Ace Backwords circa 1990

This is a shot of me from around 1990 when I actually looked kind of cool. Holding up a Bukowski book in my Berkeley studio apartment that I used to rent out for $125 a month. . . . You ever want to go back in time when things were cool? … . . Alas. You can’t. . . But hang in there. Do the best you can with your present predicament.

Looking at the fliers on my wall, trying to piece together my life back then: a John Crawford “Baboon Dooley” cartoon, Johnny Lydon, Bukowski, atop my head the cover of one of Duncan’s publications, over my shoulder a framed 8-by-10 glossy of Helen Wheels a New York City rocker and one of the first people to send me a promo record in the mail when I started Twisted Image. . . I’m not sure what’s the deal with that little light on top of the speaker to my stereo. I used to have all my albums lined up on the floor by my turntable– it’s hard to believe I haven’t listened to any of my albums since 1996 (26 years ago). Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get a chance to listen to them again. . . I had a pretty comfortable life back then. Most afternoons I’d play fullcourt basketball at the park a couple blocks from my apartment, often playing until it got dark, then we’d turn the lights on and play for several more hours after that. . . Then I’d come home and make a simple but satisfying dinner. Stuff like rigatoni noodles in tomato sauce with ground beef and fried onions and green peppers, heat up some frozen vegetables slathered in melted butter, orange juice, desert. Then I’d watch re-runs of Perry Mason, Taxi and Cheers with my roomie Vince. Around midnight I’d start drinking coffee, sit down at my drawing board and start working on my latest comic strip with David Letterman playing in the background. Go to sleep around 3 AM. Wake up the next morning, go outside and buy the latest San Francisco Chronicle from a newspaper rack on the corner. Sip my coffee and read the paper, lying on my mattress as I eased into another day. . .

I was in the best shape of my life physically. I spent my 20s as a bike messenger. And my 30s running fullcourt basketball. So I was almost like a professional athlete, getting a good workout every day. . . I didn’t even drink much back then. Just smoked pot and took acid. My big vice was coffee — I drank like 10 or 20 cups a day. . . And I started every day with a “To Do” list with about 20 things on it. And I’d spend the entire day checking them off one by one. So different from my days now where I do as little as possible.

It’s weird looking back on your past selves. It’s like looking at somebody else. Like, who IS that guy?? And they say we replace all of our atoms and molecules every 7 years, something like that. So in a way it is a different person. Even as the DNA stays the same. Everything else is different. I looked different. Had a different personality. A different lifestyle. It was a completely different world…. I guess the one thing that stays the same is the voice in my head. That’s pretty much been the same voice since I was a little child. But everything else is different.


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