I Flew Through The Air Like A Bird

I was always a fan of music.

All types.

I enjoy talking about music, discussing (bragging about) my diverse palate of tastes, and engaging in meaningful conversations about bands, musicians, genres, and so forth.

From Dave Matthews to Death Metal was my go to answer while I wore UFO Shorts – remember those? – and my XL Slipknot t-shirt because I liked the way XL shirts looked on me and I am now starting to realize why I never went on a date in high school.

Heavy Metal is generally my go-to music genre, that was especially true in high school. Eventually I got into the hardcore music scene but before I reached that destination the train pulled up in Nu-Metal-ville where D-Tuned guitars, songs about “Nookie”, and guys with flame tattoos ruled the land.

Without going into too much detail, I WAS THE BIGGEST LIMP BIZKIT FAN EVER!

Correct, I enjoyed a band who not only used a breakfast pastry – by the way THE BEST breakfast pastry that ever existed. The golden-brown color, the flaky exterior, and the warm center makes me weak in the knees. Just the idea of slapping on some eggs and sausage is making me salivate and now my co-workers are wondering why I’m cuddling myself.

Where was I?

Right.

So I was THE BIGGEST FAN of a band that spelled biscuit incorrect in their name. That’s where I was mentally at that time. Actually most of the bands I enjoyed at that time spelled their names incorrectly. The aforementioned Limp Bizkit, Korn, Linkin Park, Staind, and I’m sure more embarrassing ones that I am choosing to not mention.

The reason I mention this is because at that time OzzFest was at it’s peak of it’s glory years. A traveling showcase of the hottest bands on the metal circuit and when it would roll into town I was sure to be there. All of us “outsiders” would gather and try not to judge each other for wearing the same exact black outfit as other people. It was the classic “I’m not like anyone else so I’m going to dress like these guys over here to be original” type of scenes.

Moshing didn’t really enter my life until I was at a CKY show at the Roseland Ballroom. As I was entering “the pit” my friend threw his head back and caught me square in the forehead. I was dazed – maybe crying – and then sat on the sidelines too scared to get hit again.

Eventually I made my way back in and moshed with the best of them. The “best of them” in this situation are 6-foot-3 men who are sweating profusely through their over-sized Giants jerseys with some ironic name on the back like Seahorn or Toomer – because they are REAL fans – that smash into each other effectively turning someone of my size into a human pinball bouncing between the bumpers, the people surrounding the pit are like the flippers, launching small redheads back into the fray with reckless abandon.

THAT WAS A LONG SENTENCE.

My transition into the Hardcore scene took place my senior year of High School. My taste in Nu-Metal was transforming into more progressive forms of music that had a deeper message, kind of like when you eat Taco Bell and then eat at a authentic Mexican restaurant, you appreciate the craftsmanship it took to create that meal but every once in a while you would stop by the Taco Bell drive-thru alone so your friends wouldn’t judge you for eating – or in this case listening – to such amazingly fulfilling garbage.

This new-found passion eventually led me to the “Second Stage” of OzzFest. The “Second Stage” was full of bands that people would stop listening to once anyone else in their immediate circle of friends even said “I’ve heard of them.”

“Is that a Pig Destroyer t-shirt?”

Yeah, you’ve heard of them?

“Yeah, I think someone told me about them once”

*tears off shirt and lights it on fire*~

~ indicates dramatization

OzzFest conveniently took place on the hottest day of the year or, at least, it felt that way. It’s been well documented on this blog that I do not do well with heat and the sun. It should also be mentioned that the second stage happened to be set up in the parking lot of the Jones Beach Amphitheater which featured asphalt. So basically OzzFest took place in my personal hell, but I didn’t let that stop me!

I finally found my mecca and it was listening to bands that were speaking directly to me and putting out this energy that I had never seen before. The crowd was going absolutely crazy. People climbing on each other, running into each other, and engaging in the always popular circle pit and wall of death.

During God Forbid’s performance things started to get a little OUT OF FUCKING CONTROL!

I looked over to the stage and see people LITERALLY flying through the air toward the security gate that separates the crowd from the stage. Seeing how these people were acting it was a brilliant idea. Who knows what they would be capable of if they reached the stage!

I wasn’t sure how these people were flying but I specifically remember thinking, “wow, so this is what heat stroke feels like.”

It wasn’t heat stroke though, but I did leave with a nice case of sun poisoning. Ever have blisters on your scalp? I have! Thanks, OzzFest!

Then I saw what was happening. People were running about 100 feet across the “pit” and this GIANT of a man, whose side job might have been being a mountain, was launching them in the air. The weirdest part wasn’t that though, it was that he was in an orange jumpsuit that may or may not have actually been one of those gag psych ward ones you see at Halloween shops or mental hospitals.

I didn’t have time to ponder such observations so I awaited my turn and finally got the nod. I took off, much like a gymnast about to vault themselves into a broken leg and American’s hearts, and away I went picking up speed with each step. The giant in front of me was awaiting my arrival and a broad smile came across his face and at that point I knew this was going to be trouble.

His two hands were about a foot off the ground and my last step was me putting my left foot into those meat hooks and I was airborne.

If an observer with a stopwatch was looking at this scene I guarantee my flight lasted no longer than a second and a half, but it felt like forever. Here I was, if only for a moment, living out every child’s dream of flight. I was high above the crowd, that was about 20 people deep from the stage barricade, and was soaring like an eagle whose silhouette crossed the sun.

And then things got a little hairy because gravity was all like, “you must come back to earth now.”

What I saw develop earlier was people landing on top of other people as if it were a cloud of pillows and then they would be carried away and placed back on the ground to enjoy the remainder of the show.

This WAS NOT my experience.

What happened was I was about to land and everyone in the immediate area looked up at me, a chubby redhead in UFO shorts, and basically said, “fuck this guy” then proceeded to part like the red sea leaving only asphalt and pain in my immediate future.

Luck was on my side though because the giant ended up throwing me too far so now my face wasn’t headed for the asphalt but the beautiful steel barricade in front of the stage. As I made my approach for landing all I could do was brace for impact. I was certain an oxygen mask would be on my face at some point, probably in the ambulance, and then, miraculously, an on-looker grabbed my legs, a security guard my shoulders and I landed successfully on my own two feet.

I will never know for sure but it has always been in the back of my mind if my XL t-shirt acted as a pseudo-parachute and helped me fly a little further so that security guard could grab me.

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