Jeopardy

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.

Nature Boy

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.

Spike

Fyl and I got married in 1980. Reagan had just been elected, no one had any money, and we had the ceremony at my folks’ place down in Brea on the exurban edge of Orange County. It was affordable that way. Our car had died a couple months earlier and it was either get a car or get married and you don’t wedding presents for buying a car. So we got married so we could get the cash to buy a car. I suppose there were other reasons, some even romantic, but in large part it was to buy a car. It had all been so sudden people just assumed Fyl was pregnant, though I suppose they’ve given up on that by now. I remember someone in the family, I can’t remember who, came up to our seedy little stretch of East Hollywood to give us a ride to the wedding. It was the day beforehand, maybe two, so we could get the license and do the rehearsals and waterever else passed for wedding preparations at the end of the impoverished seventies. The wedding was nice. Two or three dozen people, all sorts of home cooked food, my dad so nervous he Cecil Taylored the wedding march. My brother Jon was the best man, my sister Kathi the maid of honor, and my brother Lex’s band played Beatles tunes out on the patio. It was all quite wonderful. Finally, after a long, long day and far too late into the night, my Dad gave his suddenly married son and brand new daughter in law a ride home. I remember him singing Sunrise, Sunset (from Fiddler on the Roof) somewhere along there, the freeway traffic zipping past the suburbs in the dark. Back in Hollywood he parked the car and the three of us lugged the bags full of wedding presents (a few of which we still have, forty years later) and leftovers up the little walkway between the bungalows to our own. I handed dad the key. He popped open the door, flipped on the light and nearly tripped over a passed out body on the floor. It sat up, looked at Dad, blinked, and said Hi, I’m Spike. I think Brick and Fyl are getting married today.

Oh Spike aka Andy Spike aka Philip Andrew Merrick. Rest In Peace.

Flying

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.

About all the missing words….

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.

Brick

Little things

Fyl just asked me to open a jar. A little torque and pop, it was done. She looked surprised. She’d brought me a jar a couple days before and I struggled with it. Finally bashed it with a spoon and with tremendous effort it popped open. It’s a bad arthritis day, I said, and it was. Everything hurt. Today it was just clutch and twist and the room was awaft with the scent of pickles and testosterone.

Sometimes it’s the little things. Well, my hand isn’t a little thing, I suppose, it’s a big thing. So it’s the little things about the big things. Anyway, tonight it made my day. Or night. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter when it was. Sometimes the little things about the little things don’t really matter.

That’s it. No point in making a big thing about it.

Glop

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.

Louie Louie

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.

Retired guyness

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.