Wednesday, May 18, 2016

BAD COMPANY



 With respect to my innocent readers, I've done my best to edit and sanitize this story. The result is the Disney version...



I've heard somewhere that we're only as good as the company we keep. If that's true, I was more rotten than a three-week old avocado in my Southern California youth. The toxic array of colorful misfits that I consorted with is alarming. 

Phil was by no means the worst of the lot, but he was definitely the most intriguing. When I first met Phil he was fresh out of prison. Armed robbery and "assault". A reliable source informed (well actually warned) me that it was attempted murder. I didn't care. Who was I to judge motives? Whatever the charge, the prison stint left him with emotional scars. He'd been raped and beaten.

We were both the same age, twenty-three. Phil had the deceptive aura of an angel, enhanced by incredibly good looks: 6'3", blonde, sky blue eyes. He could charm the pants off anyone. Don't try to speculate. You'll hurt yourself.

He was charismatic, reckless, psychologically fragile. He could be tough and frightening, but also incredibly tender and intriguingly vulnerable. His sexual intensity was astounding.

Phil's radical mood swings were encouraged by copious amounts of marijuana. At the time - under his sublime influence - I also enthusiastically indulged. He had large stashes hidden everywhere (including in my car). I knew where he got it from, too. Phil's supplier was a very famous major league baseball player with the California Angels. I knew for certain, because I met him.

(I think the California Angels are now the Los Angeles Angels)

Besides committing crimes and smoking pot, Phil had a keen interest in photography and was good at it. He took some impressive photographs of me during one drug-enhanced afternoon. I have a few of the photos, but always wondered whatever happened to the rest. They're probably circulating on the Internet on some vintage porn site.

I'm jesting. Maybe. 

 

Jon
photo by Phil


I remember the first night I ever smoked grass. We were safely ensconced on the beach, in Long Beach, very near the permanently-docked Queen Mary. It was sunset and the sky was dazzling with the most spectacularly vivid colors. We got rocks and began throwing them at the rusting Queen, with annoyingly bad aim.

I still have a matchbook
from the infamous Green Café

One of our favorite hangouts was the Green Café on San Vicente in Hollywood. Unfortunately it's no longer in existence - - I think it's been replaced by a hoity-toity wine boutique.
At the time, the Green Café was a hot spot for the famous and infamous. We saw Cher there. And Raquel Welch. And Sal Mineo, not long before he was murdered. Sal was gay and everybody knew it.

 San Vicente Boulevard



One afternoon porn star Linda Lovelace was at the Green Café. This was at the height of her notoriety, a few years after filming Deep Throat. If the waiter hadn't told us who she was, we wouldn't have recognized her. She was sitting all alone - demurely dressed, eating a salad and sipping iced tea. I had seen the film Deep Throat, but Lovelace looked a little different with her clothes on.

 porn star Linda Lovelace
(1949-2002)

Vividly etched in my memory is the night Phil and I took a drive to the Orange County Hills. He assured me that the car was borrowed. In truth (I found out later) it was stolen. Phil's driver's license had been revoked and he didn't have a car - but that didn't stop him from driving.

We had been drinking Rainier Ale all night and then started smoking joints in the car. The Orange Hills were completely deserted. A moonless autumn night. Pitch black. We parked the car, smoked more weed, and.....well, let's leave some things to the imagination.

When we started driving again we were completely wasted. Phil's foot was alarmingly heavy on the gas pedal. We went faster and faster - laughing and screeching around dangerous curves. Despite our speed, my mind was suspended in blissful slow-motion.

Panic eventually came in a delayed blur. By then the car was speeding out of control. We smashed through a guard rail and plummeted down the side of a hill. If we weren't reinforced by the phantom airbag cushion of booze and grass, we probably would have been killed.

The car was a wreck. Dazed and bloody, we painfully crawled out of the car and climbed up the steep embankment.We walked (or limped) a couple of miles, and eventually managed to hitch a ride to civilization.

I'm drastically abbreviating the story, but this is a blog - not my memoir.

After many more turbulent adventures that I'd rather not share - and a few fantastic drug-induced fights, Phil and I parted ways. The last I heard he was back in prison. He was always afraid of his parole officer and terrified of failing the drug tests.

Phil, wherever you are today I hope you remember me fondly. We shared a helluva lot of interesting times.  

 





Post Script:
In the autobiography of Linda Lovelace, she claims that she was held against her will and forced into pornography. When Phil and I saw her at the Green Cafe, she was entirely alone and seemed very serene and relaxed. I don't claim to know any details about her life, I only know what we observed.



36 comments:

  1. Well, lets leave it to the imagination? You meant to say backseat didn't you? Another great story. It's unbelievable how many things we share in common. The things we did. And you are you calling innocent?????? I'm glad I am seeing this post, my reader doesn't appear to be updating again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had no doubt that you'd eagerly and accurately read between the lines.
      And when I mentioned "innocent" readers, I didn't exactly have you in mind......(*smile*)

      Delete
  2. Engaging and well-composed personal essay, Jon. It was a strange and energetic time. For some reason, although I never saw "Deep Throat", your sighting of Linda Lovelace in the cafe brought a lot of memories back. In 1971-72, I was driving truck for the San Diego Spring Co. Up and down California, I remember hearing the film was "obscene" and other people saying the only obscenity was Linda Lovelace got paid a mere $1200 for her work in it. I'm glad she seemed "serene and relaxed". She earned that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Engaging? Perhaps.
      Well-composed? Hell, no.
      Those were the best times, and California was definitely the best place to be.

      I remember when "Deep Throat" was banned in the city of Buena Park (there were two adult theaters there at the time). The City Council watched the movie several times in order to determine if it was obscene. I swear to God that's a true story!

      Delete
  3. I think I watched "deep throat" a long long time ago...

    c'mon out, pearl clutchers...like YOU never did anything outside the box! phony bitches!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't remember much about "Deep Throat", but I do recall that it wasn't quite as spectacular as it was supposed to be.

      I am being VERY conservative about what I'm revealing about my past. If I told everything, all my "followers" would drop me. Well, ALMOST all....

      Delete
    2. Those of us who are nosy will continue following, albeit we might not comment as much because you leave us speechless.

      Delete
    3. Donna, I'd much rather have speechless followers than no followers at all.....

      Delete
  4. '...mood swings were encouraged by copious amounts of marijuana.'

    Hmm...I find copious amounts of marijuana (and beer!) serve to placate *my* mood swings...lol!

    Agree with Geo. and Ms. Maddie (and a.m) it was a strange and wonderous time...and the things *we* did...I'm surprised some of us lived through it! (alas, some didn't.)

    Carry on, my wayward son.

    :-)

    -Andy

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Phil had violent mood swings, whether he was stoned or not. The booze and pot simply seemed to enhance them.
      I often look back at my past with astonishment. It seems like I'm a different person, looking back at someone else.
      Were we ever really that young and wild??

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  5. Jon,

    Ah, you make my life seem so tame when I read your memories. My ex-cons and murderers and druggies are my current crowd of Biker Buddies, hopefully reformed. My youth was wasted not on drugs (there was some wild driving) and seeing famous people, but seeking the pleasures of the flesh. You need to tell us more of your formative years.

    Larry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually hated drugs and had some bad experiences with them. But sometimes I indulged, as a means of Escape.....
      If I ever wrote about my enthusiastic quest for pleasures of the flesh, my readers would flee in horror and I'd be banned from Blogger.
      I try to present the "G" version.
      Or perhaps the "PG" version.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Lar Jon. You need to tell us more of your "formative" years, you devil you.
      Ron

      Delete
  6. You make me sound like rebecca of sunnybrook farm

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    1. Yes, but Rebecca didn't eat Scotch Eggs.....

      Delete
  7. How did we survive our youth?! I have some stories that have curled some people's hair a time or two. But careening down a cliffside...you were probably very lucky to have been so stoned at the time. Glad you made it through those years, Jon. :)

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    Replies
    1. That wasn't the most dangerous thing I ever did, but it was one of the most memorable. I astonish myself when I think of my past.

      Delete
  8. Every "Phil" I ever met, I desired and wanted to be their savior - but I was the one who was crucified by the ones I wanted to love me. I've never done drugs, was never near drugs, or had friends with drugs. Plus, I've never drank liquor. Now I wish I could try marijuana before I die. And I believe cannabis oil would allow me to live longer and maybe care less about the physical and mental pain. It pisses me off that so many judgmental people can decide what we can do in the privacy of our homes. Yes. I read all of your post but merely groaned when I read how freely you had access to the one thing I can't have.....just once. I might not even like it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I wasn't raised in Southern California, I don't think I would have ever done a fraction of what I did. It was Satan's Paradise.
      I actually never liked drugs and indulged minimally. But during the time I knew Phil I smoked pot simply because it was readily available. I sure as heck wouldn't know where to get it now.

      Delete
    2. lj, go to CO or WA!!!

      :-)

      -Andy

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  9. Smoking grass always made me too paranoid to be able to enjoy the experience. I just knew I was going to get caught and sent to jail. Worse yet, my parents would find out. Back then we used uppers to suppress our appetite so we could stay ridiculously thin. They also increased our energy so we could party longer. I dated a few bikers who liked to go 100+ mph with me on the back of the bike. I used to drink a bottle of wine before riding. Akadama Plum was my favorite but Boone's Farm would do in a pinch. I also am surprised that I survived my youth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of women used uppers back then to stay slim. In my blissful ignorance, I never worried about getting caught when smoking grass. I knew the son of a police chief who used to grow pot in his father's back yard (!!!) I'm not kidding. Alcohol was my weakness, because it always agreed with me far more than drugs.

      Delete
  10. I love your many-faceted descriptions of Phil. My take-away seems, he allowed you a glimpse of his soul; that sort of trust doesn't come easily.

    But, Jon, how I HATE loose ends! In this increasingly transparent cyber world, have you tried researching his whereabouts?

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  11. Unfortunately my life is filled with loose ends. I have indeed thought about researching his whereabouts (and that of numerous others), but.....somehow I prefer to remember what was, rather than the harsh reality of what is now.

    Besides, the way Phil was going, he's probably either deceased or still in prison.

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  12. The escapades of youth make for some interesting stories. But the experiences are priceless.

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  13. I think that some youthful experiences are best not mentioned, but I couldn't resist.

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  14. I love this story and the memories you stir up of my wild youth. I Never saw Deep Throat (it was straight), but Johnny Carson talked about it nitely in his opening monologue for at least a year.

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    1. I remember those Johnny Carson monologues! I was with a straight friend when I saw "Deep Throat" and it was several years after it was initially released.

      Delete
  15. I have led such a boring life, makes me the man I am today.

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    1. I had a wild and colorful youth but I'm boring now.

      Delete
  16. "...reinforced by the phantom airbag cushion of booze and grass..." Great way to put it. I've often said my hubby and I... and especially him... have worn out a whole troop of guardian angels in our lifetimes. Sounds like you have, too. Well-written and fascinating, as always.

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    1. Ha, you picked one of my favorite lines (phantom airbag cushion). This could have been a much better post, but I drastically edited it. Well, hell, I'll tell the whole story in my memoirs.

      I definitely had a host of guardian angels in my youth - but lately they've abandoned me.

      Delete
    2. I believe guardian angels are always there. As we finally wise up, we just don't need them as much and other people need them more.

      Delete
    3. I never thought about it like that, but you're right.

      Delete
  17. Wow Jon! What a story. Your like could truly be made into a movie script, a very interesting movie script including the time you lived in Texas and now Tennessee. I still have the strong feeling that your "adventures" are not over. In fact I think the best is yet to come. I know it Jon, I just know it. There will be the day when you write about those adventures too, from the hills of Tennessee. Oh yes, Tennessee (smile).
    Ron

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  18. Ron, I could write an entire book about my miserable years in Texas (maybe someday). I'd p[refer to concentrate on my golden (but wild) years in California - which could indeed be the inspiration for a movie script.
    Good things in the future?? Hmmmmm, I hope you're right.

    ReplyDelete

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