The Geddy Lee Chronicles, Episode I
On August 24, 2007, Rush, Canada’s greatest intelligent rock band returns to St. Louis. In honor of yet another visit by Alex, Neil and Geddy, let us turn back the clock to that moment when Rush earned my lifelong admiration and respect and love: The moment when Geddy Lee saved my life.
It was the summer of 1978 in Ottosen, Iowa. I was barely 11, I was free from school, and my whole life revolved around the Sid and Marty Krofft Adventure Hour on Saturday mornings, specifically the live-action spectacular, Bigfoot and Wildboy. Given my druthers I'd have grown up to be Bigfoot, but I was content at the time to portray Wildboy during those long summer days.
So there I am in the woods one fine early evening, running like an idiot between trees whilst hooting and grunting in my best Bigfoot manner. It's getting dark, but what do I care? I'm the goddamn Wild Boy -- I live in these woods. Still, there was an ominous musk in the air, a strange smell that was like hot skunk or old wet dog. Maybe I should head in.
So I did. I cut back the short way, off the trail. I hadn't gone more than a few minutes when I felt it behind me.
Motherfucking Bigfoot. It was maybe 8 feet tall, but it seemed like a two-story building, just looming there in the semi-darkness, like all the creepy things about the woods at night had congealed into a brute form approximating Man. The stink, the arms, the mile-wide chest and shoulders, all of it exactly like everyone always describes it, the way I'd always imagined it would be if I ever actually saw one. Only now that we're this close to each other, I wished I'd never seen anything even remotely like this.
I may have peed in my pants right about this time, but I believe I was so terrified that the urine completely sublimated in my bladder, going from liquid to gas immediately, because I could smell the pee but I couldn't feel it. Bigfoot didn't seem to care either way. It just cocked its head to the side with a snuffling grunt.
How long does it take for an eleven year old's life to flash before their eyes? That's how long we stood together in the gloaming. I had an eternity of desperate shrieking fear bubbling in my chest, a pantload of dry piss and nothing else going for me.
Bigfoot made the first move, a hesitant step forward that covered a yard if it covered an inch. The heat coming off that pelt was noticeable even in the July haze.
Then it happened.
A tall, skinny man wearing those white-piped jogging shorts and nothing else suddenly appeared on the scene. A Bjorn Borg headband held back the cascading waves of his chestnut hair. He tapped Bigfoot on the shoulder, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do.
"Hey, Bud. Let's keep moving. We don't want our heart rates to drop." Bigfoot nodded, two quick shakes of his head, and then turned away. He quickly fell into a loping run, his long arms swinging with preternatural grace.
The man winked at me, then ran after Bigfoot. As they disappeared in the trees, I heard him yell "North is this way, Bud."
I am convinced that man was Geddy Lee, and that once again Rush's enigmatic bassist/lead singer had saved my life. But for what purpose?