Most of us would like to be able to control fate, to change the borders of eternity and return loved ones long deceased to this world. Wouldn’t that be great? It is, after all, one of the building blocks of most religions - the promise that, in the afterlife, we will be reunited with all those who have lived before. That conjures up an incredible scene that harks back to the Righteous Brothers’ “Rock and Roll Heaven”, to say nothing of all the Frankenstein and Mummy movies.
With that in mind, I’d like you to come with one person from history that you’d like to see return from the dead, at their peak, with all senses intact, ready to rock and roll, for one day. This person can be someone from ancient history, like Cleopatra, from recent history, like John Lennon, or a prehistoric figure such as Jesus, Moses or Og the Caveman.
For today’s purposes, I’d like to stay away from family members, if you please. Each of us would like to see Grandma again. That’s a given. Unfortunately, in my humble broadcaster’s opinion, it makes for a sad and maudlin radio show, sadder, at least, than asking to see Groucho Marx return from the grave.
Or Karl Marx, for that matter.
You get one day with a famous figure from history to do with what you’d like. Take Napoleon bowling. Jam with Hendrix. Tell Ben Franklin to go fly a kite. It’s your choice.
I’ve tossed and turned since coming up with this concept, to be truthful. There are so many historical figures I’d like to see return for so many different reasons. Some, I’d just like to meet and shake hands. “Good job, Mr. Washington. Way to go, Roberto Clemente! Nice to meet you, Genghis Kahn. Please wipe your feet.”
For others, I would have questions. “Hey, Mary. How’d you break the news to Joseph that you were pregnant? Mr. Columbus? You ever think of stopping to ask for directions? Hey, Amelia Earhart! Where the hell were you?”
In today’s ultra-violent, seemingly lack-of-center world we need all the help we can get. It would be great to summon history’s thinkers to the scene for one day. Let’s ask Lincoln how he would solve the problem in Iraq. Someone should pose the great environmental issues of the day to Galileo. How about bringing Thomas Edison back from the grave to reset the radio buttons in my car?
It’s taken a few days to come up with the one person I’d like to have resurrected for a day. I purposely avoided Jesus for fear that he’d say to me, “Been there. Done that.” As much as I would have liked to have taken Buddha to a modern all-you-can-eat buffet or gone to the wave pool with John the Baptist, I declined to choose a religious figure.
With all the problems facing our world and the explosion of technology, a legendary scientific mind from the past beckoned. But who to choose? Copernicus? Einstein? Thomas Crapper?
The entertainment world was certainly an attraction. How much fun would it be to hang out with Jackie Gleason, Harry Houdini or the late, great King of Rock and Roll, Elvis for just one day?
Too many choices.
I finally shrugged my shoulders and concluded that it’s just a radio show, a strange and hopefully fun way to pass a couple of hours on a Thursday afternoon. It isn’t rocket science. We’re not going to solve world issues here. The best we can hope for is to carry a conversation.
Once again I was over-thinking the problem.
And that’s why, just before I became anal enough to make a list and start checking off dead people, I decided to go simple.
I want to bring Steady Ed Headrick back to life for one day. Steady Ed, for those of you not in the Wham-O loop, invented the Frisbee. Sure, he’s not in the same league as Winston Churchill. He’s never going to mentioned in the same sentence as Henry VIII. No one will ever confuse Steady Ed with Alexander the Great.
On the other hand, what did any of those guys ever do for me, really?
Steady Ed gave me countless hours of joy. If it weren’t for Mr. Headrick, I would have had nothing to do on all those days I skipped school and drove out to Raccoon Creek State Park. It was Ed that provided me with fun, not Kennedy or Ramses or Gandhi.
And so, if given the power to reanimate a dead person for one day, I choose Ed Headrick, inventor of the Frisbee. Even if I’m able to bring him to life for a mere afternoon, I know what we’ll do. We’ll go to the park. We’ll smoke a fatty. We’ll put on some tunes. And we’ll play some Friz.
And just before Ed has to go back to the next life?
We’ll toss it up onto the roof.
Just for old times sake.