No Harm in a Little Moral Turpitude

Some people say forgive and forget, ah well, I don’t know. I say forget and just accept it, then just get the hell out of town.

It’s quick, it passes you by in a flash this thing called life, always too quick, sometimes a bit unfair, and never pretty at the end.

They say only the good die young, well I don’t about all that shit but as far as I’m concerned anytime is too young to die. There’s still so much to do, I mean do we ever really finish doing everything we planned on doing before the curtain comes down?

I’ve lost a couple of good friends these past few months. I’ve lost a half dozen in the past few years and if I count acquaintances, well fuck it why bother.

Hospice became a job for a while. Ma, dad, Eddy and Uncle Bobby. It’s amazing the shit you learn when you go through hospice four times in a row with people you love and who have been instrumental in your life, learning and survival.

I’m a pro. Not at dying, no, just at watching people die. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing.

I learned a few major lessons on the death watch circuit, no matter what we do to put it off it’s inevitable, the things we do and choices we make, we have to answer for it all, last, when your day comes, even in a room full of people, we still gotta do it alone.

Some of those recent losses have been LA folks, Hollywood kids. Well, we started out as kids, in our 20’s. Then we got older becoming cartoonish type figures of ourselves. Some I knew from Chicago who transplanted out on the left coast, others Angelenos, LA natives who became a part of my life.

Some I was close to, a few, extremely close to. How we remaining few lived this long is a mystery. The parties, the drugs, the sex. Point is, at this point I have more dead friends than I do live ones. Makes one wonder why any sane person would want to take a chance on being my friend seeing as how so many of them get their ticket pulled so early.

In these past three years I’ve had three good friends commit suicide. That hurts. A lot. It makes one question life. What the fuck is it all about? I mean shit, if that’s the end result I may as well stay in bed all damn day.

Ricky, choked down a bottle of pills and sang sad guitar ballads until he fell asleep (true story). A week before we were supposed to road trip to San Francisco to find him a new apartment and a new life after his utter LA burnout.

Paolo, he took a swan dive off of a five story building. Extreme depression took over after his screenplay was plagiarized by some dirt bag producer. Another true E Hollywood story.

Both a direct result of dreams that didn’t come true or were simply stolen.

Mikey was murdered by cops in Ventura County for, well, from what I can figure, being out too late in a public park? So, maybe he told them to fuck off. I mean he didn’t take shit from anyone. Why should he have to? Is that reason enough to be murdered?

Not suicide. Unless it was like a few friends say, suicide by cop? Who knows.

Yeah, he was unarmed, a successful studio worker and a great guy with two kids. Sure, the cops paid out a settlement, they got commendations and his family a measly few grand. Don’t even get me started on that fucking head trip.

Russian Mike at 33 felt like a failure. He did himself in an ugly way and I’m fairly certain he inteneded to take me with him had driven a little faster over to his apartment that day. Not because he he didn’t like me, we were close, just because he didn’t want to go alone.

By age 15, I stopped counting all the friends I have who took the big dirt nap. All these good people robbed of life too early. Drugs, booze, fear, heartbreak, depression, failures, you name it.

Then you got the little-johnny-suck-a-dick movie star types who break every rule in the book and still walk away unscathed. It just ain’t fair is all. I’m beginning to think its a fucking conspiracy. But that’s bright lights and big city right? Maybe I got out just in time. Maybe I should stay out?

I always heard Hollywood kills but just not this quickly. Yeah that dirty little star fucker of a town has no sympathy for the devil or anyone or anything else for that matter, it’ll take you down in a heart beat. Maybe thats why after fifteen longs years I’m back here and they’re still there.

I’ve always followed my instinct. I know when it’s time to go or step back and take a rest. That, after all is how I have survived life this long.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m still somewhat coherent and semi-sane enough to make some sort of a positive contribution to my parents twilight years.

Oh make no bones about it, I jones for the place LA at times. Bright lights, Sunset Blvd., movie sets, The Rainbow Bar and Grill, mansion parties, fun in the sun and beach sex. Pretty shallow huh? Be that as it may I still love it.

It’s a shit show really, a porno playground for an overgrown, socially retarded, mentally underdeveloped man-child with more thought invested in his genitals that in his geriatric future.

Don’t even get me started on the women. Plenty of pill-poppin’ hotties with daddy complexes, serial relationships, who all have psycho stalkers, right up my alley. It’s all fun as long as you keep your wallet jammed in your underwear when you go to sleep at night otherwise you wake up with her and your money gone.

Yep shoot for the stars. Get rich and famous and die a lonely broken person or grow old and die broke in some decrepit one bedroom apartment complex across from Sunset-Gower Studios with a couple of dozen other former has been starlets and used up character actors.

Those are usually the two most common options in Hollywood. Which one is more fun?

It’s an insane asylum for the most part but man is it fucking addicting and if I’m good at anything, I’m a tried and true junkie for action and just about whatever I can ingest into my unholy gullet. My body is anything but a temple. I fit right in.

You love it even when you know the lifestyle of the not-so-rich and truly not famous is all bullshit and can kill you on your best day. Even if you’re not doing drugs or slithering out from under the sheets of some skanky whore or skeezy dude when you know that they’re sharing every needle and STD Hollywood has to offer.

It’s a drug Hollywood, it truly is. It’s like taking the biggest pull you possibly can take off of that glass dick and holding in the hit in until your blue in the face because you know once you exhale and breathe again it’s all over with. Life goes back to being a boring sack of ass.

Hollywood might not be teeming with class, integrity and positive morality by a long shot but fuckin’ A at least it’s never boring. At least not for me it wasn’t.

Shit for years I committed my life to being guilty of the crime of moral turpitude and then some. I promised myself I would do as much contrary to community standards as humanly possible. I mean, really, what positive standards does humanity possess anyway?

Total depravity in my private and social duties was my fucking goal man even in times when I was trying to maintain a, if not enviable, at very least an acceptable social face. Just enough face to get through the next agent meeting that I knew would be another stroke job disaster.

Hide your women and children that was my fucking motto. Then, well, I lived to see 40. A task for which I never really put the work in and a goal I surely didn’t expect to meet. But, like they say, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I always used to say if I can’t be famous, I’ll settle for notorious, then I got a life.

My buddy Roger Dodger a Midwest music man of epic talent reincarnated into a Chiropractor used to call me the most famous non-famous guy in Hollywood. I guess because I got around everywhere and knew more than my fair share of people.

I always made a pretty good life for myself, I can’t complain. The only times my glass wasn’t half full were usually my own fault. Shit, even the worst of days is only 24 hours long, right?

I’ve always been a knock around guy, ever since I was a kid making the rounds and visiting most everybody I knew on a regular basis whether they wanted to see me or not. A hip pocket skill I carried with me onto Hollywood.

Ah, the good ole days when my dating choices were between a girl who was a tweaker and a girl who was on her way to being a tweaker. Back when my dining buddies where bank robbers turned writers, actors turned drug dealers and porn stars who just wanted the soccer mom van and house with the white picket fence. When getting into porn was a viable option for many even if only long enough to pay the rent and get laid.

I won’t tell you I don’t miss those days. I’ve always been a say what I mean, mean what I say kinda guy.

It’s funny how one can leave a questionable life behind only to find a similar one wherever they go.

But I guess if you don’t die you wise up or at least don’t get stupider?

But we’re all on borrowed time right? I’m pretty sure I’m on stolen time, so I may as well have fun.

I always loved that Allman Brothers sang ‘The High Cost of Low Livin’. It seems the ones who don’t deserve it get it and those who do deserve it don’t get dick. Too often those who really got it comin’ get off easy.

But I guess at the end of the day we all got it comin’.

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Stephen P. Conrad

A Gypsy Nomad, Writer, actor, artist, semi-nomad, anti-sycophant, socially maladjusted and comfortably near complete insanity.