Monday, March 2, 2009

(part 150) LIKE DOC HOLLIDAY: TROUBLE



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It was a toss-up as to who was more to blame for most of my troubles: Me, for doing what I did, or those who had screwed and twisted me into becoming the way I was. Some of both, I reckoned.

I knew in my gut that I would have been a lot different if someone had been fair with me, but such was not the case, so I'd taken that fact, as I understood it, to the max with my piss-poor reactions to this perceived injustice.

It would've made sense if I could have gotten some real help, or any help for that matter, along the way, but I never did. I just kept living through each crisis, and then added more to the growing pile of sad and humiliating experiences.

In the music business, unless you're making money, or making it for someone else, you're treated like a piece of meat. It's kind of like being a whore; when you're in demand they treat you good, but if demand falls off you're pushed out the back door like yesterday's news.

That was me, yesterday's news, and in the minds of some, no news at all. I hadn't been in demand for a long time, but I had the irritating habit of refusing to go away. In my mind I was still Bobby Jameson, and that meant something, good or bad. I was hard to ignore.

* * *

As a kid I always felt like I was someone. Not just another boy on the block, but someone that something big was going to happen to, and then, I believed, everybody would finally get it. In 1964 that happened, and everybody did get it, including me.

* * *

When you actually live in the sort of environment I had, it's not so easy to walk away from it and go back into obscurity. This was my problem.

I'd been told, in so many words over time, by a lot of arrogant assholes, to go away and become nobody again. My response to this was, I simply refused. Right or wrong, I knew I could not go back to where I'd come from and so I never had plans to try.

When I got out of Camarillo, I learned for the first time that the hospital had tried to get my mother to have me committed, and she'd refused.

The thing that really got to me was how hard these people had tried to rid themselves of Bobby Jameson, no matter what they had to do to accomplish it.

It was one thing to get arrested for acting like an asshole, but a whole other level to be committed to a state hospital for it, and that's what the authorities had tried to do to me.

It scared me in a way I had never had to deal with before, and in the end proved to be yet another deadly piece of my ever accumulating personality puzzle and outrageous attitude.

As I fought to understand myself, I ended up with the same realization which was, "If I hadn't gotten fucked so many times by these pricks, I wouldn't act like this."

It didn't matter to me who agreed with me or not, then or now. This is what I believed, and it was the driving force behind everything I thought and did from then on.

It never seemed to occur to anyone, who owed me money back then, that when a person is as broke, humiliated, and frustrated as I always was, paying them would have helped. It wasn't because I was hungry for as much money as I could get my hands on, it was about paying my rent and being able to eat.

It always pissed me off that those people never gave it a second thought when I was out on the street looking for a bed to sleep in, or a cheap meal. And when I ended up on buildings doing crazy shit, none of them ever stepped forward except to say, "Well look at him. The fuckin' guy's nut's."

It was my history, my look, and so called talent, to whatever degree, that I used to stay alive. I could always find a lady who wanted me around, or someone who thought they could make money off me.

Even though I was broke, and sometimes homeless, there were always those moments when I made it appear I was doing better than I actually was. Some girl's car, some other girl's apartment, and yet another girl's money. I just acted out a part.

When you put them all on the table at the same time, it looks pretty good from the outside, but in reality I was little more than a cheap hustler in a lot of ways. It's survival. It's what I learned on the streets so I could stick around and not get forced out.

I finally made it to the top of a pile of infamous rejects. "He's talented but fucking crazy," they'd say. It was the prevailing sentiment on the streets of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and beyond.

I now made my position and presence known with all the warmth of Doc Holliday on a bad drunk. If you wanted to bad mouth me, as some did, I'd get into it with you right then and there, and wouldn't give a rat's ass about where we were, or who you were; I'd ceased caring about such things.

I'd degenerated into a hair-trigger has-been, with a fancy for, "Let's get down and do some damage to each other," while I smiled at you and looked like I was having a good time, and in a way I was.

I no longer planned on scaling buildings or towers for attention; my new version of "fuck you" was an in-your-face street fighting mentality, which I'd polished and honed into a fine art, through years of misery and my own survival instincts.

It was all as clear to me as the lyrics of the old Presley song "Trouble," "If you're lookin' for trouble, you came to the right place."

3 comments:

  1. Hey, Bobby, I just had to share this one with you. I wrote it nearly thirty-five years ago, within a few years of where you are right now in your chronicle. Although I quit dealing with the music guys thirty years ago, and went back to dealing full time with the education middle men, I would guess that things haven't gotten any better on the music end either...

    Taking Care of Business
    (Don’t You Listen To The Radio, Kid?)

    “Your song doesn’t rhyme,” he said.

    Is that some kind of a crime? Instead,
    I think they’d be happy for some kind of change—

    Ain’t it strange how so few
    Seem to choose for so many—
    Winners and losers? And some haven’t any
    Place they can go to show what they know.

    Ain’t it funny and strange, strange and funny,
    How the man with the money is the man in control?
    You can talk about art; you can talk about soul,
    But the man in the middle is the man in control.

    I used to have a fine job—professional fool—
    Teaching the kids how to play by each rule.
    The school room is aching for some kind of change—

    Ain’t it strange how so few seem to choose for so many
    Winners and losers...And some haven’t any
    Place they can go to show what they know.

    Ain’t it funny and strange, strange and funny,
    Lazy and crazy and out of control?
    You can talk about freedom; you can talk about soul,
    But we’re flying to nowhere heading out of control.

    Ain’t it funny and strange, strange and funny,
    Lazy and crazy and sad sometimes?
    You can look to the music as a sign of the times:
    Who cares what it’s saying just as long as it rhymes.

    “Can I hum it?”

    Ain’t it funny and strange, strange and funny
    How the man with the money is the man in control?
    You can talk about art; you can talk about soul,
    But the man in the middle is the man in control.

    Ain’t it funny and strange, strange and funny,
    Funny and strange, strange and funny...
    (Appropriate repetition per Disco needs)
    ©1975 Tim McMullen All Rights Reserved

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  2. Tim, you are always welcome here.

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  3. yeah. i like tim's comment too. It hits the nail on the head.
    i wish you'ld stayed straight by some maricle and not been jumping off things, and you do too. i'm right there with you, except for jumping off stuff. it's hard to be in control when the whole world around us is on drugs, and we are too.
    But here you are 47 years later and you're gathering it all up and putting it out there prolifically on the internet. This computer has put you right back out there bigger than ever.
    Keep it up for everybody who loves you and what you do. peace, jeren

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