Friday, November 11, 2016

On epiphanies and coincidences...

Hello, Ez Sez Friends,

On the occasion of his death this week, here is my Leonard Cohen story...

I hopped a flight to L.A. about 12 years ago with my first iPod. It was, on a whim, loaded up with three early Leonard Cohen albums I had never heard before.

Somehow, perhaps because I had been so focused on Dylan's music in previous years, I had never given Leonard's music a chance. Sure, I had heard a song or two on the radio or on a record store's sound system, but I'd never felt compelled to add an album of his to my collection. My loyalty to Bob was perhaps at the time too strong.

On the flight, I stared out the window and soaked in those old Cohen albums carefully, enjoying them immensely. No distractions, just plain old fashioned focus. And it all clicked. The music, the man, the message. I was finally "getting" what it was that excited - that hooked - people so much about him. It felt so good to join the LC club as I floated high above the clouds and stared at the Earth's horizon listening to this one true dude. An airborne epiphany.

After the flight, as I awaited my bags at the baggage carousel at LAX, I just barely, somehow - as if guided by God or god knows what - spotted none other than that selfsame one true dude hurrying down the hallway 25 feet away.

The coincidence of it all was startling and I knew had to tell somebody. Someone needed to be a witness to this. I abandoned my bags at the carousel and decided... "I'll just tell the man himself."

I zipped over alongside him and excused myself for the interruption.

He graciously replied he was in a bit of a rush. I gently countered with, "I won't take up more than a few seconds of your time. I had to share this coincidence, Mr. Cohen. I'm a nice young Jewish boy like yourself from Montreal and a few days ago I got my first iPod. I loaded it up with your music which I'd somehow never before heard in any detail. I just sat on a plane from Montreal giving it a very careful listen. And then you walked by. And here we are. So, I just had to tell you, Mr. Cohen, mazel tov. That is some beautiful music. Thank you for making it and thanks for being here for me to thank you."

He chuckled, smiled, and gave me a patented deep-octave, rumbly "Well, thank you. Thank you very much." And then he walked away.

One of the coolest coincidences of my life. Glad to have shared it with him and glad to have shared it with you.

P.S. The above photo of a crowd in awe was one I took at Cohen's Bell Centre show a couple of years back. I knew I'd have a use for it some day. Pleased to join it to this post as a tribute to him and to all you guys who have shared so many memories of Leonard yesterday and today on Facebook. Keep them coming.

Nor oyf simchas, as they say. On happier occasions.


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