What My Brain Looks Like Inside Out
Once when walking along Hollywood Blvd., I passed an old-school homeless guy, eyes closed, head rolled back, cupping his nether regions and joyously pleasuring himself as people passed by. He had a huge smile on his face. Tourists were trying to get their kids not to look, but I noted that he looked happier than anyone I‘d seen in my life. I don’t recommend this for everybody, but he definitely looked like he was onto something.
Late 1979, Scott and I went with our our dates to The Odyssey, a West Hollywood gay disco that our dates frequented, basically so they could get sloppy drunk and not get their butts pinched. We got hammered, my date was dancing with Scott's date, so Scott and me were dancing next to them having a gay old time. Next to us, the only out of shape guys in the whole building start dancing. They were the flamboyant fat guys, both bald, without shirts and covered in hair, and one was wrapping his feather boa around the other ones neck and dancing like a stripper. The other one responded by swiveling down to the floor, where he proceeded to stuff his tongue in the other ones belly button. I leaned over, and, totally creeped out, said in my dates ear, "I'm sorry but, no matter how gorgeous you look, there will be no sex of any kind this evening."
Vicki and I once stopped off at a filling station in Big Bear, and were talking to a guy who looked like he came out of the 40's with his lined face, old-school jumpsuit and little Gomer cap. We were talking about I can't remember what, but when I replied to something with, "Man, that's the worst!", he sternly shook his head and said: "Nope. The worst is waking up next to a gal with no teeth."
When Randy Carr was still with us, I took his Ramones-looking self to see my house being built, and when I walked him through the sales office, he motioned to the perky sales yuppies and said loudly, "What, was there a sale on brown paint??"
I've had a grudge against an old karate instructor, and have had a 25 year fantasy of triangling his lights out if we ever met again. Having just found him on Facebook, I notice he's about twice his old size and all muscle, whereas I'm also twice my size, though mostly from pies and Mexican food. I've decided pacifism is life's key and may stop at Marie Callender's on the way home to celebrate this epiphany.
I hired this stoned designer a few years back, and he was forever asking for things in a doe-eyed manner, that always somehow favored him. My favorite one was one morning when he asked, "Hey dude, you want to go to Carl's later?" We'd never been to lunch, so I said "Sure, why not?" He then replies, "That'd be great man, cause I'm really hungry. Could you bring me a Charbroiled Chicken sandwich and a fried zucchini?"
In the late 70’s, I was waiting for my date at the Rainbow Bar n’ Grill in Hollywood when this cokehead comes over to make conversation. We’re talking, when I make a sniffing sound, and his eyes light up; ”Hey! You got any more coke?”, and I’m like, ”No. Allergies. Sorry, dude.”
I've personally known 3 women who've slept with Rodney Bingenheimer, one of which I dated. If you've looked at Rodney, you know where I'm going with this. Freakin' Paul Williams was more attractive than Rodney. Anyway, when I inquired as to why they felt compelled, they all had the same reply: "I felt sorry for him!" I suspect 1000's of women have not known there were other women who also felt sorry for him. As much as I put women on a pedestal, you guys really are kind of weird.
Disneyland hired me for a summer stint once, and on my last night there (New Years Eve, 1985), I was working the last news stand before you leave the park on the right. It's about 12:30AM, and I'm watching a little Mexican kid who'd come with a bus group of poor kids line his pockets with every toy in his sight. He was a skinny kid, but his jacket was starting to make him look like Fat Albert. He's happily going to town on the toys, looks up, sees me staring at him, and totally freezes in fear. I pause for a couple of seconds, grin at him, then nod him away with my head. He looked like he'd just won the lottery. He gave me the biggest smile and skipped off, destined to steal even bigger things once he got older.
When I was out of work during the dot-com crash, I used to hang in the smoking room at Cigar Oasis, mainly cause I did their website and they'd give me free torpedo Avo's. One day there, someone I'd seen a few times before asks me, "You're a computer guy, right? How can I surf porn sites without my wife finding out?" I give him a thorough answer, how to clear a cache, how to delete visited sites, when I realize the other 12 guys in the room have stopped talking, and are leaning towards me and focusing on my words like I'm Deepak Chopra. Porn, it's what unites all of us.
A couple of years ago, I sold a Japanese import of Keith's (98.6) Greatest Hits on EBay, and realized the winning bidder was Keith himself. I wrote him a email telling him how the 1st record I ever bought was a Hip Pocket record of 98.6 (1967, Singer Sewing Center, they didn't have record stores in Whittier then), and a few other tidbits I thought he'd enjoy. The awaited reply was, "Please be sure to double-wrap the CD before you send it." I was reminded when, in 1978, Scott Hoogland's porn dream Marilyn Chambers was signing at The Pussycat Theatre in Buena Park (with John Holmes, no less), and I asked him if he wanted to go; "No, cause it would be horrible if your idol was rude and ruined your fantasy about them." Amen to that.
Oh, now I get it: There was a Special Ed school next to La Vista High. Once when we were in the parking lot getting high before class, I was watching a kid I saw everyday wearing a football helmet and a #44 jersey walking to class. I commented to person I was with, "It really sucks that he's gotta live with that, but it's at least cool he gets to play everyday and pretend he's a football player." His reply was, "He's not pretending he's a football player. He bangs his head into everything and that's to stop him from cracking it open." I liked my version better :-(
Around 1991, I got invited to karaoke by my neighbor Melanie Vammen and her Muffs bandmate Kim Shattuck, which was at an old bowling alley in Anaheim. Kim got up & sang "You're The One That I Want" from Grease, and was her usual Tigger self, bouncing around drunkenly and having a delightful time. The MC girl that ran things was rolling her eyes at her friends, and making it a point to let them see how appalled she was at this drunken loser. When we were leaving, I snuck back to drop a fiver in the tip jar, and said in a concerned voice, "I'm really sorry. Our friend got waaaay too drunk since she signed a deal with Warner Brothers today. Good luck with your career at the bowling alley."
The weirdest answer I ever got from anybody was at the defunct CompUSA. I didn't know if I wanted to spring for Word or Excel, and heard the freebie Microsoft Works was a stripped down version of both. I asked a kid there if he knew what the differences were. At first he looked mortified, then, not wanting to admit that he had no clue, puffed out his chest and said, "It's math... You know..? ...Like computers!"
They who know the Meaning of Life: A few years back Vicki and I were in Redondo Beach during the most monsoon-like weather I've ever seen. It was too dangerous to drive, so we parked on the side of a cliff to look at the ocean, listen to tunes and enjoy the storm. A few minutes after we arrived, these two teenagers showed up in oversized down jackets, hoodies, and both carrying belly boards. One of them walks about 20 feet from the ledge, breaks into a sprint, and dives clear over the edge. We watched in awe as he surfed about 180 feet of ice plant, straight down a hyper steep hill. Then his friend did it, then they spent the next five minutes helping each other back up the hill. They repeated the pattern for the whole hour we were there, and looked like they were having more fun than anyone on the planet. Video gaming is way overrated, seriously.
Bono recently went off on the Chris Martin for no apparent reason, and it brought to mind my favorite (said with sarcasm) magazine ad. Some time back, Amnesty International had a campaign for the poor of Africa, and ran ads with a room full of pissed off looking people, with John Mellencamp, Sting, and Bruce Springsteen in the forefront, arms folded, and looking the most pissed of all. The kicker was, in the prior six months, John, Sting and Bruce had all publicly dumped their wives for their mistresses. The lesson here is as long as you pretend you're concerned about the poor, then it's totally O.K. to crap on the Mothers of your kids.
Around 1972, I went with my folks to the old San Juan Bautista Mission in San Juan Capistrano. I hit the bathroom, sat down, and noticed that someone had written, "Tap Foot For Blowjob" at least 50 times around the stall. The clincher was they were all written in different colored pen, and all had different dates written under them. This must be what priests do when they're bored and there's no children to lure with candy.
Vicki took me to a company picnic where we met her friend and her fireman husband, whose also a teller of tall tales. After chatting for a bit, he says to me, "You're in a band, right? I have a story for you. In 1985 I was playing guitar in a band that played the Coconut Teaszer. There was this band that opened for us, and no one really thought that much of them, but it turns out they did pretty well for themselves... And that band, was Van Halen." He delivers the last line like he's Casey Kasem, then goes back to his hot dog. Of course we used to see Van Halen 10 years prior and by 1985 they were shot, but they apparently opened for his band at the Coconut Teaszer. I told my wife, and, feeling sorry for him she kind of took his side, so I've basically driven her nuts ever since with, "And that band... Was Van Halen!"
I made out with Josie Cotton in the kitchen of an L.A. party once, or at least I think I did. I was going through such a blackout phase at the time that either it happened or I very vividly dreamed it. Either way she was an excellent kisser.
I'm fairly sure my life's view was shaped in 8th grade economics class. There was this suck-ass, Steve Garvey type kid in my class who the teachers just adored. He was good enough to make varsity basketball, but got demoted to JV because if he got the ball, he'd shoot it. Kids hated him, and he didn't care at all. Anyway, there was a test coming up we both didn't prepare for, which we both realized when we caught each other sneaking into class at lunch and stealing "A" graded papers of it from five years prior. We both copied our stolen manuscripts note for note. Steve got an A, I got a C-. I pretty much knew then and there life would be a lot more fun stoned and not giving two shits.
One time at Scott Hoogland's apartment, I notice he's filled out a bunch of return-postage "Give Us Your Feedback on Making the Store Better" cards for Target. I pick one up, and it says, "I like a circus theme, with tents, clowns and juggler's. No splits though, could be dangerous. And popcorn's too messy!"
We were watching a band called Rough and Ready at the Cabaret Club in 1977 and Sandy West (drummer of The Runaways) sat on our drummer Sandy's lap for a long period of time. He was beaming with pride, or at least until we saw her drunkenly make out with three different guys over the next two hours. She's now gay, so maybe that was the night she'd gotten men out of her system altogether.
In the 80's, I worked with someone who was a man years before, and now was sort of an odd looking woman. I've been known to pepper my speech with F-bombs, and commented that something was 'f*****g great!' when we were both waiting at a printer. She let out a long sigh, then proceeded to give me an impassioned speech on etiquette in the work place. Whatever her message, it was completely lost since all I could think about was that a grown man wearing slingbacks and stockings at work was giving me a lecture on good taste.
Back in Junior High school, the Monsanto ride at Disneyland was our 'Date Gauge'. Being the best make-out ride in the whole park (Dark... Roomy... Free..!), after a weekend date there, Monday at school would always start with, "So, how many times did you go on Monsanto?" One was O.K., three was very good, seven was it. Seven meant you would spend the whole day being admired for your suaveness.
You may have read about The Children of God (70's cult River Phoenix's family belonged to) and their leader Moses David using teenage girls to lead people into the faith through sex. This would be true. When I was 15 visiting the Cerritos Mall, on the way in I was approached by a striking girl about 19 years old wearing cuffed hot pants, go-go boots, and a loose fitting, see through purple floral top. She gave me a speech on God wanting people to enjoy themselves and told me she had a van parked somewhere if I'd like to go see it, all the while standing right in my space and making my blood pressure go haywire. I of course chickened out, grabbed one of her tracts and zipped into the mall. Years later I found out they called this "Flirty Fishing." These people made the Scientologist's seem pedestrian.
In 5th grade, Bob Yancey and I started our first 'band' in his garage. Bob played guitar on a tennis racquet, and I played drums on different sized plastic cole slaw containers. We'd mime through stuff like The Monkees and The Partridge Family. His younger sister and her friends watched us jam once, and finally after the third time through the Partridge Family's "Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted Like Me?", one of them stepped forward, puffed out her little chest and said firmly, "You guys aren't really playing!" We must have totally rocked to pass muster the first few times.
I went through a J-Pop (Japanese Pop music) phase in the 80's, and used to drive up to Little Tokyo after grave shift to shop around. Once, at a bookstore called Bunka-Do, I was noticing that a popular (seriously cute) teen singer named Yukiko Okada hadn't released a CD in years, even though she was a major star. There was a quiet little woman that ran the place, 75ish, always in a kimono, who sat sipping her tea slightly hunched over whenever I was there. I asked her, "I noticed Yukiko Okada hasn't put out anything in, like, four years. How come?" She lit up, and her little voice boomed: "Yukiko Okada? She jump off building! Haha!! (leans forward...) She was in love with president of her record company, but he was married and didn't take her seriously... Now he take her seriously! Haha!!"