ABC has a new series called "Flash Forward," and I was watching it on Hulu. (Yes, that's a plug. No, they didn't pay me to mention them). In the pilot, everyone in the world has a suddenly 2 minute, 17 second blackout where they experience a dream, a vision. They see themselves and what they're doing exactly 6 months from the present day.
In other words, they know what they're going to be doing, and where they're doing it, six months from now.
But one of the characters intrigues me. He's a Korean FBI man who saw nothing, meaning he was either asleep or dead (though others said they saw themselves asleep or dreaming). More clues arrive and he learns he's going to be murdered in March.
His reaction, at first, was fear. So, he fought back against the investigation they're going through to piece together a "mosaic" of that day (from as many witnesses as possible).
Then, in this most recent episode, he suddenly began to get giddy and loose. They were all drinking together in a bar, for instance, and one of the characters cautions him about drinking too much.
He looks at the scold and says, hey, man. I know when I'm gonna die. I might as get some living in.
Other characters begin to act in the same way. Released from the normal, daily fears, they suddenly feel free and positive and without a care.
That feeling. That's what I called the bonus round.
I was aware of my giddy freedom, personally, but I wasn't aware of how much I weigh myself down with fear and anxiety until the day they told me I was going to live. I sang about this last week at Kulak's with my original "Lazarus" song. It's on the Bonus Round Sessions CD.
And I've written about it many times over the past years since coming back to life. It was almost visceral. I can tell you the exact moment of the epiphany, when I felt the weight of the world come back down on my shoulders. I was in the living room holding the vacuum cleaner and it descended like a thought, a feather of anxiety touched my clean mind. It flew in and out so quickly, I almost missed it.
For a moment it went away. But then, as if coming out of amnesia, the kind you only see on soap operas, I remembered "the weight." I could feel it pressing down on me. The pre-bonus round Steve. Like a child being reborn into a world of fear and anxiety, and yet created only by my mind.
One second I was carefree and had limitless potential.
The next moment, I was the worry rat thrown back into river of anxiety to drown.
The other night, at Kulak's, as I was about to sing "Lazarus," I was explaining to Tatiana, a young writer on the scene, that Lazarus, in the story, was brought back to life.
Her first question was, "What did he think about that?"
In Flash Forward, some of the characters are saying, "The future saved me."
I remember when I could see my future. And like this FBI character, there was a certain comfort in knowing I had only just so much time and no more.
I'm reminded of the old Chinese saying about how a child who dies has the longest life and an old man, the shortest.
I know that that state of mind, of perfect freedom, is available. I know it is because it's only a state of mind. Having gone there, I know what it feels and tastes and smells like. The question is whether I have to know when I'm gonna die to get there again.