on, my sweet angel. Fly on through the sky….'”

When the sweet angel first began flying through my mind, I knew I’d heard it but had no idea when or where. I didn’t know it was a Hendrix song. Or any of the other lyrics or music.

Some midnight Googling cleared up a little of the mystery, but even after downloading and listening to the tune a dozen times I still can’t hold onto any of it but:

“…’Fly on, my sweet angel. Fly on through the sky…'”

It’s as though the angel angle is all that matters.

Which ties in with a dream I reported here about a month ago. A dream in which I, Good Ole Larry B, was an angel.

Why would I dream that?

Why would anyone see him or herself as an angel unless–ah, it’s starting to make sense now, isn’t it?–unless that particulary anyone was…erm…dead?

I’ve used this space to question the nature of life and death before. I’ve even written about times I was sure I was supposed to have died but obviously didn’t because, hey, here I am.

But what if what happened wasn’t so obvious, after all?

What if way back in the earliest of my “deaths,” the myocardial infarction over 30 years ago when my heart literally stopped and I floated in the tunnel toward the light, I didn’t come hurtling back into the material world the way I’ve always thought?

What if I got lost and rushed forward unknowingly instead?

Rushed right into the mouth of

Hmm, could be the mouth of heaven. I mean, look at all I’ve got. A wonderful wife. A haystack high pile of children and grandchildren. The profoundest sense of pure joy every morning when I awaken and feel the room, the house, the land, the trees, the entire world of which I’m such a small part say, “I love you.”

But it also could be hell. Family medical problems. An endless treadmill of bills. Deadly storms. Anguish. Stress. Hope for an end to suffering—not just mine but the whole world’s—held out and then yanked away. Over and over

The Larry Brody who was rushed to the E.R. while an invisible elephant stood on his chest never would’ve been able to imagine either the good or the bad of my current life. His was so very different. All about “sophistication” and impressing the right people the right way at the right time.

The Larry Brody who died and then thought he’d been reborn had no desire to live close to the earth and be encompassed by the Wind of Mystery. No awareness that it could, or should, even be done.

The Larry Brody who looks back at those times and overthinks these thoughts has no need for what’s “sophisticated” and no desire to live any other way but the way I do now.

If this is death, then my death is life.

If this is hell, then my hell is heaven.

“…Fly on, my sweet angel….”

Fly I will.

LB: Live! From Paradise #208 “CyberPals”

(The intro to this column in a recently successful incarnation here on the web)

by Larry Brody

Confession time.

I am the sad sufferer of a secret addiction.

No, it’s not Demon Rum. Although I do have a keen appreciation of Gwen the Beautiful’s home brewed dark ale. Here on The Mountain we call it Manns Beer, after her maiden name, and if we were going to advertise the slogan would be, “A Real Man’s Beer, Made by a Real Manns Woman.”

And it’s certainly not drugs. Why would I want to alter a consciousness that those who visit this space as well as I have learned is already so very different from that of most people that I’ve been labelled “barely tethered to reality” more than a few times? (And that’s by admirers.)

I’m not even talking about my obsessive writing in general. Nor its sister, my compulsive need to reveal what Youngest Daughter Amber calls Brody World to anyone who will read or listen. After all, there’s nothing secret about either of those, is there?

No, my Secret That Must Never Be Revealed—which I’m revealing right here, right now, today—is that I’m totally enthralled with that amazing nowhere-but-everywhere space known as the Internet

AKA, to those of us who consider ourselves aficionados, the web.

AKA again, to those of us who not only are aficionados but snarky ones to boot, the Interweb.

Unlike most members of my generation, I’m pretty well up on the computer and cyberspace realms. Oh, I’m not nearly as knowledgeable as the average 14-year-old, but I got a late start. I was almost 50 when, inspired by all the fun I’d had playing Sim City on Nintendo with a friend’s son, I got my first PC. (Sorry, Apple!)

Over the years I’ve built my own computers, bought those made by HP and Dell and even moved up into the Big Tech PC stratosphere with a couple of state-of-the-art systems from Alienware.

I was an early member of Compuserve, the first nationwide Internet Service Provider, and also of AOL back when AOL did more than merely brand things. My older son, Jeb, turned me onto Netscape when it first came out, and I’ve had my own web site, TVWriter.Com, for about a dozen years.

In fact, TVWriter.Com still is where I spend almost all the time I’m not out enjoying, or writing about enjoying, the deeply grounded aspects of Rural America that make up my Paradise life.

I don’t use this space to write about surfing to favorite sites with arcane monikers like ArsTechnica, Consumerist, DownloadSquad, Engadget, Lifehacker, MediaWeek, TechCrunch, and Woot! DotCom because to me Brody Web World always has seemed totally unrelated to Brody Paradise World. Recently, though, I’ve been thinking that maybe I was wrong.

It started with a passing comment from the Old Billionaire’s Over-Educated Son. “I know my dad loves his truck,” he said the other day. “But would he be so happy tooling around in an old flatbed if he didn’t have his own jet to take him anywhere in the world he wanted to go?”

I couldn’t answer for the O.B., of course, but I knew what Sonny was getting at…and it made me wonder whether I’d be as happy as I am communing with nature if I wasn’t also able to trade e-mails, IM’s, and message board posts with people from all over the world who share my career interests, wants, and needs.

Would Paradise remain my Eden if I couldn’t laugh or argue or otherwise carry on with Old Buddy Cal at his computer in Bellingham, Washington, just as easily as I do with Doug the Dog Breeder at his table in the local Walmart?

Considering how much more complex human beings are than we too often believe, it may well be that one community alone rarely is able to satisfy or fulfill any of us. Which, as I ponder further, makes me wonder if that’s what accounts for how family, work, and play usually spill out from each other and occupy separate niches.

A good way to learn what part of life really makes Larry B feel so good when he wakes up every morning should be to keep a close watch on both my outer life in Paradise and the inner one in cyberspace.

I’ll have to keep my eyes, ears, and mind wide open when the next long power outage keeps me firmly ensconced in nature.

Ditto the next time I find myself locked in a big city hotel room, with nothing to do but surf the web.

Uh-oh. Uncle Larry’s starting to jones just thinking about losing either aspect.

Looks like I have to admit it:

I need it all.