Asked to describe the “greatest moment of their life” most people will defer to the obvious choices: their wedding, the birth of their children, their knighthood ceremony, etc.
Not me. While each of those aforementioned events were indeed magical moments in my life, they all pale in comparison to the day that was truly the “greatest moment of my life.”
Ironically enough, it all started out quite innocuously. I can’t even recall the details of the day before IT happened.
I left work as usual and hopped on the orange line. At North Station I got off to go upstairs to the commuter rail. And that’s when I saw her.
She was on the escalator in front of me. She was unremarkable in every way, except for what she was wearing – which was nothing less than amazing. It was a denim jacket…a painted denim jacket.
(Now if you’re exactly 38 years old you know that painted denim jackets were all the rage back in the ‘80s. I dreamed of having the cover of Springsteen’s “Born to Run” reproduced on the back of my Levi’s. Sadly, it never happened. But at least I didn’t try to paint it on myself, like that time when I was 13 and I tried to make my own U2 concert tee. I quickly came to realize that homemade concert tees don’t look anything like official concert tees. In fact, they look much worse than no concert tee, or at least that’s what I inferred from my friends when they were laughing at me and my limited edition ‘Sunday Bloddy Sunday’ concert tee shirt.)
Anyway, she was riding up the North Station escalator wearing a painted denim jacket. But it wasn’t painted with the cover of “Born to Run”. Nope, it had an astounding airbrushed picture of her hugging Rod Stewart. I just knew that it was copied from a real photo of her hugging Rod Stewart, but it also had that wonderfully creepy carnival look that is part and parcel of the airbrushing technique. And the best part is that they had the same kooky hairstyle. She looked ecstatic. To his credit, Rod looked happy too. (Kind of like how Rod must look when he’s thinking about the millions he can make by murdering covers of old ’40s-’50s-’60s-’70s songs.)
At that moment I felt complete. I loved life, I loved everyone and everything. I knew the purpose of life and why we’re all here. I loved that jacket with every speck of my soul. I may never have loved anything as much as I loved that painted denim jacket.
Just thinking about it now makes me happy. Oh, how I loved that jacket! Oh, how I loved that woman! Oh, how I loved Rod Stewart!
I wish I had a camera. I wish I bought that jacket off of her back. I wish that I could wear the painted denim jacket with a picture of some lady hugging a middle-aged Rod Stewart. I would wear it every day for the rest of my life and then I would be buried in it. That’s how much I loved that jacket.
It’s been years since that day. Since that greatest day ever. I’ve never seen the lady or the jacket again. But I’ve never forgotten it. And I never will. Because sometimes when you take a downtown train you’ll find a reason to believe as every picture does indeed tell a story.