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Monday, June 1, 2020  

Crazy TrainPublished 9/5/2007

I lost the original article for this column when someone in the household (who will remain nameless) spilled milk on the computer and killed the hard drive.

I’d felt proud of that piece, maybe too proud, so the God of Small Things had to teach me a lesson in humility. And laziness. Because earlier in the summer, I had purchased an external hard drive to back up files, after a previous crash had obliterated all of 2006 and 2007.

Problem was, the external hard drive was in the living room, and I happened to be in the bed. My body refused to muster the energy for the (albeit simple) task, despite the nagging of that "little voice inside" telling me to do it or else.

Inertia ultimately triumphed and sure enough, a week or so later, the milk episode occurred. Normally, young children are admonished to not cry over spilled milk, but I wasn’t crying, I was swearing. The milk event would not be covered under the warranty, and the lost article ended up being the least of my worries.

In the article, I waxed philosophical about the meaning of metal rockers at midlife and beyond, inspired by a photo of Oz Fest 2007, a phenomenon uniquely suited to drive my point home.

I couldn’t tackle more complex or worrisome subject matter, because at that point the problems of the nation and the world threatened to reduce me to basket-weaving functionality, and I had just transferred to a new and demanding position at my place of employment, from the clinic to the acute care setting (many of you will understand what that means), and I was still in the dreaded 90-day "probationary period."

So, I thought it best to remain focused on the trivial.

The point I’d wanted to make involved the therapeutic uses of rock/pop music (a la Ozzy’s infamous "Crazy Train"), and the concomitant regressed adolescent state which it tends to induce, especially when an otherwise responsible, mature adult is en route home from a bad day at work.

These tunes provide an opportunity to nurture one’s inner teenager, to "hand over the wheel," so to speak, and let her blast the radio as loud as she wants or needs, not to mention letting her drive!

Just as the inner child requires attention, a teddy bear, a coloring book, or to be held on a loving adult’s lap, the inner teenager needs her attention too.

And so when the inner child spilled milk on the computer, killing the hard drive and obliterating the inner teenager’s article, (of course, the inner teenager had been too lazy to get off the bed and go into the other room for the hard drive), the inner teenager cussed out the inner child, the inner child ended up crying, and the gainfully employed inner adult got stuck footing the bill to repair the hard drive and then rewriting the article.

(Note: The mature, responsible inner adult did get up off the bed where she was convalescing with back pain, to retrieve the hard drive and back up the files, just in case).

Virginia Gillispie enjoys writing this column; Her area of practice is outpatient gerontological nursing. She is also a union steward. She can be reached by email at

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