So, whatever became of Alan Dumas?
You know that type of question. It's the sort that used to make you pick up the phone and call, usually late at night, to old friends, flames, acquaintances. But, meetings, therapies, the years, family, the kids and other responsibilities have severely curtailed my participation in that activity. You know, "If you dig up the past, all you get is dirty."
Still, I googled Alan's name and learned that he had left this planet. My immediate reactions were shock and dismay. Immediately, I e-mailed Martha. She's the only one that I am still in touch with from that time and scene, late '60s, early '70s Orange County beach town, way before the "OC" was cool. We shared the surprise and the grief via the Internet.
After all, aren't we still young, bulletproof and immortal, smarter than anyone else, incredibly witty (he was at least), real smart-asses? Last night, or this morning, who knows, didn't we just go to the 24-hour Howard's Restaurant in Newport Beach, and play "Go Bird," the game Alan and Mike invented with the coffee sugar packets that were printed with pictures of gulls, pigeons, whatever?
We laughed ourselves silly over that one. Hadn't we just hung out at Marthaï¿½s, or rehearsed for the drama teacher at the high school? Hadn't Alan just gotten busted last week for smoking a cigar on campus? Didn't we just go to the Rock and Roll Revival at the LA Sports Arena? (I drove. Alan flew.) Yakked about Kurt Vonnegut novels?
Wasn't it just a few months ago that Alan visited me in college, with a bag full of something that made me and a bunch of friends run around like wild animals in the hills outside of Pescadero? Sadly, some of them are gone now as well. I never saw him again after that trip.
Nope, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Alan was the fastest with the quip and funniest with the insight or outrageous lie back then. Glad to know that he followed that path higher and farther than the rest of us. Alan didn't fit in with the Newport Beach of the day, the surfers, the young and old Republicans, the Jesus Freaks, those whose daddies bought them new cars.
Where he ended up, on radio, in print, telling stories, slipping into a hip scene -- Denver, now there's a place for him -- all seems so logical now. That's where he should have been, unless he chose to be somewhere else or another place that he would have told us about, all fabulous lies, of course, but we would believe him despite our better judgment because, after all, he was Alan.
Mike's and his daughter's notes represent particularly poignant memories. The movie no longer exists, unfortunately.
Alan and I wrote that for a '60s-style high school class, "Social Problems." The teacher, Carol Tatro, asked that Alan and I show it at UCLA for a group of teachers who were trying to understand contemporary youth. When one of them asked Alan what the point of the film was (the hero ended up committing suicide on the beach), Mr. Dumas responded eloquently, "We were trying to make a movie about creative masturbation, but Miss Tatro wouldn't let us. So we made this one instead."
Once again, Alan brought down the house.
So, whatever became of Alan Dumas? From reading the tributes here, he touched many, was loved by many, made many laugh, and left us way too early.
We went separate ways a long time ago, but I still feel the loss.