Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Richard (Joyce)!

Erin's favorite picture (of me)


Me and Erin in "Inception"

This speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Shark wrangeling!

Morning meditation

With my friend lovely Erin

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning to one of my favorite writers, political and social activists, bon vivant, inventor of non-fat lard, and general all around good guy, the founder of Joyce's Take, Richard Joyce. That's me!
The details of my life are quite inconsequential ... Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French sex slave named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize; he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament ... My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon... luge lessons ... In the spring, we'd make meat helmets ... When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds — pretty standard, really. At the age of 12, I received my first scribe. At the age of 14, a Zoroastrian named Vilmer ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum — it's breathtaking ... I suggest you try it. When I was eighteen I went to evil medical school. At age twenty five I took up tap dancing. I wanted to be a quadruple threat: an actor, dancer.... Oh wait... that's Dr. Evil.
My life is much more inconsequential than his.
I was born in San Jose, California, at a very early age. I don't remember a great deal about that time, except for our Siamese cat, Toby, living in a duplex next to my mom's parents, and a big apricot tree in the back yard. San Jose used to be a small farming community, heavily expanded during the fifties when I lived there, and is now the capital of Silicon Valley, and the biggest city in the Bay area as far as population is concerned, bigger than nearby and more famous San Francisco.
My dad worked as a foreman in a Safeway candy factory, and he brought home all kinds of candy at night, so much so that I don't give a rat's ass about candy today. Maybe tomorrow.
When I was old enough to understand what I was being told I learned that I had been adopted when I was like 4 days old. I don't know why. I don't know or care about knowing who my biological parents were or are, all I know about them is that they were both of Irish ancestry. I don't know why my adopted parents adopted me, or why they couldn't, or decided not to have children of their own. I never asked. But I'm glad they did because they were wonderful parents. My dad only spanked me once (when I went into a pool without them knowing).
I have a sister, Cheryl. She was adopted too, but at an older age than I was. I actually went with my parents when we picked her up from the agency. How cool is that.
My mother was very pretty and used to be a singer. My dad loved her very much.
He wanted to go into business on his own and opened up a liquor store in nearby North Hollywood, just north of the real Hollywood, with his best friend, Lester. I was old enough to start elementary school by then. And even though the store wasn't in the real Hollywood, it was right across the street from Universal Studios, and when I was a little older I would go with my dad to deliver booze to people who worked in there. Some of them were movie stars, like Doug McClure and James Drury of "The Virginian," a young man named Peter Duel who stared on "Alias Smith and Jones," and "Love on a Rooftop," who later committed suicide, Raymond Burr of "Godzilla" fame and "Ironside," and Al Lewis who was also Grandpa Munster, from "The Munsters." Later I would sneak onto the lot with friends, and once spent a whole afternoon watching them film the T.V. show "It Takes a Thief," starring Robert Wagner, who we'll be talking about soon in another birthday tribute. He was dressed in drag that day, in a white nurses dress. He seemed to like it.
My father died when I was just 11 years old of a heart attack. My mom sold the store, and she started working. She would eventually begin dating again, and she got married to a psychopath insurance salesman named Norman Reevie (I'm not sure of the spelling, but this is how the name sounds; (re ve). He was abusive. I began acting out during those years, my teen years, using alcohol and drugs. It broke my moms heart, and that is one of my greatest regrets. I got into enough trouble that I moved out of the house into a boys home in Chatsworth. I would learn much later that Norman would molest my sister. If I knew where he was now I'd likely kill him.
Anyway, my mom got a divorce finally, found a good man named Gabby and married him, and moved to Bullhead City in Arizona. My sister went with them. It's very hot there in the summer.
I would get married too when I was just eighteen, to a lovely girl named Michelle Wendell. I was a full blown alcoholic and druggie by then, and the marriage lasted just two years. I blew a chance to go to college, because that was no fun, and would make a living in factory jobs making transformers, and doing shipping and receiving. I would soon move in with Michelle's aunt, Debra, who was 6 years older than I was, who liked to party even more then I did, and who was a stone cold fox, who resembled the actress Ann Margaret, who is very pretty... for a girl. We would get married later for financial reasons, but would break up, her saying she never wanted to see me again. I'm pretty sure we never got a divorce, so in one sense I've been happily married now for about 30 years.
Our big marriage wasn't legal however, as Debbie hadn't bothered to divorce the husband before me. She was like that sometimes. Lovely woman though.
With my step dad's advice, I enlisted in the navy when I was 22 years old. I would spend 4 years in the navy, visiting the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong (I would call my mom collect from Hong Kong at Christmas time once. She would tell me never to do that again), and Australia. I would even get engaged to an Aussie girl named Janine Cory. She was lovely. She put up with me for awhile, even visiting me in the States, before having the good sense to leave me because of my drinking.
Smart girl.
One of my best friends while in the service was a young would be film producer by the name of Dave Cornman. He searched for me on the Internet recently, but didn't find me. I knew he was looking though, and wound up paying something like $30 bucks to get his telephone number in Pennsylvania. That's where he lives, in Lancaster specifically. He owns his own business, just like my dad did. Lancaster Video Productions, which I have a link to just to the right. Please dear readers, go to my friend Dave's web-site for all of your video needs, even if you don't live in Pennsylvania. He's been doing this all of his freaking life and is pretty good at it by now.
He loaned me $50.00 last week, which I owed my bank. I sent him a check to pay him back. What a good friend.
Anyway, when I got out of the navy and Janine left me, I began working for a veterinarian in Reseda, where Stephanie Miller used to work at the Itchy Kitty. I met the love of my life while working there, a receptionist named Jan. Jan Williams. Her nickname was J.D. I don't know why. We lived together for 5 years before she got fed up with me and my drinking. And then she was gone.
A lovely, beautiful woman. I wish all of the women in my life well. They were all great. It was me that was the problem.
I wound up in the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pasadena after being homeless for about 6 weeks and living in a Park. That story is recounted elsewhere (see the Salvation Diary series). After I left there I would would work as a customer service representative for an emergency road service company similar to AAA, and Wellpoint, the health insurance company that steals from all of us.
My mother died around this time. 1995. I miss her love and wise council.
I lived in Bullhead for one year, near my dear sister and niece, Keri. We didn't get along really well, and I left at the beginning of 2001, and wound up drinking again, and destitute. I made my way to downtown Los Angeles, to the Salvation Army's Harbor Light facility on 5th Street. That place saved my life.
They recently closed it up though. It won't be able to help anymore people.
When I left Harbor Light and moved into the Weingart Center, on the corner of 6th and San Pedro, just down the street from where I live right now. I walked by there yesterday on my way to Yoga Class at the Abby Hotel. I stayed there a year before moving into my box. That story will be told in the next book, Skid Row Diary, soon to come.
After the 2004 elections I began writing again, which is the only thing I really know, or am fit to do. It's because of all of the reading I've done throughout my entire life. If there is anything I've done consistently it has been to drink, smoke... and read.
I would quit drinking by and by (with occasional slips). I would quit smoking as well (with occasional slips). Smoking killed my mother and father. I don't recommend it to anyone.
And on the 22nd of February, of 2009, I started this blog with a post entitled, "Hi!" meeting you dear readers for the very first time.
It's been a blast, and I really enjoy doing what I do, and everybody here at Joyce's Take (me and my invisible cat, Herkimer) wish myself a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Rick!

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