The drive from Landover to Kansas City is a bit long, so the
decision was made for the band to fly.

(Jerry stuck with the bus so he could stop and play golf on
the way)

The bad news was that our flight was delayed.

The good news was that it led to an enjoyable incident with
Mike that played out for a while as we stood in line waiting to board.

Although I take the brunt of the abuse out here, no one is
immune from getting picked on from time to time, and it’s especially easy when
a band member brings it on himself.

And Mike brought it on himself.

As we stood there waiting, our multitalented tour manager
Chuck recited some random song lyrics that had nothing to do with anything.

He didn’t sing them, he just spoke them, so they were kind
of in the rhythm of the song, but not really.

I don’t think Chuck was necessarily looking for a reaction,
he just sort of blurted them out.

Then Mike piped up and guessed the band that recorded the
song.

But Mike was wrong.

I can’t remember what he said, but the band he guessed was
wrong and the song was wrong.

No big deal.

Except it was kind
of a big deal.

Because the lyrics that Chuck recited were to an Alice In
Chains song.

After Mike missed it, we all looked at him in amazement and
he looked a bit bewildered, especially after I told him that he’d just
misidentified a song by his own band.

And not some deep album cut. This is something they play
every night.

And then it got even better, because he still couldn’t get
it.

We stood there for a minute watching his wheels spin as the
boarding gate for American Airlines suddenly turned into a game show.

The clock was ticking, the pressure was building, and the
contestant hit the button and half said/half asked, “Down In A Hole?”

I’m not sure how to type the sound of an incorrect buzzer
going off, but this one sounded like 50 percent of Alice In Chains and two bald
band associates all screaming “NOOO!” at the same time.

Then we did what all good friends do in a situation like
this; we let him stew.

No hints. No additional lyrics. No clues at all.

Just let him stand there and try to figure it out on his
own.

And he couldn’t.

It was beautiful.

You could almost hear the gears in his brain grinding, as he
tried fruitlessly to come up with the answer.

But it just wasn’t happening.

We laid into him for a while but quickly got bored and moved
on to other topics.

That’s when I said to Mike, “It’s going to come to you in
the middle of the flight.”

It didn’t take that long though.

We’d taken our seats and buckled up, and the other
passengers were still boarding when Mike turned around to me and triumphantly
said, “Check My Brain!”

Correct!

Maybe we shouldn’t have picked on Mike as much as we did.

Memory lapses happen to everyone after all.

(Earlier in the week I spent a minute and a half frantically
searching for my room key as I held it in my hand the whole time, so who am I
to judge?)

The important thing is that Mike has never forgotten the
bass line to Check My Brain, so a little lyrical memory lapse is pretty
harmless I suppose.

And it made the delay a bit more fun, so all’s well that
ends well.

Rainier Fog

Available August 24