May 3rd, 2004

john + yoko

jello biafra was way more fun than you

i'm spending more time sewing and reading the way i used to do at nite before Life Went Haywire. it suits my nerves fine. tonite while sewing little prong covers for the hat rack i watched a documentary on the Weathermen. one of them made an interesting statement, that the Revolution failed to take hold in the U.S. because Americans are brought up from a very young age to think that if Violence isn't sanctioned by the government, it's either criminal or mentally ill or both. i'll have to think about that one. anyway the Revolution turned out the same as it ever was, the smart and/or lucky ones who Knew When to Say When wound up as college professors (one of them even won 20 grand on Jeopardy and owns his own bar in New York. woohoo) and the dumb and/or unlucky ones ended up dead or in jail. *shrug*

seeing all those bombings in a row made me wonder if that's how i got to be such a Jaded Ol' Fuck(tm). when you grow up with a tv full of vietnam, assassinations at regular intervals, a bomb going off or somebody getting shot or some building going up in flames weekly, shootings at the college a little drive away and riots in the streets of the city up the road and the neighbors scared to go downtown for years after that (my mom and her friend peggy were the only ones on our street who'd go), oh and a moon landing every now and then, and a president who your dad doesn't respect and says is a crook and you think it's just idle talk and then, dang he really IS a crook and gets forced out of office for having done Awful Things, not much fazes you anymore. but i was thinking of how my mom must have felt being in her 40s and having a little kid and watching buildings that she used to walk past in san francisco and DC blowing up and people rioting in the streets where she used to hang out. it scared her, she gets emotional about violence and anyway it was places she loved. violence on tv never affected me as a child. i was only afraid of things like tornadoes and house fires and reddy kilowatt. oh, and cobwebs, and the scary talking paint chip on the wall by the landing.

when i was 13 there were drug dealers and "revolutionaries" of some sort renting the house across the street for a year. i thought they were dealing drugs because they all looked like hippies and people would pull up there and stop for a couple minutes and leave and sometimes one or more of them would come out and wander around looking stoned. every time i said "they're dealing drugs!" one of my parents would shush me up. the resident earth mom had a little toddler who turned the stove on one night and started a fire, and when the firemen came they found marijuana growing in all the potted plants and enough cases of dynamite in the house to take out half the block, and then all these plainclothes cops came out of the nextdoor neighbor's apt. where he'd been hiding them about ten feet away from my bedroom (they never came out either, i would have noticed because their combination of weird little walkie-talkies and "plain" clothes---cheap loud plaid sports jackets and Shiny Black Elevator Shoes just like in Tom Wolfe's book---made them so obviously Cops with a capital C that rhymed with P, back then) and arrested everybody. happy bicentennial!!

(incidentally mom told me somebody across the street recently got busted for coke dealing and internet fraud and maybe Terrorism or something. nice to know our block is still so much fun, though you'd never tell by looking especially since the neighbor who used to run around in drag died a few years back. )

funny, i was just thinking about the 70s today while reading about Big Seven Music Corp. v. Lennon. remembering that discount store on detroit, i can't remember the name of the store now even (alzheimers! no, that's not the name of the store, dip.) but it was what used to be Neville's Department Store when I was like, five, yeah flakeweird actually had a (gasp) department store. i still have this psychedelic stuffed elephant pillow i somehow pestered my mom into buying me there (one of the few times i was actually successful), i named it after the store. mom always complained about the prices being Too High and i guess she wasn't the only one 'cause it went out of business and this discount store became the only place to shop in Flakewood. there might have been a woolworth's for a while, it had nifty sawdust wooden floors and balloons, but it went out of business too. the discount store i remember was where you'd get cheap kids books and toys, and later i got bellbottoms and records there. they had smiley-face buttons on display at the counter and a huge bin full of badfinger and harry nilsson/john lennon "pussy cats" albums that they were trying rather unsuccessfully to get rid of. for years there was indelible graffiti in the dressing room, "steve will let you masturbate him." i wonder why they never were able to clean that off? it always looked like they tried. i must have spent at least three summers of my life trying to squeeze into undersized jeans while reading that and not understanding what "masturbate" meant. I wonder whatever happened to steve?

then one day I went away to college or something and when I got around to coming back everything downtown in my hometown was different, there was a burger king where there'd never been one before and i remember being freaked about how everything was changing while vic got out of the car to throw snowballs at some ass who was bothering us, and then i disappeared for a few more years or maybe decades and when i came back it was all different again, the post office was in fisher fazios and the mission was in freese's hardware and the fire station was somewhere completely different entirely and now i eat at chipotle with people who weren't even born when steve was getting himself masturbated. but if you can't remember the 70s, feel lucky. i laughed as one of the weatherpeople wrote home from underground, on my 14th birthday, to tell her dad she couldn't get a job anywhere with the recession on. yeah i remember how nobody had a damn dime and there weren't any jobs and the world was all ugly dirty beige hard plastic polyester pea green earth tones. even the smiley faces looked tired. at least some of us got out, made something good of it. take a sad song and make it better.

(p.s. and i noticed how their eyes still lit up when they said they'd do the whole Revolutionary Underground thing again. yeah i'm sure it was a blast (literally) while it lasted. it reminded me of Patty Hearst's dad saying he could see where she'd probably be way into sleeping with guns and plotting heists and dodging the cops, 'cause that was a helluva lot more exciting than waking up every day and having to look at Steven Weed.)