KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, ETERNITY — On April 5th, 1994 Kurt Cobain took what would have been a lethal dose of heroin before shooting himself at point-blank range with a shotgun. The Nirvana front man was just 27 years old. By now, had Cobain lived, he’d be 50 years old. Today, on the twenty-third anniversary of his tragic suicide, the rocker looked down on Planet Earth from his suite in the rocker wing of the Heavenly Hotel, and looked down on what he’d left behind.
Cobain told his friends Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix that he could see his daughter, Frances Bean. He was sad that he hadn’t gotten a chance to watch her grow up. Kurt told Hendrix and Joplin it was nice, though, that his fans had allowed her to grow up relatively free from the harsh glare of super-stardom that had proven far too much for him to handle.
Mr. Cobain’s gaze swept to his old band mates. Nirvana had been one of the most influential bands of all time. It ushered in the “grunge” and “alternative” music scene of the 1990’s that moved the hair metal of the previous decades out of the limelight for a few years. Kurt told his friends he was very excited to see that his former bassist, Krist Novoselic, had become active in politics, and was trying to create bipartisan coalitions to solve real-world problems. Cobain was “blown away,” he told his pals, that drummer Dave Grohl had become the lead singer and front man of a band that had far greater longevity than Nirvana ever could, the Foo Fighters.
“Good for him though,” Cobain was heard saying, “he deserves it. He’s a great guy.”
As he strummed his left-handed, signature Fender Jagmaster guitar, Cobain stared out the view port down on the planet he once called home some more. Cobain noted that he thought it was “pretty fucking cool” that services like Spotify and Pandora give music fans “more options to hear the tunes they want” instead of “some fat cat corporate douchebag making them pay twenty bucks for a CD with two songs they like on it.”
For most of the time he spent looking down on Earth, Cobain was wistful. He’d tell friends later that he was starting to feel some light twinges of regret. He couldn’t have known all the way back in 1994 how much the world would change in 23 years. Kurt was starting to wish he’d been able to find treatment for his heroin addiction, anxiety, and other health problems, even if he knew that simply was not an option in his own heart and mind then.
“Hey, Jimi, can you turn on the TV to CNN for me,” Kurt asked, “I want to see what’s going on in the news.”
Hendrix flipped the TV in the jam room on. He tuned to CNN. On the screen, Joplin, Hendrix, and Cobain saw Donald Trump. Kurt explained to Hendrix and Ms. Joplin who Trump was by calling him “this rich, pompous, racist asshole everyone just keeps around to make fun of.” Then, Cobain noticed the chyron underneath Trump, who was speaking before a large audience. The words shocked Cobain to his very core.
“Wait,” Cobain said, “does that fucking say ‘PRESIDENT Donald Trump’ underneath him? I…can’t. How’d…when’d…But he’s a clown…I can’t.”
Kurt drew a long breath. He paused. He looked at the TV again. He wasn’t seeing things. Donald Trump was President of the United States of America now.
“On second thought,” Kurt said, “I made the right call after all. I can’t even imagine how many people now wish I’d taken them with me.”
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.