So here I am, listening to a test-cast by my mega-talented friend Tony “T-Bone” Jones. It’s called “Song of Bobby Kennedy”, and it’s about 20 minutes of trance-dance electronica interspersed with a rousing and cautionary speech by Bobby Kennedy. “A time of change and a time of sorrow.” It’s about racism and violence and senseless bloodshed–it is on the assassination of Dr. King.
But another friend, R. A. “Deck” Deckert, sent me this link, and guess what’s the first story at the top?
The columnist Steve Lopez, writing in The Los Angeles Times about Juan Romero, the busboy who knelt down to help Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot at the Ambassador Hotel. The paper’s Daily Mirror blog reprinted the column, first published five years ago, last week on the 40th anniversary of the assassination:
"People were six and seven deep," Juan says, but he got close enough to stick out his hand. As Kennedy grabbed it, Juan heard a bang and felt a flash of heat against his face. Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin, had fired from just off Juan’s shoulder.
"I thought it was firecrackers at first, or a joke in bad taste," says Juan, but then he saw Kennedy sprawled on the floor and knelt to help him up.
"He was looking up at the ceiling, and I thought he’d banged his head. I asked, ‘Are you O.K.? Can you get up?’ One eye, his left eye, was twitching, and one leg was shaking."
Juan slipped a hand under the back of Kennedy’s head to lift him and felt warm blood spilling through his fingers.
"People were screaming, ‘Oh my God, not another Dallas!’ "
Ethel Kennedy knelt down at her husband’s side and pushed Juan away. Juan looked on, angry and stunned, fingering the rosary beads in his pocket.
"When I was in trouble, I would always go and pray to God to make my stepfather forget what I’d done, or to keep me out of trouble the next time. I asked Ethel if I could give Bobby the rosary beads, and she didn’t stop me. She didn’t say anything.
"I pressed them into his hand but they wouldn’t stay because he couldn’t grip them, so I tried wrapping them around his thumb. When they were wheeling him away, I saw the rosary beads still hanging off his hand."
Some would say this is just because the past week saw the 40th anniversary of RFK’s assassination. Others would say this is just a coincidence.
I say they’re both wrong.
This is synchronicity–the word coined by Carl Jung to denote a meaningful coincidence or an acausal connection between two seemingly unconnected things. In this case, the obvious connection is RFK, but when I listened to the song and read the story concurrently, I had the distinct sense of something much subtler–and dare I say spookier–going on. My friend Deck did not send me the link to draw my attention to the RFK story, but to a piece further down on the blog, about writers who still use typewriters (and in the age of not-so-bomb-proof laptops, it might be worth investing in an old metal-cased portable just in case, methinks. BTW, did I mention that Hugo Chavez doesn’t use a computer but prefers a typewriter for his own correspondence? It’s true. He told it to Aleida Guevara when she interviewed him a few years ago. But that’s another strange little coincidence. File it away for future reference, my friends, because I intend to return to it.) My friend Tony didn’t just conveniently time his recording to coincide with the 40th anniversary of RFK’s death, but to underscore the enduring emportance of some of his most famous last words. My two friends don’t know each other, but they both know me. I did not know in advance that the story and the music would appear on my computer at the same time.
That, my friends, is synchronicity.