Welcome to My Autobiography
You used to seek His face. You used to enjoy the Light.
Now youíre quite content in the darkness, where itís easier to hide.
But donít you remember? The truth canít be hidden
From the One who created the truth.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What is truth?
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What is in your heart?
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What rules your life?
Have you forgotten that Satan is a subtle liar, and the master of deception?
††††††††††† If he can get you to forget about God
††††††††††††††††††††††† And His Word
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And His Truths,
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Then Satan wins-You lose.
The Plumb line of Desolation (Is. 34:11)
††††††††††† My life was so depressing. Now I know why, but that didnít help me back then. Iím not trying to make excuses, but sometimes, when theyíre in flight, itís hard to tell an eagle from a buzzard. Sometimes a lie looks like the truth. Sometimes you know the truth, but just refuse to accept it.
Most of my family didnít want me living off of Mommy and Papa. I know now that I was making their life miserable. They were always worried about where I was and what I was doing, and for good reason. They were frustrated, because they knew what I needed, but they couldnít make me believe it. They knew the answer, but I wasnít asking the question.
††††††††††† I was so angry and full of hate, mostly because I knew the truth, but I didnít want it to be true. So I attempted to change the truth. You know, you can only do that inside your brain. You canít change the truth in your heart. I wanted to listen to anyone who would tell me lies, because the lies were free. The truth had a cost.
††††††††††† My mother tried to get me to leave her parentsí house and I screamed at her in my anger, ďI hate you!Ē Now, she has forgotten most of the stupid things I did and said, back then, but she stills remembers those hateful, angry words. It may have been the drugs talking, but the words still cut deep and the wounds left scars that remain forty years later. And will probably remain into eternity, although, I hope not.
†††††† I bummed off of Mommy and Papa for
over a month before I finally got a job in January of 1968. I went to work
for the city of
††††††††††† On cold days a driver would drop us off in twos at the different recreation centers, where we would sit in the pool house and play cards all day until they came back to pick us up in the afternoon. There was no heat in the pool house and we had to keep a watch-out for any bosses that might come by to check up on us. None ever did. Ever wonder where your tax money goes?
††††††††††† On warm days we would walk through the parks picking up trash. One of the old men I worked with offered me a chew of his tobacco. I took it and then threw up on the pansies. The old man laughed his head off. I picked his head up and put it back on for him and, for probably the only time in my life, I listened to my bodyís advice and never chewed tobacco again.
††††††††††† The job may have gotten busier in the spring and summer, but I didnít hang around long enough to find out. I quit after just a couple of months.
††††††††††† I had rented a small duplex in a
bad part of town with a new friend, Dee, who, of course, also got high. We
only lived there a month before the owner told us to leave. We were
undesirables. Since we had both quit our jobs and couldnít pay the rent
anyway, we packed everything we owned into Deeís little Renault and decided
to drive to
††††††††††† After one day in
††††††††††† I moved back in with Mommy and
Papa, who were getting ready to go to
††††††††††† I just couldnít stay settled anywhere. The getting there was fun, but the being there was boring. No matter where I went I had to make money to live and that meant getting a job. And I did not want to work. Well, nobody told me life was going to be fair.
††††††††††† Like I said, my life was so depressing, and now, I know why, but back then, when people tried to tell me what I know now, I wouldnít listen. So, those of you who are reading this and going through the same things I didÖaw, You probably wonít listen to me so, never mind. The answer seems too easy for such a hard question. But itís true. The answer is easy. Itís the accepting and the trusting thatís hard. Remember, wrestling with God can dislocate your joints (Gen. 32:25).
††††††††††† If youíll only believe one thing I
tell you, believe this: When you give it up and let go of all that stuff that
you donít want to give up, then youíll suddenly wonder why you were holding
on to it in the first place. (
And Then There was This War in Vietnam
††††††††††† In the summer of í68 I was called
up for the draft for the war in
††††††††††† Before I spent a whole day in
††††††††††† I know my family was hoping the army would straighten me out. I can imagine their disappointment and embarrassment when I got my card from the draft board saying I was 4F.
††††††††††† Iím more ashamed of this part of
my life than any other, and there are some very shameful parts. Iím sure
there are some out there who would never be able to forgive me, especially
those of you who did your duty. Maybe you lost a loved one in
All I Knew was the Democrats were the Bad Guys
††††††††††† I didnít know much about politics,
but I wanted to be a ďgood hippy,Ē so I ďhatedĒ politicians. Of course, í68 was
the year of the ď
††††††††††† Back then I wouldnít register to vote because I believed voting was like choosing how you wanted to die. Some ways are better than others, but youíre still dead. The truth was I was just too lazy to go to all the trouble of voting. (I still donít understand how someone can win with the most votes over all, and still lose. Thereís something wrong with that.) Quite frankly, back then, I just didnít care. Everything was about me. All I knew was most of the members of my family were Democrats and I thought most of them hated me. The hippies hated the Democrats. So, as far as I was concerned, the Democrats were the bad guys.
My Specialty was Menial Jobs
††††††††††† I donít know how many jobs I had before I was twenty. Working at the kind of jobs that are available without having a skill or a college degree are not very desirable jobs. And, back then, most businesses didnít want to hire longhairs, either. Besides that, they actually wanted you to be there everyday and do something while you were there. I was a lazy bum. I just wanted to go places and hang out and look for chicks. I just wanted to have fun. When youíre a lazy bum, you donít hang out with people who are going to college trying to make something of their selves. You seek out other lazy bums.
††††††††††† I canít remember every job I had,
but I do remember the shortest. I worked forty-five minutes at an aluminum
††††††††††† I told my boss I had to get something in my car. It was me! I drove away from that place and never looked back. I didnít even work long enough to pay for my physical. They were going to take that out of my first pay check, which I never went back and asked for. I wasnít a total fool.
What was the Lure?
††††††††††† I was California Dreaminí again. I donít know what it was about that
state, but it just kept drawing me back. This time I tried to get there by
joining a circus that came through town every year. It was heading west and
would eventually make its way to
††††††††††† Traveling with the circus is one long job, and you know how I felt about jobs. We would get to a town and set everything up (everybody but the entertainers had to help set up the tents), then work (in my case selling peanuts) the whole time the circus was open, which was all but about six hours out of twenty-four, and you had to sleep during that six hours. Then we tore everything down and headed on to the next town.
††††††††††† I did stay long enough to learn something about circus people, though. They were a family and they took care of their own, even if they didnít particularly like you. I learned that clowns arenít usually happy, but sometimes they are gay. And sometimes they are drunks who are hateful to children.
††††††††††† My main problem was I didnít like
the guy I worked for. Surprise! He was a skinny, little jerk who liked to
push his ninety pounds around and I didnít want to have to put up with him
for the two months it would take to get to
Get High, Go to a Concert, Get High
††††††††††† That summer I had a steady girl friend and she and I went to see as many concerts as she would pay for during the weeks I wasnít working somewhere. One time we even sneaked in to see the Monkees by walking in the exit backwards. Our reasoning was if the people working the gates said anything, we could tell them we were leaving. They didnít say anything and we soon found out why. The concert was over. We just walked backwards into the crowd of people who were leaving. We blended right in.
††††††††††† Between í67 and í71 I saw the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix every time they were in the area. I also saw the doors (with the real Jim Morrison, not Val Kilmer), Eric Clapton with Cream, Vanilla Fudge, Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly (my ears really rang after those two), Jefferson Airplane, The Who (in Dallas and L.A.) even Hermanís Hermits and Peter, Paul, and Mary.
If you werenít able to score any dope, just take your dope money and go to a rock concert. You would surely get high there. If not by a joint being passed down the aisle, then just by the marijuana smoke that hung heavy in the air. And parents, if your kids go to concerts, the joints are still being passed around. I found that out at a Nine Inch Nails Concert. Some things never change.
An Addictive Personality is very Addictive
††††††††††† My addictive personality makes me go full-throttle into whatever I pursue. Even as a little kid I collected hundreds of baseball cards. Unfortunately, as I got older, I began collecting and pursuing things that werenít necessarily good for me. Rock concerts, glue sniffing, buying record albums (by 1981 I had around 400), and soon drugs would enter the scene. Even today collecting is a phobia for me. They say it only takes doing something forty times in a row for it to become a habit. It takes me about one time twice in a row to make a habit. (I just made that up. I donĎt know what the numbers are.)
††††††††††† But the main problem for me back then was all the things I wanted required money, and most of the time I wasnít making money. At times I dropped so low on the slime-ball scale I would steal old, rusty tools from Papaís shed. I thought he wouldnít miss them, but I was wrong. And to make it even worse, I let him believe the neighbor kids did it. I took his tools to the pawnshop and got next-to-nothing for them. I justified my crime by telling myself, ďAt least I wasnít stealing their TV or stereo.
††††††††††† I was so messed up, I even hocked my coin collection and I probably didnít even get face-value for them.
If Youíre Going to San Francisco by Sure and Wear Flour in your Hair
††††††††††† By November I had the urge to go
again. This time I wanted to go to Haight-Ashbury
††††††††††† A male friend of my girl friend
offered to buy me a one-way airplane ticket. To show you how sharp I was I
never even suspected he was just trying to get rid of me. But then, how sharp
is someone who sniffs glue? But, sharp or not, I was on my way to
††††††††††† It was my first time on an airplane and all kinds of thought ran through my head. I had always heard that you werenít going to die until it was your time. But I started thinking, what if the guy in the seat next to me, it was his time, and I had to go with him just because I was on the plane. I guess I never thought that God had the power to put everybody whose time it was, on the same plane together. But the question I should have been asking is, ďWhat if I die without Jesus?Ē
††††††††††† Now some might say that since I asked Jesus in my heart as a boy, then I was saved, but what about I John 2:4? What about the judgment for sins? (Rom. 14:10-12 Heb. 9:27) So many questions I should have been asking, but I wasnít. I was just walking down the road with my eyes closed, or at that moment, flying.
††††††††††† When the plane left Love Field, it was pouring down rain. As scary as it was, I have to admit, it was a beautiful experience bursting through the dark clouds into the bright sunlight with blue skies above and fluffy, cotton-white clouds below. With the appearance of something soft to cushion our fall, I forgot about dying for awhile.
Haight-Ahbury turned out to be an intersection with a street sign that read Haight one direction and Ashbury the other direction. I thought hippies would be standing all around playing guitars and singing. I thought cute hippy girls with long blonde hair would be waiting to give themselves to me. Where were the hippies? Where was the free love? Where were the drugs? Never mind. I think I found them.
††††††††††† Ugly old hippies were standing on the sidewalk, leaning against the wall, and casually saying the names of drugs as people walked by, which is what I did. I just walked on by with my suitcase in hand, probably looking like a country bumpkin in the big city. I thought I was looking cool, but how cool can you look when youíre over 6í1Ē and gangly, with stooped shoulders and a walk like a lummox.
††††††††††† Iím not sure what I would have done that night if a friendly hippy hadnít befriended me and offered me a place to ďcrashĒ. The possibility that he was gay never entered my mind, and if he was, he never came on to me. He was wearing faded blue jeans with a piece of triangular shaped paisley material sewn into the outside seam from the knee to the bottom of the leg to make them bellbottoms. He even had a long ponytail. He looked cool. That was the look I wanted. My hair almost covered my ears and hung over my collar if I leaned my head back far enough.
††††††††††† He lived in a neighborhood where all the houses were connected together like apartments, very old apartments. We went up a short set of stairs and entered the door on the right. It was a very neat and very quaint room with wood floors and old furniture. It had large windows and was very quiet and comfortable. He turned on the radio to a station that played music like I had never heard before. It wasnít rock or classic or folk. It was surreal.
We talked for a while then he pulled out a baggie and began to roll a joint. Even though I had never smoked dope before that night, I didnít let him know that. I just acted cool like I knew what I was doing. The main thing I remember about that night wasÖforgetting.
††††††††††† As we passed the joint, he asked
me questions about myself and
††††††††††† Smoking dope makes you think you have great ideas and maybe some rare times the ideas are great, but the only problem is, if they are great and you do, by chance, remember them, then youíll never do anything about them, because youíre high. Thereís a reason why itís called, getting wasted, because the time youíre high is wasted time. Unfortunately, I wasted the next twelve years of my life.
††††††††††† The next day I walked to the
highway, stuck out my thumb, and headed north out of
††††††††††† The next night, outside
††††††††††† They got us both out of the car and searched us. They found a cache of guns in the trunk and under the seat. They didnít seem interested in me at all and after a while sent me on my way. I never did know what was going on, but I figured they had been following the man a long time and had seen him pick me up. He may have been a killer and I may have been his next victim. Iíll never know for sure, but thank You, Jesus for watching over the stupid and foolish.
††††††††††† I wound up in Weed,
††††††††††† If the prodigal son had died while he was away from home with no I.D. would he have been buried in Potterís field and his father never known what happened to him?
††††††††††† I can see the threads of Godís handiwork in my life, even during those dark years when I had nothing to do with Him. Fortunately, He had something to do with me.
††††††††††† I didnít think my uncleís parents were the same happy people they had been when I was fifteen, but it wasnít them who had changed, it was me. I was a hippy, now, and probably kind of scary to them. Iím sure they had heard about a lot of the things I had done.
††††††††††† The next morning I said, ďGoodbye,Ē and I have to admit, they looked relieved, and it made me sad. I wasnít a bad person. I was just wasting the life and the talents God had given me.
If I Only Had a Rose Garden
††††††††††† There was a band in the late
sixties that everyone around my age would know if I said the name. They had a
hit song in 1968 that everyone knew. They were big. They had been on American
Bandstand and Hullaballoo. They were even on a
††††††††††† Every guy I knew was in love with
the lead singer. She had long, straight, black hair and looked a lot like
reason I interject this fact is, while I was hitchhiking east on interstate
40, across the
††††††††††† It was a dream
come true. She was alone and said she wanted some company. I donít
remember anything we talked about. My head was in a haze and it wasnít drug
induced. She bought me dinner at a roadside place and a little before midnight,
asked me if I would drive while she got some sleep. It was about 1:00 a.m.
when the police pulled us over in
††††††††††† I spent the next two days in the
††††††††††† It was my first time in a jail cell and I soon learned jails are just like schools. Each one has a bully. The bully came in a couple of hours after I did and he immediately started trying to pick fights with older, weaker looking Native Americans (everyone there looked to be Native American). All of us tried to stay out of his way and mind our own business.
††††††††††† The bully wasnít going to let us mind our own business. He walked over to an old man, who was passed out on the floor, and put his foot on the old manís face. He left it there until the old man woke up gasping for air. No one, including myself, lifted a finger to help the old man, who was shouting and a guard finally came in and broke it up.
††††††††††† Then the bully saw me, as bullies always do. ďWhat are you doing coming to my land, bothering my people?Ē I wanted to tell him, he was the only one bothering his people, but I kept my mouth shut and tried to ignore him. Well, thatís the worse thing you can do to a bully. They hate to be ignored.
††††††††††† He started raising his voice and pushing me, when a very large man, lying on a bunk about five feet away, quietly said, ďLeave him alone.Ē The bully turned and looked at the man through bleary eyes. The big man continued to lie on the bunk with his eyes closed and the bully just walked away without saying another word.
††††††††††† I looked at the big man and said, ďThanks,Ē but he just continued to lie there with his eyes closed and didnít say another word while I was in the cell. I think he was asleep the whole time. Anyway, the bully never bothered me again. May I say it here? ďThank You, Jesus.Ē
††††††††††† Saturday afternoon I got my hearing before a judge. The singer was there with her lawyer. She had been crying. Her lawyer came over to me and told me to confess that the drugs were mine and he would help me get a light sentence. Now, as much as that appealed to me, I had to say, ďNo.Ē I told the judge my story and they took me back to the cell. I thought I heard them throw away the key.
††††††††††† Now I was ready to cry. I made myself sick with worry. I didnít know what the singer and her lawyer had told the judge, but I was sure it wasnít good. I think I was praying, but I wasnít sure there was anybody listening. I was so far away from God, I was sure, that if He even existed, He wasnít going to help me. I mean, I was probably one of His greatest disappointments.
††††††††††† On Sunday afternoon the judge sent for me and asked for my grandparentís phone number. He called Mommy and explained the situation and asked them if they would wire me bus fare back to the Land of the Gar. I think, if I had been Mommy, I would have told the judge to stick me where the sun donít shine. But she didnít.
††††††††††† I got my money at Western Union
and went to the bus station and bought a ticket on the next bus heading for
Never Give the Finger to a Big Guy on a Motocycle
††††††††††† If sniffing glue doesnít kill you, the state of mind it puts you in can get you killed. It can make you do stupid things like giving the finger to football players on motorcycles. They ran our car off the road and one of them stuck his head through the window (It was open at the time, although I donít think it would have made much difference). He grabbed the front of my shirt with his left hand and doubled up his right hand into a fist the size of my friendís head. In fact, my friendís head could have been inside his fist, I donít know.
††††††††††† He told me to say, ďIím sorry, sir.Ē I refused for several long seconds. I was stubborn and high, a bad combination. I did not want to say it. But, on the other hand, I didnít want to die either. And Iím not sure why, since I didnít think my life was worth living. Finally, through clenched teeth I said it, and the sir was the part that stuck in my throat. Pride goes before destruction. (Prov. 16:18).
††††††††††† Those friends never asked me to go out with them again, and Iíve got to say, ďThank You, Jesus.Ē
Amputate Those Itchy Feet
††††††††††† If you can believe it, after all that, I was getting itchy feet again. It was getting harder to find friends who werenít working or going to school, so the days were boring with no one to hang out with. And at night it was hard to find anyone who wanted to be with someone bumming cigarettes and dope and money from them.
††††††††††† But I did find three guys who had
quit their jobs and, after we got high one Monday, I talked the one with a
car into driving us to
I Was Still Aware of Della
††††††††††† I hadnít seen Della in almost a
year, so I called her up one day. Her parents were gone, so Jimmy gave me a
ride to her parentís house in north
††††††††††† When she was making out with me, she apparently had a boy friend that Iíll call Bonehead, because thatís what he was. He had an: I support brain-damage bumper sticker on his car. He looked like a boxer who had lost a lot more fights than he had won. In other words, he was a bully. There was a price on my head and I didnít even know it until one night, when Jimmy and I walked into a dance at the Elkís Lodge.
††††††††††† Bonehead was playing drums in the band, and when he saw me, he sent his friend, Bluto the bouncer over to make sure I didnít leave. He told me Bonehead wanted to beat the hell out of me. As great as that sounded (and at that point in my life I needed the hell beat out of me), I decided to leave with my friend Jimmy. Only problem was, Bluto wasnít going to let us leave. He stuck to us like stink on a buzzardís beak.
††††††††††† When the band quit playing, Bluto, out of sheer dumb loyalty, went to help the band pack up. Jimmy and I took off. I donít know how they did it, but we looked in the rear view mirror and Bonehead and Bluto were right behind us. The good news was they were in a motor vehicle.
††††††††††† They chased us all over the Land of the Gar and at one point we pulled up beside a cop who was parked in a store parking lot and told him, ďThat car is following us.Ē He stopped them and we got away, but they somehow found us later at a ďfriendísĒ house. It was almost like they were tipped off.
††††††††††† Bonehead and I stood in the backyard facing each other. Bluto stood behind me. Bluto knew I wasnít going to beat up Bonehead. He was just there to make sure I didnít bolt and run, again, butÖ
ÖI Donít Fight Fair
I tried to warn him that I donít fight fair,
But when I told him that, he said he didnít care,
And with a punch he shut my eye,
Then he flattened my nose and he made me cry.
He declared himself the winner and started to grin,
But she chose me instead of him. You see
I knew she always rooted for the underdog and I didnít tell him,
and I swear,
I tried to warn him that I donít fight fair.
†††††††††††† I didnít exactly win her back at that moment. Actually, I cried like a little girl at that moment, but as you will see Della and I did get back together. Like I said earlier, it was an off and on relationship and it was kind of off for now.
Chemicals were My Life
††††††††††††††††††††††† I went to work at a chemical factory for a couple of months where, on Fridays, all the hippies fought over who got to climb into the mixing vat and clean the inside with pure toluene. (For those who donít know, thatís the ingredient in glue that gets you high.)
†††††† But I quit that job when Dee and Zee
and I took LSD one night and we all piled into Deeís old Renault and took off
Slamminí Doors and Rolling Stones
†††††† Second, we were stopped by the
police on our first day in
†††††† Zee and I thumbed our way south to
†††††† The guy let Zee and I crash at his parentís house. After that first night Zee wanted to move on and I didnít, so we split up. My new friend took me to a place that gave away used clothes, since all I had was what I was wearing. I remember going into this tractor-trailer full to the roof with clothes. I tunneled through the old clothes and it felt kind of like Nirvana. It was like a dry womb. They eventually made come out into the world and life went on.††††††
††††††† This guy I met lived with his parents and didnít work and they didnít seem to care. We hung out everyday at the beach with his two chick friends who didnít work either. He and I would drop speed and play guitars all night. He played rhythm and I played his bass guitar. I thought I was playing good. Drugs will do that. They make you think you are a lot better than you really are. I remember Jim Morrison in concert thinking he was good. He was so high he was just mumbling and stumbling all over the stage. Drugs lie to you, but some people like being lied to.
†††††† A year later, T-Bone went to
†††††† When I was leaving
††††††† She had scriptures stuck all over her dashboard. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:22-24) You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Col. 3:7,8) The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Rom. 13:12) And on and on and on. (I donít remember the exact verses, but they were hitting me with the same effect as these.)
†††††† I was so sick of all that ďChristian
StuffĒ I could have screamed. I just sat there during the ride and waited for
the questions. But they never came.
At least, not those questions. She was very happy and wanted to know where I
was from. She asked about
When All the Flavorís Gone
†††††† This time I had stayed gone almost two weeks. When I got back to Mommy and Papaís, my duffel bag was there. Somebody had found it and mailed it to me. (Mommy and Papaís address was on my driverís license) I never knew who did it, but there was nothing missing, not that there was anything worth stealing.
†††††† I came back wanting to buy a bass guitar
and amplifier. I got a job at an electric supply co. and with mother
co-signing I bought a bass guitar and a six foot tall amplifier. I wasnít
good, so I played loud. I put together a new band.
You were saved from a life of death,
Yet you continue to play on the edge,
Living in matchbook palaces,
Where the slightest spark
Will enrage your world
With the flames of malice.
Youíre not chasing after death,
But youíre fleeing from life.
Death is easy.
It just happens.
But you have to work at life.
†††††† I kept trying to run away, but no matter where I went, I was always there with me. And I didnít like myself. While others were trying to find themselves, I was trying to lose myself. My life was like chewing gum with the flavor gone and, believe me, there were times when I just wanted to spitÖitÖout.
†††† Remember, many times when youíre searching for something youíve lost, you donít usually find it, until you stop searching.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9)