This will be the last “TGIF” column. It has been a great 12-year run. Well, mostly. Lord knows there were some turkeys in there over the years, but you can’t hit ’em all out of the park, and some days you’re damned lucky if you can get any wood on the ball at all. This particular column is being 86ed because of doctor’s orders in the form of an almost pleading question: “Can you change your job somewhat to avoid deadlines?” Luckily this is a weekly paper, not a daily, and, yeah, it’s possible. I will be contributing the occasional feature as my delicate condition (well documented here) allows.
There have been no “TGIF” columns since December, and my leave of absence consisted mostly of hospital stays, of which I’ve written about in excess. The concept of this thing began with the general idea of offbeat observations on the weekend, or, suggestions about what one might consider doing for leisure or entertainment. It has since gone far afield with far too much stuff about me. It has been suggested to me that I write an autobiography in my semi-retirement, but I find I am burnt out on the subject. I am playing with something like it but in fictional terms.
I am writing this in early March, and for those who have followed this page of the paper, even occasionally, you may be interested to know that I am living with my son now — a happy ending to a long apartment search. While it is in an area of town I call “Dodge City,” there are plenty of families and kids for every hooker and crack dealer. I have made friends with a few of the professional ladies while trying to avoid that syndrome common to guys my age who, around women, think of themselves as a cross between Daddy and Brad Pitt.
One neighbor, whom I don’t know from Adam, came to my door one night with a small, transparent container and (without introducing himself) asked me, “Hey, brother. Can you give me a clean pee sample?”
I stood there for a good while with a look on my face that must have resembled a pole-axed flounder, and the guy (turns out his name is Turrell) says, “I’ll give you five dollars.”
Reaching behind the door to the kitchen table, I picked up my weekly med dispenser with about 30 pills for AM and about the same for PM. I showed him the contents and told him, “Can’t help you, man. I take, like, 40 Vicodin a week, Percocet, let’s see…” I pretended to study the variety of cardiac meds I had, all of which you could crush up and snort without getting the slightest buzz. Maybe a massive headache. I pretended to riffle through the assortment, pulled out a multivitamin. While examining the thing, I asked him, “I guess amphetamines are still illegal too, right?”
“Hey, man. It’s cool. But maybe I could come back later and we could do some bidness.”
“Maybe, but I’m not a great businessman. I’m spaced out a lot, you know?”
“Sure, sure. I feel you.” And he was gone.
Having been something of a recluse for quite a while now, I no longer feel qualified to comment on neato things to do in and around San Diego on Friday nights or any other, but I’ve got this: My friend CC and his wife are going up to Hollywood, to the Theatre Asylum, on Santa Monica Boulevard, to view a stage production, running through March, of Pulp Fiction with its exact dialogue — only in Elizabethan English. You can catch 14 minutes of it on YouTube. I mention this only because it is such a bizarre idea. Not San Diego–oriented, obviously, but close enough for rock and roll and a little over an hour maybe on the I-5.
I bring it up, as well, as a contrast to anything I can imagine originating in San Diego theater. Maybe that’s unfair, or the concept of a live production of Pulp Fiction just crap anyway. But one must, I think, concede its originality and creativity.
Most of all, I have been critical of San Diego’s lack of humor about itself, à la Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, et al. There is no shortage of laughter here. But on any kind of examination, what is considered funny among America’s Finest often tends toward the level of TV commercial gags or simply the plain moronic or cornball. Now this may be true anywhere in the U.S. these days, but I’ve lived here for 31 years and have not changed my opinion.
I can hear the “boos” and raspberries already, and you’re still welcome to voice them online, by phone, or mail. Until then, thanks for reading.