My son will turn 33 this August, on a Friday coming up. It is a significant age for a man, at least in Christianity, and it is one-third of 100 years. He was born in 1977 in New York City at Beth Israel Hospital. It was the summer of Sam; that is, David Berkowitz and his talking dog. A blackout occurred in the city that summer. I got married that summer as well.
I haven’t seen my son, nor have I spoken with him, in too many months. Not that there is the slightest trace of any animosity between us; it’s just that it has been a hideous year, surpassed in its chaotic bummers only by the year before. Maybe it is the other way around. Anyway, long story.
In rehab again. They finally let me go to work a little this morning. I’ve had cancer, still have three different heart diseases, and alcoholism. Give me heart disease and cancer every time.
I’m the only guy in my platoon of ostensibly recovering drunks with some sort of job. We all live in the same apartment complex in City Heights, amid liquor stores, porno shops, and a nudie bar. A shooting two blocks away last Saturday night brought multiple squad cars and two ambulances. The next night it was a drunken brawl in the alley during which one guy got his head kicked open then got in his car and drove away, cursing the other guy, whom he seemed to know. A roommate of mine from the Midwest was asking me which neighborhoods in San Diego to stay away from to increase the odds of recovery. I told him, without irony, “This one.”
Just got off the phone with my son. Sounded great. Wants to get an apartment together again. I told him yeah, “In January, okay?” He said, “Yeah, okay.” I now feel better than I have in too many months. I’ll see him Saturday, probably, along with the woman I married in the summer of 1977. Sometimes I think that getting married is like getting fat: everybody should do it…once.
I see that Ted Nugent is coming to town: 4th&B on the 12th. My lovely former assistant, the Specialist (she is now the lovely assistant of Amazo the Magician and gets sawed in half every Friday and Saturday night with matinees on Sunday), said of Nugent, “A once-handsome maniac who turned into one of the weirdest-looking mothers on Earth.” I saw the guitarist in 1968 with the Amboy Dukes. This was at the Electric Theater on Lawrence Street in Chicago, where I spent a lot of time tripping my brains out. Nugent wore cowboy boots, white pants, and suspenders pulled over his shirtless torso. He strutted and pranced around on the dance floor playing — I don’t know — a Gibson L5 maybe. Full of himself, this guy, I thought. I was more than vaguely disgusted at the display of ego, so I turned away and conversed with my hallucinations.
Lewis Black will be at Pala Casino (some ways east on State Route 76) on Saturday the 14th. He is a guy who may be funnier live than on television these days. I hope so. Not long ago, I thought he was right on, but he seems to me to be another of those guys who have become a parody of themselves. It has been pointed out to me that I’m a harsh judge of other people. I’m actually working on that.
Another thing I’m working on is not speaking much. First of all, you can’t learn anything if you’re talking; and it’s hard enough to learn anything at my age. Secondly, most times I open my mouth (and I’m asked to in rehab and at 12-step meetings now and then), I get looks as if what I’m saying is pretentious, impenetrable, and recondite. It may be, but I don’t mean it to be. That roommate from the Midwest approached me holding a thesaurus and told me I’m a librettist. I told him I’ve never written an opera, and he told me the word meant simply “writer.” It is not altogether a source of pride that anyone feels they have to approach me with a thesaurus. I may stop using the word recondite as well.
This fast-approaching weekend is the first I’ve looked forward to in many moons. Not only the first weekend, the first anything I’ve looked forward to over a cold winter (for here) and what until now has been a bleak summer. I’m thinking a little differently lately, and I’m grateful it isn’t hot or muggy — but also that I still have something to complain about.