for those of you who’ve stuck with this insanity from my past this is the final chapter of my guerrilla theatre days. ah, actually that isn’t true there is one more story. but not for today. ok. so, in addition to the lipstick i’ve added a photo at the end to give some perspective to the story. thanks again for reading. i do appreciate it. from exactly 44 years ago and some other fourth of july weekend, the final chapter.
this is it the long awaited conclusion to this old sad tale of mis-spent youth. oddly just a short demented portion of said youth. i think it might be a bit anti-climatic at this point but, whatever, it must be done and finished. for whatever reasons, if nothing more than to make me stop thinking i have to finish the fucker. clear the decks as it were or is.
the jfk theatre sorta evolved over a couple or 3 years into several things. it morphed into the abe lincoln deal a few times and that really was theatre on a couple of levels. we tossed in mckinley, as well, which was a short and sweet sorta jack ruby type thing. speaking of jack ruby, we stayed away from that one. i suppose there just wasn’t enough drink to bring us to the point of reeling that one off for the viewing public. tangents and an industrial strength mall coffee jazz working here.
regular readers may remember a certain lady, who for a number of years was a weekly source for buying us all the booze we wanted and gave us a place to drink it. any the ways, at different points she would do road trips. the more famous of them were trips to rosarito beach in ensanada, baja california. i never made one of those as i was usually working for my walking around money. those trips were famous for their drunkenness and upon occasion their almost deadly fireworks. however, i did manage to make one of the road trips though. 4th of july, 1966.
not baja but carlsbad state beach here in south socal or north san diego county. a nice beach campground that sits up on a cliff above the sand and water. i spent an easter holiday there in 1964 during and after the great alaskan earthquake. we sat up most of the night waiting for the tidal wave that turned out to be only inches high. thankfully. carlsbad is not one of my favorite beaches because the water sits at the foot of the cliffs and there isn’t much breeze or air down there on a hot summer day. generally it gets hot enough to melt the wax on a surfboard. that’s hot. though up on the top of the cliff there’s usually a nice stiff ocean breeze. well, the beach deal was set up. seemed like everyone was going. a large contingent indeed. i think we all knew this was probably going to be the swan song for a number of things and it turned out to be so. after all who doesn’t want to miss a swan song?
several people who didn’t have to work, made it down a day or so before hand to set up the encampment. encampment was what it was. the lady was a marine during ww2 and once a marine, always a marine. a very nice camp site. several very large tents, one for the ladies and one for the boys to men, and windbreaks, plus all the almost comforts of home. even a list of ten or so dos and don’ts for the camp site was prominently posted. we arrived on the scene late in the afternoon. several carloads of us. they almost didn’t let us in. some of the group were not 18 and no one in any of the cars was 21 to act as chaperon or responsible party. the lady had to be found and then come down to the main gate and get us in. the only trouble with that was, it put us the park ranger’s radar screen. bad juju, indeed.
the campground was packed as it was the 4th and a long weekend. we unloaded our stuff and for some reason or another, the muses again i suppose, we decided to give the assembled campers a nice rousing rendition of the jfk dallas deal. stone cold sober. in and of itself a first. we had a nice stretch of straight narrow road. several cars, no the chocolate bomb was not one of them. sadly. though we did have a vw with a sunroof. it became the lincoln. squirt guns. a captive audience as it were and the stupidity of youth to pull it off.
i must say the performance was inspired. so inspiring that some of it wasn’t even a part of the original tragedy, like secret service agents being shot and falling off the cars into the sand. yes, indeed, a true spectacle of youth gone insane and wild. mouths were agape. some strange sort of weird madness had fallen across the collective camper consciousness of mr and mrs america that late friday afternoon. something they had not been prepared for in the least. something that made their heads swirl with utter befuddlement and wonder at the crazed scene unfolding right before their very eyes. a scene they had not counted on ever seeing i suppose. yes, well, what can i say? other than the park rangers were far from amused.
in hindsight, i’m glad this was before the time when california park rangers started packing side arms. they probably would have shot us just on general principles. i also imagine when it was being debated as to whether or not rangers should have a side arm the, ‘carlsbad incidents’, (yes, there were more, incidents) were brought up as proof positive park rangers needed guns to save the unsuspecting public from brain addled youths. yes, of course, i whole hardily concur now a days but that’s a drift.
ah, johnny law, at his most perturbed is at times a sight to behold. even to this day. they swooped, from it seemed, everywhere all at once. a very almost swat like tactic. they probably didn’t realize they had it in them but the true spectacle of human weirdness was upon the campground and it was their duty. we were collared and they demanded to know who was in charge. of course, the lady marine was not happy. she was ready for our stupidity when we were drunk but sober was another story. now she had park rangers tramping through her fire base, as it were. looking around.
then one of them spotted the posted ‘list’. he demanded to know what it was, who put it up, and just what the hell was up with number 9. you have to remember these were simpler times and things were just beginning to come unglued at the hinges for america. for you see, rule 9 on the list, in bold print, stated to all concerned: NO FARTING IN THE TENTS. god, the horror. but none the less a simple and common courtesy for your fellow campers. drunk or sober. a rule that should be known to all in the camp. anyways, the lady marine had had it with us, now she’d had it with the rangers. she went ballistic. the rangers retreated but put everyone on super secret probation and handed out a stern warning.
well, with all the pre-dinner sordidness everyone was walking on eggshells at dinner and clean up time. when it came time for drinking, it was a very somber affair indeed. there’s nothing worse than somber drinking for underage drinkers. it adds to the already pent up youthful anxieties and all the angst needs to come screaming out at some point. scream out it did at 0600 hrs the next morning.
there were so many of us there wasn’t room in the tents for all of us to sleep. i was one several who slept outside the tent by the edge of the cliff nestled nicely in the arms of cold beach sand. i was still asleep when i was blasted awake by a squirt gun and screaming. everyone’s 6am wake up call was a re-enactment of the storming of the beaches of iwo jima. yeah, it was in reverse as those doing the show were running, shooting, screaming, and jumping off the cliff only to land a few feet below on a nice sandy lip area. then scampering back up and doing it again. yes, indeed. early morning madness.
the only thing saving the day was the fact that the rangers hadn’t arrived for work as yet. though of course, when they did arrive they paid the camp a visit. technicalities were back then, as they still are today, rule the day. they had not actually seen the rampant insanity with their own eyes so we were granted a stay in being asked to leave the park. post haste. more super secret probation and dire warnings all around should we fuck up or around any further.
yep, we were little angels for the rest of the day. lady marine was not camping happily. especially when we started to mess with the ladies in the group. telling them stories of the dreaded snapping sea land crabs that infested the beach down below. it kept them up on the cliff and out of our hair. though the marine was not happy with them in her hair all day. night came again and more drinking was in order.
that evening it was more of the drinking on a usual basis type deal. vast amounts of whatever. we maintained a sort of decorum however. nothing untoward as we knew it meant an early departure if we screwed up or around. though some of us couldn’t help but go down to the surf line to watch the fishermen do their night surf thing. we would chat one up for a bit and he would gather his stuff and leave. being to drunk to notice we’d just shrug and wander off to the next fisherman. who after a bit did the same thing. this went on until we were the only people left on the beach. left to our own devices. left to our own insanity.
what better way than to show our drunken disregard for the rangers and everyone else’s lack of a sense of humor, then to write stuff in the sand in letters 3 feet high, in order to let everyone know just how fucked up they were or are. the tide was gonna come in an wash it away, right? so what the fuck? rock and roll.
the next morning we awoke to large groups of folks standing on the cliff pointing down toward the water. uh, yeah, the tide had already come in the night before so our insane pornographic ramblings were still visible for everyone to read that morning with their coffee. another visit from the rangers, of course. technicalities once again saving us. no one could prove anything. no one could prove we were the culprits. ipso facto we got off. however, the lady marine was livid. making the rest of that day and night almost unbearable. so unbearable we plotted against the lady marine. what else is a poor boy to do?
it was decided we would sabotage the move out when it came. one of us was to stay with the ladies and help with the tent striking stuff. the rest of us were leaving in the morning. that night we rigged up the main tent so that whoever was inside during the take down would end up underneath the collapsing tent. a sure fire knee slapper that we would not be around to see. as for the guy that was supposed to be helping, he would be off wandering the beach having forgotten it was time to decamp the camp. brilliant. it worked perfectly. only trouble was the poor lad had to drive home in the same car with the lady. she was so pissed she had to let him drive. something she never did on any outing. lady marines always drive.
ok. there it is in all of it’s mad glory. the completed story. it’s out there now and i can forget about it. well, writing about it anyways.
carlsbad state park as it appears today. there was no fence back in 1966.