A year of absolute highs and bottomless lows. My painting business
was really kicking into high gear; I spent Christmas in
my first house,
and was expanding my studio--buying everything I could with all my
extra painting money. On a miserable note, my step-father, Robert
Williams, passed away the first week of March. In October of that
year, I would finish my first CD, and dedicate it to his memory.
What an inspiration he was--and still is. On an almost daily basis,
I feel he's watching over me, and probably getting yet another 'last
laugh' in when I struggle with repairs around the house.
appropriate is it that Chris Isaak's, 'Wicked Games' just now
came on the radio. I was trying to find a way to segue into the
point of this story, and the XM-Radio DJ lent a hand. Thanks,
dude! Anyway, here's the story:
My good friend
Michael O'Laughlin and I decided to take a week-long road trip (over
the Memorial Day weekend) to Dallas to visit his mom and sister. I had
no idea what was in store for me once I arrived, but all the
preparation in the world couldn't have prevented my eyes from having
a heart attack once I met Angela. Besides meeting her, everything
that took place over the next few days was like a dream (and I'm
certain not to forget all the brilliant moments that took place just
on the drive down, and on the way back, too). It would take
literally 30 - 40 pages of journal writing to cover a fraction of
all that happened, so I won't even begin. But everytime I look back
at the trip, I get a little chill--the good kind, for sure. Maybe
someday I'll recount it all, as I know people would enjoy reading
So as a result
of that dream-like moment in time, Michael created a chart. A chart
based on what it's like to be on Cloud 9. You see, that's what we
talked about for most of the trip back. How it felt to live everyday
on Cloud 9. While stuffing M&M's into my mouth, I continued my
juvenile thought process with, "Man, when I saw
Angela, that was like Cloud 10 or something..." I further
added that, "...the Flashback (roller coaster) ride with her at Six Flags
almost put me on Cloud 11, but at least Cloud 10;...maybe 10.5...But
Mr. Freeze was a mere Cloud 9 since Angela bolted towards the
Chicken Exit right as we boarded." And how could I forget
listening to the Chris Isaak CD in her room,...well, you get the
picture. So many moments engrained into my memory.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
That's where the following came
from. As childish as it may seem, I'm sure you'll find it a nice
distraction if you try it yourself. A good way to gage how your day,
week...life is presently going, and where you'd like it to be. It's
fun to think about, for instance, what your favorite place to visit
would be; and if you were there, how would the weather be...? Would
they serve your favorite food with a to-die-for dessert menu; the
best-ever music playing in the background; the Sun begging for a few
more moments of your time... How do you relate your Heaven (or Hell)
|Cloud 0: Absolute agony. Better off
dead. Suicide preferable to life.
Life's a shambles. Hit rock bottom. Utter despair. Only
thing going is living, and that's of questionable worth.
Cloud 2: Things falling apart rapidly.
No sense of future. Struggle to survive. General sense
Cloud 3: Things are slipping away.
Desperate to turn things around. Panic and despair.
Cloud 4: Things are bad. The situation
is grim. Future looks bleak. Just treading water.
Cloud 5: Feeling insecure. Unsure what
future holds. Living on a prayer.
Cloud 6: Things are shaky. A few
disruptions but are riding it out. Hopeful for the
Cloud 7: Have basic security and
comfort. Future looks positive but a lot of work ahead.
Cloud 8: Things are good. Have hit your
stride. Good outlook for the future. Feeling of well
being. Dreams seem within reach. Future looks bright.
Cloud 9: Traditional Heaven. Things are
great. Feeling fine, secure and confident. Hitting on
all cylinders. The world is your oyster.
Cloud 10: True Bliss. At peace with the
world. Radiating good will.
Cloud 11: Nirvana. Feeling euphoric.
Nothing can go wrong and you can do no wrong.
Cloud 12: Cosmic benevolence. In
harmony with the universe. Feel god-like. Peace and love
emanate from you.
Cloud 13: Metaphysical transcendence.
Death by pleasure. Corporal body insufficient to contain
joy and love.