Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 5 No. 3 | Fall 1983 (Seattle) /// Issue 5 of 24 /// Master# 53 of 73

laughed, long and hard. It didn’t take us long to polish off the rest of Cardoso’s refreshments. Then I made a suggestion that proved to have long-lasting repercussions. “Listen, Page,” I said, “we’re running out of beer. Let’s go over to Clancy’s place.” By “Clancy,” I meant John G. Clancy, attorney at law, and “Clancy’s place” was his posh apartment on Telegraph Hill, overlooking the Embar- cadero. Clancy was my employer of the moment. He had a glitzy fast-lane law practice, and paid me good money to handle his para-legal chores. “Serve the people!” Clancy would yell as he handed me a stack of sub- Doenas. “We must serve the people!” Clancy had radical clients, and he loved to terrorize the North Beach bars and stay up for days at a time. A lot of people thought that Clancy was totally insane, but that was what I liked most about him. Page didn’t know Clancy, but when he heard about the well-stocked bar at Clancy’s apartment he decided to come along. The three of us piled into a taxi and made the quick journey to the crest of Telegraph Hill. Clancy was home, and he was feeling hospitable. “So you’re the famous war photographer!” he blared upon meeting Page. “Happy birthday! Have a drink! What are you doing these days?” Page was more than happy to fill us in. The booze flowed, the party started, and Page began talking about his life and times. His stream-of-conscious- ness rap gradually swelled into a nearly hysterical rant that filled the room. This was the gist of it: Tim Page was born in England in 1944, and was adopted in early infancy and raised in Orpington, a sleepy suburb of London. Page hit the road when he was 17 years old, drifting along the hashish trail that meanders through the Middle East and North Africa before it dissipates into the nether corners of the Third World. He decided to visit Southeast Asia, and tripped into Laos just in time to catch the 1965 Lao uprising. Page took a few photographs of the fighting in the streets and sold them to a United Press International reporter that he met in a bar. UPI liked Page’s hell-bent attitude. They hired him as a free-lancer and packed him off to Viet Nam to take pictures of the action there. Page took his lens cap off and never looked back. Before his self-imposed tour of photo- journalistic duty was terminated in 1969, Page had been to every corner of war-infested Indo-China that he could get into. “I had 80 pages of photos in Time and Life" Page said with matter- of-fact pride, popping open another can of Foster’s. “I've got so many slides that I’d need a bloody semi to haul them about.” In Viet Nam, Page rapidly became the wunderkind of the press corps’ combat photographers. Maybe it was the death wish that did it. Page seemed to have no fear of being killed in live combat situations; he admitted that he felt “protected” by the well- crafted Rolex camera that he peered through as he slogged along with the Special Forces and ARVN troops Page would get shot, get patched up and then hop a gunship back to the front to snap more pictures. He was hooked on the war, strung out on the lottery of death that he was playing. through the rice paddies and swamps. Page went to all of the places where human life was up for grabs, and he came back with some amazing pictures. And he was wounded, several times. 27 times, according to Page, “if you could all the little holes.” Page would get shot on the job, make a quick visit to the nearest hospital to get patched up, recuperate in miserable, decadent Saigon for a few days and then hop a gunship back to the front to snap more pictures. Page was hooked on the war, strung out on the lottery of death that he was playing with the sudden, indiscriminate dangers of Viet Nam. Then Page caught a stiff one. “There was an explosion, and a big piece of wire cable went into my head,” Page told us, pointing to his forehead. “It pierced my brain and came out here,” he said, indicating a spot on the back of his skull. “Some Army doctors operated on me, and they didn’t expect me to live. They removed about a third of my brain. It was a chunk the size of a grapefruit. Then they filled up the hole in my head with silly putty.” Page paused and took another hit on the joint he was smoking. “You mean you’ve only got half a brain?” Clancy shouted, tears in his eyes, pounding his fist on the table. “That’s right,” Page said. “But that means I can get twice as stoned on the same amount of dope...and I’ve got half a mind to do it.” He howled with laughter. Page was lucky to be alive, but he was severely injured. It was amazing that he’d recovered to the extent that he had. Doctors hovered around his bedside for weeks, expecting him to die at any time. When it looked as if he might make it, he was shipped to a private hospital in New York City. That’s when Time-Life, the news service that Page had been working for when he got wire-roped through the brain, started getting worried. Tim Page was rapidly becoming an expensive war souvenir and a corporate liability. His medical bills were sizable, and could continue for years. Time-Life decided to deal Page a card from the bottom of the deck. “They sent one of my old friends to see me with a proposal,” Page said. “He told me that Time-Life would pay my medical bills up to then and give me $15,000 if I’d release them from any future liability.” The remaining two- thirds of Page’s brain mulled the proposition over and made a bad decision. Page took the money. “I signed a piece of paper and that was it.” Page blew the $15,000 in six months, and then he was really in trouble. He was broke, badly disabled, and unable to get a decent job. That had been the situation since 1970, and it had been a long seven years. “ Time-Life took unfair advantage of you!” Clancy shouted. “You were incompetent when you signed that release!” “I still am,” Page answered. “You got any more drugs?” That’s how I learned who Tim Page was. He was among us now, a stranger in our alienated, post-war American land. It wasn’t long before Clancy offered Page a spare bedroom in his apartment. When that arrangement ended, Page stayed with a succession of friends and acquaintances in San Francisco and Marin County. Page was the brokest of the broke. He also suffered from massive headaches. “These are my brain pills,” Page told me one day as he lined up 14 pill bottles in a row. He took one or more pills from each bottle and made a pile on the table in front of us. It was quite a heap of drugs. Then Page began gulping them, washing them down with a beer. “Here, try one of these,” he said, handing me a white capsule. I swallowed it and fell asleep for eight hours. I had no doubts that THE BALLARD FIREHOUSE FOOD & BEVERAGE CO. 1540 Eastlake E. Seattle 325-1702 5429 RUSSELL N.W. on MARKET ST. 783-4882 Food Beer Video Pool Large Screen TV aoysage ORIGINAL Mexican I ta l ia n THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES! Huevos rancheros, pizza, spaghetti sauce, vegetarian ruben sandwich, tacos, croutons, lasagne, burritos, shish kabobs, nachos, appetizers, omelets. . . “DON’T MISS TRYING THEM!” ( ™ Y "HEALTH COMES FROM WITHIN" YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD TREAT YOURSELF TO: MASSAGE / SAUNA Swedish, Deep Tissue, Acupressure, Reflexology, Touch for Health, TragerSM Bodywork 522-9384 ABINTRA WELLNESS CENTER 438 N.E. 72nd near Greenlake Seattle, WA 98115 Gift Certificates. 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