Wildwood Daze – The Union Jacks – Dirty John – Part 1

“Okay, He’s freaking out like a retard. Put him in his bed and we’ll go.”

I had been to the restaurant where Brian our drummer worked part-time as a busboy. I don’t remember, but I had been there to meet up with him once for some reason. I do remember Brian telling me the bartender there liked my “friend with the big eyes.” (Me.) I don’t remember that person and quickly dismiss it in my mind.

One night Brain wants to bring us to the restaurant where he works for drinks. We get there and the band sits at the bar. Brian introduces us to the bartender, Frank. Or, as Brian calls him, Frank the Fag. Now I get it. Frank fancies me. It’s a compliment, but I’m straight.

We all order bottles of beer. Frank is being Frank but he’s nice as could be. We’re all just chilling at the bar and it’s nice to all go out and have a drink as a band. It’s like we’re somebody now. People recognize us when we’re out and I like it.

We’re sitting there for about an hour chatting about music, when Frank presents me with not one, but two large tumblers filled with a frothy pink liquid.

“What’s this?”

“It’s called a Dirty John.”

“Thank you, but I never drink hard liquor. I just don’t do it. I’m a beer guy only.”

“I’ll drink it!”

Jim is the youngest and newest member of the band. I think he wants to show that he’s a bad ass that can hang with the older guys.

“That’s really not necessary Jim.”

“No. I want to.”

Jim proceeds to chug the drinks.

We settle up and walk outside. Brian and Mark say they’ll bring the car around. I’m smoking a cig waiting with Jim. Brian doesn’t allow smoking in his car so we wait.

“I gotta take a piss.”

“You could have gone in the bar, Jim. Actually, I gotta go too. Beer goes right through me. There’s some tall hedges behind the restaurant. Let’s go back there.”

We walk back and are standing next to each other as if we’re just a couple of students pissing in the urinals in the Boys bathroom at Wildwood High. I suddenly hear this rustling noise and a thump. I glance to my right and Jim has vanished. I zip up my fly and go to the spot where he was.

There’s Jim, face down in the next yard. While pissing he literally just collapsed forward between the hedges. What the fuck was in that drink? Whatever it was, it hit him like a sledgehammer.

Brian and Mark pull up in his yellow ’77 Ford Mustang II.

“What the fuck’s up with Wolfie?” (Brian sometimes referred to Jim as ‘ Wolfie’ because the way he brushed his hair back, it resembled Lon Chaney’s monster.)

“Guys get over here!”

Brian and Mark scramble from the car and run over. We get Jim to his feet and he is just gone. Slurring and stumbling and we get him to the car. It takes all three of us.

“He went from buzzed to black out in a matter of seconds!”

Brian’s driving. Mark’s riding shotgun, and of course I’m in the back with drunk boy. He’s really out of it. Conscious, but super fucked up. More drunk than I’ve ever seen anyone ever in my life.

Brian’s driving him back to his house. “He better not fuckin’ puke in my car! I swear to god!”

We get to Jim’s house and I’m about to get him out and he pukes all over me. He doesn’t even know I’m there. Now I’m wearing the Dirty John meant for me.

Thankfully his parents weren’t home when we dragged our new guitarist back into his house.

We carry him through the door, in front of at least a half dozen siblings. They all look on in utter horror. I assure them their brother isn’t dead. He’s just sick and we’re taking care of him.

The kids know me from school. I’m the kid that comes and waits for Jim each morning and lets my glasses steam up while watching the Today show waiting for my friend so we can walk to school together.

 

It’s a mess. The little kids are clueless. We are simply a group of guys bringing their older brother home because he’s sick. Everything’s fine. Just like in any household in the 70’s. It didn’t happen.

We bang Jim up the stairs to his bedroom. When I say, bang I mean he was dead weight and me, Brian and Mark did the best to get him to his room.

This is all new ground for all of us. We’re new musicians, but we don’t know anything about but extreme behavior even if it’s accidental.

My best friend is so sick. I am wearing his puke. We try to run his head under the shower to revive him. He cries out like a molested child so we withdrawal.

“Okay, He’s freaking out like a retard. Put him in his bed and we’ll go.”

Brian was always so pragmatic.

“Turn him over on his stomach.” (I say) Put his face at the edge of the bed.”

“Why?”

“Umm… Bon Scott….” (See: Tales of Rock – Bon Scott) 

“He’ll be fine.”

” Dude. Hendrix died choking on his own puke.”

“He’ll be fine.”

We leave our lead guitarist in his bed and all go home. It’s bee a fucked up night.

My best friend got poisoned by a drink meant for me. What was Frank’s plan? Get me drunk beyond recognition and take advantage of me? That’s kind of evil.

But the worst part of it is… Was Brian in on it?

 

 

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Sun Stories: Jill – Trish’s Replacement – Hired

Trish lasted almost a year here at the salon. But she’s so unstable she can’t do the job anymore. I hope she gets the professional help she needs to deal with her mental psychosis.

We end up hiring Jill to work at the salon. At this point Achilles doesn’t know about the incident with Trish. Jill has industry experience and catches on quickly and is happy to have a job. She’s sweet to the customers and is up for any task in the salon. Being a former client, she’s happy to now enjoy the benefits of free tanning!

I really get to know her and she seems to have had a difficult life based on some bad decisions. I also discover that she’s had some real problems with alcohol. She’s currently living in a halfway house with some other women in recovery. I don’t know what she did to get there but at least she’s trying to get better.

Halfway Houses are transitional living places for those in recovery from drugs or alcohol. In some states, because of legal requirements, the term “sober living house” is used. Some people go to halfway houses from a treatment center, prison, or a homeless situation, while others go there to be in a sober and clean environment to begin the recovery process. Some residents are in halfway houses due to court orders.

Most halfway houses require residents to pass breathalyzer and drug screening tests as they aren’t equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms from drugs or the DT’s (Delirium tremens, which are associated with severe alcohol withdrawal). If you can’t pass these tests, a treatment center might be your best option.

 

How a Halfway House is Managed

Many halfway houses are run by people who themselves were at one time a halfway house resident. The houses accommodate either men or women.

Most people who don’t seek recovery from alcohol or drugs will end up on “skid row,” in jail, an insane asylum, or dead. If you are concerned about a friend or family member, an intervention can be the best help for them if they’re not yet in recovery. The good news is that 85% of interventions that are properly carried out result in the person seeking some kind of help. Most interventions carried out without help from people well versed in addiction fail.

 

Determining the Primary Addiction

In seeking recovery from drugs or alcohol, it is important to identify which is the primary addiction — alcohol or drugs. Due to economics, halfway houses are set up to house both alcoholics and drug addicts. In order to obtain optimal results, the person in recovery should focus on either the program of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, depending on what the primary addiction is. A person who is addicted to alcohol will relate better to AA and the person addicted primarily to drugs will relate better to fellow drug addicts.

 

How to Choose a Halfway House

In choosing a Halfway House, ask around local AA or NA meetings about those with good reputations, or check with a respected treatment center. Also, choose one that is reasonably near the meetings you will be attending. Most halfway houses accommodate residents until 6 months to a year or two of continuous sobriety or clean time. Houses that have a range or recovery time for people currently residing at the house, such as someone with one month, 90 days, and 6 months are preferable to one with all residents with under 30 days in recovery. Also, those with a live-in manager are generally better choices. Some houses have a democratic process, in which the residents choose who will be coordinator or manager.

I hope everything works out with Jill on our team!

 

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Tales of Rock – Eric Clapton

Universally hailed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Eric Clapton spent much of his early career furiously inhaling massive quantities of alcohol and drugs, possibly worried the world’s supply was about to run out. Did it interfere with his music? Yes and no. In his own words:

“I’d wander off the stage and somebody would have to try to persuade me to go back on. There seemed to be a postpsychedelia drunkenness that swept over everybody in the entertainment business during the early 70s. To be on stage, you were almost expected to be drunk. I remember doing one entire show lying down on the stage with the microphone stand lying beside me, and nobody batted an eyelid.”

That’s right: Eric Clapton was just lying down during a rock concert and that was perfectly cool. Encouraged even. The amazing thing is, he probably just killed that set too.

A Typical Day If You Were Eric Clapton’s Personal Assistant

Eric Clapton: Look, I’m going to finish drinking this children’s pool full of rye whiskey, and you’re going to get 80 feet of high strength fishing line, then learn everything you can about the art of puppetry, and meet me at the show in three hours. OK? Break!

You: Man, there has got to be a better use of my Liberal Arts degree.

 

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Crazy Dating Stories: Adalyn – 2015 – Crazy Is As Crazy Does

“I’m in my date’s bedroom, she’s lying on her bed, drugged and intoxicated, she takes off her top (now topless), grabs my neck and starts kissing me. Her mom, who is standing there, leaves the room to give me some privacy to do what can only be considered date rape.”

I’ve been using Tinder for over a year or so now, and I’ve always been pretty lucky. However, this incident was a different story.

Flashback a day earlier, we matched on tinder. I’m chatting with hot Adalyn. Raven hair, tan skin, and dark eyes. From her pics, I can see she has a smokin’ body. She’s definitely on the right side of twenty-five.

I suggested we skip the long chats and go for a drink, she suggested we chat on the phone first. We did for an hour and it was nice. Some laughs, some flirting and we agreed to spend the next morning in the park. We met, everything is going great and all signs are saying we’ll end up having crazy sex very soon. Left the park, had lunch and then agreed to go back to my place. She said she needed to pass by her place to change and get some stuff. No problem.

Things were moving quickly.

She introduced me to her mom, her dog, her cat and some neighbors. Seemed like she was getting a little too cozy for a tinder date. Then she said: “change of plans. My mom is going to spend the night at my brother’s place. Would you mind spending the night here instead?” I thought, why not? I’m getting lucky so I don’t care. She started preparing dinner and I started drinking. She started pounding drinks as well. I was feeling pretty good, but I could see she was already getting pretty banged up. Turns out her mom is going nowhere, and I had too much to drink. So in my drunken mind I decide to stay with them for the night.

That’s when things started to get crazy. The dinner table had shrimp and oysters with bacon (which I hate). So I started eating the shrimp, when my date offered some oysters. I politely declined and said I was happy with the shrimp. She insisted so much it got awkward, so I took it. She asked me if I liked it, I smiled and said nothing. She started getting angry, and yelled at me that I should be more direct and speak up. I told her I didn’t like it. It might be good but it’s not for me. She started yelling at me and demanding an explanation why I don’t like it.

That’s when her mom jumped in and tried to defuse the situation. To my surprise, Adalyn grabbed the shrimp plate and threw it across the room straight into the wall. Then she stormed away into her room.

That’s when her mom explained to me that Adalyn had been in and out of rehab because of depression and alcohol abuse. She also had two suicide attempts, and that she was on medication. She was not supposed to have any alcohol.

Now I’m feeling really sorry for her.

After awhile, she came out of her room, laughing as if nothing happened, and brought out some dessert and more champagne. Things seemed to be cool now. I tried to relax. But then, quite suddenly, she stood up and challenged me to a fight. She started throwing punches at my chest and stomach and then to my face. I was blocking or slipping all the punches and asking her to stop. Then she got really vicious, and started adding kicks to her attack. I grabbed her arms, put my weight on her, and took her to the ground. She totally collapsed and lay there unconscious.

I carried this poor deranged thing to her bed. When she opened her eyes, she smiled and then all of a sudden took her off her top, (now topless) grabbed my neck, and started kissing me. Her mom, who was still standing there, left the room to give me privacy to do what could only be considered date rape. (which I obviously didn’t do) I pushed her away, and started walking backwards out of the room, when she gave me a final kick to the stomach goodbye.

I ran out of the house and down the street. I called an UBER and was on my way back to Rittenhouse.

Not crazy enough? I woke up the next morning to a few missed calls from my date.   A couple of voicemails with a casual apology, and a couple of ideas for our second date.

What?

 

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Harper – 2014 to 2015 – Part 2 – Plane Explodes. No Survivors

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

South Street

I once hung out with her on South Street. She bought little Indian finger bells to clear the aura or feng shui of a room she was working on. Then she bought a chair and had me carry it on my head across town back to her apartment. It really was the easiest way to transport it, but I looked like a wicker turtle walking around with that on my head. When I got to her place she gave me a glass of scotch. Then she asked me to turn a big rug in the living room. What am I, the hired hand?

She lived with two or three other people in this house in a crappy neighborhood. She said she used to have sex with her one roommate, but then he got a girlfriend and stopped banging her. So now she says she has to listen to them have sex in the next bedroom. She doesn’t like that. I think it’s funny that she thinks it’s ok to shit where you eat. We had a cig and then she took me up to her room.

For an “interior designer’ it was a bit messy. Her underwear on the floor and what not. She showed me that the room was broken into four “stations” and each one had different magic stones or crystals on the furniture in that space. It was supposed to give off different energies. Yea, just crazy shit. But I will tell you this… Crazy is only good in one room of the house and it’s not the kitchen. At least I got to take that kind of her crazy for a test drive that afternoon.

Seaport Museum

I was invited to an event at the Seaport Museum. I was with Harper on South Street. We were at a bar called Tattooed Mom’s. There was going to be tons of free food and booze at the event. It was if she wanted to get a few drinks into her before she went. Maybe she has social anxiety. But then she tells me she rode her bike to South Street. WTF? So I have to call an UBER, but one that is an SUV, because we have to pack her bike in the back of it. Then drive to her house. Then she has to get changed, so we can then get to the event. I was aggravated and pissed, but I still liked her.

So we finally get to The Seaport Museum. We’re late and you know how much I hate lateness. I get a drink and as I literally walk outside to smoke a cigarette, these dudes bum smokes from me. But before I can lie and say I left them inside, fucking Harper says, sure! Then looks at me for the cigs. I fucking hate that. I’m taking it on the chin for $10 a pack now. That shit isn’t cheap. These guys are around her age and she immediately starts chatting them up like I’m not even there. You treat her really well and she just goes and starts flirting with other guys. She’s awful.

I go inside to get away from these turds and to get another refill because I need it. I run into my pal Johnny R. and I’m happy to see him. He can see I’m stressed about getting down here and her behavior. We get some drinks and chat a bit. He’s with his girlfriend and another couple so he has to hang back with them. I run into another friend and he can see I’m stressed but the booze is helping like always. Knocking the edge right off.

I see another girl who is equally nuts that I know, and I just avoid her and get back to Harper. (See: Kylie – 2014 to 2015 – Broken Wing) She’s done chatting with the smoke bums and gives them her business cards. I know they’re just going to call her to try to bang her. But I can’t worry about that. I think I had such a good buzz on that night I almost bought her a painting she liked. I was not thinking clearly back then.

I once took her to Matyson (One of my favorite restaurants that sadly isn’t around anymore) and she acted like a drunk asshole. Spilling champagne, etc.

Horrible Night

One night we went to a nice wine bar called Tria near Washington Square. I knew the waiter so I got the hookup. She was somewhat well-behaved there but it seems the more she drinks, the crazier she becomes.

After that we went to Indeblue in mid-town. It’s a cool Indian bar. All I remember was her putting stupid cocktail napkins on her head and having me take her picture with the bartender, Awful. Then she wants to stop for one more drink at Fergie’s pub. We go in there and she makes everybody at the bar move down so we can sit down. She proceeds to make fun of the bartender, saying how she thinks he’s mentally dim-witted. She starts chatting with some older dude on the other side of her and then said she was leaving. She asked if I was going to leave as well, and I told her I was staying. She left and I was already chatting with a pretty black girl to my right.

Once she came over to do tarot cards with me and started rearranging the furniture in my house. Oh, and drank non-stop. Insane! Who does shit like that?

I heard from a good friend of mine that on one of her interior design gigs, she rolled a chair into a closet and onto a $5,000 wedding dress. That was after she just dropped her keys onto the client’s Steinway piano when she came in. She didn’t get the job.

I can’t talk about this idiot anymore. It’s making me angry just writing about this lunatic.

This could all be chalked up to a few things. Mental illness mixed with alcohol and drugs.

 

 

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My Family – Lorelei – 1996 to Present – 21st Birthday

“I’ve been waiting so long to meet you.”

Normally Friday belong to Tales of Rock, but this is a special day for a special person in my life, so Tales of Rock will be back next Friday.

I remember the day Lorelei was born like it was yesterday.

Her mother and I were sitting on the sofa and she was complaining of some pain. Possibly contractions. For hours I denied the fact that today, November 17, 1996 would be the day Lorelei would finally come to Earth.

We drove to the hospital and we admitted Lor’s mom. They ran some tests and gave her an epidural. I remember it was by a cool Indian anesthesiologist. He gave her the shot in her spine to numb the pain. He said she would feel a warming sensation in her lower torso. I remember him saying, “You’re going to feel hot buns.” His humor broke the tension and fear. These professionals deal with this stuff on a daily basis and it eased my mind that we were in the hands of consummate professionals.

We found out the umbilical cord was somehow wrapped around Lorelei’s neck so she would have to be born via cesarean section. I remember calming her mother as the doctor made the insicion and  quickly pulled our little baby girl from my then wife’s womb.

As the surgeon went to work sewing her back up, I assured Lor’s mother that our child had ten fingers and ten toes. I followed the doctor over to a little table where they carried Lorelei and started to run the Apgar tests. The Apgar score, the very first test given to a newborn, occurs in the delivery or birthing room right after the baby’s birth. The test was designed to quickly evaluate a newborn’s physical condition and to see if there’s an immediate need for extra medical or emergency care.

Although the Apgar score was developed in 1952 by an anesthesiologist named Virginia Apgar, you also might hear it referred to as an acronym for: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. (Never knew this until today!)

The Apgar test is usually given to a baby twice: once at 1 minute after birth, and again at 5 minutes after birth. Sometimes, if there are concerns about the baby’s condition or the score at 5 minutes is low, the test may be scored for a third time at 10 minutes after birth.

Five factors are used to evaluate the baby’s condition and each factor is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score:
1.Appearance (skin color)
2.Pulse (heart rate)
3.Grimace response (reflexes)
4.Activity (muscle tone)
5.Respiration (breathing rate and effort)

Doctors, midwives, or nurses combine these five factors for the Apgar score, which will be between 10 and 0 — 10 is the highest score possible, but it’s rarely obtained. But in my mind Lorelei got a 10 because she was MY daughter and we strive for excellence in everything we do. (Lol!)

I know I’ve spent a little too much time on this segment, but I always like to learn new things. I also like my for my readers to learn things from phicklephilly as well. (Even if it’s something I’ve done and now you know not to ever do it!)

I’m looking at my daughter Lorelei for the first time. She’s on her back, looking all red and crying. They’re Apgar testing her and cleaning her off.

She’s beautiful. She already has little blonde ringlets of hair on her sweet little head. (Later as a toddler, she would earn the nickname; Sweet Wheat. I’d say to her, “Why do I call you Sweet Wheat?” And she’d reply, “Cause I’m sweet and my hair’s the color of wheat!”)

I’m reluctant to touch her, but the doctor tells me it’s okay because she says she came from a toxic place. (It’s Lorelei’s day so I’m going to refrain from any negative comments about her mother) I gently touch her and her skin is so soft and new. (Brand new human!)

“I’ve been waiting so long to meet you.”

Those are the first words I ever spoke to my little Lorelei.

She was always good baby and was an absolute pleasure to raise. Here she is now 21 years young!

I remember when I turned 21. It was 1983 and I was living in Los Angeles. My girlfriend Clio and I had tickets to see David Bowie on his Serious Moonlight tour in Anaheim. I remember us driving in my 1969 VW minibus to the show. The van for some reason quit while we were driving there. It just died. The vehicle had never done that before but here we were being gently pushed off the highway by a truck full of kind Mexicans.

I remember Clio being really disappointed. We waited awhile. Back in those days there were obviously no cell phones, and if your car broke down you were pretty much stranded. After awhile I attempted to re-start the van and the engine finally turned over.

We missed the show but who knows, maybe we weren’t supposed to go. I don’t know. To make it up to her, I took Clio to a nice Italian restaurant and I tasted veal for the very first time.

So my 21st was sort of a failure. But I loved Clio and she was a good sport about everything. I had arrived in Los Angeles in 1982 and those were crazy times with me and my band. I’ll be publishing a series entitled; California Dreamin’ in late 2018. Those will be some of the craziest stories ever told in this blog.

Anyway enough about me. Lorelei has lived with me since she turned 18 and she’s been a pleasure to have around. She comes and goes as she pleases. It’s a chill household and we like it that way. She cooks and cleans and takes care of her space. Being vegan she’s always making some interesting concoction in the kitchen.

She works as a food runner at a local restaurant in Rittenhouse. She seems to like it and they like her.

Recently she recorded herself singing and sent the tracks along to a guy that manages musical acts. Originally he thought maybe she could be a singer in a band, but after hearing her four octave voice, he thought maybe she could work as a solo act.

She’s recently created her own line of specialty soaps on Etsy.com. They are zodiac themed and each one has a corresponding crystal inside the soap. What’s cooler than good energy and karma while you’re in the shower?

Tonight she and her friends are going to the Electric Factory. It’s a music venue here in Philly. It’s open to all ages and she’s seen shows there before. But to control the crowds all the alcohol is on the second floor balcony.

They’re going to see Martin Bresso, known by his stage name Tchami. He’s a French producer and DJ from Paris. He’s regarded as a pioneer of the future house subgenre.

Lor is looking forward to finally being able show her ID, get the wristband or stamp that says she’s 21 and head upstairs. For the first time in her life she’ll be able to order a beer unencumbered. Funny how when you turn 18 you can vote, join the military, be in porn, even buy a gun.

But you can’t buy a beer. That’s fucked up.

Anyway, if you’re reading this Lorelei, just know that I love you and that you are the brightest light in my life. You give me hope and I can appreciate life more knowing you are in this world with me.  Please know that you have made me a better person, and you’re the best thing that has ever come into my life.

I love you.

Enjoy this special day!

Let’s go out and grab a drink together sometime soon. I’ll show you all the cool spots.

Cheers!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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