What's The Use Of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)
By Joe Jackson
After considering topics based on all the great music I can now access for my blog (yes, that's how I'm deciding right now), this thought came to mind. I've talked about my present in substantially boring detail, but never really let you in on all the dirty little secrets of my past. Here's something that I bet you never suspected about me.
My parents were strict. So strict, in fact, that I often felt smothered. I know they were well-intentioned, but it nearly ruined my life. As you've probably realized, I will go out of my way to avoid conflict. I spent most of my youth trying to please parents who would never be happy with me as I was. So, when I finally got of my parents' house, I went wild.
My first year university is a blur to me. I became the ultimate party girl. Nothing was too extreme. I won't go into too much detail, but see that song up there? It could've been my theme song that year. I was lucky. I survived it nearly unscathed. It changed my path in life, though.
See, I had been a top student in high school and, after acing my piano entrance audition, earned a free ride scholarship to university. Yep - all expenses paid for four years, with an option to renew for my masters degree. By Christmas break, I was already on academic probation (NOT, as Bond would have you believe, on Double Secret Probation, though) and by the end of the second semester, my scholarship was history. My parents were scandalized and humiliated by my "performance" (their word for it). I, however, comfortably ensconced in my chemically-induced haze, couldn't have cared less.
Final exams arrived. Being as I was passing all my instrumental courses, I decided to stay until the end and get those credits. Besides, once exams were over, my residence had a big bash planned and there was no way I was missing that! No sir!
Thursday night, I walked out of my last exam and straight to the bootlegger, where I bought a quart of tequila. Fast forward. The party was all over the residence that night. I don't remember most of it, and only what I've been told. I was wearing a hot pink minidress, and my boyfriend's handmade cashmere Lopi sweater over it.
A bunch of us were sitting in a friend's room on the second floor. There were no seats available, so I was perched on the window sill. I leaned back, and fell out the window. Apparently, I flipped over, landed on my feet, and started to walk away before I fell down. I was pretty "relaxed", from all accounts. Regardless, I broke my leg, my arm, two fingers and several ribs on impact. They told me later that I cried when they had to cut the sweater off me, saying over and over again "Just pull it off - it won't hurt me" I had no idea at the time that the bones of my arm had pierced through the sleeve.
Strangely, this may have been the best thing that could've happened to me. I had to take a year off university in order to recover from my injuries. That year helped me to better understand myself. My physiotherapist told me I would probably never play the piano again with any degree of comfort, due to the broken fingers. I've never been one to remain passive in the face of a personal challenge.
When it came time for me to decide about my future, I enrolled in a different university, in music again. I will be eternally grateful to my grandmother, who convinced my parents to let me try again; to l'Universite de Moncton, for taking a chance on me; and to my beloved piano prof, Richard, who believed in me, bullied me and befriended me.
Now, three degrees later, I look back on those days as though it was a story that happened to someone else. I know I was lucky, and it's created a more cautious person within me, but the daredevil is still in there, too, just waiting for an opportunity to come out and play ...