I had an epiphany today. It happened while I was driving to my mom’s. She’s in a retirement community, she’s 78 years old, and she doesn’t remember things so well anymore. She needs a lot of help and a lot of the time, it’s up to me. It’s gotten way worse since my dad died right before COVID hit, a little over two years ago now I guess.
Anyway, I was driving alone in our family mini van, thinking about all of my problems. Thinking about how my wife discovered that she’s gay and wants a divorce. Thinking about what that’s gonna mean for our four young kids aged 3, 5, 7, and 8 soon to be 9. Thinking about how all of my friends have significant others and how it seems like I’m the only person in the world not getting laid right now, and it’s been months. Thinking about how COVID isolation has taken away so many friendships and relationships, so many people whose support I could use right now. How when I was at church this morning and my three oldest kids were in Sunday school, I was alone in a room with the youngest. How everyone there probably knew I’m getting divorced soon and they all seemed to be avoiding me (this was probably all in my head, maybe…).
It seems everyone’s going to either treat me like a pariah now or feel sorry for me and try to help me like I’m some sort of victim. There are the true friends who really do want to help and are really there for me, and then there are the ones who want to cross the “help a divorced friend” badge off their Boy Scout list. Reminds me of when I was recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. What I really dread is when they start trying to fix me up with their divorced and widowed cat lady friends.
So here I am driving down the road thinking about all this shit and my million other problems (too many to list here), and the epiphany I came to was that I really don’t give a fuck anymore. About any of it. I don’t give a fuck that my wife is gay and I’m getting divorced. I don’t give a fuck about not getting laid. I mean that’s what porn and hands are for, right? Besides I’ve gotten laid enough to last several lifetimes now and I realize it’s all bullshit and illusions anyway. If you don’t know what I mean then maybe you’ve just never gotten to the point where I am now, or maybe I’m insane.
I realized I don’t give a fuck about any of it. I don’t give a fuck that I’ve been rejected by five literary agents who didn’t even care enough about my query letter to read my book. I don’t give a fuck about the other guy who hasn’t gotten back to me yet. Maybe he’ll reject me, maybe he won’t. I can self publish on Amazon anyway so I don’t give a fuck.
While I was driving, I started shouting “I don’t give a fuck!” while I was driving down the street over and over. “I don’t give a fuck! I don’t give a fuck! I don’t give a fuck!” Just like that. Anyone who saw me and could read my lips probably thought I was a crazy person. I don’t give a fuck about that either.
And at first I was maybe trying to convince myself, but by the time I got to my elderly mom’s retirement community, having screamed “I don’t give a fuck!” all the way there, it was a truly cathartic experience. I truly didn’t give a fuck anymore, and it was an amazing experience releasing all of that. I was laughing hysterically. Just letting it all go.
That’s when I realized it’s time to write my memoirs. And I think you’re in for a real treat. There’s drugs, sex, and rock and roll, and more drugs, sex, and rock and roll. There are cross country mystical adventures where I ended up in Mexico, sleeping in a parking lot using a concrete block as a pillow. There’s the time cops pointed guns at me ready to shoot until a close friend stepped in and saved my life. There are countless courts, a few jail cells, some beautiful women, plenty of insane lunatics, and more late night epiphanies than you could ever hope to shake a stick at.
I’ve come face to face with death many a time and realized that either he didn’t want anything to do with me, or maybe I’m here for some strange reason I just haven’t figured out yet. I’ve totaled many a car, had some serious car accidents I walked away from without a scratch. I’ve stood up to gangsters, drug dealers, and mafiosos with just plain intimidation getting me through unscathed (with very little to back it up most times). I’ve won a few fistfights, and lost several, sometimes very badly. I’ve squeaked by with barely enough money to buy food, and I’ve lived it up in the lap of luxury, eating at fancy restaurants and going on trips all around the world.
There have been hospital beds, skinny dipping adventures with stinging nettles, legendary drug and alcohol binges, stages where I played music and read poetry, sometimes to hundreds, sometimes maybe thousands. Enough LSD to make you go insane several times over, ecstasy and raves, cocaine and manic depressive episodes ending in psychiatrist visits. Hundreds of black outs. One time when I came out of a blackout, I was driving on a highway. Still can’t explain that one.
Celebrities I made friends with for a night, acquaintances who would go on to become celebrities. There have been God moments, coming to Jesus moments, religious epiphanies, all sorts of questioning and doubt, and ultimately faith and peace (though not always). I could go on and on but I’ll just start writing it and let you read it.
Don’t worry. I’ll still post plenty of depressing poems, too. But as I feel so inspired, I’ll post stories that’ll make you laugh and cry, sometimes maybe both at the same time (is that possible?). I’m not gonna pull back any punches. If you want family friendly shit with no cuss words, these won’t be the stories for you, because I’m gonna be completely honest, and honesty has a shit and a fuck in it every once in a while. Maybe even a dick and a cunt here and there.
I’ll change all the names because I don’t want to incriminate anyone or ruin any reputations. And all of this is true. Though for a lot of it, I wish it wasn’t.
I’m a magnet for crazy experiences. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative type. Maybe God fills our lives with crazy, fucked up (in my case) experiences so we have things to write about, paint about, sing about, play music about, dance about, and whatever else we all do. But still, that doesn’t make it any easier for us. Or maybe it does a little. Maybe that’s why I’m doing this.
I did try to do things “the normal way” for a while. About fifteen years actually, and it was going really well for me until all the shit went down. The “my wife is gay” shit. I guess we all try to be “normal” at some point. I was married, had kids, was going to church every Sunday, had a good high-paying corporate job. I still have most of those things and I guess I should be grateful. Just not so much the wife anymore.
Well, I guess it’s time to start actually telling this story. I had a lot of trouble getting girls all through school, up until college. Probably because I’ve always had self esteem issues and it was always hard for me to approach anyone I had any sort of romantic feelings for. There were crushes, and there was the one girl I know of who had a crush on me. I crumpled up her love letter and pretended I didn’t ever get it. In retrospect I should’ve given her a chance. I mean what did I have to lose?
Anyway, there was the girl I dated in high school. She was a lot of fun, and she was a cheerleader and sang and danced in the musical. The sister of the starting quarterback on our high school football team the year before (he’d graduated). Very pretty. Miss popular for the class one grade lower than me. And I was a total dork and a nerd. Go figure. The only reason I had the courage to ask her out was everyone else dated her too so I figured she’d probably say yes. And she did. And we made out a lot. But we never actually had sex. And we broke up just before senior prom when she cheated on me, so I ended up having to go with a friend. Story of my life.
So I didn’t end up getting laid until my second semester in my freshman year of college. She was another beautiful one, with long blonde hair I used to love to brush and comb for her (but maybe it was really for me). I’ve always had a thing for hair. And like the other girl, she’d been with everyone, only this time it wasn’t just dating and making out she was doing.
I met her one night when I went over to a friend’s dorm room to play Magic the Gathering. You read that right. Magic the Gathering got me laid for the first time (indirectly). Did I mention I’m a big dork and a nerd? My story’s full of Magic the Gathering, Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, you name it. So there was this pretty girl sitting there with long, blonde hair and a sunburnt left arm. And I remember that was my door into the conversation.
“What happened to your arm? Looks painful.”
She smiled slyly. “Oh, I woke up and decided to drive to Ocean City today and my arm was hanging out the window and got burnt pretty bad.”
“You just up and drove to Ocean City?” I was imagining beatnik road trips to California, something I ended up doing a few years later.
I grinned. “Jack Kerouac style.”
Her smile widened. “I love Jack Kerouac.”
“What’s your name?”
“Like Janis Joplin.”
She smiled and nodded. “What’s yours?”
“Like Jerry Garcia.”
I grinned. “I love the Grateful Dead.”
“Me too. What’s your major, Jerry?”
“I’m an English major.”
“So am I.” At this point I vaguely remembered her. She’d come to my room once to drop off a CD for my roommate and I told her he wasn’t there. I remembered her face. It was a pretty face that reminded me of hippies in the sixties for some reason.
“Do you want to come to my room and smoke some weed?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said. And I grabbed my Magic cards in one hand and her hand in the other and we left my Magic-playing friends and headed to my dorm room. It didn’t dawn on me until later that one of them had probably invited her there and I’d just ran off with her. I don’t think they talked to me much after that if I remember correctly.
So we ended up in my dorm room sitting on the floor smoking a joint. So many times there was a circle of people sitting in there smoking, but this time there were just two of us. My roommates had disappeared for a few days as they did often.
So while we got high, our minds filling with the warm haze of marijuana and my dorm filling with the sweet stink (which was probably always there residually), we talked about literature, poetry, music, and whatever else.
“Have you ever read James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’?” she asked as she puffed.
I shook my head. “My friend Buddha’s read it a few times. I’ve read ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,’ but haven’t read ‘Ulysses’ yet.”
“It’s a great book. I’m taking a class on Joyce. I’m a senior. What year are you?”
“Freshman,” I said.
She smiled a sly grin. “That’s cool.”
“I’ve actually been writing more lately.” I puffed in a big lungful and coughed a little, then handed her the joint. “I’ve been working on this crazy stream of consciousness type story that follows one character for a while, then a piano falls on his head or something, and it follows somebody else until it randomly stops following her and follows an insect or something and sort of keeps going on like that. Experimenting with perspective and character. I think it’s a comedy but I haven’t decided yet.”
She chuckled. “Sounds cool. Sounds surrealist.”
I smiled. “Yeah. I’m definitely a surrealist.” I thought about all the LSD I’d been doing with my roommates and occasionally with my friend Nick. That’ll be another story, though.
We finished the joint. “Hey,” she said. “I’m over 21. But since you aren’t, I know a bar where they don’t card and they won’t care if I buy you drinks. It’s on the other side of town. Wanna go?”
I shrugged. “Sure.”
We stopped by her dorm for a second and she got one of many bottles of Southern Comfort out of the fridge. She chugged a little and offered me some so I did the same. I pretended I didn’t see the naked couple resting in the bed next to us.
Then we left the dorm building and got into her pickup truck, talking more about poetry and literature on our way. “This is Bunny,” she said.
“Huh?” I asked as I got into the passenger seat of the truck. “Bunny?” I was a little buzzed and stoned but I think even if I’d been completely sober, I’d have had no idea what the fuck she was talking about.
“My truck,” she said. “His name is Bunny. I always name my cars. When the transmission jumps, it kind of feels like a bunny hopping.”
“Oh okay.” I started trying to think of a good name for my used Chevy sedan.
She drove for a while at an alarmingly fast speed until we reached the other side of town, a neighborhood full of strip joints and parking lots it seemed. And lots of overhead highway bridges with huge concrete columns. And there was this tiny bar tucked in the middle of everything.
We got out of the truck after she parked and she vomited all over a street sign. “Sorry,” she said to me with a grin. “I’ve been drinking all day.”
“All day?” I asked. “I thought you drove to Ocean City and back.”
“I did,” she said. “I started drinking before I left.”
She threw up on the sign a few more times and then we went into the bar.
For the next hour or so, she ordered me drinks and I got shit-faced and she got even more shit-faced then she already was. It got to that point where we were both so trashed we just said whatever the hell we felt like saying. “So how many women have you been with?”
“Seventeen,” I lied, putting totally unnecessary pressure on myself for later.
“I’ve been with about thirty men, including your roommate.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I know.”
“You ever been with an older woman?”
“Yeah,” I lied again. “A few.” I’d never even had an older girlfriend.
We talked and drank a little while longer. Then we went back to the dorms. She drove fast as ever, but a little more erratically.
When we got back, we decided to go to my place since her roommate was there. And then it happened. I won’t get into details since this isn’t one of those kinds of stories, but I will say it was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t the mind-blowing, life-altering experience I thought it would be (that would come later). May have been because we were both trashed out of our minds.
We ended up becoming boyfriend and girlfriend for several months at least, but it wasn’t quite a year. And it was the kind of relationship I wish I could have now. We had a lot of fun together, but there was no pressure. We just made each other happy and that was it.
I’m too old for that sort of thing now, though. Life’s shortening up and I guess it’s time for me to start seeing if I can find some sort of soulmate or something before it’s too late. I’ve had my fun. I tried the family thing. I think it’s time to hold out for something real. Even if it takes twenty years.
But I’m probably not ready for that shit anyway. I mean I just found out my wife is gay a few months ago. I need to stop reeling before I even think about that sort of stupidity.
My problem with relationships is I never end up with the women I really want, and the women I end up with always end up being trouble, even the ones who seem like the good ones. But something tells me that even if I had ended up with one of the ones I really wanted, they’d have all ended up being trouble, also. Maybe it’s me that’s trouble. Who knows? The one woman who seemed to break that mold somewhat was Janis. Oh, she was definitely trouble in some ways, but she never really broke my heart. And she was always honest with me.
Anyway, we had sex regularly over the next several months. Our relationship was basically talking about literature, listening to music, drinking lots of alcohol and smoking plenty of weed, and having lots of sex. She also loved finding ways to financially beat the system. I don’t think it was so much because she needed money; she came from a pretty well-off family from the DC suburbs. I think she just got a kick out of it.
There was one time when City Paper had those McDonald’s Monopoly pieces in them, and we went around the city taking them out of those free paper boxes. We took thousands of those pieces and collected all the free food winners. We ended up eating off those for weeks. Pretty good for a couple of college students who were sick of dorm food. This was before Super Size Me came out, mind you.
She also scalped tickets, and we often went to some good shows together. One show in particular was Morphine at the 9:30 Club in DC. I remember waiting outside with her while she waited to scalp the two extra tickets she got, the proceeds of which would buy us four tickets to our next show, and she’d do the same at that show, so it would basically amount to us getting paid money to go to free shows.
Morphine was an awesome show, with Mark Sandman playing bass and singing with Dana Colley on sax and Billy Conway on drums. Sandman would die a few years later of a heart attack while performing. It was an awesome show and I remember dancing right in front of Sandman with Janis through most of it while they played their dark, jazzy brand of rock. I also remember seeing dozens of girls throwing folded up papers, probably with phone numbers, onto the stage. This was long before my own personal experience with the drug that was the band’s namesake.
Janis also introduced me to the Jazz Communist Coffee House, a place where I’d meet many friends and do many poetry readings and music shows through the years. It was also the birthplace of the Emily’s Flame Poetry Workshop, a group that still gets together from time to time to write and share poetry. The times I went with Janis, it was just a non-descript coffee house and bookstore, though I think I vaguely remember maybe seeing a poetry reading with Louise Chambers and Jamie Hart, who’d go on to become a good friend of mine later (and whose cousin, now also a good friend, may just be reading this right now).
Janis and I had a lot of fun together through the end of my freshman year, but there’s one night with her that stands out in particular, though I remember very little of it. I do, however, remember the aftermath.
The night’s very hazy now, partially because my memory’s not so good anymore, partially because of all the drugs I was doing back then, and partially because I know for a fact that I blacked out at one point.
It all started the same way lots of my nights from that period started. Smoking weed with Janis and drinking, sometimes with my friends Nick and Buddha, sometimes my roommates, sometimes her friends Maggie (her roommate) and Rose, sometimes others. We’d drink and smoke and sometimes Janis and I would go out to that one bar where she could buy me drinks without me being carded. Who knows what the hell happened that night? I just know I got trashed out of my mind and blacked out.
When I came through, I was sprawled out naked on the floor in Janis’ dorm room. “You left the seat up again,” Janis said with a grin.
“You don’t want us to fall in the toilet, do you?” Maggie asked with a chuckle.
You always learn things from relationships. From this one, I learned not to leave the seat up after you pee if there are ladies present. I grew up with just an older brother and my mom never said anything. “Argh.” I ran into the bathroom, threw the seat up, and started vomiting. I’m sure I left it up and heard about it again.
On top of being sick and my head killing me, the usual hangover stuff, I had massive rug burn marks on my knees. “What the fuck?”
“Bye, love,” Maggie said to Janis on her way out. She winked at me. “Legendary.” And she shut the door and left.
I was sitting on the floor looking at my rug burnt knees. Janis was standing over me with a shit-eating grin on her face. “That was amazing. The best night of my life.”
“What the fuck?” My head was killing me, and my rug burn was burning. “What the fuckity fuck?”
“All night,” Janis said. “Hours and hours.”
I shook my head. “What did we do?”
“What do you think we did?” Janis asked.
I looked at my knees again. “I have no fucking clue. What happened?”
She sat in front of me, kissed me, and smiled. “It was amazing. That’s all you need to know.”
“Well, I’d like to know.” If nothing else, I wanted to make sure I could do it again someday if it had been so amazing.
She changed the subject, probably to books and poetry or something, and we went to the cafeteria or whatever they call it in college for breakfast. I always tried to kill hangovers by eating. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
We sat with Maggie, Rose, Rose’s boyfriend Adam (I can’t remember his real name but hopefully that’s not it- if so, sorry Adam), and one or two other people I don’t remember. At breakfast, we always liked to play the penis game.
The penis game entailed each of us taking turns saying the word “penis,” but each person had to say it progressively louder than the last. Until the last person screams it at the top of their lungs and everyone in the cafeteria looks at them like they’re insane.
So, my memory isn’t great these days, like I said, but I distinctly remember getting a lot of interesting looks from Rose and Maggie during breakfast, and Janis was holding my hand a lot and cuddling and getting closer than usual it seemed.
Later that day, I was hanging out with Nick, my best friend since the fifth grade and partner in crime who happened to go to college with me my first time around. We were probably listening to The Rolling Stones and smoking weed like we did often. He grinned his sly grin. “So, Jerry. I heard some talk.”
“What about?” I was intrigued.
“We’ll, apparently you’re legendary.”
“What the fuck?”
He chuckled. “So, what all did you do?”
“I have no idea,” I said. “I blacked out the whole time.” Apparently, Janis’ suite mate, who was Buddha’s close friend and crush, had overheard something and now word had spread throughout the dorm building. Word of what, I had no idea. Nick assumed it was a size thing and that started a whole other rumor frenzy. Apparently now I was the sex symbol of our dorm building and what sucked was I had no idea why or how, and I’d never find out.
What I have learned over the years, though, and guys pay close attention to this (though I imagine most already know this if they've gotten laid a few times), is that you always put the woman first. Communicate, do what she likes and what she wants, and always make sure she has an orgasm before you do (unless of course you can hit the simultaneous/shared orgasm - more on that in another story). It’s a lot easier for you to have one than it is for her, so learn to hold it. Other than that, though, I still have no idea what happened that night. I guess maybe in some ways, it’s better that I don’t know.
So, I dated Janis through the rest of the semester, and we still dated for a little while after she graduated, but she got a DUI and that changed everything. She started going to AA meetings and then we had a “talk.” I remember we were sitting on a bench in the university courtyard, in front of the table where they were giving out free condoms.
“I think we should just be friends now,” she said, looking at the sidewalk. “I still love you and all, but we’re in different places in life.”
“Okay,” I said. “Can we still have sex?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
And that was that. We didn’t really talk after that. I wasn’t angry or even all that upset. I think she either found somebody in AA or decided since I was still a raging alcoholic and a druggy, it probably wasn’t in her best interest to associate with me anymore. She’s probably married and has kids now. I wouldn’t know. I never really looked her up.
It would be several years, almost a decade before I’d have my own DUI and life-changing moment, and it would be pretty much just as long before I’d have a significant girlfriend again. I’ll always remember Janis, though.
My grades were awful that semester between all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll. My parents weren’t too happy, so they pulled me out of the dorms and made me live with them. I hated commuting, but I managed to make the best of it, visiting Nick and Buddha as much as possible, and later my friend Jimmy, who transferred over from some school in Ohio. Jimmy would go on to literally save my life a few times and he’s perhaps my closest friend now, but those are all stories for future entries. Anyway, even though I was commuting, I still managed to do plenty of drugs, and I started going to lots of raves. That was back when raves and electronic music were booming in the mid-nineties.
Still, commuting affected my relationships since I couldn’t spend as much time on campus as I had when I actually lived there, and I partially blame that as at least one reason why I didn’t have a girlfriend the rest of my time at that university. I’d transfer to another school after my sophomore year, one where I told my parents they had a better English department, but it was also a major party school, and I knew I’d be back in the dorms since it wasn’t right down the street from my parents’ house.
Next, though, I’ll go back to my freshman year a bit. My experiences with LSD are definitely worth writing about. I did way too much of it and would never recommend what I did to anyone as I’m probably legally insane now many times over, but it was a formative time in my life, especially when it came to my creativity and my development of my rebel soul and my countercultural lifestyle.