& Heroes

Posted 2/22/22

HORSEPLAY Simple Twist of Fate One of my best friends from college visited for a couple days and stayed at my house this past week. He is an extremely gifted musician and was picking away and singing …

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& Heroes



Simple Twist of Fate

One of my best friends from college visited for a couple days and stayed at my house this past week. He is an extremely gifted musician and was picking away and singing Bob Dylan's 'Simple Twist of Fate' after we finished eating dinner.

Now, I know plenty of Dylan's songs, and like quite a few, but I wouldn't classify myself as a Dylan disciple by any means. I had never heard 'Simple Twist of Fate' before.

It was a poignant choice, and most would say astoundingly ironic, as it could be a gigantic twist of fate he was even at my house. But most would be wrong.

As my friend kept playing his guitar, I stopped marveling at his chord changes and the easiness of his voice. I found myself just listening and thinking. Like a great actor gives you a timeout from life bringing you inside the story, a great musician does the same thing. My friend looked truly relaxed playing music and I was ecstatic he was, but the timeout from life will soon be finished and what will fate have in store when his visit is over?

Bob Dylan's 'Simple Twist of Fate' is a relatable story for most of us, even more than you may think.

In the last verse, Dylan wrote, 'I lost the ring. She was born in spring, but I was born too late. Blame it on a simple twist of fate.'

On the surface, it's a simple story of a chance meeting between a man and a woman and their one night spent together. We are left to ponder the 'what if's' in our own psyche; the hundreds of different paths we can choose each day determining a different outcome.

Here's the genius in Dylan's 'Simple Twist of Fate' for me; it isn't acknowledging the effect blind luck has on each of us; it's actually doing the exact opposite. The man in the song is using a twist of fate as an excuse or a crutch as to why it didn't work out between he and the woman he met. He wants to go find her but he doesn't and chalks it up it up to, 'He told himself he didn't care; pushed the window open wide; felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate. Brought on by a simple twist of fate.'

The man in the song is afraid to go after what he wants. Our brains have a way of out-smarting our hearts and the man justifies his lack of confidence by blaming it on a twist of fate.

My friend has been to the depths of hell battling alcoholism. It's a jail cell I do not know but I've seen his emotional incarceration from point blank range. A loneliness of empty silence was in his eyes when I picked him up to bring him to detox. His brain was drinking itself to death. It was like seeing the view from the bottom of an ocean abyss. His body didn't have the strength left to open the top of a vodka bottle anymore because he had used it all to hug me when I walked in the door. It was the longest hug I've ever received in my entire life. His heart outsmarted his brain.

'People tell me it's a sin to know and feel too much within,' Dylan's song continues.

The look in his eye and the hope in his hug are the reasons I know he's not leaving his recovery to a twist of fate. He is making his own fate and I think that's what Bob Dylan is talking about in his song, the same song my friend introduced to me. He's agreed to go to treatment and agreed to not only ask for help but also receive it. The brain is tricky, however, and it's smarter than we think. It will justify its addiction like a corporate lawyer debating a guilty man free. Right now, my friend is trusting his heart and not his head.

For a long time my friend has been living the Dylan line, 'How long must he wait one more time for a simple twist of fate.'

The way I see it, one must give in order to receive. It will unlock the hope inside the heart and like the woman in Dylan's song, 'She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate and forgot about the simple twist of fate.'