Drinking, Fighting, Fucking and Crying Title

Drinking, Fighting, F*&king, and Crying

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 11.14.07 PMInitially, I think I lumped Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” in with all the sugar ray bullshit from the late-90s era of music, especially all the stuff from “Socal.” However… this isn’t the worst song in the world. In fact, when a certain reverie comes over me, I actually quite like it; as long as I don’t listen too hard to any of the lyrics outside of the chorus. Does the fact that I dig this song even a little bit surprise you? Because at times like this, when I’ve just returned from watching a concert film of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performing for 2 1/2 hours, it sure as hell surprises me. But Steal My Sunshine is a fairly innocuous pop song, and a lot of those fit into my world view just fine. In fact, this one has a special place in my heart, first making its inroads into my heart about the time I saw the movie Go! in the late 1990s. Why? Well, let me explain how and when I first came to enjoy that slightly bandwagony but still clever, Tarantino-esque film and how it insinuated itself into my life. Then maybe you’ll understand. Or at the very least, maybe I will.

In 1999, my friends Tim and Rob and I flew out from Chicago to visit some friends in Laguna Nigel, CA. This is the heart of Orange County folks, or as I call it now, “behind the Orange curtain.” We’d been out the year before, but this time we were a bit more seasoned and drew up a list of to-dos, one of which was head to Las Vegas (my first time there). After a couple of days, we found a deal on some rooms at the Flamingo and headed into the desert.

The first couple of nights  in Vegas were what one would expect from a bunch of early-20s folk on the loose in Sin City – drinking, drugs, drinking. Gambling too, although our lack of success and conservation of funds dictated we minimize that particular vice. Especially when Rob and our host Joe insisted we visit a certain famous Las Vegas Strip Club on our last night. I’d never been to a Strip Club before. and I’ve definitely minimized my attendance since. To quote the infinitely quotable Mr. Brown, “I’ve been on enough first dates in my life not to want to leave a place with a hard on and an empty wallet on purpose,” but at the time, this was all new to me. We were in Vegas and Joe’s girlfriend Jenny didn’t mind, so I figured what the heck, right?

The hour or two we spent in the Crazy Horse was pretty disappointing. For me, I pretty much just nursed a bunch of Coronas and tried not to feel defeated when Rob – a veteran of establishments like this by the age of twenty-one – informed me that when the strippers hit on me it was really only to entice me to give them money.


While I was sulking, Tim ended up buying what had to be the world’s longest lap dance, and Rob began talking to someone at the bar. Not someone, but someones – a couple of guys who looked… dangerous. I saw this in tandem, the eternal lap dance and the conversation at the bar, so realization only slowly dawned on me, and it wasn’t until it was almost too late that I understood what was afoot.

While Miss Kitty or whatever her name was gyrated over Tim, these guys at the bar began to command my attention more and more. As I watched them talk to Rob, I realized they were angry, and, what’s more, very clearly gang members, as they all had a particular symbol tattooed on their forearms. I dialed into the scene from a distance and realized Rob was in trouble – he had apparently stepped on one of the guy’s feet while he was trying to order a drink at the bar and now, disrespect was in the air. As a consummate salesman (Rob sold expensive stuff for a living), Rob offered to buy the guys drinks, but when they turned him down and escalated the exchange, shit got heated. Seeing this just before the first double-palmed fist hit Rob’s chest, I jumped up and grabbed Tim, called out to Joe and headed straight into the heart of the matter toward Rob, who was now on the cusp of being punched. Joe came swooping in from nowhere and threw a fist into one of the guy’s faces and the next thing I know I had Jenny by the shoulders and was moving her toward the door. It seemed like all around us violence was about to erupt and when we reached the exit, we learned why. There was a taxi cue just outside. However, when we tried to leave the bouncer blocked our path; he smiled at us and flashed a tattoo on his arm – the same ink the two guys Rob was in the altercation with had – the same one about half the room had too!

Holy Shit.

Joe and Tim came running out throwing punches, Rob just in front of them, and the five of us pushed through the throng at the door, knocked some middle-aged man over to commandeer his taxi – a Minivan no less – and it was with fevered pragmatism that I slammed the sliding back door shut and yelled for the driver to, “GO GO GO!!!

The next day, back in the safety of Southern California, we nursed our wounds by smoking bongs and watching tv. When Joe’s younger brother Danny showed up and we told him the story, he immediately asked if we’d seen the movie GO! None of us had, so Danny ducked out to the local Blockbuster and rented it, and when it got to the part in the Crazy Horse, I was floored. It’s like our ordeal had already been inspiration for a film (well, not quite, but fucking close enough). Now, to bring this all home, in the movie, when Taye Diggs and crew burst out of the Crazy Horse, Len’s Steal My Sunshine plays- I mean, it virtually makes the scene. Subsequently, in the years since all this happened, Steal My Sunshine has soaked into my own memory of our little incident in Sin City so that when I go back and “replay” it in my head, the soundtrack is the song. Thus, Len secured a permanent place of endearment in my jaded little heart.

Next week – “Let’s FUUUUUCK!!!”


Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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