Excerpt from John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Pulphead,” on his brother’s electrocution, and what it did to his brain:
On the morning of April 21, 1995, my elder brother, Worth (short for Ellsworth), put his mouth to a microphone in a garage in Lexington, Kentucky, and in the strict sense of having been ‘shocked to death,’ was electrocuted. He and his band, the Moviegoers, had stopped for a day to rehearse on their way from Chicago to a concert in Tennessee, where I was in school. Just a couple of days earlier, he had called to ask if there were any songs I wanted to hear at the show. I asked for something new, a song he’d written and played for me the last time I’d seen him, on Christmas Day. Our holidays always end the same way, with the two of us up late drinking and trying out our new ‘tunes’ on each other.