Richards Found To Have No New Brain Damage
I noticed the 10,000 a day digs he was staying at....I think he's given up on early retirement - probably will have to keep working as long as he spends like a drunken sailor rock star.
According to published reports, Richards - the Wile E. Coyote of rock and a walking illustration for the phrase "kids, don't try this at home" - fell 16 feet out of a coconut-palm tree on April 27 at a posh resort in Fiji. He landed on his coconut and knocked himself more senseless than usual - no small feat.
Richards, being of self-professed "hearty stock," chose not to stay down when wounded. For him, symptoms of a concussive head injury - double vision, dizziness, vomiting, unsteadiness, incoherent speech, drifting in and out of consciousness - are business as usual. Such is his infamous way of life.
Still, getting upright may have taken some time, head injury aside. The Dominion Post, a newspaper in Wellington, New Zealand, reported that Richards had spent the day drinking vodka and rum in copious amounts. Even so, what could possibly possess Richards - at 62, a man who, in the grand song of life, has fumbled through the bridge and is headed toward the final bar - to scale a coconut tree?
What, he wasn't high enough?
According to New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times, the reeling Richards then decided to take a Jet Ski out for a spin. Alas, evena calm ocean proved a harsh mistress. Richards evidently never got his Jet Ski legs. He had another ... mishap.
Richards traded in his $10,000-a-day digs at the Wakaya Club for an emergency room in Fiji before being airlifted to Mercy-Ascot Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand - with wife Patti Hanson, three guitars, 27 security guards, four bodyguards and a monumental headache.
By the way - Richards was on break from the Stones' Bigger Bang tour. Oh, the irony.
On Monday he underwent successful brain surgery to relieve pressure caused by a blood clot. The band's tour, scheduled to crank back to life in May, has been postponed until June.
The sobering realization - the swaggeringly fearless Richards, whose imminent death has been predicted and postponed for more than 35 years, is mortal. He is a real person and not just an iconic image and fodder for jokes - something too often forgotten amid the legend that obscures the man.
The reason to care about Richards is not his ability to survive addictions that would turn others to dust. Hearty stock aside, there were people - he was at one time joined on tour by a trauma team - whose sole job was to keep him alive during his dark years of heroin addiction.
The reason to respect (yes, respect) Richards - who wears every crag and wrinkle with pride - is his unwavering love of music. He doesn't just play a guitar; he wears it like an extra limb. He embodies the freedom and the outlaw spirit of the music. He thwarts conventional wisdom, authority and detractors in his refusal to budge from his fierce loyalty for the traditions of rock 'n' roll. Find sport in Richards' image and reputation. Even he does - he is fond of greeting crowds at Stones shows by saying "Good to be here. Good to be anywhere." It's easy to imagine him laughing at the absurdity of his recent waltz with Grim: "I've taken harder knocks from the press, baby."
Richards will likely pull through this latest mishap relatively unscathed. He always does. He's Keef.
But this incident is a warning shot for Richards and for his fans. He can trick the Reaper only so many times. The Ultimate Cat is running low on lives. And when he expires, the flame of rock 'n' roll that he has so loyally protected will sputter.
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