THE STREAK – in Jeopardy!Posted: February 4, 2012
It started with humble beginnings, in the summer of 1981. No, not the Ray Stevens song – The Streak (1974), about running naked! This is a streak of different colors.
MTV premiered on August 1st. My favorite VJ was Martha Quinn – just in case you were wondering – and she was as cute as a button. “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles (you know the song, but The Buggles??), DEVO was “Whip”-ing it, Kim Carnes had “Bette Davis Eyes“, and Blondie was in “Rapture.” We all immediately loved “… our MTV.”
But while my summer was going strong, along came something called the flu. Yep, in August of 1981, I contracted a version of the flu that put me down for days. For someone who didn’t miss school or work, this was unfamiliar territory.
I hugged the beauty of that porcelain fixture like a child’s teddy bear. We embraced often, and I gladly donated my sweat, tears, and what little food I was able to keep down. Warm washcloths became my friends – dabbing at my crusted-up mouth and nose with a welcomed tenderness.
It was the last time I would be so close to the ground in this capacity … until last weekend.
THIRTY-ONE YEARS LATER
It was a typical, sunny southern California day – the temperature a perfect 74 deg Fahrenheit. Because it was a Saturday in late January (the 28th, to be exact) traffic was fairly light.
While MLB was at a work meeting in Mission Bay, I was “forced” to tour the beach towns of Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-By-The-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, and Carlsbad scouting for a potential place where we might want to live in the not-too-distant-future. Rough duty, I know, but someone had to do it.
It was idyllic, passing beach towns with quaint boutiques, checking out glimpses of the ocean, and taking in the breezy SoCal air. As I was enjoying the day, a pesky headache began. It started as just a simple dull pain and gradually worked its way to throbbing.
Was it something I ate? The bright sunlight from the southern part of the state compared to our northern California environs? Perhaps allergens from different plants or trees? I wasn’t sure, but it was time to go back to the hotel, take something for the pain, and get something to eat before picking up MLB at the prearranged meeting time of 8:30 pm.
As I entered the room, the pulsing blood was pressuring my head to the point it must have looked like Arnold’s in Total Recall:
Frantically, I looked through MLB’s cosmetic bag – nothing. She apparently had the Tylenol and ibuprofen in her purse … with her; the two things that might have been able to bring me back from what was sure to be a painful death-by-headache.
To all migraine-sufferers everywhere, my sincerest apologies. I had NEVER had a headache this severe in my life. I tried sitting down – no help. I lay down on the bed – the pain increased about five-fold.
By now, the pain had gone from “Total Recall” to complete exploding-head madness:
I called the front desk.
“Do you have Tylenol, or anything for a headache?”
“No, but you there is a CVS drug store across the street.”
At this point, I was willing to do just about anything. I traipsed out into the night and stumbled across the street and picked up the generic Headache Relief – a cocktail of acetaminophen, aspirin, and about 900 mg of caffeine (okay, maybe 50 mg of caffeine). Without thinking – why not pick up 275 tablets? – I got the biggest bottle I could find. Maybe I needed all of them to knock this sucker out of my head!
Not that I was in a hurry, but while standing in line I broke open the bottle of headache pills, opened a Diet Pepsi (God’s drink!), and sought immediate relief.
WILL “THE STREAK” END?
Back at the hotel, the time is now 7:15 pm. I go back to pacing the floor, punching my head, praying for forgiveness for the sins I did, and didn’t, commit, begging for mercy, hoping for the pain to subside. Frantically, I sit at the desk. You know it’s terrible, when … I can’t even look at the laptop to check out blogs, or write a post about this experience!
I moved from the desk to the bed. I’m stretched out on my side, but the throbbing is now worse than ever before. I’m pummeling my head into the pillow – a noggin-battering-ram; hoping it will beat the pain senseless.
Oh NOOOOOOOO! Suddenly I become nauseous. This is an experience I’ve only had a handful of times since the streak started 31 years ago. I reflect back to those MTV-laden days as Martha Quinn introduces the latest video in my mind. And I think, for the first time since 1981 … even if the streak ends, if it will take away this pain, I’m willing to do it.
I go to the bathroom and drop down on the floor – arms embracing the porcelain, like days of old. Stomach is queasy, but not quite past that “tipping point,” thankfully. It subsides, and the streak passes its most daunting challenge in those three plus decades.
Back to the bed I go. Now on my hands and knees with my head buried in the pillow, I press against my head repeatedly until … the phone rings. It’s 8:45 and MLB is wondering where I am. Peaceful sleep must have descended upon my blown-up head and the pain was now half of where it had been on the pain-Richter-scale.
As I picked up my wife, I tried to explain what had happened. I went on-and-on about the pain, the possible ending of “The Streak,” and how no one could have ever had that kind of headache before in human history. As I continued to describe the events, she remained patient and understanding. Finally, my droning must have gone a bit too far.
She exclaimed, “I get it … you had a HEADACHE!”
Have you ever had this kind of headache before? If so, what did you do to alleviate the pain?
I need to know, in case there’s a “next time!” :)