“Today’s the kind of day where, no matter what else you planned to talk about, you’re going to end up talking about Prince” – Rachel Maddow
How right you are, Rachel. I had planned to tell you all about my latest hospital adventure. I was going to be all clever and do a play on the Princess and the Pea. You know, the fairy tale about the spoiled little royal who couldn’t sleep because of a tiny irritant buried under her 20 mattresses?
I was going to call it The Aging Prince and the Kidney Stone. You may have an argument as to whether I am princely material, but no doubt I am aging, and even less doubt that this thing that emerged from my body and plopped into a strainer was a massive kidney stone.
I was even going to post a picture of it and tell you how this little pea left its gestational home in my left kidney at 1 in the morning, and how by 2 am I couldn’t sleep for the pain (just like the princess) and I drove myself to the ER .
Turns out 2:30 am on a Monday night is a great time to show up at the ER. I was the only patient, so in moments I was checked in, banded, gowned, bedded, blanketed, and hooked up to a fabulous i.v. bag full of Dilaudid, my new favorite opiate analgesic.
After a CT scan and a nap, the doc comes in with the results, a strainer, and script for pain meds. Go home, take it easy, he says, and pee into the strainer ’til you pass the thing. So I do and about a week later it comes out and I go back to my life. I was going to tell you all about this, in the cleverest of ways.
But then the news breaks – Prince, musical genius and cultural icon, was found dead in his home in Minnesota. The man who owned the 80’s, created a genre all his own, infuriated censors and made America fall in love with androgyny, was dead at the age of 57.
Rachel is right, we must talk about this. Prince was an incredible talent. A hugely successful and prolific artist. His album Purple Rain sold 13 million copies in the U.S. alone and spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard. Then he stars in the movie, plays himself, and wins a Grammy and an Oscar.
And he did it all. Look on the album credits for Purple Rain and you’ll see him listed as Producer, Composer, Arranger, and Primary Artist. That means he played bass, guitar, keyboards and sang the lead and the backup vocals too. The only reason he didn’t play the drums was he didn’t want to hog all the credit…
When he got into a beef with Warner Brothers over his contract, he got the best kind of rebellious and creative. He stopped using his name and began using this symbol, becoming The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and the greatest pain in the ass a record label has ever tried to dominate.
When he finally got out from under his contract with Warner, Prince became Prince again. The Artist Formerly Known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Which, just in case you were wondering, is his actual name. Prince Rogers Nelson.
So on this day when I had to end up talking about him, I’ll share a few things I have in common with Prince. We’re both 57, he too has had opiate analgesics in his blood stream, and while he oozed sexuality and charisma, I ooze sweat and kidney stones.
Goodnight sweet Prince. Rest In Peace.