The clearest description I have managed so far about my blog is that it is not about cats. In general, I find predators pretty predictable while prey on the other-hand, because they live in universes of anxiety, develop more textured personalities. I also have as a writer a deft hand when it comes to making matters worse, so of course , the already panicky are ready made for me. I will try to grow this blog into an assortment of laughs, because that is what my life has mostly taught me to do. I will use the famous people I have known to get your attention and then tell you small but many times wonderful things about them. I will never name the ones I say ugly things about but I hope you will guess who they are.
Pigs are convincing evidence that humans do not care about the feelings of food if it tastes good. What follows is a joke that is more than it seems. I first heard it when I was maybe nine or ten years old. I have never heard it told again by anyone but me for sixty years. I memorized it and have used it at dinner parties to woo bright women who occasionally possessed a sense of humor. When I was young, it did not matter so much that they did. That took time. The joke. A guy is walking on a country road and comes to a farmhouse. On the porch sits a farmer, and next to him, relaxed a pig. The farmer was reading to it from a book. The pig snuggled tightly into him. The pig had a wooden leg. Curious, with reason, the traveler asked the farmer how this pig came by such a leg. The tenant recounted to him that this pig had saved his life twice, pointing while he spoke to a burned section of the home. “My wife and I got trapped while asleep in our bedroom as flames from the kitchen headed upstairs. This pig, ( he hugs the creature as he speaks), rushed through the fire and led us out. The traveler, let it be reliably said, was astonished and wanted to understand more clearly, of course, so he asked, “How was this pig able to run to you on such a mangled leg?” “No, no,” the farmer insisted, “he didn’t hurt his leg at all.” The storyteller now warmed to his tale, “ But you know the damnedest thing happened after that. I was fishing in my boat, and this terrible rain and wind knocked me right off and into the water. Now I ain’t never been much a swimmer, and I was making a ruckus, when this pig arrived at the shore, jumped into the water, and swam back with me, my collar in his mouth. He saved my life once again.” The farmer sat silently for an emotional minute like country people are often moved to do. Respecting his country contemplation for as long as he could, the traveler finally could not restrain his prying. He said, maybe louder than he should have, “You know you never told me how this pig got that wooden leg.” The farmer looked at him with an odd and amused condescension. He answered, “Son, you just can’t eat a pig like this all at once.”
I wandered through my friends’ list on Facebook this afternoon. I found seven dead rock stars, John Entwistle and Moon, were still both begging for money. John was claiming the deep sea fishing in Heaven was expensive, and Keith needed to buy his way into the hooker section of hell.
There was a load of Italian Genesis fans from some show in Turin in 1974. They all wanted backstage passes.
I noticed six girls from grade school who I had given dirty Valentine Day’s cards to in the early fifties.
There were eight rock promoters, including Harvey Weinstein and Bill Graham, all of whom claimed I stole money from them.
There were 12 dogs and two cats.
And one girl who keeps asking me to send money to her so she can get a flight out of Turkey.
The rest are people I have no recollection of at all.
Nations thrive only when the most exciting people, the sexual deviants, are free to sin without anxiety or worry of reprisals. Ancient Greece and Rome, the Roaring Twenties and every day in France are examples of this. History will show that this decade in America will outdo them all. Our fantastically liberated commonwealth is so diverse right now that we need to employ the alphabet to identify our gender and sexual federations. Say no more. Oh, happy days! But I sense dark clouds forming on our open-source bi-coastal orgy. In my experience, sex does not long remain pleasant unless others hold that what you are doing is lewd, immoral, or scandalous. I fear we are draining our population unduly of prejudice. We are persecuting anyone not engaged in the study of elegance based solely on sex. I dread that Oscar Wilde may have been describing us when he said, “Only the great masters of style ever succeed in being obscure.”
It bears noting that trumpets, drums, and the piano are inventions that came before the fire. Horns and drums did not get much more complicated after that. The piano developed from dropping rocks on piles of bow and arrows — drums from chasing away snakes and prehistoric bears while we huddled in caves and horns from choking on the insects we were sucking out of hollow twigs. Only the piano stool is a modern contraption.
I ask Dylan about the time he and Bruce Springsteen were invited to a dinner party at Sinatra’s house and whether Bob thought Frank had ever heard his songs.
“Not really,” Dylan says. “I think he knew ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’ and ‘Blowin’ In the Wind.’ I know he liked ‘Forever Young,’ he told me that. He was funny, we were standing out on his patio at night and he said to me, ‘You and me, pal, we got blue eyes, we’re from up there,’ and he pointed to the stars. ‘These other bums are from down here.’ I remember thinking that he might be right.”
We were not friends, but there was a curiosity between us. I heard Keith Moon say to him, “You know he is never going to forgive you.” I did, and he made me cry, as he said he would when I first met him. In Bill’s words,” He told you he was sorry. He did that for you, and you have to allow it to be enough.” Hard for someone like me who has a lifetime of unforgiven frozen people. In real life, it is never a good idea to believe you know someone. It is barely passably accurate most times to say you understand yourself, let alone another. No one who got close to the band was a fool. We had all passed the humiliation test, The Who included. The band never ill-treated strangers, but if you were with them, working from day to day, you had better watch out. You had to remember who you were. And that’s what made it so much fun. It was all so authentic. A simple exchange of vanity for living so grandly entitled, it took your breath away.
“He wants money,” Tiny said on the Dallas hotel phone.
“Do you have him?” I asked. It was seven hours after The Who show had ended.
“Buttoned down, he can’t get away, but you better come he’s been pestering for you.”
I palmed a couple of hundred dollar bills as I got out on Keith Moon’s floor in case I ran into any police sniffing around.
Teenage girls wandered the drummer’s hallway like confused chickens. They all cocked their heads towards the sound of my elevator, alert for any flying corn but were disappointed because I was a grown-up.
One of Jim’s guys was standing at the door to the Moon’s suite being brawny and earnest.
“What’s he doing?” I asked, calm now for not engaging any police. The likable young tough shrugged like muscular people imagine they can, “He’s been ringing up hookers for the last couple of hours with Jim, Tiny, and Dougal.”
Moon’s living room was empty except for Tiny, who was standing sentinel at Keith’s bedroom door.
Tiny was a colossal ex-New York cop who got shot and lived on a pension, I think. He irregularly carried The Who’s only gun. He kept it on his ankle where he could not reach it in a crisis without a chiropractor. He had greasy black curly hair and an uncut testicle sparse beard. Having been up for at least two days chasing Moon, he somewhat resembled the consequence of a high school custodian’s wet mop attack on a fat black bear. He was a simple and good guy.
Tiny bathed, as the tour joke went, only before major surgery.
He was naked except for his laminated security pass that hung around his neck.
“You’re a picture,” I said as I passed him to knock on the bedroom door.
Jim Callaghan answered, just as unclothed, “No clothes, governor’s orders.”
I undressed, except for my briefs and my case.
The drummer was holding three girls and struggling to focus on something in the center of his king bed.
It was a Scrabble board.
The balance of the space on the bed is taken up with hired women of shapes and sizes, all likewise concentrating like cats sharing a flushing toilet.
He glances up at me, “Well, finally, we took our time, didn’t we?”
“You better be winning,” I challenged him.
I lose his attention as he turns again to the board, peeking through his private forest of breasts.
“Well Regis, you’re in time enough, I may need to buy a vowel,” he loudly confuses our two most important American letter games, Scrabble and Wheel of Fortune which must have had a British equivalent somewhere in his past.
“Come sit, he patted the bed beside him, shoving a blond to the floor. I cover my lap with my bag and obey.
“I have these ladies of the night on the run, but the field of play is getting crowded the board is very condensed.”
I glanced down and regarded that three words had found their way into the match so far, but none of the wooden squares forming them were touching each other.
“You guys ever play this game before tonight?” I said to the girls. One or two expressed some confidence.
A stunning black girl with bruised blood-colored hair and long bone earrings heaved in a dark voice, (like a lonely cow’s moo), “I got one,” carefully laying down “dog,” forever impressing four of the other girls who I judged must be on her team against the drummer.
So Moon kicks the board into the air in a losing hissy fit and banishes the poor black girl off the bed. She promptly goes from pride to tears, her spelling days over and in tatters.
He pushes himself up to lean on the puffed pink silk headboard beside me. I don’t sit next to naked men regularly, and so I worry about sweat.
“Can I hold it?” he draws my eyes with his then gives a begging look to my bag. I hand him my case. He flattens it to his stomach and balls and says brightly, “Does it have lots of tonight?”
“You bet,” I said.
He tosses the case to the middle of the bed, and the girls lunge on it like it was a deep jungle musk genital pouch.
I was half thinking of how early I could get hold of a spray bottle of Fantastic from housekeeping or a new bag.
Moon, his mouth now on my ear, says in his whispering British spy voice, “I have my eye on that little blond down there, think she could be mine?”
I have this job owing to two strengths; I am trustworthy with money, and my reality was not easily overwhelmed by the unreality of anybody else’s.
“Please,” I offer, “she has not taken her eyes off you, even while her mouth is on my case.”
Jim and Doughal know their call girls.
“Girls, the case please,” he commanded, putting his arms out like the prongs on a forklift.
“I will need quite a bit tonight,” now back to me.
“How much?” I said.
He began gravely calculating, employing his taxing ” pin the tail on the donkey” arithmetic.
“Twenty-thousand might cover it,” he said, immediately giddy with relief that the stress of the mathematics was finally over.
Opening the case, I counted out twenty packets, handed it to him and made him sign for it, which he did, dramatically sweeping my pen in semi-circles like a crashing propeller plane, before landing close enough to the dotted line.
He threw all the money to Doughal who couldn’t disengage his hands fast enough from women’s body parts, so most of it hit him on the head.
Jim and Doughal sprang for it before the girls did.
On my way out, I told Jim to pay the girls himself, if he could, and to drop the balance back to me at the next show.