To be honest, I never liked the prim, fussy, deeply religious man who exemplified bedrock Indianan conservative values.
He was so-o-o not LA.
When he forced Walton to get a haircut or else......that was it. I was done with the wizard of Westwood for all time.
Until today, when the knowledge of his passing hit home like yet another insistent blip across the radar screen of my own short shelf space, as I awoke once more to those middle-aged reflective memories that both sustain and depress an old man whose best days are in the rearview.
A wide-awake nightmare.
Then again, when you think about it, LA, the real LA, is so not LA. The real LA is the dirty, grimy, scalding asphalt of the deadend American dream.
There is no LA.
There never has been an LA.
There never again will be an LA that never was LA in the first place.
Some people are born and raised, live and die surrounded by family and friends, their souls anchored to a sense of place that radiates timeless enlightenment.
Every unremarkable stop along the highway where folks make the most out of their limited surroundings and manage in the process of life and death to imbue the universe with an infinitesimal speck of human dignity.
But "LA" is just a trickfucking that gets inside your head and then keeps moving you around, changing you, shrinking you, breaking you, eating at you until you haven't anymore the slightest idea uncontaminated by remorse.
For many years I exalted pridefully in the fact that I was "from LA" whenever asked by people who passed fleetingly in the night as I wandered everywhere in this dubiously grate banana republic of zero redemption.
I took immensely foolish pride in their conference of automatic respect for this accident of my birthplace, because they hailed only from some nowhere land like Malden, or Milwaukee, or Missouri.
John Wooden left Indiana but Indiana never left him. He’s died but he never succumbed to the temptations which buried me alive.
I left LA and LA laughed in my face, mocked me and scorned me every dogged step I traced along a meaningless path, allowing myself to get blown about like some shallow rooted weed that wouldn't last the season amidst an eternity of damnation.