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November, 2003

Harry Pothead Goes To Hollywood
By Stephen Simac

I was feeling a certain 'I told you so' righteous rage for the Support the Troops suckers. They still believe Saddam planned 9/11. Their willful ignorance let our soldiers get stuck in the quagmire of Iraq and their support ended with Bush's flyboy stunt. There's troops stuck in a firing arcade like sitting ducks, forced to endure 115 degree weather with only two bottled liters of water a day, coming home in body bags or to inadequate medical care while Bush and his cronies profited off their suffering. It was far worse than McBurning Man.

Some of my irritation was caused by sleep deprivation. Having a car alarm in your bedroom will do that. A curious decision I know, but she's so damn cute. There is evidence that her primitive but effective communication system will develop into actual language skills. I'm going to miss baby talk and babbling a little.

For lack of adult conversation it was even a relief to get a collect call from Harry Pothead, the Forgetful Wizard. I hadn't heard from Harry since before the War on Iraq. He'd been locked up in a psych ward in western Massachusetts for his own good then. He'd gone a little overboard in a leased Hummer during a pre-pro War on Iraq parade down main street. Driving over a Volvo because it had a Peace Now bumpersticker will get you locked up somewhere, whether there's someone in it or not. Harry said he was back in California, "Yeah, after my crackup I realized New England was no kind of place for me. They did treat me real nice in the looney bin, though. I told you that, right? The experimental drugs with viagra like side effects. Remember? Hell on my ping pong game. Anyways, the upshot of it was I hooked up with an old girlfriend during my stay. Sabrina and I go way back to her teenage years in Salem."

American Beauty

"Synchronicity, Man, Small World After All" Harry even started to hum that idiotic tune, but went on. "We both decided California was the place for us after we were stabilized. We're living in Hollywood now. She's pursuing her acting career."

"Yes, True Love!" Harry chortled like a teenager watching Beavis and Butthead. This wasn't the Harry I knew who had sneered that Love was a chemical imbalance, just like Bipolar. That Idealized Beauty had been cooked up by some medieval monk with too much time on his hands, by Commercial interests hyped Romantic Discontent because it was the foundation of Consumer Culture.

I was tempted to ask if he could send me a few samples of his experimental drug. Parenthood had pretty much defoliated my sex drive. I decided against it, remembering how much trouble something like that could get you into. Low level impotence isn't all that bad compared to a Kobe trial.

"Sabrina's out roaming Hollywood right now, she spends a lot of time pursuing her career, but that's what you've got to do down here. Be like the Red Queen, stay still and you're falling back here except on the freeways. Anyways she's busy doing something called casting couch calls, supposed to be a real career builder according to this workshop she took. Frankly I'm a little old for all this lovin'. It's hard enough just totin' it around, hell on my lower back. It's a good thing the experimental drug company payoff included a lifetime supply of California medical marijuana for my back pain. I'm still taking my experimental meds, they're paying me to off to be in a long term safety study. I'm all hush-hush on that because of the settlement. I'm not supposed to let on about the wear and tear aspect." Harry sighed.

I didn't really want to hear about a sudden satyr's sex life, some things should be private. I asked him what was keeping him so busy.

Mr. Smith Goes To Sacramento

"I was running for governor of California. In a race of hundreds I figured I either had to stand out from the crowd like Gary Coleman, or blend in like Dan Feinstein to be in the runoff. I had a chance running as Harry Pothead if I could get out the stoner vote, but I figured the near sighted and confused vote was huge and easier to turn out."

"I legally changed my name to Ahnold Schwarzenheimer. I had no problem getting enough signatures for my people are legion at Walmarts and nursing homes. I sold T-shirts that said 'I got Groped by Ahnold' to pay the fee to get on the ballot but I was a nickel short a day late in registering. That's always been my problem, especially with pyramid games. I could have been a rich man many times over if I'd only gotten in earlier."

I made some polite mumbling sounds around he was still a fine human being no matter his net worth, one of my affirmations. Harry brushed them aside like confetti.

"No, it was perfect. Arnold noticed me following his campaign around and brought me in as a special consultant. It meant the end of my T Shirt Sales. I'd already sold most of them at the nursing homes. Whose idea do you think the Bahd Behavior apology and pledge to Do Right from Now On was, huh? I've had to use it a few time, believe me these experimental meds have all sorts of side effects. Sabrina supported me through all that, almost like Maria Schriver, except she was too busy to campaign with me."

The Rear Window

"Anyways the main reason they made me a consultant was my computer skills. I told Arnie, don't worry about the polls, dude. I've got the back door codes for the computerized ballot counting. I'm the original back door man, Led Zeppelin was singing about me, man."

I was beginning to doubt how well his meds were working by now but didn't say anything. It was hard to get a word in edgewise.

"It's more expensive living in California that New England but luckily Sabrina's got chemistry skills. We hardly ever take a bath so we've got a steady income from her Magik Youthing Potions. Anyways Sabrina says she wants to settle down and stay in one rental for longer than it takes to be evicted. She wants to have a kid. All the top stars are having 'em now, it's the latest must have accessory. "

That was a scary concept. I wanted to tell Harry children were different than handbags. I wanted to say that True Love Relationships aren't always what they're cracked up to be. But I'd learned my lesson about saying what I think to Harry Pothead the forgetful wizard. Ever since he turned me into a psychedelic toad and forgot the releasing spell. Some things you just never forget.

What I did say was "Gotta Go, Baby's crying." They make the perfect excuse for hanging up.

 

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