Last Tuesday morning, I went down to our basement to grab my cyclocross bike and ride to my office. Commuting to work on a bike is my heaven. It’s a way for me to get into the day and ready myself for whatever will cross my desk in the course of a day, but on this morning, I would be woken to a rude awakening. I knew rain storms pelted us the night before, but as I opened the crawl space door and turned on the overhead light in order to retrieve my bike, my heart sunk. I saw a half dozen Rubbermaid Roughneck tubs turned upside down and tossed about the floor of our basement. I knew immediately what happened. We were flooded.
As I walked closer to the upheaval, regret was beginning to sink in. Six weeks prior, I unstacked these tubs, which was my undoing. Had I left them stacked, they would have survived 8 inches of water and never tipped over. I would have escaped losing a chunk of my bachelorhood rock n’ roll memorabilia, including the last five tours worth of U2 programs. I was upset, but I couldn’t let it get the best of me. I had to find resolve and get to work. I ditched the idea of riding my cross bike. Instead, I returned upstairs and pulled my wife from her slumber in order to show her the devastation.
In my heart, I knew no one could take my U2 memories away from me. Yes, I was heartbroken, but I had to press on. My wife reminded me, as I headed to our front door with my messenger bag over my back that things would be okay. She was right. I had written a book about all great things U2 in life and my work would stand the test of time. It gave me the lift I needed in order to get out the door, but of course, I was unable to contain my guilt or sorrow. When I reached my office, I broke down. My emotions caught up to me and I could not stop the tears. I was clearly upset, but I had to stay focused.
Upon my return home, I went to face the devastation and grabbed whatever I could salvage. Luckily, I contacted a library archivist who told me how to ensure what was salvageable could be saved. Unfortunately, the glossy pubs had to be tossed, but the Zoo T.V. programs survived. Achtung Baby was a life changing album for me and a lot of other U2 fans. The person behind the mixing of this U2 masterpiece is Mark Ellis, otherwise know as Flood. The irony here is that a natural flood took away a lot of my U2 collection, but it took a Flood to bring U2 to me. As engineer of U2’s sound, Mark brought U2 to the forefront of music with their epic album The Joshua Tree, followed by Achtung Baby.
When an album of such stature as The Joshua Tree comes in your life, it’s life changing. Especially when you need something to hang onto that’s stable. Being in college and deciding life’s path can have its moments, but with U2 in your Walkman, you feel safe. Thanks to Mark Ellis, his Flood stills survives within me. For that, we can all be thankful.The loss of the physical can be replaced at some moment in time, but it’s the memories that cannot be erased.