So many of you have asked about the recent publication of a photo of Jeff Lebowski and me that I feel compelled to explain. I ran into The Dude on the Central Coast last month and had a nice chat. I asked him if some bowling tourney brought him so far away from LA. No, he said, he was just checking out the price and quality of the local weed; the necessities of life can drag a man far from hearth and home and rug.
Did he still bowl competitively? Sure, he said. But not at the old place...that 1950s-style edifice with the bright plastic stars twinkling against a stucco sky, with its spacious parking lot where his buddy Donny Kerabatsos died of a heart attack. “Naw,” he said, avoiding mention of the brawl with the Nihilist bikers that precipitated Donny’s cardiac arrest. That bowling alley has been demolished in the tried and true LA way of making space for the novel new. But, yes, he still bowls here and there.
Still teamed up with Walter Sobchak? A trace of sadness scooted across the Dude’s bearded face. No, he said. He and Walter had split for reasons he couldn’t quite put his finger on, though he thinks the big guy soured on bowling when the Cornhole craze came along. Walter reconciled with Jesus, he of the purple jump suit, of all people, and the pair now tour the state in those back-street, fight-club-style tourneys that bring out the high-rollers and a riff-raff fan base; apparently, the purses are good enough to keep them both clothed and fed. El Duderino chuckled. “You ought to see Walter in his purple jump suit; looks like a freeway wreck of a farm truck carrying a ton of eggplants.”
His Dudeness asked me to join him in a White Russian. I told him I’d been dry for two-and-a-half years, but I’d settle for a sarsaparilla. Accepted. I was tempted to ask him if he still resided at the same old pad with the same old high-end rug holding it all together, but I bit my tongue. He was probably behind in his rent again and didn’t want to be reminded. So to keep the talk going, I asked him if he ever did recover those stolen Credence tapes. As you remember, His Dudeness rarely smiles, but I got a hint of one. “Not the stolen tapes,” he said. “But I got lucky with replacements at a Pico-Rivera garage sale.”
It was time for the question I was dying to ask. “How’s Maude?”
“OK, I guess. Don’t see much of her.”
“She’s the mother of your son, isn’t she?”
“Yes, she is.”
“See much of him? Jeff Junior, isn’t it?”
“No and yes. Maude thinks it’s better that I stay out of his way. That’s fine by me because he lives way back East in some cold, uptight place.”
“What’s he doing...you know, how does he pay the bills?”
“He has this post-doctoral job at MIT checking out the nature of dark matter, and...well I don’ think it’s worth the trouble. Not when you can bowl competitively and live a peaceful life where the grass is greener...and legal. Besides, how do you find anything that’s dark in the dark?”
What insight! Proof of what we all already know: The Dude Abides.