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AUGUST 24

Rarely do you get the opportunity to thank a major celebrity for altering the trailways of your existence. So now I’d like to offer a proverbial handshake to speed-guitar savior and all-around swell guy Yngwie J. Malmsteen, who navigated my once-turbulent life into calmer seas. It was three years ago, and I was down and out in Ocean City, Md. In the span of mere weeks, however, not only did Malmy renew my desire for investigative journalism (I will not sleep soundly until I find out why, halfway through his career, he dropped that handsome “J.” from his stage name), but he pulled me from the cheap world of the singles scene into the even cheaper world of relationships. I met a writer whose style and taste far exceeded my own. On our first date, I was praying for a flaw, anything to gain ground. Then I saw her tape collection, and damn if YJM wasn’t smiling at me from the bottom of the pile. Talk about a leg up: I felt like a Rockette. And in the true meaning of romance and courtship, I ribbed this potential paramour and her lame-ass taste in tunes till she screamed she never wanted to see me again. Nevertheless, we continued dating, I stayed in newspapers, and Malmy has collected dust ever since. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one Yngwie J. Malmsteen paved with his noisy chops. Thank you, Malmy. And God bless. At 8:30 p.m. at Jaxx, 6355 Rolling Rd., Springfield. $17. (703) 569-5940. (Sean Daly)