People ask me all the time where “Normal is Over” comes from. You may not appreciate how loaded that question is! It comes from my heart, my dad, my wife and kids, my faith, hypocrisy, failures and successes and my determination to follow God into the adventure life ought to be. I can’t boil it down to one post. It will take a book.
In his song Glory and Consequence, Ben Harper sings “every moral has a story.” With this post, I’ll start sharing mine.
Lo’s driveway was full of machines. They were chrome and leather. They rumbled like thunder and every side-burned stud that mounted one looked godlike. On a balmy California night in 1970 I stood in my pajamas, surrounded by these symbols of manhood. Through the living room windows, just beyond half dead hedge plants with bits of broken bottles strewn among their stalks, I could see the Gaussian blur of hip night life. Clusters of people were huddled everywhere clinking glasses, smoking smokes, and cackling hyena-like laughter that shot through the neighborhood of otherwise respectable citizens watching leave it to Beaver.
Tam Valley California with Pajamas on. I am one of them.
I looked deep into a bucket of unused motor oil, mesmerized by it’s beauty. This stuff looks like heaven and I think to myself that I must become that goo. The goo is good, it’s color, like love, lollipops, and caramel. The goo calls, so to the goo I go. Irresistibly I’m drawn towards the honey-like pool and feel warmed by it as I let my left arm swim. Up to my elbow in liquid love, then up and out to drip driveway artwork. It was lovely. It oozed down my stained whiteish pajama shirt and down my right leg.
I looked up into the small windows in the room I thought mom must be in. A tribal bass beat pounds through the walls, while the sharp clank of glasses can be heard above the distortion of Hendrix. It’s dimly lit, crowded, and smoky. I entered through the front door into the pulsing cave of multi colored light and sound with no fear or anxiety. I walked through the house knee high to the dancers, laughers, and stoners, arm dripping, saying “mommy, mommy, where are you?.” In this cacophony of stoned aliens I felt at home.
Everyone at Carl’s place were in their own little twighlight zone. They mostly didn’t see me at their knees or they did and oogled at me. I was “Stevie the boogie boy,” their toddler mascot. They were unconcerned that I dripped engine oil from my arm-pits looking for mom or dad. They thought it was natural as anything that my antics were part of their party.
I don’t remember finding mom that night. But it was always fun to be with stoned aliens, even at two, and the goo was good.