Monday, January 08, 2007

Chasing Jim Morrison’s Bathtub

Misplaced:(In faltering French) I would like to take a bath in your bathtub. I would like to take a bath in your bathtub, may I?

There is no easy way to ask this question of a complete stranger. I’m not even sure where the idea came from. It was a joke at first. Find the bathtub that Jim Morrison died in, ship it to the west coast, set up a little gazebo around it, place it in an area with a beautiful view and charge people money to take a bath where Jim Morrison died. For a sum of money they could get stoned and watch the sunset as they bathed in Jim’s memory. It was not about the memorializing Jim Morrison- it was about cash and, of course, I was just joking.

The more I thought of this little joke the more interested I became. Where is that bathtub? I searched “Jim Morrison’s bathtub” on the Internet and found nothing. I read biographies. The tub is always mentioned as the place he died but then it disappears in history.

It should be relatively easy to locate the tub, right? Jim died in the bathtub at No. 17 Rue Beautreillis (The Marais) Paris, France. No problem -right?

“I would like to take a bath in your tub, may I?”

Like any good, red-blooded American boy I idealized Jim Morrison- the angst, the poetry and especially the chicks. My friends and I would sing "Light My Fire” in stoned revelry. My buddy's senior year quote was supposed to read “trade in your hours for a handful of dimes” but his handwriting was so atrocious that what was printed “Trade in your hours for a handful of dinner” which, has the same anti-bourgeoisie sentiment so it hardly mattered. We would have started wearing leather pants if it didn’t mean we would have gotten our leather clad asses kicked. The midwest is no place for the fashion forward. the midwest couldn't understand cannot understand the poet that road "ride the snake, he's old and his skin is cold" We got it, well…actually we didn’t, but in high school it was easy to assign meaning to crap. All of us dreamed of becoming writers probably based on Jim Morrison. Of course, looking back on it, The Lizard King was less of a writer and more a charismatic stoner. Had we realized that we would have aspired to be charismatic stoners and left the non-lucrative career of writing to others. There’s money in the 20-yard stare, and a cat like strut on stage. There are girls in lines such as ‘ride the snake, he’s old and his skin is cold”, there’s money in the bathtub that Jim Morrison died in. My bank account would overflow much like the water that spilled over the sides of the tub as an overweight Jim slid into the bath.

On July 3, 1971 at the age of 27 Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of apparent heart failure. When I was 15 years old I didn’t think twice about how young he was when he died- 27 is almost dead anyway. As I got older and surpassed his age of death it seemed kind of wimpy that he died at such a young age. ‘He smoked and drank too much,’ people will say. ‘Who doesn’t?’, I would respond. I smoked and drank too much for years and I managed to take a bath without dieing.

My friend Kevin is convinced that Morrison died doing Pamela Courson’s (Jim's girlfriend) heroin. The theory is that Jim went into shock and someone threw him in the bathtub to wake him up. I’m not sure about the whole ‘take a bath as an antidote to heroine overdose' but then again you don’t need to be have a medical license to date a rebel poet (although, apparently it would have been helpful). After he died, according to Kevin, everyone panicked, they got their stories straight, and left poor Pamela Courson holding the bag, as it were.

In my French class I explain what I want to learn from my teacher. I explain this after class because I’m embarrassed. I don’t want to know how to order a café cream. I only want to know how to ask someone if I can take a bath in their bathtub. I have a list of phrases that I need to be able to say in french. I have tried to account for every possibility.

Is this where Jim Morrison died?
Do you still have the bathtub?
No? Where is it?
Yes, may I see it?
May I bath in it?
No need to call the police
I’m a fan
Please don’t push me
You hit hard for a French man
I did not vote for George Bush one or two
Come on baby light my fire (this would be my tag line before I start kicking ass)


Crafty Green Poet said...

Excellent post! I hadn't quite realised Jim Morrison was quite so young when he died, maybe because he looked so much older by then than he did in the famous photos of him. Good luck with finding the bathtub and with the French too.

Anonymous said...

In the Musée Grévin (wax museum in Paris) the bathtub in which the journalist Jean-Paul Marat was murdered (after the French Revolution) was part of the exhibition... Authentic details made their diorama's more 'life-like' and of course it was an exiting thought to have the REAL bathtub standing there... And good luck with the French. Courage!

Anonymous said...

*dies laughing*

artist said...

great post, good writing, just found your blog today and am really enjoying it :)

Panic in New York said...

Is the toilet that Elvis died on still at Gracland?
Can you use it?

Simon Chase said...

I read this one twice to myself and once to my wife because it generated a genuine laughter like few things in life do.

Anonymous said...

thats some funny shit man