As long as I now have your attention, I would like to inform you that, yes, indeed, I am still high from my drive this morning on Lake Shore Drive. That’s LSD as in the acronym for Lake Shore Drive and not the hallucinogenic drug (for those of you who are actually high on LSD).
I have always loved cruising on LSD! I mean, Lake Shore Drive. I love it! LSD begins/ends at Hollywood on the north end; I’m not sure where it begins/ends on the south end because every time I passed the Museum of Science and Industry, I would mysteriously find myself NOT on LSD.
There is something very relaxing about driving on Chicago’s lakefront on beautiful, sunny day. I have so many fond memories to my earliest driving days of speeding on LSD in my buccaneer red 1975 Pontiac Firebird in 1975 when I was only 18. Whenever I felt depressed, or extremely happy for that matter, I would cruise up one end of LSD and then back to the other, for no practical reason other than it was FUN! You see, I loved driving my car! Despite all the usual problems of an eighteen year old, I drove a brand new Firebird that I bought all by myself!
Every time I drove on LSD, I played special driving songs on my car 8-Track player: “I’m in Love with my Car” by Queen, “Ventura Highway” by America, “Highway Star” by Deep Purple, “AutoBahn” by Kraftwerk, and of course, “Lake Shore Drive” by Aliotta, Haynes, and Jeremiah. LSD was so soothing since I was under so much stress at the time. I was unhappy at home, I worked full-time on the midnight shift at the Derby Foods peanut butter factory while I was still in high school. Driving was a nice emotional release from all my problems.
So this morning as I’m driving on LSD, I had this incredible flashback to the days of my youth when I was to know what it meant to be a man. Oops, I just quoted Led Zeppelin, another favorite of mine. I kind of miss my 8-track player now.
Hear that whirring in the air. The cicadas are here! I’ve seen their exoskeletons, their dead carcasses, and live cicadas in flight. I love Chicago, but I especially love my new neighborhood. I live on the south side in Beverly. (Some politically incorrect acquaintances tell me that I live in a black neighborhood, when in reality the neighborhood is actually integrated quite well. In fact, this is the best and safest neighborhood in which I have ever lived after a lifetime of living in Chicago.) So I get to experience the cicadas in full force for the first time in my life. When they surfaced 17 years ago, I merely read about the cicadas in the newspaper, but I didn’t actually see any. I lived in the famous south side neighborhood of Bridgeport where I didn’t see a single cicada because, in Bridgeport, they don’t want nobody nobody sent. So that meant no cicadas were welcome since they already have enough skeletons in their closet.
In Beverly, I’ve been seeing cicadas for the last month or so. And I’ve seen them in some compromising positions! I’ve seen them undressing by crawling out of their exoskeletons and I’ve seen them mating by backing up into each other, which looks very painful if I look at their mating from the human point of view. (The last time I backed up into a female, she slapped me.) I’ve stepped on a few cicadas while running, but not on purpose. Well, I’ll enjoy the cicadas while I can because I won’t see them again for another 17 years.
Chicago, our fair city, has many nicknames. Such as the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, Chi-Town, and the City That Works. But now, Chicago now has a new nickname thanks to tattoo artist Sam Hacker who inadvertently misspelled Chi-Town as Chi-Tonw, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, March 13, 2007. Hacker showed the final imprint to the customer, who approved the design, before he started the actual tattoo. However, neither one noticed the spelling error. End result: a tattoo that said “CHI-TONW” and a lawsuit against the tattoo artist.
But, wait! The story only gets better! And this could only happen in Chicago. As a show of support, a fellow tattoo artist is now sporting a CHI-TONW tattoo on the front of his neck! Bridgeport Tattoo is offering free tattoos of CHI-TONW and about 20 people have gotten them already. Before you know it, thousands will have this new tattoo and Chicago will have a new nickname! I love Chicago! I envision signs at our airports that say, “Mayor Richard M. Daley Welcomes You to CHI-TONW!”
Chicago is the greatest city on earth! It’s a microcosm of the world. Many of world’s languages are spoken in Chicago. My greatest regret in life is that I wasn’t born in Chicago. Unfortunately, I was born in a place far, far away, called Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Where my parents led, I followed. To be honest, I wasn’t in on the pre-natal decision-making process. I was conceived in Mexico, but I was born in the U.S.
I have lived in several neighborhoods in Chicago. My grandparents came to Chicago in the 1950s and lived in Pilsen. So, naturally, when my parents moved to Pilsen, so did I. We also lived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. When my parents divorced, my mother, my brothers, my sister, and I moved to the Marquette Park area. My father moved back to his father’s house in Pilsen. I bought my first house in Bridgeport and lived there until I started my own family and moved to Ashburn on the southwest side. When I divorced, I bought my present house in Beverly. Some people have told me that I live in a black neighborhood, but that’s not true at all. This is one of the few Chicago neighborhoods that is truly integrated! This is the best neighborhood in which I have ever lived.
I love Chicago, that toddling town. The City of Big Shoulders. The City that Works. Chi-Town. The Windy City. Well, you get the idea. Living in Chicago is always an adventure. I love to analyze the little ironies of living in our fair city. Somethime driving directions don’t make any sense. I remember once driving northeast on Southwest Highway, then driving southbound on Western Avenue, then going east on North Avenue, and driving North on Southport Avenue. Only in Chicago. Western Avenue was named Western Avenue because it used to be the western border of Chicago. And North Avenue was named North Avenue because it used to be the northern border of Chicago. Michigan Avenue was named that because it ran along the Lake Michigan shore before it was filled with rubble from the Chicago Fire.
Let’s not forget my favorite Chicago street, Lake Shore Drive. Alliota, Haines, and Jeramiah wrote “Driving on LSD” about that street , but they admit in the song that they were high on LSD. Another favorite street of mine is Wacker Drive with its upper and lower drives. Most Chicago streets run east-west or north-south. However, the almighty Wacker Drive actually runs in all four directions! What other street in the world can use all the compass directions in their addresses and give us such addresses as 200 South Wacker Drive, 20 North Wacker Drive, 5 West Wacker Drive, and 71 East Wacker Drive? Only Wacker Drive in Chicago can make that curious geographical claim!