Welcome to My Autobiography
In the hollowed out hole of a mesmeranic night,
A vacant moon can’t find you with its bleached bone light.
You sit all alone staring at yourself in the dark.
Your life pours out as the needle hits its mark.
The rush feels good. Then your skin begins to crawl.
Your eyes try to scream as your head starts to fall.
Then you hit the bottom and you writhe in pain.
And you think another fix will fix you up again.
Then a darker darkness oozes from the creases.
A tear hits the floor as your lips whisper, “Jesus.”
The Higher You Are, The Harder You Fall
(Prov. 28:14b, Matt.15:14b)
The day after we scored, we were going to see The Magical Mystery Tour movie. Just before we left Mommy and Papa’s house the guy came by again. We didn’t want to part with any of the dope we had, because after cleaning out the seeds and stems, there wasn’t much there. We wouldn’t sell him any, but we gave him one skinny joint just to get him to go away, and he did. We were either too high or too stupid to realize we were being set up.
If you’re stupid and you know it, you can get by, but the problem with smoking dope is you’re stupid, but you think you’re smart.
Unbeknownst to us, the three main narcotics detectives in Land of the Gar followed us that night, and about three miles from Mommy and Papa’s they ran us off the road. We thought they were rednecks wanting to kill us (we had just seen Easy Rider). They thought they were busting two big-time drug dealers. All they had were two scared, hapless idiots with three skinny joints. Unfortunately, back then, that was a felony.
I have hence seen Magical Mystery Tour and I’m not sure which was worse; the movie or sitting in jail over night. The jail time was long, but the movie seemed longer.
Every time my hair would start to get long, something would come along and I would have to cut it short again. Up to this point, it had been school or a job, but now, with a trial pending, I knew it wasn’t going to get long in 1969.
I would go to downtown
My lawyer convinced me to plead guilty and take three years probation, but when I stood up in front of the judge and made my plea, he said, “I sentence you to three years in the state penitentiary.”
I thought I had been set up again. My heart dropped from my freshly ironed, white dress shirt into my shiny, black dress shoes. My tie was choking back the lump in my throat. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be sick. I wanted to run. I think the judge was enjoying my agony, as he paused several long seconds before adding, “Sentence commuted to probation.” At least he could have laughed and said, “I’m just messin’ with you, kid.”
I spent the next three years
stuffing my hair under a short-hair wig each month when I went to downtown
My probation officer thought I was a nice, clean-cut young man who had kept his nose clean. But he was wrong. My nose was filthy, and so was my mind, and so was my heart, except for one tiny, little corner where a glimmer of light still shone.
Other things were going on in
1969. Our band was playing much louder.
Also that year, believe it or not, I dated a beautiful girl who looked like a model, but, believe it or not, I broke up with her, because she was too weird for me. She thought she was a witch, because she could slowly close one eye, while leaving the other eye wide open. She could also bend the tip of her finger while the rest of her finger remained straight. I tried to tell her that was called winking and being double jointed, but her mother had her convinced that being a witch was in her genes. I don’t know about that, but stupid sure was. The first clue was, she looked like a cheerleader and she was dating me.
I was showing my stupidity as well. That year I went to a lot of concerts, smoked a lot of dope, and dropped a lot of pills. One night at Ron’s house I took a handful of downers, and to this day I believe God kept my heart beating through that night, because usually people die from an overdose of sleeping pills.
I thank God that I lived through those drug years, because many didn’t.
In May of ’69 we had our
The drive there was like a parking
lot on the Interstate. There were times we would get out of our cars and walk
around from car to car passing joints and talking in the way that only
hippies knew. It took us all of that day before the festival began to finally
get into the park around
The sun beat down on us all day as we gathered in mass on the speedway. People were tripping on acid and joints were constantly being passed around. I thought all the bands in the world were there. That’s how high I was. Everyone there was high, even if just by contact. Occasionally, a naked man or woman would stagger by us. There were some locals walking around the grounds drinking beer and laughing and talking in the way that only rednecks knew. Little did Bobby Bob and his cousin Robert Bob know, 40,000 hippies could have crushed them to death, but they were too stupid and we were too stoned.
After midnight we all sauntered back to our campsites, which to most of us were just our cars. There were three of us together. Two slept in the car and one slept on a picnic table. I don’t remember which one I was. At least we were smarter than one guy who went to sleep in a field and someone drove over him in a Volkswagen. I believe that woke him up. I needed something to wake me up, but it didn’t.
That summer I paid 200.00 for a rusty white ’54 Chevy panel truck and painted the Zig-Zag man on each side, and a large peace symbol on the back doors. I later painted over these and all the patched up rust-holes with a gallon of blue enamel and a wide brush. It looked pretty good until I decided to wax it. I never did get the dried wax out of the brush-stroke grooves.
Things to do in
I was hearing Bob Dylan through the screens
Of every other door.
As I headed for Lee Park,
Where the freaks used to meet.
And my brain hadn’t quite recovered
From the Saturday night before,
When all the drips
Turned into major leaks.
Standing, seriously, on the corner
Looking for a chance to
Cross against the light.
Drinking out of a paper sack
From a bottle of Boone’s Farm,
Looking for any way to rebel
Against the man and his right…
…To remain silent
Until I give up that right.
Hey, I was just walking up to the 7-11
That’s down on the corner.
And he looks in my blood-shot eye
And ask me if I want to keep my sight?
‘Cause, if not, he can help me
Become an organ donor.
Walking on the Moon
On July 20, I was at Rabbit’s
apartment with several of his neighbors watching Neil Armstrong walk on the
moon. One of his neighbors was a beautiful, full grown, twenty-five year old
woman, who was single and had been to
I fell in love with every pretty girl I met, and I think I wrote a poem or a song to each one of them, but most of them never even knew I looked at them twice. It was easier to dream, than to try to make the dream come true in whatever endeavor I pursued. Yes, I was twenty years old, but I had the maturity of a ten year old.
I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend. All I wanted from a girl was sex, but she had to make the first move, and if she didn’t, I left.
1969 was the year mother, Joey,
and my step-father moved to
More Famous People
I told you earlier that I only hung
out with people who did drugs, so whoever I was with we were either getting
high or looking for something or someone to get high with. So, one night, a
girlfriend and I were looking for some dope and she took me to a house she
I stood in the doorway while the girl went in trying to talk to them while they, basically, ignored her, and me. Anyway, we came away empty handed. It turned out she was just a groupie who had apparently been driving them crazy, and I was just the guy who was with the groupie. Shortly after that I heard they cut a record under the name ZZ Top.
Debauchery in the Land of the Gar
I got fired from my job at the electrical supply company after I had been there just over a year. I took my first vacation I had ever worked long enough to earn and then I got fired. I had gotten mad because I didn’t get a promotion and they had informed me I wasn’t even in the running. The next delivery I had, I jumped in the company truck and burned rubber all the way around the building. They didn’t like that. Except for my paper route, it was the longest I had kept a job up to that point.
I walked a block away and got a job at a prefab wall and truss company. That’s where I met Rajha. He and his wife had an old house about three blocks from the Land of the Gar’s downtown square. Drugs and sex flowed freely in this house of debauchery.
After two weeks at the new job almost everyone working in our department was fired for smoking dope in the lunchroom. The only person not fired was the kid who told on us. We had been making fun of him and he got even with us.
I went to work as an electrician’s helper doing rough-out work on new apartment construction. I helped run the wires through the walls. Can you believe, some of the apartments I helped wire are still standing, even today.
I bought a used Honda 305 motorcycle and sold my panel truck. I should have kept the truck, because the motorcycle threw a rod before I had it a month, and I was on foot again.
When I bought it, the temperature was in the teens and twenties, so the first nice day we had I called in sick and went riding. I pulled up to a red light and a pickup truck pulled up beside me. It was my boss. He asked if I was feeling better.
The next day I went to work expecting to be fired, but my boss just told me never to lie to him again. He could handle just about everything else, but that.
Without a doubt the Lord was there, watching over me, even though I could have cared less about Him. The way I drove that motorcycle in and out of traffic, I think He had a hand in its breakdown. One day it threw a rod and I couldn’t afford to fix it. Thank You, Jesus.
Also, with the things going on in Rajha’s house, the Lord had to have been there, too. I could have died, gotten any number of diseases or infections, or I could have wound up in prison. Thank You, Jesus.
The people at Rajha’s house started shooting speed and I joined them. It got so bad we were drawing it into the syringes through used cigarette filters just to get the rush from the nicotine. And we were using needles over and over. Bad things could have happened from that. Thank You, Jesus that You were there.
A seventeen year old boy had run away from his home up north somewhere, and wound up at Rajha’s. One night he went into the bathroom and died. Shortly after that, a girl I knew died while sniffing glue. Either one of them could have been me because I was doing the same things that killed them. Thank You, Jesus that You were there with me all the time.
These things opened my eyes, partially. I never did speed, glue sniffing, or LSD again, after that, but I kept smoking dope, and even in greater proportion. If you looked up the word, wasted, in the dictionary, my picture would have been in the margin.
People say they don’t have a problem with marijuana, and it’s not addicting. I even said that. Just saying you don’t have a problem, doesn’t make the problem go away. You can say your lime green Pacer isn’t a lime green Pacer, but, you’re still going to be driving an ugly car. Say what you like.
I had a problem. I was addicted, not like heroine, but like a beer drinker has to drink beer everyday. I had to smoke dope every day. And, as time went by, I was smoking earlier in the day. Someday I would be high all day and into the night, until I went to sleep. It eventually got to a point where I couldn’t go to sleep if I didn’t smoke a joint. I was a marijuanic.
Fric & Frac
I moved out of Mommy and Papa’s
and into a house with
A month later I quit my job and moved back in with Mommy and Papa. Another friend and I moved into an apartment, but he moved out after a couple of weeks and I couldn’t afford it by myself, so, at the end of the month I moved back in with Mommy and Papa. This would be the last time I would move in with them, much to their relief, I’m sure.
I bought an old Volkswagen microbus and it, too, threw a rod after I had it about two weeks. I eventually learned to check the oil in my vehicles. This time I would pay the price for being on foot.
Somehow, Della and I started
dating again. She was like
Two men in a pickup truck with a
gun rack stopped and gave me a ride. I jumped in the back and, if that wasn’t
stupid enough, I stayed in when they pulled off of
If anyone ever tries to tell you drugs don’t dull your senses and just make you downright stupid, tell them this story. And if they say it would never happen to them, then they’re probably stupider than I was. (I Cor. 10:12)
The driver pulled off the road, before the construction site, into a secluded spot. Now, at that point, most people would have jumped off of the truck and run, but not me. I just sat there on the side of that truck like a cocoon on the edge of a barbeque grill, while the passenger got out and asked me if I saw something in the bed that he was looking for. I was so wasted, I actually looked for it and was about to tell him I didn’t see it, when he grabbed me from behind and threw me, backward, to the ground, where I landed on my shoulders.
Before I realized what was happening, he was sitting on my chest with his knees on my arms and an open pocket knife in his hand. He said he was going to cut my hair and, when I struggled, he hit me twice in the face.
If I had been standing up, with air behind my head, the blow would have probably broken my nose and knocked me down. But with the solid ground behind my head, my nose just went all over my face. To this day, when I get new glasses, they won’t sit straight on my face until I adjust the nose pads.
That fall, 1970, I enrolled in
The college sponsored free concerts for students and I took Della to see the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. A young comedian started their show and he was the funniest guy I had ever seen. He was funnier than Steve Allen or Bob Newhart, who I considered the two funniest men in the world. They are still in my top three. At that point in my life, I needed to laugh, and probably laughed harder that night than I ever had before. Thank you, Steve Martin, for being there when I needed you.
I started the 1971 spring semester
Della and I went to the Eastfield Coffee House several times, to see B.W. (Buckwheat) Stevenson with Mickey Raphael on harmonica. This was before they recorded an album and Mickey was discovered by Willie Nelson and became the signature harmonica sound behind Willie’s voice.
Good bye Frac
Della graduated from High school
and was starting college in the fall at the
Della and I were planning our wedding. The date was set and I was about to move out of Mommy and Papa’s house for the last time and they said, “Thank you, Jesus.”