I don’t know if they called kids in horn rim glasses poindexters when you were kids, and these aren’t exactly poindexter worthy glasses, but I finally gave in and got some glasses that don’t bust after being squeezed onto my skull. Large frame glasses, they’re nice enough to call them. Apparently the hugely skulled are sensitive to being called big headed. Anyway, I figure with 64 just days away, my very last year of this weird sixty something state of being way beyond middle aged but not officially a senior citizen either, I can cool it with the wire frames that were the height of coolness in the hippie days when girls did make passes at guys who wore glasses. Wire frame glasses anyway. Though as I refused to wear any glasses until I was fifty and couldn’t read anything at all, you can skip all that, not that you haven’t since that opening sentence. I know I have been.
Anyway, I don’t feel like doing the selfie thing so you can just imagine me with pandemic hair like the cover of some ancient Pink Floyd album and poindexter glasses. Groovy nerdness. Such is the fate of old punk rockers in plague times.
I remember the time I walked into a room full of stoned people silently watching Jeopardy. They were so stoned I wondered how they could possibly answer any of the questions. All of a sudden the category was the Civil War and I answered all the questions without hesitation, just one of those lucky Jeopardy streaks. I’ve never watched more than a handful of Jeopardys, but these questions were easy enough if you knew your history—two Civil War battles were known by the name of one creek. What is Bull Run, Alex—but it was the most impossible feat the stoners had ever witnessed. Certainly the most impossible feat they’d witnessed since smoking those last couple bowls. They gazed upon me like I was a Jeopardy god, their half closed eyes almost awake with amazement. A veritable torrent of monosyllables gushed forth. Fuck one said. Fuck said another. The rest of the room agreed, fuck. Then they fired up another bowl and forgot it had ever happened.
Retired guy in a pandemic still up at 4 am because he threw a load in the dryer without looking at the time first. You could leave them in there and go to bed, you say, and you’d be right. But you know how stubborn retired guys can be.
So I was having coffee, a couple mandarin oranges, blueberries and two Brazil nuts when the postman brought a two and a half pound tub of Hadley deglet noor dates that just about melt in your mouth they’re so fresh and I began to feel like an out of shape arthritic Eden Ahbez or would’ve if I hadn’t just shaved. The hair is about right, though, and I can almost see the Hollywood Sign from the sundeck, but I haven’t worn anything like a hippie guru robe since my last colonoscopy.
No, not me.
One of my best friends, a good buddy from way back, took up flying. This was quite a few years ago, but having known him from his wild thirty something musician days, the thought of him way up there with nothing underneath him scared the hell out me. Every time a plane went down anywhere in California I read the story with dread that it would be him. It never was. It was ridiculous, I know. He was a helluva pilot, and it was something else, something organic and inevitable, that finally got him. Anyway, yesterday I read a plane went down off San Pedro. I was about to look for the name of the pilot when I realized that it couldn’t be him. It never would be him, not ever. Weird the mix of relief and inexorable sadness that came over me. Weird how things finally crystallize into something terribly finite in your mind, the odd things, even ridiculous things that you find yourself grieving over if only for a moment. Life goes on.
Sorry there’s no more of the great gobs of prose I used to spill out all over these blogs. People have been asking. Alas, epilepsy was really fucking with the long essays, and I finally had to stop. Had to stop working too. Had to stop just about everything. It’s been a couple years now and the synapses have calmed down nicely. They seem to like being bored. Me not so much at first but I’ve adapted. So I write tiny little essays now, scarcely ever longer than a paragraph. Hence all this tinyness where vastness used to be. Little gems, I tell myself. The actual gemage might be debatable, but they’re my blogs. You can think everything you do is art if no one is editing you.
Anyway, thanks for reading and feel free to complain.
I wanna do another Sprouts order in a couple days—yes, Sprouts—so I figured I’d better empty the produce bin and I cut up all kinds of green stuff, with some red and orange stuff for color, plus some sliced potatoes, and an apple that had had it, dumped them into a skillet, soaked them with Worcestershire sauce and apple juice, let the black pepper, garlic powder, parsley and paprika—yes, paprika—fall like the driven snow and sautéed the living fuck out of the whole mess. Perhaps living fuck isn’t the correct term. But then neither is glop, and I glopped a mess of it into a bowl, soaked it with Tapatio (after considering a more manly habanero sauce), dropped in a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt (I don’t tell anyone about the plain yogurt) and had an extremely late brunch. That was my meal. No bacon. No eggs. No hamburgers or burritos. Just as close as you can get to vegan without being Vegan. (The yogurt blows it, obviously, and the Worcestershire sauce contains the souls of little fishes.) While dining thusly, I went online to order half a dozen bottles from Total Wine, fours Pinot Grigios and a pair of Shiraz. No beer. No whiskey. Just wine. I try to imagine what my earlier punk rock drummer self would think of me. He would not be kind. Then again, he could be pretty annoying. He’d probably make a gay joke. He could never imagine that this—the veggies, the glop, the varietals–is just what happens to such big strong virile men as he after thirty some years in Silver Lake. Laugh, as they say, out loud.
Now I’m going to listen to some music and it terrifies me what I’ll pick. Thank god I have no Joni Mitchell. I don’t either, none. Henry Threadgill, then. Makin’ a Move, a wonderfully mad record. It’s spinning crazily as I write this, with all that drum and tuba groove. It glops. Glops good. Glops real good. Though maybe glop isn’t the correct term for this either.
I was at a punk rock party in a huge house on California’s central coast about a million years ago and a band was playing Louie Louie for an hour interrupted only by a guy trying to shove a beer bottle up his ass until his wife stopped him. I walked outside and there were a zillion stars and the songs of night birds and coyotes over the distant surf. Then Louie Louie started up again.
At that stage of retired guyness where I realize what we really need is a paper towel roll hanger that can adhere adhesively inside to one of the doors under the bathroom sink. I mentioned that to Fyl as I replaced the light bulb in the refrigerator. Sure, she said. Being that I already ordered adhesive hooks to hang the new brushes from the inside of the doors under the kitchen sink, she was not that surprised. It came to me as I was shaving off my latest retired guy trapped inside the house beard. Not that I wanted a beard. It just seem like a lot of work shaving it. Anyway, it’s gone now and the skin suddenly revealed is shiny and smooth and disturbingly metrosexual. Lack of sun combined with last year’s Covid Miracle Cure vitamin D supplements, I suppose. I still take it twice a day. Plus I cleared the slow draining bathroom sink with one of the new brushes while shaving. Multi-tasking. Tell me I’m not earning that social security check.
Hanging with our fellow isolating neighbor last night—he was our Thanksgiving partner too, and Christmas—drinking wine and smoking weed and after blasting some way old school punk rock like the geezers we are (Wire and the Vibrators, don’t ask) and the newer if defunct The Mallard (who are just as interesting as the articleless Mallard, actually, if not more so) he took us through bits of all kinds of weird recent science fiction shows. Watching The Mandalorian, one of those Lucasfilms Star Wars offshoots for teens and their grown ups who couldn’t stand Star Wars (which, like KISS, I was too old for in the late 70s), in which there was this cutely ugly animated beast and damn were the vile little warlike Star Wars midgets doing a number on the poor thing. Shit, I heard myself say without even a trace of irony, the little munchkins are giving the critter a real hard time, I’d hate to have that motherfucker’s gig. I remember through the wine and weed being floored that I actually talk like that. Some kind of zany cool Brick jive. I don’t even think I realized it. For a moment there I thought I’d better make me a New Year’s resolution to straighten up the verbiage. Then I figured what the fuck for? Anyway, eventually we were watching Shanty Tramp, from 1967, which I can’t really recommend unless you’re into alabaster tits. Like floppy bouncy marble they were. The title anti-heroine u had hers on display for half the inane movie. I’m sure it was quite the drive-in thrill wherever they actually ran the thing. Midway through where the plot should’ve been the hour struck twelve and we cracked open the champagne, wished each other a Happy New Year, kissed (well me and Fyl kissed) and sang the worst Auld Lang Syne you ever heard. Outside people howled and slurred their Happy New Years as a zillion fire works went off all over town. All in all, it wasn’t a bad little party for a pandemic.