Saturday, July 14, 2007

Following in the Footsteps of the Tracks I've Buried

To post or not to post.... Probably no time for anything substantive. I did get tagged by Gates of Vienna, so I suppose I can brood on that while waiting for my brain to come on line -- if indeed it does today... I go through these phases when my mind has a mind of its own.

The rules are:

1. Let others know who tagged you.

I already told you. It was Gates of Vienna.

2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.

Okay.

3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.

This seems redundant. Why not just combine rules (2) and (3)?

4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Hmm, let's see... Going down the list in order, Petey, Van, Ben, Cousin Dupree, Robin Starfish, Lisa, Julie, and Mizz E.

Okay, random facts about Bob....

1) In high school I was so in awe of girls, that I don't think I actually spoke to one in any non-official capacity until I took my first sip of beer at 17. That was also the first time I kissed a girl -- just before I spoke to her, in fact -- which is why beer immediately opened up a whole world of possibilities to me. I guess you could say that I've been grateful to it ever since.

2) While on the topic of high school, back then I was so lacking in direction -- or so focussed, depending on your point of view -- that the only professions I could conceive of pursuing were professional baseball player or rock star. Especially after I read the book Ball Four -- the only book I enjoyed (or probably read) in high school -- I could scarcely conceive of doing anything else.

In fact, even if I couldn't be a professional athlete, I vowed to emulate one by avoiding real work, sleeping late, drinking beer with my friends, and maybe even sneaking on to the team hotel roof to try to ogle women (an accomplishment thus far denied me; but one must retain some lofty goals to provide a sense of meaning and purpose).

3) But I went to college anyway, even though I had no earthly idea why I was there except to provide "cover" for the desire to extend my adolescence -- after all, it was just finally getting interesting (see fact #1) -- for as long as possible. I reflexively chose Business Administration as a major, but only because I had no academic interests whatsoever, and thought that I would at least be able to get some kind of a job with a business degree. But I ended up flunking out of college in late 1976. Just prior to that, I had begun working at the supermarket in Malibu, and I found that I much preferred honest physical labor to any kind of intellectual work anyway, in part because I was completely incapable of the latter. I mean that literally. Oddly -- or perhaps not, again, depending on your point of view -- I can see that I was the same person then that I am now.

4) The store in Malibu was located right around the corner from the Sheriff's station. One day, a fellow clerk (PBUH) discovered by chance that the bathroom key also unlocked the front door of the store! The store closed at 9:00 PM, at which time (after the night manager had left) we'd saunter right back into the store and come out with all the fixin's necessary for the Ultimate Party -- beer, giant sandwiches from the deli, beer, etc. This went on for months on end. The sheriffs would just drive by and wave in the distance, as they knew who we were and assumed that our presence relieved them of the need to surveil the store for burglars and the like.

5) I guess I moved out and got my first apartment in 1977. Between then and when I got married in 1987, I moved 13 times. But only because my apartment would inevitably get dirty, no matter how much I ignored the problem.

6) Which reminds me. Eventually store security caught on to the nighttime parking lot revelry, and heads rolled. Fortunately not mine, but my roommate's. At the time, he and I shared a three bedroom condo on the beach in Port Hueneme. Being that he was now unemployed, it was necessary for him to create a new cash stream. Therefore, he converted our unused room into a pot plantation. He purchased one of those 1,000 watt bulbs, and every square inch of the room was covered in 20 gallon containers.

The plants quickly grew to the ceiling, so my roommate's job essentially involved topping the plants every day, toasting them in the oven for a bit, and serving his customers. Now, at the time, I didn't even partake, but I was obviously a very open-minded guy, so I had no fundamental objection to my roommate laying around all day smoking pot, surfing, and converting our condo into a tropical jungle. I wasn't even alarmed when our electricity bill jumped from $20 to $200 a month, not knowing that that is one of the ways The Man busts pot growers.

Normally we kept this giant canvas Holiday Inn flag over the window of the farm, but one night I came home from work and saw that a breeze had blown the flag down. It looked as if the mid-day sun were shining out of our window. I guess only then did I realize the potential peril I was in. So I moved on to my next clean apartment.

7) Some time prior to that, we had taken our first road trip to Vegas -- I and a couple of coworkers. We wanted to get in as much gambling as possible with the least amount of overhead, so we conceived this plan: we would embark from Los Angeles at about 6:00 PM, arriving in Vegas at about 10:00. We'd then gamble for the subsequent 12 hours, and check into our room at 11:00 AM. Then we could sleep all day and gamble again all night. The idea was to get in two full nights of gambling for the price of one!

Look, I'm not saying I'm a genius, or that I'm proud of any of this. I'm just reporting the facts, as they actually occurred.

I was saved from penury the first night by winning a sizable jackpot on a slot machine. But I blew it all the second night on blackjack. By then, it was about 3:00 AM, and my companions had already gone to bed to sleep it off. While shambling down the strip back to our room, I walked toward the Holiday Inn, when I was seized by an unexplainable impulse. Right outside the hotel, there was a little mound with two or possibly three flagpoles, one of which flew a giant Holiday Inn flag. Frankly, from the ground, it didn't look all that big, but for whatever reason, I decided that I wanted it. Now.

So I marched and staggered -- difficult to do at the same time -- up the the rock-covered hillock, unwound the twine, and generally acted like it was my job to draw down the flag. As it got closer, I could see that it was much bigger than I'd imagined -- like 8 by 12 feet.

No one interfered. The flag was secure. So I just walked down the street, looking straight ahead, making no eye contact with any of the sparse passersby.

Made it into the hotel. I was safe with my prize. It was officially mine. Now what? That's the kind of triumph a fellow naturally wants to share with his mates, even if they are technically passed out.

Again, I'm not pretending any of this makes any sense, but at the time, all of my actions were governed by an impulsive logic -- almost an inevitability -- that I fully grasped in an instant. Just prior to that, my friends and I had seen Bruce Springsteen at the Forum. I guess that makes it 1978. Anyway, we were very impressed with his rousing cover version of Buddy Holly's Rave On.

So I draped the Holiday Inn flag around my shoulders like a cape, jumped up on their beds, and began bellowing Rave On, bouncing from one bed to the other.

Wella-wella-well
The little things you say and do,
Make me wanna be with you-a-hoo
Rave on, it's a crazy feeling, and
I know it's got me reeling
When you say, "I love you," well rave on!

8) Hmm, how do you top that.... or sink lower, allowing for the sentiments of my stunned and uncomprehending friends. I'll have to give it some thought. But for some reason, I am reminded of a story about Johnny Cash. On their first major tour of America, U2, who were big fans, wanted to visit him. They had dinner at his mansion in Tennessee, and all held hands together as Johnny led them in a long and elaborate grace. Then he opened his eyes, winked at Bono, and said, "sure do miss the drugs though."

So, fact #8: it's been a long time since I was crazy, but every once in awhile I wish I still was.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Ms. giggles said...

That is an impressive collection of juvenalia. I'll bet you occasionally still do random and impulsive things, but on a smaller and more harmless scale.

Last night I had a dream that I impulsively bit a waiter's hand while dining out (the hand just looked plump and succulent at the time; I gave it a playful love-bite) It was just a nip and didn't even break the skin, but the police were called in to make a report/arrest. The waiter had to be taken for HIV screening and a tetanus booster.

I took the moral to be twofold: don't bite the hand that feeds you, and that impulsive behaviour can have negative consequences.

Pot growing, flag-stealing, etc. The Lord gives youth a free pass on such things, but the older man does not get the nod. You'll get busted next time.

7/14/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>it's been a long time since I was crazy, but every once in awhile I wish I still was<<

If it's any consolation - and if crazy is defined as "extremely deviant from the norm" - then be assured that you still are 100% howling moon barking certifiable crazy.

7/14/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Bob! I never realized. I felt like I was reading my autobiography with the names changed to protect the innocent. ;^)

7/14/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

8 Facts, I hate this game already! ha ha! Seriously though, I was out in Hollywood last night seeing a band called The Fresh (check out their video My Space on their Myspace page). It is beyond hilarious and true! So after the show, we are walking down Hollywood Bl. and right at Hollywood and Highland this guy is laying in the middle of the street. He just got clipped by a car. The police were everywhere blocking traffic. He was literally in the middle of the road. It was beyond crazy. Actually, it was good because I was with someone who just moved to LA and I got to show him Hollywood at its finest....It was quite the scene but that's a Friday the 13th for ya...

7 more facts will be sprinkled maybe throughout the day or so. I really do try to remain mysterious and it's a little embarrassing how many of them revolve around pot and tequila....you think I'd learn after about #4 or so....eh, whatcha gonna do?

7/14/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Hilarious, Bob, and yet somehow I'm not entirely surprised. The only real question is how much of this did Mrs. G know before she married you?

Now I guess I'll go work on mine - I'm not nearly as interesting, but I'll come up with something :)

7/14/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/14/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just to clarify the roster -- the original purpose was to link to Raccoons who actually have blogs. In the interest of space, we've simpy reverted to that policy. Bear in mind that Edith is still trying to blog on an old Underwood hooked up to a waffle iron, while the Colonel is trying to scrounge up the dough to buy a computer by contesting Robert Anton Wilson's will, since he claims he cowrote Cosmic Trigger.

7/14/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Oh you were just crazy and unfocused the same way St. Francis (of Assissi, not de Sales) was ion his youth.

I hope, when elightenment struck, that you didn't rip off all your clothes like he did...

Mystery: did your pot-growing roommate ever make it thru to adulthood while remaining on the outside?

Will is right: you're still psychedelically interesting and probably always will be.

But I really came by to leave you this, just in case you hadn't seen it --and the day is almost upon us:

The plumbing of a saxophone seemed like too cramped a channel for the river of emotion John Coltrane sought to drive through it: he always sounded as if he were trying to expand the metalwork with the sheer force of his feelings. Coltrane's huge, yearning tone, sermonising intensity and revolutionary technique allowed him to sound like several saxophonists rolled into one; but for all that, he always sounded as if he was striving for what still lay out of reach. It wasn't just the search for more music, or a different music. It sounded like the search for another world, and another life - which is why Coltrane is revered more than ever, inside and outside jazz, 40 years after his premature death from liver cancer at 40, on July 17 1967.

7/14/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Tagged, you say! Sounds suspiciously like work but ok, I'll come up with some factoids.

Meanwhile, it's a good day for slacking at the beach, so head on down and look for a black-and-white umbrella. There's a case of ice cold cerveza underneath. Help yourself. I'll be along shortly with a camera.

left hand a seashell
evening plays hide and seek
pockets filled with sand

7/14/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Mmmm... beer...

I haven't had beer in 11 days (it seemed best not to drink around our young guest); I think it's time for a cold one.

My random eight are up at my blog now; thanks for the instant topic, Bob!

7/14/2007 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Joan, you wimp! Deleting your comment is right in line with what I always gnu: trying to palm-off work onto your servants again, huh?

Nice try, O Post-Mystress. Warned you from the start that I was just waiting for the day......

Now it is at hand! I just had an honorable mention combined with others, while you HAD an entry all of your own, so HAD further to fall.

Bob can try to make nice by explaining the roster, but I was not asleep in the back of class while we BOTH got tossed out.

Revenge is sooooo sweet. The wenchwars are NOT over, so be on notice.

Consider yourself un-servanted. I declare myself a Ronin. Since you are no longer of any use to me, I'll pucker-up & find some other heinie to kiss.

Take THAT!

Muaaaaaaaaahahahaha

7/14/2007 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Lawd have mercy - I'm with The Starfish on this taggin' stuff. [she's probably operating on moral principle] Me? I'm operating in survival mode *and* being pursued by a worthy? wooer in Mobile, Alabama who's discovered the divine Mizz E and that's a fact.

Being I already have one fact, I suppose I'll trust I'll be given the inspiration to play along. . . . .in stark raving mad mode.

7/14/2007 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Kewl - I'm off the hook - Julie tagged all of the remaining coons and kits. I don't think Gil Baile would appreciate the opportunity I could offer him.

7/14/2007 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/14/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Will said...
>>it's been a long time since I was crazy, but every once in awhile I wish I still was<<

"If it's any consolation - and if crazy is defined as "extremely deviant from the norm" - then be assured that you still are 100% howling moon barking certifiable crazy."

My sentiments exactly (although Bob was prolly talkin' about batsh*t crazy, but crazy is still crazy, no matter how you slice and dice it).

Hell, crazy is one of those things that can't be deconstructed, which is to say, even if a post-modernist tried, that would in fact be crazy in and of itself.
There's no wat around this conundrum, so don't waste your time.

That bein' said, I feel crazier...
oh wait! I can use this in the tag 'em and bag 'em game we're playin'.
No...back the crazy ship up. That's a present-day fact, so I guess I can't leave it as a cliffhanger(TM).

Like I said, I feel and in fact is/are crazier than I used to be, but it keeps me from goin' insane (TW: Waylon).
Which is what I was. Maybe not strait-jacket goodness insane, but definitely insane.

Yeah, like y'all don't know 8 facts about me (more like 800).
Fortuitously, I have a lot more than 8 left, so I guess this will make 808, which is a cool lookin' number.
Of course, I still have to do the hard part and write about it.
Thanks Bob. I don't know how I'll ever repay you for this, but I'll try.

How come Will doesn't have to do it? That's not fair.
Hi Will! No um, offense buddy, ha ha! I think I speak for everyone when I say, it would be Cool with a big see if you were tagged too!
Just sayin'...

Now to write about the pink flamingo incident...
Heh! Didn't think I had a cliffhanger (TM) moment to exploit, didja?

Bob-
This was so funny! How funny was it? Comedy gold! This is the real comedy channel! Thanks!

7/14/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good to see you Will!
How's the move goin'?

7/14/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hoarhey-
More like the names were changed to protect the guilty.
Innocent...ha ha! That's a good one!

7/14/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Petey's 8 facts are gonna be outta this world!

Cousin Dupree-
Need I say more?

7/14/2007 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Lisa-
By "we" do you mean you and The Fresh band?

7/14/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Dymphna said-
"I hope, when elightenment struck, that you didn't rip off all your clothes like he did..."

Well, we haven't heard from Cuz yet...

As for manly men, this sort of depends on what you mean by "enlightenment". :^)

7/14/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ms. Giggles said-
"The Lord gives youth a free pass on such things, but the older man does not get the nod."

I never got a free pass in my yout'.
Heck, I got caught shoplifting some penny candy when I was 6, by my Mom, and she turned me in to the Man!

7/14/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Aaaaaah Joan, that's no fun.

Worked really hard on that comment, too.

Geez

7/14/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Hmm, let's see... Going down the list in order, Petey, Van, Ben, Cousin Dupree, Robin Starfish, Lisa, Julie, and Mizz E."

Hmm... anyone notice a name conspiciously absent from that list? Anybody? Will?

No blog? yeah right - Teachers Pet. Sheesh...

Boy, trying to wrap up a very long day, relax and WHAM! Tagged!

I'll get to it tomorrow... BTW, along the lines of Hoarhey's 'like I was reading my autobiography with the names changed to protect the innocent. '... need your farmer room mate happen to be a drummer?

7/14/2007 09:08:00 PM  

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