The dead guitarist

You might not know Wilko Johnson is but he was a pretty cool dude back in the 70s.

His band — Dr. Feelgood — was so cool that it inspired some people you probably have heard of: Paul Weller, The Who, The Jam. The list goes on.

Back in 2013 he was diagnosed with cancer and the Doc gave him a double-fistful of months at most. 

He said, “It was like my life was complete. The idea that death is imminent makes you realize what a wonderful thing it is to be alive. By the time I’d walked home, I was almost euphoric.”

Wilko then did what any self-respecting punk guitarist would do. He turned down chemotherapy and went on tour. 

“If it’s going to kill me, I don’t want it to bore me,” he said.

Wilko is still touring today — more than seven years after his date with death. That raging punk rocker just wouldn’t put down his guitar and die. 

We are vividly alive.

Take a moment today to enjoy it.

Life is a tightrope

In 2011, a mother and her son walked 300ft along a wire no wider than your thumb, 121ft above the ground — with no safety net.

It was an emotional moment for them both.

The woman’s father, The Great Karl Wallenda, had plunged to his death from that same spot 33 years earlier. He was 73.

If you haven’t heard of him, Karl Wallenda was the acrobat.

He and his family formed The Flying Wallendas, who created many of the acrobatic feats performed today. They were renowned for pulling off the most daring stunts while dangling hundreds of feet in the air — without a safety net.

Earlier that day, he was asked his terminal question: “Why?”

Karl is quoted as replying, “Life is on the tightrope, and the tightrope is the only place to be. The only place I feel alive is on the wire. Everything else is just waiting.”

Life is a balancing act. Our job as humans is to shuffle out along that wire every day and perform our best, knowing that one day we will fall. And walking out there anyway. 

Because that thrilling fear that comes from doing something uncommon — that’s being alive.

That’s what it’s all about.

The rest is just waiting.

Last night I thought I died

I don’t dream much, but every few years I have a dream that sticks with me; as vivid as if it were real.

The other night I had one, and in it, I died of COVID.

At first, it was all running around as one does in dreams, trying to figure out what was going on; why nobody would talk to me.

And then I realised — I was dead.

That was it—no more Ben.

All I could think to myself was, “THAT’S IT. You’re DONE. All you’ll ever have done is what you’ve done already.”

And it was sickening.

I was angry.

I’d done nothing, and now I couldn’t do anything about it.

It was all over, and I had just gotten started.

Boy, was I happy when that alarm clock woke me up.

Happy to be alive!