He was the leering dragon inside the dusty record cabinet.
The burly beast lifting a fleet-fingered guitarist into the air, posed like a granite statue on the cover of the cassette tape in my uncle's glove compartment.
I was a mere eight years old and without hearing a single note of music I imagined Ozzy Osborne swinging from a tree limb hanging over the edge of a cliff, overlooking the foggy precipice to hell. He was terrifying in such wonderful ways.
Like the record cover images, I see moments with Ozzy as snapshots of growing up.
Avoiding the front of the line on a grammar school field trip because a friend had a copy of Live & Loud and my generic discman fit in my husky shorts pocket (I still know nothing about that historical site we visited...not even what it was called).
Burning out the car battery listening to No Rest for the Wicked and being blown away by a surprise unlisted song, before the 90s burned out that concept.
Going to Grandma's house because she's the only person I knew with MTV, in a desperate attempt to see No More Tears videos.
Staying up late to hear a Sabbath song on the only rock radio station for 200 miles and being forced to sit through a Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Eagles "rock block."
Walking my college campus with headphones and a used copy of We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll because I finally moved to a town with a decent record store.
Sitting with an awesome Navajo family and nursing second-stage (set up in a Phoenix, AZ parking lot in August) mosh pit wounds while Ozzy sang to close Ozzfest.
Driving to a job across the state as the sun rises on my face and "War Pigs" on the radio sounds utterly cataclysmic.
Spiraling towards middle age and sentimentality, listening to Ordinary Man and considering the life and career of rock and roll's craziest characters, I can't help but say "thank you, Ozzy."
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