House is on. It’s as good as anything parading itself around as network television. Sela Ward is the guest. You knew all along it had to be a chick. No man gets this twisted without the aid of the muse. I sat next to Sela on a flight to NYC during the Arista years. Business class days. She was so sweet. Classy. Stars do shine sometimes. I have had House moments. Dark, despairing. Disgustingly beautiful. I’ve lost count. All the women partook in the futile adventure of excavating yours truly from his illusions. It is spiritually comical. Today, I proclaim homey don’t play that no ‘mo.
House is in constant pain. The physical manifestation mirrors the psychic. He pops Vicodins the way Dimebag used to shoot Crown. But Dime was happy. House is not. I am not. Or least was not. Carmen Elektra is putt putt golfing through a ceramic Buddha. Power of Now Carmen. Where were the writer and the Applegate Sunday afternoon? Marching around the castle on the green carpet in the ‘old hood. Putt putting about in the so Cal sun, dumb day, fun day, Valley day. Post a cole slaw and cheese dog from the eternal Weiner Factory. Back in the 70s, rocker dude proprietor named Steve used to deal ludes through the side window o’ the WF. My brother worked across the parking lot at Valley Beverage, delivering cases of beer nightly to Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers who lived a few blocks south on Valley Vista. I was employed by the UCLA Registrar’s office delivering grades to kids at Widow A. I told you in the book, I was clueless when I graduated. But the gig was not without its perks. Like the transcripts, for instance.
The conversation was overheard one day while I was xeroxing documents. “You know, downstairs in the archives,” someone said, “are the transcripts of every student that’s ever attended UCLA, all the way back to the 1930s.” Guess who was hanging around one of the four original buildings of the Westwood campus back then? Henry Miller. He befriended the then librarian, Lawrence Powell. The ghosts are many and oft times magnificent. “Transcripts?”
One day, I’m feeling inquisitive. It’s like one of those X-Files vaults. Endless and dark, row upon row of dusty, yellow, fragile folders. And inside those folders, road maps back to the source. I did a little research. These are the transcripts I found and photo copies: Francis Ford Coppola. There was a line denoting, ‘Where the Boys Are,’ a student film that would be viewed far beyond the student body. The finest all-girl collection is Vivid’s Where the Girls Aren’t. But let’s stay on path here.
Carlos Castaneda. I wasn’t of the mind back then so I didn’t pay attention. Didn’t discover the mystical Bruin until the spring of ’98, Don Juan Matus and later, the book on tape of The Active Side of Infinity. A sorcerer? A hippie? Who the fuck really knows? Geoff Tate wrote his Harley from Seattle to the Yucatan in 2003. Sojourns like that require authentic inspiration. God leads you to it, God leads you through it. Judy showed me that sentence today.
Carole Burnett. The legendary comic, heir to the Lucy Ball visual clown thrown. I can’t remember anything about that one except that I saw it. But the only one I still have a copy of is Jim Morrison. The shitty grades, the bad attendance. The reluctant rock star report card. You can’t read the copy that well anymore. It’s been a lot of places the past quarter century. But it’s priceless. I had to sell some memorabilia when I left Vegas to finance my return to angel city. Never gave unloading the J-file an instant’s thought.
How is it all connected? Just pay attention. Like what Nick Nolte says in Way of the Peaceful Warrior. “There is never NOTHING happening.” In meditation, you’re captivated by the invisible dance of molecules and atoms. House is talking about death. Death has been the topic of conversation on the ride and to and from school the past couple days. Megan knew the 17-year-old boy who died during Mr. Prison Break’s odd evening out with the kids. “Everyone liked him. I saw him two weeks ago. It’s not fair. The whole school left their classes at the same time today and met out on the lawn.”
It’s tough to swallow but that doesn’t stop me from saying it. “Meg, these are the times that make the least sense. But you must understand that his time was up.” Six years ago, I was playing golf at Hillcrest Country Club with an agent friend from William Morris and a TV director. A month after the round, the director’s son is in the news for running down some kids in San Diego. Drunk. Wasted. Like Castaneda? Sitting in silence and evaluating the Universe and its myriad questions is a reverent act. Being fucked up and manning a two-ton motor vehicle is not.
Do we forgive? Yes. We must. It’s a bitch. Ask the parents of Meg’s friend if they’re TiVo’ing Prison Break this week? The mass media is bombarding us with challenges. Danny DeVito, Foley, Kramer, Gibson. Modern satirist supreme, Harry Shearer, has a segment on his Sunday Le Show program called ‘Apologies of the Week,’ that opens to the strains of McCartney’s “We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert.” God I loved that song when it was released. It shifts, mid tune. Like Elton’s Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. Or Clapton’s Layla. Or GN’R’s November Rain. No man is unflawed, regardless of socioeconomic standing. Harry pokes fun at those who fucked up and are now remorseful. He evaluates the sincerity of said remorse and pontificates accordingly. OJ still hasn’t said he’s sorry so fuck him and his cancelled Fox TV mistake. House and Jack Bauer. Give me the heroes, not the boobs of the tube. Did I tell you I met Kiefer last week? Gave him my book. He and Jude Cole have an indie record label called Ironworks Records. Their first signing is the honey voiced Canadian balladeer, Ron Sexsmith, who I just happened to work with back in ’99 at Interscope. A gentle man with a gift. Connected we are like the threads on a galactic spider web. See all, feel all, be all, free all.
“I’m about to go into cardiac arrest,” cries House. He knows thy self. His wit is dry, his genius perverted, his reality distorted. Behold a modern media fictional character in constant anguish. But a man of truth. So Dostoyevsky. What’s it like on the other side? We’re free to hypothesize. Technicolor, pain free, Disney animated and Rumi anointed. Pain. It’s in the head. Judy smashed her finger in the car door today. Ten seconds after the slam, she was staring at the digit now growing in size by the millisecond and starts smiling. Reminded me of that night Carrie Ann sliced her finger while chopping veggies. Was like a Monty Python scene over the sink. “It’s just a flesh wound!” We’re sitting in the Henderson Emergency room and she starts giggling. “I’ve worked on the energy. There’s really no pain.”
Healing is a choice. Living is a choice. So is dying. The other side, the ‘active’ side? Carl Sagan knew. Joseph Cambell knew. The Yogis knew. “Die while alive,” they urged. Cross over, get a glimpse, and lodge it deep in your corporeal memory banks. For that image, that realization, that epiphany is the key to everlasting grooviness. It’s the Dave Gilmour guitar solo that never ends. Gratitude, observed the Dalai Lama, is the only true meditation. And medication. We are a sick race. Critical but not terminal. And the cure is really cheap. Ten bucks. Nuts.