Undigested experiences

My life just keeps getting stranger and stranger. Last week a guy burst into flames right in front of me while I was sitting on Bench One. I tried to snuff the flames out with my jacket. To no avail. He ended up dying from his burns a couple days later…. Now I’m sitting here drinking beer on a Saturday night, thinking about nothing. Feeling uninspired…. Life is like that, I guess. You go from experiencing incredible traumas and weird strange shit. To just another boring mundane night…. My life often seems like having all these strange experiences crammed down my throat and into my guts. But I never quite digest them. Never quite make sense of anything….

Muhammad Ali

I’m not an autograph hound. But one of the few famous people who I actually scored their autograph was Muhammad Ali.

I read somewhere that Ali spent several hours every day autographing Muslim religious tracts. It was part of his spiritual practices. He felt that if he signed the tracts, people would preserve them. And God’s word would live on.

So out of curiosity I sent off an SASE to Ali’s mailing address asking for his autograph… Sure enough I got several Muslim tracts back in the mail with Ali’s signature on them.

I still have them somewhere amidst all the other crap in my storage locker. Ha ha.

The Greatest of All Time

The wisdom that comes with aging

Growing old is a trade-off. What you lose in physical acuity, you gain in hard-fought wisdom. For example:

I’ve learned over the years, through painful experience, that if you have a banana and an apple turnover for breakfast, one should ALWAYS eat the banana first. For if you eat the turnover first, the banana won’t taste sweet, via comparison to the overwhelming sweetness of the turnover.

They say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That’s not true. I’m living proof of that!

A strange Berkeley dream like traveling through time and space to another dimension

Welcome to Berkeley, the land of cosmic garbage cans

Just woke up from a strange strange dream. It was almost supernatural, like being transported to this magical and haunted realm…

In the dream I discover this grainy black-and-white film that some art student had shot of me when I was 17 and had first visited Berkeley in the summer of 1974. It was so bizarre and fascinating and disturbing to be viewing my youthful self And heartbreaking, remembering my youthful dreams, and how it had all ended up…. Then I’m actually back in time in 1974, re-living what it was like back then in Berkeley. I’m on Sproul Plaza on the campus, and I’m comparing all the subtle ways the landscape had changed over the years. The plaza is full of young white hippies, lazily lolling around. A youthful Hate Man shows up and I meet him for the first time. He walks to the steps of Sproul and a crowd of people quickly gathers around him as he puts on a performance. Some guy who is sexually attracted to him keeps pestering him and following around. A young woman who looks like an R. Crumb cartoon is dancing. There’s a promiscuous vibe everywhere, like people are all mindlessly obsessing about sex. And a spiritual emptiness everywhere. Like it’s a realm full of doomed souls and lost souls and empty people with no direction. . . I’m in a funky second-hand thrift shop run by some hippie, leafing through the merchandise scattered on the shelves and floors, piles of shoes, etc. Hate Man is walking beside me, talking to me. I catch a glimpse of myself in these full length mirrors as I pass by them — in one mirror I look like this hip, dashing young hippie boy. In another mirror I look more like Bukowski, my face distorted and ugly with a mottled complexion….. I’m walking down Telegraph Avenue, a field of grass and trees is on Dwight Way where the Soup Kitchen and that apartment building were later. I mention to someone that I’m actually from year 2023 and have been transported back in time to this long-gone realm. I walk down the Ave, eager to see if the Caffe Med was still there.

I wake up and hear coyotes howling off in the distance. Mini Scaredy, my feral cat who sleeps with me, jumps off my chest to go investigate. And then comes back to me.