Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson

Do you remember where you were when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?

I do. I was floating in a pool at a beautiful home in Beverly Hills watching on a television set mounted by the barbeque pit. Maybe that's no big deal today with TVs in every room of the house ... but in 1969 it was sheer decadence.

No ... I didn't sneak in. I was invited. I'll start from the beginning.

In the summer of 1969, a couple of friends and I headed out west after finals. We drove across the country (spending about 5 days driving through Texas ... what a boring state). We ended up in LA without money and without any real plan.

Fortunately, one of the guys actually knew someone who gave him a job ... assembling screen doors. It wasn't glamorous but he made enough to get an apartment in the Valley and we were selfish enough to sleep on his floor and take advantage of his new found wealth.

That lasted about a week.

We hit the street in search of employment. I was the luckiest. I landed a job as a photographer's assistant in a commercial photography studio in the Furniture Mart. They did mostly catalog shots for manufacturers that populated the building. By the way ... a photographer's assistant was actually a furniture mover, scenery assembler and go-fer. But I had a blast.

I learned alot that summer ... like ... what REAL Mexican food tastes like from a lunch cart on Hollywood Blvd., which sofabeds cause groin pulls when they slip off the dolly, how to balance on a ladder while you hold together two flats and how much a camera lens costs when you run over it with a cart loaded with mattresses.

I also made lots of friends who hung out on the Strip at night and invited me to lots of parties. The Kennedy Assassination Cospiracy Prayer Group met on Mondays, The Nam YoHo Renghi Kyo Buddhists met on Tuesdays and the Charlie Manson's Not a Bad Guy Theatrical Players performed on Thursdays.

LA was really fun.

One day, I ran into a girl that I had known in New Orleans who had a real job ... and she invited me to her office party ... in Beverly Hills. That's right it was there ... during the moon walk ... that I felt just like Dustin Hoffman in "Mrs. Robinson",  floating on the raft ... sunglasses on ...

Oh ... all right  ... that was a lie. I wasn't in the pool. I was just dreaming that I was in the pool. But ... I WAS standing close by and I WAS watching the moon walk ...

And I DID get quite a few tips when the party was over and I brought everyone their cars.

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