“I have been a multitude of shapes,
Before I assumed a consistent form.
I have been a sword, narrow, variegated,
I have been a tear in the air,
I have been in the dullest of stars.
I have been a word among letters,
I have been a book in the origin.”
–“Book Of Taliesin”
Here we have three celebrities all dying on the same day: Bob Einstein, Gene Okerlund, and Daryl Dragon.
All three were 76 years old, and all three were also known by their nicknames: “Super Dave,” “Mean Gene,” and “The Captain,” respectively.
And so we have three coincidences surrounding a set of three people. Meaningful? Coincidence?
In 2003 I had the following incident happen. I’ve written about it before outside of this blog, and the basic details can be verified.
I had a boss at a comic book company who told me that I was “too nice.” That I was too nice, and only the mean and aggressive and absolutely balls-to-the-wall nasty are effective and successful.
And so he told me to call up a freelancer and yell at him.
This freelancer was a comic book writer named Dan Slott, who would become fairly well-known for writing Spider-Man. Sort of a jovial, funny, sensitive guy.
I called Dan to yell at him for late “Batman” script pages, as I was instructed. As I was instructed, I was extremely mean and yelled into the receiver. My boss would watch some of this through a crack in my office door, to see my progress. He laughed behind that door; it must have been sheer comedy to him.
I yelled at Dan until he literally sobbed on the phone. I channeled all my…sublimated aggression?…into that call. I was always a nice person. I didn’t do things like this. I didn’t yell at people. Yelling at people made me nervous; made me shake.
I screamed at Dan to get the goddamn script pages in. I told him he made me so mad I felt I was going to have a stroke, and that if I indeed had a stroke it would be his fault.
And he was sobbing and sobbing and sobbing at the other end of that line. And when I put the receiver down, my computer screen “stuttered.” A monotone whine like an agitated electronic baby emanated from the computer’s speakers.
Then the lights in my office stuttered.
And then the lights in the hallway stuttered.
And then all the power went out.
It was a blackout.
It was a blackout that not only impacted New York, but part of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.
Meaningful, coincidence, or quantum entanglement?
I like to think of the incident as a meaningful coincidence; the synchronicity of me yelling at Dan coinciding with the Blackout to “tell” me that I, like the failed transformers that started the entire thing, had to be careful lest I “burned out.”
And indeed, I began to get sick after that incident. To be sure, that incident was the culmination of what was a fucked up situation at that job, with that boss. A fucked-up situation I never tried to assertively confront until my health was utterly destroyed.
Because I was passive. Because I was nice.
Because I was not in touch with all the facets of myself. It was not balanced. It was “tipped” all in one direction—the direction of being “nice.”
And so when I was asked to suddenly let out all that rage and energy at one time in this highly artificial way…I got sick.
I got sick, the meds didn’t work and made me more sick, I couldn’t work. I had to just…recover. I was bedridden for part of this ordeal.
And while I was in bed, I wrote this huge novel. 600+ words. And I was so sick at the time, and so feverish, that I “channeled” it a bit more than actually wrote it. When I read it back to myself now…it’s a nasty piece of work. I think it’s “OK” as a book—not the Great American Novel, but maybe some enjoyable trash. But it’s really nasty. And it also seemingly predicted a lot of things that ended up happening in my life.
And all this—yelling at Dan on the phone, the blackout, my illness—seemed to lead, as if through a funnel, to writing that book. Nothing could have happened without that particular sequence.
And so Bob Einstein, Gene Okerlund, and Daryl Dragon all die on the same day, at the same age. Perhaps there was no other way it could have been but in this exact sequence.
Alternatively: perhaps I am just seeing patterns where none truly exist.