When most people see the word “epiphany”, the first thing they think of is Christmastime and the Three Wise Men following the star and giving their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. That would be the Epiphany with a capital “E”. The kind of epiphany I talk about here has happened a few times in my life. The definition of that kind of epiphany is the following: An experience of sudden and striking realization. Guess what? I had an epiphany today on the drive home from work! And, by all means, it is not my first epiphany. Allow me to tell you what my the other two epiphanies in my life (at least the ones I remember) were:
- When I was working at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, WI back in the summer of 1979, a graduate of high school moving on to my first semester of college, employees on their way to and from their workplace at the resort would punch in and out on their time cards at this little shack behind a fenced-in employee parking lot. This shack would monthly have two piles of copies of Playboy and Oui magazines to employees to take free of charge. Being a hormone-driven 18-year-old lad, I gladly accepted the offering. One of those Playboy magazines had as its Playmate of the Month, Dorothy Stratten. Yes, the same Dorothy Stratten whose meteoric rise to stardom and consequent and shocking halt to that rise following her grisly death at the hands of a jealous estranged husband, was turned into two major motion pictures. But back then, in the summer of ’79, Dorothy Stratten was just a centerfold in the magazine. And she was 18 years old. I saw her in that centerfold. She was 18. I was 18. The thought entered my mind as if I’d uttered it if I’d had my own bar mitzvah: Today, I am a man. Epiphany #1
- Fast forward to the early ’90’s. I am now in my early 30’s. I’m watching a TV program on the cable channel Nickelodeon called “Clarissa Explains It All”…the vehicle that first launched Melissa Joan Hart into a brief period of television stardom after her portrayal of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”. I’m watching the show, and I notice this lady on the program. I’m thinking that this gal is pretty hot. Then, I watch the opening credits. The gal that I think is so “hot” plays Clarissa’s mom on the show (I learned today that Clarissa’s mom was played by Elizabeth Hess). The thought entered my mind. Today, I am an old man. Epiphany #2.
We move on now to today. Driving home from work, I hear a conversation between the hosts of a sports talk program on a Chicago radio station and the college football expert that frequents their show weekly. A reference to an REO Speedwagon song is made by one of the hosts. The college football expert counters with another. REO Speedwagon song references are volleyed back and forth. Then, the college football expert says the following: “My dad used to play REO Speedwagon all the time.” He could have just said Guy Lombardo or Glenn Miller instead. I wish he would have. The thought entered my mind. Today, I am an ancient relic. Epiphany #3.