Friday, August 27, 2010
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and this time you’re not slipping away”, Valerie spat from behind a torn silver sequin dress, “This is one conversation you’re not running away from”.
Walker sighed, leaning further and further to the car door, wishing it would open up and toss him out.
“Are you gonna talk?”
“Fuck you, asshole. You picked a fine time to get quiet on me. You weren’t so silent when you talked me into leaving home to follow you here in Hollywood”. The cab driver briefly looked into his rear view mirror to note the couple riding the cab. “You lied to me! You made a lot of bullshit promises, mister, and this time you’re going to pay up!”
“I didn’t promise anything, you followed me around like a little puppy –“
The cab dropped down from Hollywood and La Brea to Sunset with traffic slowing down to a dead halt around Fairfax. Walker continued to sulk.
“You and your silver tongued talk, you just sweet talked me here to Hollywood and then you dumped me big time. Bastard! Fake!”
“The only thing fake is the way you swung from acting like a 12-year old kid to acting like a 24-year old slut”.
“You’re the bad actor!”
Several yards ahead were hundreds of long-haired kids in brightly-colored clothes yelling at policemen with paddy wagons lined up by the corner of Crescent Heights Blvd.
“What’s going on over there?”
“I don’t know, folks, but I’m going to have to make a law-abiding detour”, the cabbie announced. “Where are you guys going to anyway?”
“His house-“ “-a restaurant!” they both answered at once.
“Hmmm, sounds like dinner first, then back home”.
“Huh!” scoffed Walker.
“What’s your name, Sweetie?” Valerie asked.
“Hamlet, like the Shakespeare guy? Are you Danish?”
“I sure am! I’ll take you to a nice Scandinavian place, nice and romantic, just mention my name and they’ll take real good care of you!”
“Thanks, honey”, she smiled at the driver, and then turned with a sneer at Walker, “’take good care of you – where have I heard that before??”
Hamlet drove up Doheny Drive, going up the other side of the Sunset Strip, dropping them off at Scandia, the swanky restaurant. “Eat well, folks, and remember Hamlet sent you”.
“Goodbye, sweet prince!” Valerie shrieked.
“Jesus, is this some of that great acting she’s holding back on?” Walker thought.
They both stopped on the sidewalk and watched rioting kids march down the street by the dozens as riot cops looked on. Gazzaris was right across the street.
“Officer, is there going to be a riot? I’m so scared!” Valerie mugged her best Little Girl Lost face. The officer winced at the sight of her runny make-up on her face.
“Nothing to be afraid of, ma’am, just some disgruntled Beatniks making a lot of noise about the new curfew”, the cop answered blandly.
“Why we never see this sort of carrying on in Atlanta. With all that hair! How can you tell the boys from the girls, Officer?”
“Search me, ma’am”.
“Come on, Scarlett O’Hara, dinner time”, Walker grabbed her arm and led her through the entrance.
The Maitre D' recognized Crash Walker, smiling, but froze at the sight of Valerie with her smeared make-up.
"My sister, she’s blind”, Walker grimaced a fake smile. They were seated at a booth set all the way in back by the kitchen door.
“I thought you were connected, Mister Cowboy Star”, Valerie cussed, “We may as well be eating in Poland”.
“Here”, Walker handed her his napkin, “Wipe your paint off, you look like a billboard in a thunderstorm”.
“You look like shit with a dick attached to it, Crash fucking Walker!” she blurted, wiping the runny mascara from her face. “Just as well, now you can see my freckles. My sexy freckles. Guys go crazy over that, you know. Just like girls go crazy over guys with British accents, like English Derek. Whatever happened to English Derek?”
“Derek’s parking cars at Chasen’s. His British accent really opened doors for him”.
“And you’re the one with the TV career? Hah! I said ‘Hah!’” she yelled.
A waiter zoomed over to their table. “Will you please hold it down or I’ll have to ask you to leave!”
“I’ll have a Bloody Mary! Hamlet sent us here, he’s our friend!” Valerie gritted her teeth.
“One Bloody Mary”, the waiter rushed away.
“And speaking of opening doors, that name really impressed him”, Walker remarked.
“Let’s get back to facts, Buffalo Bill, you made me move here from Atlanta. You’re supposed to set me up with a studio, you’re supposed to hook me up with an agent, you’re supposed to get me head shots, it’s your job to find me an apartment to live in! Bastard!” She grabbed her cocktail as quickly as the waiter set it down and drank voraciously.
“You’re not my responsibility. Get that straight through your big empty head. Once you move here you have to do your own hustling”.
“But I’m just a young girl and you used me. You told me you wanted to marry me!”
“What? Are you crazy? I never said that shit, you crazy bitch!”
“”Where’s that fucking waiter? I want another drink! YOU LIED TO ME!!!”
A very tall, thin blonde guy in a turtleneck and sports jacket approached their table with a helpful look. “Excuse me, Miss, are you alright?”
“Well”, she smiled, hoping he’d catch those adorable freckles of hers, “I don’t know, I, uh-“ she glanced at Walker, then at him, then back at Walker, finally at the blonde. “I’m Valerie, what’s your name?”
“”I’m Rod, would you care to join me for dinner?”
“Would I, I just came in from Atlanta, and I don’t know anybody!”
Walker slumped in his chair, shaking his head. Rod gave him a phony dirty look. “Why don’t you join me for some Swedish Meatballs? I’m going to a party at The Hollywood Roosevelt right after. Some movie people, y’know”.
“Movies? Not crummy TV?” she sneered at Crash.
“That’s right, ma’am”, he put out his arm for her to link to his. She got up and joined him at his table, her turning around and sticking her tongue at him, just like a little girl!
“You and your freckles can go fuck yourselves”, Walker thought.
“Another drink for Madame?” the waiter came by and asked.
“No”, Walker smiled, “change of address. I’ll have the check”.
Walker stood outside Scandia waiting for a cab to pick him up, but then thought the better of it because traffic wasn’t moving a bit. By this time protesting kids were being hauled off into paddy wagons. Placards protesting the curfew littered the streets. He saw Peter Fonda marching with The Byrds down the street, admiring Roger McGuinn’s cool granny glasses and David Crosby’s big fur hat. Stephen Stills and Peter Tork weren’t too far behind.
His concentration was disturbed by the sight of a riot cop dragging a young girl by her hair and the other pressing his billy club against her chest in front of him. The girl was crying, scared out of her head.
“Hey!” Walker yelled at the cops. “Leave that girl alone!” He jumped towards them. The cop with the billy club took his baton and pointed it at Walker.
“Sir, I’ll have to ask you to step to the curb or we’ll have to arrest you for interfering in detention procedures”.
“Go easy on her, she’s just a kid”.
The cop nudged his friend and they loosened their grip on her, carrying her by the arm to the truck.
“Well, that’s very admirable of you, Mr. Walker”, a voice from behind him chimed. He turned around and saw a short, baby-faced man in a tuxedo. “A hero on TV and in real life”.
“Johnny Grant! How are you?”
“I’m doing great, kid. Love your show”.
“You watch ‘Wrangler’s Canyon’?”
“Damned straight. It’s good stuff. I like you, Walker, never did believe that Flagg bullshit. He was a bully. But just a word of advice to you, don’t get too involved in these hippie kids, they’re not worth the trouble”.
“Well, I couldn’t just stand by and see a girl get thrashed around”.
“Listen, I like heroes, they look good in the movies and they look better in Hollywood. Come visit my office sometime. I’m at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel”, he handed Walker his business card. “Hollywood Boulevard is always available for a real-life hero”.
“Well, I’d like to think that one over, Mr. Grant. That’s a hell of an offer”, Walker grinned, the wheels turning. As long as he dodged the placards, rocks and billy clubs he could probably be back home in less than an hour.
Off-duty Sgt. Gene Kurlich lay back in his easy chair jamming potato chips in his greasy face and watching his black and white portable television, taking in the 10 o’clock news. He still had a few bandages on his arms and a few across his face, which were severely bruised from the auto accident he suffered awhile back. The parakeets in their cage were whistling and nervously jumping around.
“Tonight in entertainment, all the stars were out tonight for the World Premiere of “Rodeo Man” at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre!” Thousands of stars were there and so was Crash Walker! Hahaha!” Close-up on Crash Walker smiling at the camera.
Kurlich stopped eating his chips, held his breath, and bugged his eyes. “Crash….Walker…” he grumbled. He changed the channel.
“Drug crazed teens are ruining Hollywood night life for merchants and responsible citizens alike. Even Johnny Grant can’t enjoy a decent night’s dinner at Scandia!” The camera focuses on Johnny Grant smiling at the camera with Crash Walker nervously lighting a cigarette behind him. Kurlich smashed the bag of chips in the palm of his hand. The birds started flying nervously around in their cage, making tons of noise.
“GOODAMMIT! CRASH! WALKER! MOTHERFUCKER!” Stomping his feet on the floor. He changed the channel.
A commercial for toy rifles starring Crash Walker, spinning pistols at the camera. “The authentic replica, Timmy! Looks real! Shoots real! Shoots greenie stick-em caps. Get ours today, little pardners!”
A six-year old cowboy missing teeth barks at the camera. “Boy Howdy!:
Hyperventilating, Kurlich ripped the bandages off his arms and face, exposing huge black and blue smears all over him. “CRASH WALKER! YOU COCKSUCKER! I’LL KILL YOU!!!!” He changed the channel.
Close-up of Crash Walker on a horse with a cheesy smile. “It’s time for Wrangler’s Canyon starring Crash Walker! Brought to you by Bryllcream, a little dab’ll do ya!” The birds were now banging their wings against the bars of their cage and shrieking. Kurlich strapped his gun holster on and screamed himself hoarse. “AAARGGGGH! WALKER YOU’RE FUCKING DEAD! I’M GOING TO RAPE YOUR DEAD BODY!” He pulled his gun out and emptied a dozen bullets into the wall and windows, glass shattering. He spun around and shot up all the bottles and glasses on the counter top of his kitchenette. Throwing his sports jacket on, his face every shade of red and purple, Kurlich smashed his door down and ran out of his apartment, thirsty for blood.
Friday, August 20, 2010
“Draw me like a mule’s ass, will ya?”
“Even the damn horse is drawn prettier than me. Fuck!”
He walked over to the wall to pull out the darts and start over again, but stopped dead in his tracks when he heard an envelope being slid under his door. He froze waiting for the messenger to leave. After about thirty seconds hang time he walked over to the peephole, saw no one, pressed his ear to the door, heard no one, and bent to pick up the envelope.
It was addressed. “Crash Walker ” in cursive script on vellum paper. He pulled out an expensive invitation on linen paper with gold flecked lettering:
"Your attendance is requested at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the World Premiere of Twentieth Century Fox’s production of ‘Rodeo Man’”. “Rodeo Man” was a big-budget Western Crash read for and didn’t get. Slightly bitter, he considered shitcanning the invitation but couldn’t pass up a chance at some major Hollywood exposure with the big dogs. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride.
Walker set aside the invitation, went to the bathroom and put some Brylcreem in his jet black hair and struck a few studly poses in the mirror. He quickly headed to the Thrifty Drugs to get some more cologne.
Decisions, decisions. What will it be this time, Brut or Hai Karate? He snapped up the Hai Karate because the girls in the commercial were sexier. Why didn’t he ever get to work with babes like that? He wondered. Running low on shaving cream he grabbed a can of Noxzema, which also had hot girls in their ads. Walking past the toy aisle he saw a pair of Colt .45 pistols. Not resisting the urge, he picked up the guns and did a few fancy pistol spins, drew them like he did on TV, and playacted a few gunfights, posing like a fool. He heard a few little girls’ voices giggling behind him. He turned quickly around.
Three girls around six years of age were standing behind him watching his six-gun antics, and were now just staring at him and smiling. “Hey kids, what do you think of six-gun action?”
“I like action”, a pert 17-year old blonde with huge pools for blue eyes in a tight t-shirt and jeans walked up and smiled. The little girls started giggling again.
“Well, hi!” Walker straightened up. “Do you like the shoot-em-ups on TV?”
“Depends on who’s firing the gun”, her eyes widened.
“Ha, ha, well, okay. I’m Crash Walker, you might have seen me on television, I get around. What did you say your name was again?”
“EMILY! Children! We’re going home!!!” a fat, frigid woman in her fifties resembling an uglier, heavier version of the blonde barked at the teenager and her sisters. “And never chat with sttttrrrrrrange men, if I told you once, I told you a thousand times!”
“Gotta run!” Emily leaned over and kissed Walker on the cheek, whispering, “I dig guys that wear Hai Karate!” then joining her mom with her sisters.
“EMILY! Defying your mother, just for that - no dessert tonight!!!”
“Oh, brother!” Walker mumbled, putting the toy guns away. A druggist in the background frowned at him.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at night, spotlights spinning around into the sky, neon dragons flickering on and off, fans cheering at the sides, photographers popping flashbulbs, the red carpet, limousines pulling up, and Army Archerd dressed to kill announcing the stars as they arrive into an old broadcaster’s microphone.
“Gregory Peck and his charming wife are here!” Archerd beamed, “Let's see if we can get him to say a few words!”
Ten minutes after Peck said his few words Crash Walker arrived in a rented limo he charged to Quinn Martin Productions, the producers of “Wrangler’s Canyon”. “Crash Walker, ladies and gentlemen, the star of ‘Ringo’s Canyon’, as can be seen every Friday night at most of your local television stations”.
Walker nervously exited the limo to scattered and evaporating applause, a few anemic flashbulbs popping. Archerd stepped away for a quick glass of water. “Well, at least he got my name right”, Walker thought.
“And here’s Doug McClure from The Virginian, that hot Western television show, and right behind him there’s Mr. and Mrs. Michael Landon from Bonanza, another great Western, we have some top-notch cowboy talent tonight! Grauman's Chinese Theatre - a veritable temple of filmic entertainment! Yessir, Entertainment hangs its hat here!”
“Raymond Burr of Perry Mason fame is here tonight, and what a patriotic American he is, Ladies and Gentlemen, his date for tonight is a Naval Seaman, just back from Vietnam , a young, handsome sailor bravely serving our country!” Raymond Burr and the sailor stood very closely smiling for the cameras, and then quickly raced into the theatre so they wouldn’t have to answer any prying questions.
Walker entered a devilishly red lobby, and the crowd looked like the Who’s Who of Hollywood : actors, comedians, singers, choreographers, cinematographers, screenwriters, scorers, directors, producers, and all of their seducers, male and female. Way back in the crowd was Animation and Family Film King Jack Duffy with his small entourage. Duffy occasionally glanced over at Walker , trying not to stare conspicuously, but peering over too many times. Walker noted this, becoming more nervous than before. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. The last time he saw Duffy was at Camarillo State , just like-
“I got my eye on you”, a woman whispered in his ear. He turned around and saw April van Winter smiling at him, wearing a tight gold metallic dress. “That’s my eye patch joke, what do you think?”
“You look good in gold”, he said, enjoying the low cut of the front of her dress.
“Yes, me and Oscar, the two best in class dressed in gold”, she said, leaning by the tall statue of the Academy Award.
“What’s Jack Duffy doing here?”
“I don’t know, maybe they’re showing one of his terrible cartoons at the beginning”, she made a sour face, then leaned behind Oscar, “Cover me, darling”.
She pulled the right side of her skirt to the side and pulled out a tiny red flask hooked into her garter. “The last time I did this in front of movie royalty that little cunt Milton Berle chased me around Judy Garland’s house”.
“Too bad. If Judy Garland had your legs he’d be chasing her around instead”.
“Why, thank you, darling! You get a swig from me for that bon mot! But keep it hidden, Duffy and his cartoon police might have us kicked out”.
“Fuck him, and fuck movies called ‘Rodeo Man’”.
“I agree, sweetheart, what common American trash. Now take the Italians, ‘Billy The Kid Versus The Vampire Queen’ awaits. You’ll be my Kid and I’ll be your Queen”. She kissed him on the ear.
“A vampire with an eyepatch with a cultured New England accent, that’s better than ‘Rodeo Man’”. Swig.
“A little Cape Cod, a little Cinecitta, it’s classy cinema all the way for us!” Swig.
“Hey, April, who’s this guy?” a simple-faced, muscle-bound blonde guy in a tuxedo barged in eying Walker suspiciously.
“Why, this is famous American television star Crash Walker, soon to be the star of my next Greco-Roman blood sucking classic!”
“Oh, yeah? Chris Johnson, nice to meetcha”, he monotoned, pitching his hand out for a shake. Walker shook his hand and Johnson began crushing it. “Haven’t we met somewhere before?”
“I don’t think so”, Walker held his breath, ignoring the pain.
“I know!” he smiled. “Henry Willson’s place! His Easter Egg Hunt Party!”
Jesus, did that even exist?
“Sorry, Chris, I’ve never been to Willson’s house…ever”, Walker shook his aching hand behind his back.
“You’ve probably caught one of Chris’ distinguished performances in his latest beach epic. He plays Dunderhead, that lovably stupid Greek god of the surf set. His last picture was called, what was it, darling?”
“Tidal Wave!” he barked like a trained seal.
“Ah, Tidal Wave! I think I missed that one. Is that the one where you split The Red Sea?”
“No, I turn into a dolphin. Hey, guy, are you sure we haven’t met before?”
“No we haven’t, and yes, I’m sure”.
“Excuse me, Mr. Walker”, a heavy-set, older man, grabbed Walker away from his conversation, “I’m Hank Biedermeyer of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and I’d like to ask you a few questions for our readers. As a TV star, how do you feel about the current issues of the day?”
Walker took a deep breath. The last paper he cracked open was The Hollywood Reporter. “Well, I do try to catch up on my reading…” he turned to April Van Winter and friend and realized they had gone into the theatre.
“How do you feel about the Communist threat? Do you think student unrest in the colleges is a danger to National security? Can you contain Negroes rioting in the streets? Should drug offenders be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?” He opened his pad to take notes.
Walker chuckled. “Are you asking me to comment or do you want me to pass legislation? I’m just an actor, you know”, he remarked, catching Jack Duffy and two other rich, dapper looking gentlemen staring straight at him fixed with angry faces.
“An actor and an American, an American who’ll step up to his responsibilities To The People should he be called!” The reporter’s voice pompously rose louder and louder, his fat face turning a deep red.
“Hey”, Walker backed off slowly, “You’re not a reporter. Who are you?” He stared at Duffy and friends, now turning their heads away and drifting off into the theatre.
“Mister Walker, the country is in turmoil and you cannot ill afford to selfishly look the other way. The people demand that you serve them, and serve them you must, all cowboy film antics aside. You must brush away childish pursuits and-“
“EXCUSE ME!” Walker ran over to a black kid usher by the rear. “Hey, man, how do you get out of here?”
“Just walk down towards the rear of the facility by the Emergency exits”, the kid said.
“Thanks”. He practically ran all the way, looking only once behind him.
He stepped out to the cool air by the fire escapes and the parking lot. He lit a cigarette and ducked out of harm’s way. Taking a deep drag, he drawled, “Well that wasn’t a lot of fun. What could possibly happen now?”
As if in response, the doors flung open and a tired-looking woman with auburn hair was practically ejected out. “Don’t try coming back in, either. We’ll be watching all the entrances!” A silver haired man in his theatre uniform shouted, tossing her handbag after her.
“Fuck you, asshole!” She yelled, picking up her shoe and throwing it at the door. She drunkenly stumbled to the ground and picked up her handbag, accidentally picking it up upside down and spilling all of its contents. “Motherfuckers!” She began crying.
The elegantly-dressed woman gathered all of its contents, and looking around caught the man standing in the shadows. “Crash Walker?”
“Valerie, what are you doing here?”
Her sorrowful face with her makeup running down melted into a blatant sneer. “Crash Goddamn Walker! You owe me plenty! Maybe thousands!”
“Cool it, Valerie!”
“BUY ME A FUCKIN’ DRINK!”
Friday, August 13, 2010
In 1969 Rolling Stone Magazine did a cover feature on a heretofore unreported phenomenon in the world of rock, the emergence of the groupie (one of the first mentions was in The Mothers of Invention’s “Motherly Love” in 1966). Here are a few scans from that issue for your entertainment. Sorry about the yellowed paper, Photoshop and I can only do so much.
I met Miss Mercy from The GTO’s in 1978 when we were both extras for the filming of The Ramones’ “Rock and Roll High School”. She had a baby by guitar whiz Shuggie Otis named “Lucky”, and Lucky’s governess at the time was Linda Jones, eventually Texacala Jones of Tex & The Horseheads fame. If you hang around long enough you get to meet everybody.
Pamela Miller (Des Barres)
Miss Pamela, the future Ms. Des Barres, a very nice lady and one of the few surviving members of The GTO’s (Girls Together Outrageously), also known as The Laurel Canyon Ballet Company. She had the best song on The GTO's album, "Permanent Damage" titled "Circular Circulation, or Do Me In Once And I'll Be Sad, Do Me In Twice And I'll Know Better".
Plastercasters of Chicago
Cynthia Plaster Caster still makes casts of rock star’s pudenda: The Muffs, Demolition Doll Rods, etc. To date she hasn’t done Justin Bieber, Thurston Moore or Henry Rollins so she has a lot of catching up to do.
The spider eye make-up was a big deal at the time, and it has been reported that Alice Cooper copped that look from the groupies that were lurking around the scene. Frankly I think it’s a great look, especially given how gruesome Alice looks without his makeup.
I haven’t got the foggiest idea who she is, but if she rates a great Baron Wolman photo shoot then she has my blessing. Baron Wolman was Rolling Stone Magazine’s original photographer (along with Jim Marshall) and I still prefer his work to the Annie Liebowitz Seventies smarm photography that ruined the magazine.
Legend has it that Russell Mael from Sparks stole her away from Todd Rundgren while he produced their album. In all fairness Christine really got around, may she rest in peace (she passed in 1972).
The late Miss Sandra. The “Miss” title preceding The GTOs member's names was invented by Tiny Tim, who christened every woman with a “Miss” title, and even referred to his wife at the time as “Miss Vicky”. God bless Tiny Tim, and God bless groupies everywhere.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
“Piss orf, mate”, Stupid Oz belched.
Directly behind me was a skinny guy who looked like a circus geek bobbing his head up and down wildly playing a guitar, spazzing like a bulleted wolverine. He had his ass up in the air like Jeff Stryker taking a big one and twitched down the aisle with Oz Fuckface Roadie shoving nightclubbers out of the way.
Twitchy the Circus Geek finally got back on stage and the band finished their rhythmically uptight set. As soon as they left the stage some guy on the dance floor yelled, “Fuck Australia!”
He turned around and some bruiser punched him in the face, cold-cocking him with a nauseating crack you could hear all the way to West Covina. It was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone knocked out cold. That motherfucker sank right to the floor.
Rebecca’s played “ Grey Gardens ” about 100 times, so I figured if she enjoyed Little Edie Beale’s ravings and mad dance skills the time was right to pull out “Andy Warhol’s Heat”, which she’s never seen. “Andy Warhol’s Heat” gives more Beale for your buck: just about everybody in it’s as scary as The Beales: Pat Ast, Eric Emerson, but the Grand Prix winner is Andrea Feldman. Rebecca is now obsessed with the insanity that is Andrea Feldman and her bizarre vocal inflections. “I wannnnnna be ahhhh lezzzbyahhhhhnnnn”.
“Maaahhhhthahhhh give me suhmmm muhhhnnnny”.
For the next three days she marched around the house imitating Feldman like some demented parrot. A suicidal speed freak parrot. “Jooooeeee, fuchhhck meee!”
The next thing you know my arm got twisted into renting “Andy Warhol’s Trash” so more Feldman hijinx can be enjoyed, even better in “Trash”, possibly the only low-budget movie Rex Reed has ever lauded as a masterpiece.
Andrea’s at her acting apex here, bugging Little Joe, “You got any ahhhhcid?” For the next sumpteen minutes she nags obsessively about him holding acid.
“Let’s shoot up together”, establishing for the first time in the history of drugs that acid can even be shot. She starts stripping for him, offering her body in the bargain for some possible windowpane.
“Can I waaaaatch youuu shoot uhhp?” He complies passively, tying, fixing, blah blah blah.
“Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid Is it acid?” she asks rhythmically. Alas, she cops not a whit.
Poor Little Edie, in our household she has been dethroned by the magic that is Andrea Feldman. (Holly Woodlawn’s no slouch either!)
The times are a changin’ at Rock & Roll Ralphs. Once earning that name for being located on the Sunset Strip within close proximity to the Guitar Center and other Heavy Metal havens, it was also within spitting distance of many strip clubs like the Seventh Veil where Metal dude girlfriends earn their keep stripping for their boyfriend’s beer money. Many was the day when Metal dudes would shoplift steaks by sticking it in their rotting leather pants. Those days seem to be long gone, as evidenced by the last few visits I made shopping for groceries.
The Quiet Riot types have been replaced by angry models, that’s right, angry models. I’ve never seen so many beautiful couples in my life, the type that model for underwear adverts to pay for their Brie. It’s amazing, picture yourself leaning over to grab a bottle of water, when a Guess Jeans couple cut in front of you burning stink eye as they grab the bottle you were reaching for. You would think with their astounding good looks they would be a little happier or mellower, but no, they’re irritable as fuck.
Note to mannequins: attitude’s a major part of beauty, not your chiseled features. Douchebags.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Once you reach a certain age it doesn’t matter how hot or fresh you look, your eyesight’s gonna fail, your hearing’s gonna be shot and remembering stuff is, well, a thing of the past. You end up losing a lot of shit in the process, misplacing it here and there, and don’t get me started about all the stuff you’ll break no matter how careful you are. It’s not that bad in your personal life, but when it happens in the office/workplace, you’re fucked. People give you all sorts of grief, laugh at you and you can’t say, “Listen you snot-nosed fuck, I’m over fifty cut me a fuckin’ break my brains are falling apart”.
I’ll be 54 this October, which means that under my retirement plan at work I can retire next year at age 55. So, just to prepare myself to what I’ve got to look forward to, I attended a Pre-Retirement Workshop held by the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA). Basically, this is what happened:
The majority of the attendees were told that retiring early would be foolish, because if they retire at age 55 they will only get 12% of their highest pay rate for their monthly retirement allowance, but if they hang in there for another 15 years (age 70) they’ll get a whopping 30% instead. Does that sound like a large enough increase to justify putting up with people’s shit – if you can survive that long - for another 15 years? Of course not. And no mention of inflation either, you’re getting more in the future but you’ll probably be paying more, too.
The great bullshit Pie In The Sky dream they hand you at the workshop is that once you retire you’ll be covered for the rest of your life and you’ll never have to work again. “So if you retire too early” (glaring at the boyish 54 year old in the room) “you’ll be stuck flipping burgers or greeting folks at Wal-Mart”. Everyone’s retirement fantasy revolved around sitting around a rocking chair watching the sun set with their grandchildren beaming up at them, or worse, sipping martinis on a fucking cruise ship. The truth of the matter is that if you stop working you’ll more than likely be sitting on a park bench by yourself while your relatives wait for you to die so they can collect your meager nest egg.
Let’s be honest: the coolest old guys you know are the ones that fix your shoes, tailor your clothes, repair your car, etc. One of the last things my Uncle told me before he died was, “If you want to work forever, learn a trade”. This came from a 71-year old guy from Hungary who fixed motorcycles for bikers in Rhode Island. He was in demand until the day he died. Once I retire from County service I’ll be working for Rebecca making clothes, exactly what I did before I started with the County 15 years ago. Will I retire from tailoring? Fuck no.
Another bizarre concept people have is that once they die their record collection, toy collection, comics collection, etc. will be inherited by their children. “I’m leaving Spider Man #100 for my kids, and my children’s children”. As if their children have the same interests, right? I know a toy hoarder who died last year, and do you think her kids are enjoying her vast collection of dolls? Even as I speak, they’re all on sale at eBay. Her kids are having the last laugh. Her tombstone should read, “Buy it now!”
I guess my message is that advancing old age needs to be planned in a more realistic basis, because so much of it is shrouded in fantasy, and fantasy can be a form of senility in itself. If you dream too hard the pot at the end of the rainbow won’t have gold in it, but something much worse.