Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comedian, takes the edge off of the world and explains all those unexplained things in a way that will make you either laugh or cry.


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Entries in rikess (4)


Looking Directly Somewhere Else


Jack Rikess

September 2012


I’ll chalk it up to the thrill of finding the perfect parking space.

 Draped from every lamppost in the Mission, I imagine the city then, were silken advertisements hyping a new show coming this fall to the Museum of Modern Art. The rippling banners announce that there’s going to be a twenty year retrospective of the photography of one T.I. Horwitz.

T.I?  I would call him Tito Ira but only as a joke. As I remember, he despised being called Ira unless you were his mother. T.I? Maybe it’s his idea of conforming.

It is just a funny coincidence. This is right out of the fiction that one reads in the magazines waiting for your primary care physician.

I cannot help get the feeling like his breezy eyes were following me on the sidewalk.

I’m sure he’s on Facebook. I should call him or write him or poke him. However old friends can get together. I could tell him I had to add another bookcase. He’s probably on Kindle. We could talk about Chabon’s new book. Talk like pros. Talk the way we used to. Argue. Joke. Argue some more and then go across the street to the Abby for a stout. I could tell him about Jen and the living room remodeling project. I bet he would be surprise how much hardware cost. The 1930s soda fountain handles we ordered from Restoration. Or the trip we took hiking in the rainforest in Costa Rica a few years back.  Artist types probably enjoy hearing about normal people.

The noontime traffic is sluggish but steady as I wait for a break. I end up having to do a slow dance around these approaching hipster-kids in a late model convertible. The kids have the live version of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Rock and Roll’ playing very loud. They cruise by, eyeing the balding white guy in Dockers probably thinking he couldn’t possibly understand why we like our music so loud?  I could tell them and that I was a fan. But why?

You know her life was saved by rock 'n' roll. Despite all the amputations you know you could just go out/ And dance to the rock 'n' roll station. Pure Poetry.

That Kinko’s on Geary? Once about a time it was a huge record store full of these rounds objects called albums. Tito and I worked together there for like five years. Alright, two, maybe three, but it’s where I received my urban education, so like college, it felt like five years.

From the very beginning Tito and I distilled music to its purest content. If we’re talking music, you could have driven a truck in, loaded it with vinyl and drove out, we wouldn’t have cared.

Our biggest debate occurred around the time Pavarotti’s just got big in America and the Pretenders had struck gold with ‘Brass in Pocket.’ Around 1980 or ‘81, I think. We had this ongoing discussion, almost argument, about what was the most influential American band ever. Finally, after weeks of deliberation, the two of us reached an agreement. We would have taken a serrated 45 for a blood oath right there, below the Sheena Easton display, declaring that the Velvet Underground is the most influential band of all-time.

Tito Horwitz worships Lou Reed, although true to the anti-hero mystique, he would never admit it. Like Lou, Tito wore the same type black biker boots with chains wrapped around the top of the boots. Lou was into photography so Tito begins shooting junkies in the Tenderloin and turns his one sensible closet into a darkroom. Naturally he despises the Lou I know because that meant the general public likes them. He favored the albums that only sold five units. Metal Machine Music, The Bells, the stuff that really droned.


I never knew what I didn’t know until I met Tito.

First he was shocked that I was unfamiliar with the works of the writers who came out of post-World War I Canada. Who evens knows post-anything-Canada and Robertson Davis besides Tito? And now me? Davis wrote The Deptford Trilogy. Then I had to learn about Entropy and all things entropic. Statistical Thermodynamics.  Could entropy be applied to wind power as an argument against? Tito said alternative energy would never work because of Entropy. That led to Eastern Physics with the Dance of the Wu Ling Masters and The Way of Doing Nothing while doing actually a lot. Books, books and more books interspersed with Tito’s newest passion, punk music. He’d drag me to the clubs on Broadway on work nights, he in well worn-out basic black and me in fresh-bought, neatly creased black.

Another weird aspect of Tito that may surprise some was the wife. That he had a wife before he was old enough to rent a car. Tito the freethinker and social critic and all-around deviant were one of my first friends to be married. Tito had that James Dean thing early on. He was one of those guys who the more he ignored women, they more they wanted him. But he got married. He’s just had to be that different.

He was always trying to find meaning or the hidden meaning in things.  Tito had a habit of asking me why this or why that to things that I normally wouldn’t have questioned. “Why do you think African-Americans carry those huge boom boxes? Hmm. Never thought about it? Because they want to be heard! Why do you think women go to the bathroom in pairs? You ever wondered? The reason is, because when women go to the loo alone, they get hassled and hit on by a gauntlet of soused pigs that’s never going figure out why they don’t get laid. That’s why!”

There were always the whys. I never grew up asking why. My father in one of his more humane moments would say, “You could go broke asking why.”

 I would tell him that’s he over thinks everything. He’d say not possible.

That brings me to the broken-hearts. It was the end of summer in San Francisco, just when it starts to warm up before winter. One day, these overly tanned teenage girls plunge into the record store. Ripe from camp these teenagers are demanding the album that was the rage of that summer. This would be the Go-Go’s debut album. If you’re old enough to remember, it was one of the best-selling albums of the year. It was a bestseller everywhere…but at our store.

These fragile girls, having being imprisoned at camp, denying them the pleasure of owning the album that all their friends had, had to have the new Go-Go’s album. Tito stands there with a straight face at the cash register saying, “ Sorry, the Go-Go’s broke up earlier this month and some guy from their record company came and took all their albums away. There wasn’t anything we could do. I told ‘em it wasn’t fair, too.”

He did that for weeks with every gaggle that came in dying for the new Go-Go’s album. No matter how hard or how many cried. He wouldn’t sell.

I can still see him, sober as a cop at the register, immune to the teenagers’ meltdowns.

He really did almost pull me into his world. For a short time, until he moved to New York, I became his concrete third wheel.

 Between work and dinner with him and his wife, or tours of the city while he constantly clicked away on his single-reflex camera-I was there. In turn, my life was being unconsciously reformed with each new experience. As everything was hauntingly new and slightly abstract in its presentation in those days, I never knew what was happening exactly. We all just supposed to go with it. Those days were like skiing down the Matterhorn without poles. It was all on coming and you barely knew it was over before it was. Somehow Tito held on.

I’m five years shy of sixty, doing pretty good. I married Jen after the first one left. Still working for a Mr. Gorman and now, his sons at their car dealership, where I’ve risen to the position as major domo of the loans department. I’m safe in my position seeing how the Gorman boys have very little desire for learning the intricate philosophies behind the veritable five and ten year loans available for your Chrysler vehicles. Instead sons Bobby and Teddy Gorman are more interested in setting the record for highest bar tab in Vegas at their sales meetings then a future in qualifying loans.

I’m safe on auto row. Safe enough to break away to the Mission to check out one of those hip, new restaurants if that’s what I want.

 After taking my time with a Chicken Regular, no hot sauce, I drop my empty plastic basket on the stack of empties that’s haphazardly being built on the top of the trash bin as I leave El Toro.

 Then walking back to the car I see all the signs I’d missed and then some.

In the window of a coffeehouse, there’s a picket fence of various posters of upcoming events that frames the bottom. Sure enough, T.I. Horwitz, San Francisco’s own, stands two feet by eighteen inches in his own advertisement. The camera’s catches Tito nonchalantly in a very chi-chi gallery appearing tremendously cool leaning against the wall surrounded by a few of his more popular portraits. From up above on the wall, behind a pair of lowered shades peering down on Tito is Lou.

Lou Reed. It all started with Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. This is according to two record store geeks who were known to argue an afternoon away about almost anything and everything and then some.

In the car mirrors I can see Tito’s flags getting slapped in the wind as I attempt to weave into traffic from my parking space. I can’t believe the way people drive in the city.  What’s next, no police?

Finally squeezing in front of a boat of a Ford, my company car lurches forward only to have the traffic come to a complete halt. Immediately my mind tries to fill the void. Stuck in traffic, I try to calculate the pile of my staff’s loan applications on my desk waiting to be approved and still leave early?

I haven’t spoken to Tito in thirty years. Would he even remember…the record store?

There are questions and there are answers. Sometimes we know the answer long before asking the question.

I know the wife likes the Velvet Underground’s Walk on the Wild Side and that one song of theirs in Trainspotting but the whole catalogue, especially the less accessible Velvets, no way, Jose. Somehow the upside of Heroin put to music isn’t Jen’s cup of tea. She’s rather have a root canal before we plug I’m waiting for my man into our Sunday Morning Pancake playlist on the iThing. Sting and Josh Groban catch a pretty good workout at our house. Thank you very much.

Sometimes it is just best to leave things alone. 


Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball

What kind of relationship can a music fan have with their idols? What do they owe us and in return, besides for buying their product or getting it somehow-what do we owe them?

I first saw Bruce Springsteen in the spring of 1975 in Austin, Texas. The experience was as freakazoid as they come. A positively archetypal East-Coast band performing in one of the most laid-back venues (The Armadillo World Headquarters) there ever was, in front of cowboys, hippies, and me, for as long as I could handle it.

I left midway. The guitars, the drums, the assault of the band on stage seemingly coming out straight for the audience was too much for my Joni Mitchell-honed ears. I was into Neil Young and all things mellow and ponderous.

The Bruce Springsteen experience was something I wasn’t quite ready for, yet.  

Now, I’ve seen Bruce and his cohorts about forty or fifty times since that weekend so long ago. While I’ve left the house for most of the major album release tours, I’ve also been fortunate enough to see Bruce in small clubs (The Old Waldorf, SF and others) plus his departures and side-projects (The John Kerry concerts and showing up for friend’s gigs.)

So in a way, I feel like I know Bruce. Of course, I’ve never met the guy.

This past Tuesday, for the first time in years, I went down to my local record store and purchased Bruce’s newest CD, “Wrecking Ball.” It reminded me of the old days when Tuesdays were known for more than meeting with Morrie.

It was exciting and reminded me how much things have changed. While I walked the three blocks to the local record store, which happens to be one of the largest in the United States, my girlfriend downloaded the iTunes version to her phone. I was analogging it as my girlfriend’s digitized world barely blinked before her iThing was opening up with “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Okay, it’s been two days and here’s what I think…

On the initial listen, it sounds like a Greatest Hits package #6 or “Springsteen Essentials Vol. IV” from the very near future. The music is first rate and extremely likeable. That’s actually been the problem of some of Bruce’s music in the last decade, almost since the crucial mark of 9-11; his music is anthem-like and comforting in a very Bruce kind of way.

In the last couple of albums, the call and response that developed between Bruce and the live audience seemed a little forced. Maybe that’s not the correct usage. It felt like Bruce wrote songs to include the audience. That if there was a way to have the audience chime in, or figure out their part, it incorporated itself into that Parthenon of seemly endless other songs that connects Bruce to his audience and then back again to the stage. Besides for giving new life from the studio version, it further cements the bond between Bruce and his people.

I do not see any reason to write in the possible audience reaction when there are so many opportunities for that to happen organically with Bruce and his music. All Bruce has to do is with Oldsters like me is point the mic towards us and we’re singing the second verse of his old stuff when he says it is our turn.

The other noticeable drawback, if that is the correct choice of words, is the eclectic nature of the album. Again, here’s another example of not winning for losing. When Bruce does a session or theme album like the Depression Era-soaked “Nebraska,” we complain about how one-note it is. It becomes how we can’t get our little heads around what he’s trying to say unless each songs relates to one theme.

On Wrecking Ball, Bruce is all over the place, not really residing in one genre too long. I wouldn’t even attempt to break each song down and give my interpretation to what I think the author had in mind. I don’t think it is that kind of an album.

This is what it is like for me.

Being caught in the trappings of old age and what I bring to it.

With Bruce, it is like meeting an old friend whose first wife passed away from a long debilitating disease. We remember his previous life with reverence and the selfishness of our own thoughts of being a part of a young couple’s beginning journey and the times we shared together.

Not that our friend has remarried, to a great partner, we’re sure- we remain optimistic, happy for his happiness, and try not to let our feelings of missing something that’s not there, to get in our way of enjoying the moment.

With the passing of Clarence and Danny, there are shadows on the stage that may never go away for some of us. That we can’t enjoy what we’re seeing and hearing because of our love for what was, knowing that it is gone forever.

With Wrecking Ball, Bruce again is at the top of his game. It is really our problem with who he is that is the impediment. How can a rich guy sing about what’s it is like for the 99%? At one point a character in a song talks about if he had a gun, he’d shoot the bosses and bankers down. I believed him. And with much of the album, when Bruce sings and directs us to watch out for our own, and he has done consistently since he’s grown-up way down by the River, so many albums ago, I know he’s being serious.

I personally bring so much baggage now, I don’t even know if it is fair to review this album. I’d be remiss if I made snide comments about Bruce mostly just because I can?

Anyone can say he’s an old out of touch, a silk-collar guy pretending he’s blue. But is he?

As Bruce does his thing unceremoniously as he always has- playing locally in Jersey and can be seen with Tom Morello’s latest project, and going out on tours with his big band sound-we Tweet and talk about him like we know what we’re speaking about.

How about that Wrecking Ball is a diverse and complicated project where Bruce Springsteen picked out 12 songs that he wanted to share with his peeps to show them where he’s at.


Leave it there.

If you need to hear Thunder Road in another form, it ain’t going to happen. For some reason, Wrecking Ball, the song, sounds most like old Bruce and I’m not even sure what that is anymore.

I heard that Bruce wrote most of this before the Occupy Movement was happening. That makes sense. Bruce has been writing stuff like this since Darkness. His message isn’t new. Maybe that’s why old dudes like me stay so close to him. He’s consistent and reliable.

The Stones are celebrating their fifty year anniversary this year. Name one song you would like to hear slow, stripped-down, between you and the band.

With Bruce that’s a given and you never know which song is going to be that game-changer for you. That one he did with Born in the USA, draining the anthem rock out of it and playing blues-style the way it was meant to be heard.

The real question other people ask is-Can Bruce Springsteen at this point in his career, still be the voice of the Common Man?

I don’t think that’s fair to ask. I think what may be truer is- Can you relate to Bruce and his music as you once did, or have you changed too much from the person who first jumped into that Camero with the Hurst on the floor to go racing in the streets?

I didn’t get tickets for Bruce’s upcoming concert. I thought about it and when I decided to do it, the show sold out. Life moves pretty fast.

Yesterday it was reported that Lady Gaga has the most followers on Twitter than any other human being or animal or mineral on this Earth. What did her monumental tweet say? “Check out the new Springsteen album.”

Another lifetime ago I walked out on Bruce. Now I can’t get a ticket.

But I’m content with my memories, all of Bruce’s music that I have stored and acquired, now with the eco-sound new CD I bought legitimately this past week, I have another entry for the Springsteen canon.

Bruce can really pick and choose like very few artists can. Those twelve songs on his new CD, they’re on there for a reason. To find fault or imperfection, I don’t know if it is worth it.

The very first listen, the very, very first hearing before I knew what I was hearing, I thought I was listening to the soundtrack to “The Waltons-the Movie,” if the movie remake had a two hundred dollar budget to work with and half was going to music production. It was like an Appalachian Spring Gone Baroque!  

I found it easy to find fault and mock. But mostly what I was doing was comparing. Comparing these songs of new to my old memories of yore and yesterday when I thought I really knew what was what.

I’ve barely been to New Jersey or to the behind the scenes of late-night carnivals or hunger strikes or being stranded on the beach cold and in love yet Bruce has taken me to all these places.

Dylan likes a relative who can do no wrong and I will always accept him as he wants to be.

Bruce challenges and then makes us decide for ourselves which way we want to go.

I resist the temptation to fit Bruce Springsteen into my world and tell you how his music is a certain way. That would be bullshit.

It is a journey. You have to find out some things on your own.

Wrecking Ball is a great album. If you can’t see that, you’re too close to something. Either your ego that is unwilling to change or the fear that the world changes and you can’t tell until someone tells you that it’s changed.

There’s a consistent message to Bruce. All great artists have a style or a theme that permeates their work since the beginnings. I do not see Bruce any different. The benchmarks change. The sounds and producers change. Band members are no longer with us.

When great art hits a certain level, maybe it is best to let it go, tell some friends what you think, but let the guy be if your message he’s old and too rich to feel.

Bruce puts himself out there on display with his words and music. Maybe it is no coincidence that the title of his latest album is a vehicle of destruction. Maybe the Wrecking Ball isn’t against society and the Man but it is against us and our beliefs that we want to believe are safe.

Howard Zinn said you can’t be neutral on a moving train.

When you listen to Bruce now-who are you? Someone who lives in Neverland, somewhere near the Jersey shore in a judgmental shack plastered with pictures of Rosalita, Jenny, and a bunch of Marys ? Or a person who has grown with Bruce and doesn’t resent change but grows and matures like a song that been played for forty years, finding new chords and notes to mined, giving the listener another point of view that always been there.

But that is the artist job.

To show us what we’re afraid of seeing on our own.





Eleven Things Eric Holder Could Say That Would Make Me Happy!

Eric Holder announced that he will be holding a press conference very soon to clarify the Department of Justice’s position on Medical Marijuana. This is what I’d like him to say…


11. Marijuana is no longer a Schedule One Drug.

The Good News: Marijuana will finally be reclassified as having medical value.

Bad News: Big Pharma doesn’t like to share…

10. Everyone Can Grow!

For states that have Medical Marijuana, patients will be allowed to grow six plants each. Why not? Most everyone is doing it already. That way, the Man (and Woman) can’t control our stash.

9. Arizona, You Have Medical Marijuana, Get Over It!

It would be great if the highest attorney in the land, Eric Holder reaffirmed that if the highest voters passed MM, they have spoken. This goes for any state that doesn’t like Democracy and the right of voters. I’m also looking at you, Big Sky.

8. We’re only busting deals over fifty pounds.

Until legalization happens, commerce shall continue. We’re still for Johnny Law to go after cartels and the Big Guys, but fifty elbows can be divvied up pretty quick, especially if it’s the amazing purps or some of that Solar Diesel making the rounds. I think fifty pounds and under is a fair amount that one should be able to travel with for commercial purposes, within state lines of course.

7. There won’t be any lists of Medical Marijuana patients or growers recorded anywhere.

Doctors don’t give the State or the Feds lists of their patients who are on Viagra or Ritalin, (and who wouldn’t want to know who gets a little sketchy if they’re not on their Meds?) Why should they give the Medi-jane patients up? In the Time of Grey Markets, we’ll come out, but don’t make us tell you where we live.

6. States need to get their acts together.

There are fifty-eight counties and a whole lot of unincorporated towns (Think Deadwood) in California. Unless two adjoining counties have the same laws, ordinances and restrictions, you’re going to have graft, corruption and more of the same. We need consistent and common-sense regulations within the states, left up to each state what that would be, but for the love of all that is sane, let’s have cultivation, commerce and transportation laws that make sense and work.  

5. Amsterdam is over.

The Dutch no longer want the sounds of the Grateful Dead gracing their canals. For some crazy reason (actually, the Flemish blew it for everyone) foreigners will not be allowed entry into the Hash bars without a visitor’s permit.

This is the United States’ chance for a big toe into the lucrative world of the ganja-turistas. For Las Vegas whose fountains suck the blood of a vanishing economy everyday and then spit it out in a multicolor symmetry five times a day to a couple of tourists dressed in cut-offs, and other destination cities that are having hard times. Here’s your chance!

 It’s time for these sink-holes to reinvest in the American Dream and open our own Hash Bars. Once Las Vegas discovers marijuana, munchies, and cotton-mouth, Food and Beverage directors everywhere will have a new lease on life. This model could be replicated everywhere.

4. If you’re in jail because of Cannabis, Pack your bags…

It is just time to stop. As correctional officials nationally figure out ways to release the least violent and aggressive inmates into our society. Why are non-violent, first-time marijuana offenders going to prison at all?

Because somebody says it is illegal.

3. Users are immune from Federal prosecution.

From this point on, it will be left up to the state you’re in for the rules and regulations governing marijuana. One of the reasons it is easy to get a job in Oklahoma City is because people are leaving there because of Draconian weed laws. You took a chance on gambling and casinos, alcohol and guns. Trust me, after all of that, you’re going to love marijuana. We’re a lot less hard to handle.

2. Movies are better when you’re Stoned.

I don’t know, I just think it would be cool if the Attorney General of the United States came out and said, “ You know, I saw ‘Ghostbusters’ straight the first time, then I saw it high. Man, it’s a lot funnier when you’re baked. I’ll take your questions now if you have any.”

1. We're sorry...

These last few weeks have been very tense for many of us in the Medical Marijuana movement. Dispensaries have been threatened with closures. Banks that do business with the Cannabis industry have been told to open their drawers. Proposition 19 in 2010 had a pretty good chance of passing until Eric Holder came out the week before the vote and said, “no matter what happens with the vote, the Feds will still bust pot smokers.”

 In fact, Eric Holder and then candidate Obama pledged to back off medical marijuana patients and make marijuana a low priority in terms of prosecution. At a time when Big Pharma seems to be making strides and advancements, patients and Medical Marijuana doctors are being deterred, harassed and even jailed.

Some days it is like a bad game of Ganja musical chairs. We’re never sure where to sit.

It would be nice to hear someone say, “Sorry for the inconvenience. We hear you. We won’t smile nor smirk when asked if Marijuana has medicinal value. We will take medical marijuana patients and their input seriously, realizing that they’ve been the only true governing body that has driven the medical marijuana movement since it started.”

“I am sorry.”  



100th Running of the Bay To Breakers Race, SF


I started to worry that my neighbor, her of multiple cocktails and a mouth that would blend comfortably in most seagoing ports where you’d find a Tourette’s Café in full swing, was going into rehab a day before the hundredth running of the Bay to Breakers footrace. This was a bad sign.

For the first time in a half a decade, we decided not to invite people over to our apartment that is located strategically across the street from the Panhandle that magically turns into a human septic tank on the urine-soaked Sunday of the race. Without our neighbor, The Broad, our four-litre Bloody Mary container may remain in half mast with the loss of our long-established boozer buddy.

For weeks leading up to the event, the apparent lack of advertising had many of us locals wondering if the race was going to indeed happen. Luckily on Saturday when the barricades and riot control barriers were dropped-shipped to corners of the race did many of us start to breathe again.    

Even though this was the hundredth running of one San Francisco’s most hallowed traditions, the cops and the City made it clear, this year would be different. No booze and no tolerance for shenanigans.

After ninety-nine years of research, it was determined that the majestic and creative floats that made the papers back East showing the depravity and the San Francisco recklessness that is impossible to capture except on the bed of home-made trailer being pulled by twelve men in Lady Gaga costumes, was actually a front for liquor. It was found that many of these delicious moving pageants were vehicles for carrying 16-gallon kegs. Much like an Egyptian barge with slaves pulling a regal queen, these faux floats were actually S&M slaves from the Mission pulling a Bear Queen from Hayes Valley with surprise! A spigot from a hidden keg protruding somewhere from between her legs.  That had to stop.

So they decided to crack down on the Bay to Breakers Race. No booze, no nudity, no floats. Possibly no fun.

Shifting the starting time from brunch to 7 AM, The race officials had hoped to starve off the partiers who like to build a little heat before running the seven miles and some change race.

It initially seemed like it worked. At eight AM, when I first step outside into the overcast morning, the runners on Fell were sparse and few. The Race Gods had set up barricades on Fell so unlike the previous hundred years, there was a separation between the runners and the on-lookers who were perched in their lawn chairs along the fences cheering the runners on.

It had rained all night and without advertising hitting us over the head for weeks like they do with a Hollywood movie or a Facebook page to join, I thought that many of the traditional party-goers were going to stay indoors on this slightly, breezy cold morning.

The scary part was no one was pissing in the Panhandle. The sign of over-crowding, and that a potential mob-riot is forming is when the frat boys start to whiz followed soon by their stooping sorority sisters. When the Big Tree with the hollow doesn’t get any action and the ten Port-A-Potties do, something is wrong in the Park.

People are behaving correctly. What’s wrong with this picture?

And it was that way for most of the morning. There were three stages of real runners who departed from the starting line in staggered starts happening every forty-five minutes until they unleashed the hordes of stumblers, happy out of shaped people, the costumed and what for many is their indoctrination into San Francisco.

What the race officials and City Pa’s and Ma’s don’t understand is, the Bay to Breakers race, like Halloween is the initiation into what most people who live in San Francisco desire, to become a local.

Walking down Market Street, there are people who still gape at a naked man wearing nothing but a parka on hot winter’s day or at the Tranny with a grill of gold selling ice cream cones that come in two shapes: either the Pope’s hat or an uncircumcised dick. Or small and large.

For those of us who are locals, our heads barely move or even worse, we hardly notice what has all the tourists keeping a strong straight face.

That’s what this event is about, joining the San Francisco race. Finding stuff in your closet that doesn’t match and joining another hundred thousand people just like you, only different. If you’ve just moved to the City, this is how you become a part of what is happening, on your own terms and at your own pace.

All you have to do is be adult about it.

And there’s the fly in the oatmeal. Not all of us want to be adult all the time. We have almost three hundred and sixty-four days for that. For one day, some people want to get naked and drunk.

That’s not me. You can thank me now for that, or wait for the pictures from the Eighties, and thank me later. I don’t like to get drunk and run. I don’t even like to get naked and run. When I’m drinking, running hardly ever comes to mind.

But that shouldn’t stop those who want to.

Thankfully, it didn’t.

By noon, the Panhandle was a party. A party with Forest Rangers, Park Police, city cops, highway patrol, and Homeland Security, I think (Black SUV’s) securing the area and constantly hovering around on bicycles, motorcycles, ATV’s, horses and on foot. There were lines at the plastic pee shacks and the costumes like the alcohol was flowing.

I heard later someone had fallen off of the party houses on Fell. This is tragic and sad. But what I saw for the most part was San Francisco out in full regalia and loss of inhibitions. Isn’t that the definition of who we are?

When 4/20 happened at Hippie Hill, the media had to dig for intel describing any violence associated with the Pot Party. There was bogus complaint of two women in their fifties, who were beating each other over the heads with a boom-box. This was filed by the right-wing Examiner and because facts only get in their way, the let the false story lie.

In years past, there were fights out front and a lot of chest-beating by white boys, naked from the brain down. This year I didn’t see any of that.

As the day went on, the sun came out, drying out the wet spots and warming us like toast. More and more revelers came out too.

Thank God the young girls in their twenties didn’t forsake us and kept the nudity and scantily-dressed costumes at a maximum.

There were beer bottles tossed and garbage thrown. It didn’t have the energy of a Daytona 500 where you felt like crazy violence could break out any moment if you said the wrong thing like ‘Dale E. is a pussy.”

It felt very control and yet it wasn’t.

Obviously the City did its job. The hundredth running of the Bay to Breakers had a neutered feel to it. It really felt like someone came and took the writer, Balzac and all his marbles, and went home.

At first in the early morning hours there was something missing. It felt like the chances of seeing someone hold their friend’s hair back while they puked was just going to be a dieter’s dream. But the spirit of the City can never be held down, at least not without a safe word discussed beforehand.

As the day went on, more and more of the San Francisco people who I know and love, didn’t let me down. There were cocktails and strange behavior. All the things I’ve known to love and respect about the City.

I understand we can’t knowingly let people get fucked up and hurt themselves, but couldn’t we have like a Ron Paul Race? A race where if something happens, we have to be responsible for our own behavior and promise not to sue.

We are so close to tolerating most outlandish conduct from the Hipsters and the like. Couldn’t we for one day let the drunks have their way?

I’m just saying as long as they don’t sue and stay naked.