Thursday, January 11, 2007


In 1980, I took alot of acid (See PERMANENT WAVES post). One time, I ate five hits of window pane acid at a freind's house on E. 89th St. in Manhattan, then had to commute to Long Island. I started "peaking" on the subway to Penn station, while still on the east side subway line.

I had this feeling as if my brain was on fire, or exploding, and wondered why I didn't look like my "Solaris" character, with flames for hair. I'm sure I looked scary, but probably not in a good way. I still weighed 120 pounds at 18 years old, and was doing my best to look "cool" in the reflection from the subway's window pane.

I got off at 42nd St, to catch the west side shuttle, but couldn't find it. I saw the 7 train, but wasn't sure if it was an alternative (it is). Hey, I was trippin', and starting to have a "bad" trip, in the subway system I had been travelling most of my young life. I finally decided that I would go ask a cop for directions. Did I mention I was trippin'?

Just as I found a cop to ask for directions, the sign appeared like magic above his head: "Shuttle to Times Square." Once safely on my West Side, I finished my trip to Penn Station, and back out to Freeport without incident... unless this was the same night I got on the LIRR train that made Seaford it's first stop. Naah. I was trippin' that night, too, but I'll tell it in another post.

The point here is to try to recall as much of this jumbled year (1980) as I can. Eventually, I will find some way to put this part of my story in order. These are mostly "small" anecdotes, but they are bricks in a huge wall.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


From the PERMANENT WAVES:1980 Collection of Stories.

I was sitting on the premises of a building across from my job, smoking a joint, when a guy with a bunch of photography equipment came up to me, and said "can I take your picture?" I said "sure," and hid the joint behind my back, while trying to pose. He said "why are you hiding the joint?" I said " because I don't want evidence of me doing this, or to get busted."

This guy whips out a bunch of photos of himself, some as a clown, some as a cop. He gives me the total lecture about "who he is," and asks me "who I am," of course. I got bedazzled with his line of thinking, because I was taking too much LSD, mostly on weekends. The "street photographer"'s lecture led me to the point where weed became as bad as taking acid (which I was taking like candy), and I had to quit it as well, for a time.

This was one weird event that happened 27 years ago, in 1980, across from 2 Park Avenue.

Today, I could be the guy with the camera, taking photos of the young "screw ups." Plenty of idiots still smoke weed on the street, with all the private surveillance cameras out there, as well as the public ones! To tell the truth, I'd be scared to try to photograph people I don't know, or even ask them for permission, these days!


In 1980, I had just dropped out of Nassau County Community College for a job in the mail room of the Beneficial National Life Insurance Company, located at 2 Park Av, between 31st and 32nd St. My buddy Starsky worked there during the summer, because his mom was one of their executives, and she got me the job there, as well.

I went in to interview, and they gave me a test, with over a thousand questions, and told me I had to answer as many correctly as I could in 15 minutes. I answered alot of them (the number 141 seems to jump out as I write this), and then they hired me on the spot. They also told me that I would be smarter than my boss; kind of "off the record." I was clueless, of course.

I knew nothing about the insurance business, and even less about the mail service it required. I was a fast learner, however. I found the mail room to be full of characters: Linguini, the former gay whore, but an all-around fun guy to hang out with; T from the Bronx, a Black Italian; Brooklyn Pete, a typical guido; Periscope, who tried to be the old man among the group at 23, a recent departee from the US Navy, with full mustache, beard, and '70's hairstyle. We had also two Joe's, both from Brooklyn, though one was Italian, and one was from Haiti. There were many other people still to be mentioned, but no women worked in the male-room.

I haven't written much about this part of my life before, so hold on to your seats. Though I'm nowhere near finished with the "Tales From The Vendome" stories, I decided that I have to start telling some of the later stories, and 1980 came right after the 1970's.

During my year at Beneficial, they got sued by Beneficial (toot, toot! -you're good for more) Household Finance, and had to change their name to National Benefit Life Ins. Co. The president of the company was Gerald Tsai, who is still mentioned on Page Six occasionally (not that I ever met him, I just know old company gossip).

You will read funny anecdotes about these people, this company, and most of all, about me. I ate over 500 hits of LSD during 1979 - 80, and everything changed in my life that year. It lead to a breakdown, of course, and a recovery, of sorts. I joined the USMC in June of 1981. You will want to read about 1980, in NYC, as seen through my eyes.

PS: The Canadian rock supergroup Rush came out with the "Permanent Waves" album that year, which is where I took this title from. Rush Limbaugh is now the "spirit of the radio," to quote one of the songs from that album. Take some acid (or not), and think about that. "Take the Great White North!"

Stories About the Permanent Waves: