Marijuana, LSD, and Tootsie Pops

Well, here’s a day that took a turn I hadn’t seen coming. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Kallie wore radioactive fluorescent pants with a colorfully crazy shirt and assorted glow-in-the-dark accessories, because the dress code at work is suspended every Halloween. She looked great, called it her kaleidoscope costume, and in my opinion she won Best In Show for the 8th floor. 

Last year about half the staff dressed up for the day, but most of 1993's best-dressed have been laid off since, and other than Kallie’s, what few costumes there were weren’t much. Me, I came as a scraggy sketchy homeless-looking guy, with dirty pants, stained shirt, wild beard all over the face, and a surly attitude. Same as every other day.

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Carlotta is a new worker in our office. She started today, but I already know her, cuz I worked with her in a different department, when I started here as a temp. She’s bright, pleasant, Asian with an accent, and I told Darla (back from mourning this morning) that she’d made a good choice bringing her in. It’s irrelevant, but Carlotta is also very attractive.

Only problem is, she outranks me in years with the company, and they never admit it but they usually lay off the newest hires first. So come the next round of pink slips she’ll be safer than me.

Except for losing access to free photocopies, I don’t know, it feels like I’ve already come to terms with being laid off. It’s almost like, do it. Get it over already. 

So, welcome to Hell, Carlotta!

♦ ♦ ♦

I turned in my United Way pledge sheet, with a big zero for my donation amount. Sure, I felt guilty. The whole United Way operation, at least as it’s run in this company, is set up to make you feel guilty if you don’t contribute, so you got me, I feel guilty.

I’d rather feel guilty, though, than feel forced, and I'm pretty sure that I’ve personally blocked Babs from a trip to Tahoe. Gotta love that.

♦ ♦ ♦

This morning Kallie was all excited and enthused — still — about how great the Rolling Stones concert had been on Friday night. She made it sound like something special, so I didn’t say this, but I didn't agree. I’d take Pink Floyd or the Moody Blues, thanks.

A little later, we were both listening to the same radio station, and the DJ said that tonight’s Stones show wasn’t completely sold out. My first thought was, the Stones played on Friday, took the weekend off just like me, and now they’re working again Monday. But Kallie looked at me and her eyes ignited, and she said, “Maybe I should go again,” and then she said, “Wanna come?”

I thought she was nuts. I often think she’s nuts, but that’s OK. I approve of nuts.

And then, before you could say Jumping Jack Flash, she was on the phone to BASS Tickets, buying two tickets with her credit card — one for her, and one for me. I’m supposed to pay her back for the ticket, and it’s $50, which is way out of my price range, but pay her back I will.

You only live once, unless you’re a Buddhist. No matter how boring your life is, and mine is quite boring, sometimes you ought to surprise yourself.

I hadn’t been to a major league concert since seeing Chicago in Seattle in the mid-1970s, but the Rolling Stones, last time I checked, are the Rolling Stones. Plus, the whole band is in their 50s I think, so they won’t be rockin’ much longer. See 'em now before they're gone! Have you looked at a picture of Keith Richards lately? I think he's dead already.

Also, I wanted to see Kallie’s Mick Jagger dance.

She suggested I should bring some pot, and why not? I'd been saving it for a special occasion, and this was a special occasion. At lunch I ran home and rolled a couple of phat ones in typing paper, for that literary feel.

We shared the first one in Golden Gate Park, before BARTing to Oakland. On the ride under the water she dropped some acid (“Not a lot, it’s a work night”) and offered me some, but I declined because, remember, I’m boring. 

“Kallie,” I asked her, “Are you one of those wild California women my mom warned me about?” She laughed and laughed, but was it funny or were we stoned?

She painted a big star on my forehead and hers (no idea where the paint came from) and then, I guess, we were ready for the show. Since she’d seen basically the same concert on Friday, she said we could come late, and we avoided the long lines at the gates, missed the opening act (something called Seal), and climbed up up up to our seats, cheapest seats in the Coliseum, just as the lights dimmed and the crowd roared.

Mr Jagger stepped out all awhirl and started singing and strutting like he does, dancing and often full-speed running from one end of the giant bandstand to the other. I was impressed and almost turned on — Jagger is much older than me, but buffed to the max, and he never stood still, never slowed down for the next 2½ hours. Of course I'm only kidding that he turned me on, I think, but I was out of stamina just from tapping my feet through the first few songs. His energy probably isn’t organic; he has access to the finest drugs money can buy, so of course he’s wired when he’s on stage. It was kind of a turn-on, though.

Oh, shut up, Doug. 

The whole band, the whole night was rockin’, and except for when Keith Richards was singing — standing still like a scarecrow — the energy level never lagged. Oh, and Richards got off a good line, “Every night of my life is Halloween.”

It was a stadium show, and the props and explosions of light were state of the art. Our seats were at an odd angle, so we had to turn our necks to see the stage, but I believe the Virgin Mary and Bouncing Baby Jesus were next to the seven-story inflatable Elvis when he appeared. The band threw hundreds, maybe thousands of trick-or-treat candy bars into the audience between and sometimes during the songs, but of course we were a zillion rows back so no Snickers for us. 

Fair to say, it was the best concert I’ve been to in twenty years, and the only. It was a nice night. Maybe you think the Stones (and people who’d pay to see the Stones) are over the hill? Well, I saw about two dozen people in our section of the stadium using walkers or wheelchairs, so the audience is definitely getting along in years. And on the stage, Richards looked like a cough could topple him. Seriously, he wasn't at his best, and I assume he was either high or sick.

And say what you will about the Stones being owned by Corporate America. In fact, I’ll say it with you. They’re owned. Bankers were standing at the gates when we came in, handing official Rolling Stones MasterCard applications to everyone. Like the Stones need that endorsement money to pay their mortgages? It’s all about the money, always. 

And yet. No matter how many millions he’s making, no man works as hard as Jagger worked tonight unless he’s having fun, and if he’s having fun then it’s rock’n’roll. Also, I got to see Kallie’s Mick Jagger dance, and it’s funny — she struts just like him and does something with her lips.

About halfway through the show, Kallie was digging through her purse for “more medication,” meaning more LSD. I am beginning to wonder about that girl.

“I have some hard stuff here in my backpack,” I said, and unzipped a pocket to reveal my stash of Tootsie Pops. Again she laughed loud, again it didn’t seem all that funny, but of course I was on the third deck and Kallie was on the fifth. She did another hit of acid, I licked Tootsie Pops, a few songs later we shared that second joint — and how Kallie is going to sleep tonight is a mystery to me.

There was an “only in San Francisco” moment, even though we were in Oakland. Some drunk on a walkway tried to pick a fight by yelling at me, “Hey, overweight guy with a star on your head, what are you doing here? Overweight guys can’t rock!”

I’ve heard worse, and in fact I’ve rarely heard milder. When you’re fat you get taunted sometimes, but I have thick skin. Thick, and loose. Mostly I mention the taunting because even though that guy was so drunk or stoned he could barely stand, he couldn’t call me ‘fat’ — just ‘overweight’. I’m taking that as progress toward a more peaceful, tolerant world.

Oh, and the music. I ought to say something about the music. Mick can still carry a tune. Keith never could but he carries a mean guitar. Charlie Watts looks like he’s ready to retire, or he should be wearing a tux and drumming for a symphony, but he never missed a beat. Bill Wyman did retire, yet the Stones keep rolling. Also, Ronnie Wood was present.

Surprisingly, at least to me, it all sounded pretty good, despite the echo and fade-away of the music at a baseball park. The amplification had enough bass to seriously rattle my chest on the low notes, which felt strange and awesome, and Jagger had enough adrenaline or amphetamine to keep Kallie and the crowd dancing all night. 

The songs were a 50/50 mix of their old hits and new stuff off their 49th album, and all of it was sold rock, long as Richards kept his mouth shut and let Jagger do the singing. It was embarrassing when Richards sang, though, and I wonder what Jagger thinks when he’s watching Richards stand there, posed like a mannequin, singing slightly off-key.

After the concert we were about 30,000th in line to board BART, so Kallie and I had plenty of time to talk. I like her. She does more drugs in a week than I’ve done in my life, but that’s only a problem if you let it be a problem, and she has it under control. She’s employed and she has a lease, and hell, I don’t have a lease so she’s doing better than me.

She told me about her chiropractor, the man who twists her body into odd positions to keep her spine aligned. Which rhymes. She says he’s straight and she kind of likes him, but she’s impressed that even when he has his hands on her butt, torso, and legs, he’s always professional. He’s “vibe-less,” she says, meaning he gives off only doctor vibes, not guy vibes.

It’s a story I re-pondered before typing it, just now. Vibe-less is what I’d like to be, with Kallie. Friendship is too rare to risk it over some impossible romance that couldn’t happen anyway.

♦ ♦ ♦

Long day.

I’ll close with a whispered correction. I owe Kallie $50 for my ticket to tonight’s concert. That’s a lot of money, but it was worth it to me, so I might have been too judgmental a few weeks back, when I cracked wise about all the rich bastards paying huge prices to see Phantom of the Opera.

Kindly consider that rant retracted. Or mostly retracted. 

From Pathetic Life #5
Boo! — Monday, October 31, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

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  1. >At lunch I ran home and rolled a couple of phat ones in typing paper, for that literary feel.

    Just wanted you to know, that this line is one that I have remembered, word-for-word, since I read it 25 years ago. It's agood one.

    1. It's odd what sticks in the memory. Retyping that line, I remembered that someone had said something nice about it. Didn't remember that it was you, though. Thanks, dude.

  2. wild guess you've been told this before, but you write very well. I about split a rib at Mick Jagger getting you going.

  3. I HOPE you aren't going to keep playing "vibeless". You obviously have a crush on Kallie.

    1. Who, me?

      I actually reached out to Kallie a few months ago — her real name is unique, so she was easy to find online — and we traded a few emails. Even now, though, neither of us asked any questions that weren't vibeless.

      I think we *were* vibeless. Just friends.


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