Riding along with the devil

Yesterday, I asked the Keelhauler what was new, and he shrugged and said "Not much," then added, "Some guy was having a heart attack down at the marina." I guess for the Keelhauler, who's picked up severed fingers from the deck of a towboat, a possible heart attack doesn't make the top ten on the excitement list, but I had to ask him for all the details anyway.

Essentially, the Keelhauler was passing by when he saw Bill, a sailmaker he knows, dialing 911 on his cell phone to report that the guy sitting on a nearby bench was having chest pains. "Who was he?" I asked. A shrug. "I don't know--some big, kinda scruffy-looking guy. I think he lives aboard down there."

The Keelhauler and I were walking downtown as he told the story, and he handed me a bottle of water and told me to take a drink, to counteract "drinking too much wine last night." He was actually the one who'd drunk too much wine, but to humor him, I took a sip, just as he told me, "The guy was having trouble breathing, so I went and got water from my car and gave him a drink." I sputtered. "Did you wipe off the bottle?!" I asked. "Oh, my God, did I just drink from the same bottle that some scruffy heart-attack victim drank from!?" (I already know, this makes me a bad person.) I envisioned some crusty, dirt-caked, lice-ridden mustache germs floating around on the mouth of the bottle I'd taken a drink from, and my capacity for selflessness just doesn't extend as far as scrofula, or whatever the germs were.

The Keelhauler assured me that he had given the heart attack guy water from a different bottle, and that anyway, he didn't look like he had scrofula, and that eventually an ambulance had come to take him away. The Keelhauler thought that probably the guy would be OK.

But this all leads me to my next subject, which is: the next time you call an ambulance, you could be waited on, or whatever it's called--attended by? Your paramedic could be: David Lee Roth. Today's paper reports that he's been riding around on New York City ambulances in an official capacity, and quotes Mr. LeeRoth as saying, "I have been on over 200 individual rides now. Not once has anyone recognized me," adding, "Which is perfect for me."

RIGHT! Finally, he can justify his long fade into obscurity, although he apparently had to send out a press release to do it. "My greatest wish is that my intense, white-hot fame, for which I have sacrificed my personal dignity my entire adult life, would not interfere with my humble efforts to save the life of my fellow man." (Then he, like, takes a major hit off a huge joint.)

I think what he's really saying is, "Please, Jesus, let somebody recognize me, even if it's some nobody with a busted femur, writhing in pain in the back of an ambulance!" You know his secret dream is to revive some accident victim and have the guy rip off his oxygen mask and scream, "Oh, my god, you are not only my favorite rock singer of all time, but now you have restored me to life!" and then they can all "jam" on a medley of hits from "Diver Down," with Mr. LeeRoth bobbing his head and grinning, yelling, "Take THAT, Sammy Hagar!" over the PA system. Yeah! Makes you want to get run down by a truck in the Bronx!

Star of the day. . .Ed Norton
posted @ 8:45 p.m. on November 17, 2004 before | after


She lay awake all night,