Celebrity in America is a great big delicious cookie sandwich with a filling of creamy irony. There are people who have become celebrities in America that most people would never want to become their neighbor if they were to move in next door. Then there is the curious case of a potential connection to celebrity that took place right under my nose in my hometown without my having the slightest whiff of realization. Of course, my relation with Pensacola, Florida is not unlike the relation between Republican politicians and intellect.
A house was put on the market in Pensacola that I have passed by more than a few times in my life that turns out to be a bastion of celebrity irony. The house was not just put on the market, but was the site of an attempted auction. Not just a house auction mind you, but an auction that spins a tale of just how intricately and delicately complicated the concept of celebrity works in America. This house that was put up for bid in Pensacola, Florida also attempted to auction off the psychic spirit of one of the most infamous inhabitants of Rock and Roll Heaven.
Jim Morrison’s dad lived in this house in Pensacola while he was doing what an enormous percentage of people who find themselves temporarily abandoned by fate here have also come to do over the decades. Jim Morrison’s dad spent time in Pensacola, Florida for one reason and one reason only: to receive the training required to become a Navy pilot. George Morrison, father of the future lead singer of the Doors, was like John McCain and thousands of others who had no other reason in the world to spend an extended time in this den of corruption that mortgaged its future to the military all those many years ago. George Morrison planted his feet in Pensacola for a time in order to train for service of his country.
Not that training to become a member of the United States Navy is the only reason for arriving in Pensacola.
Geronimo, Ted Bundy, John Wesley Harding, Aaron Burr and a host of crazed right-wing lunatics looking to end abortion in decidedly non-Christian ways have called Pensacola home. Not for the opportunity to learn how to land a plane on an aircraft carrier. In addition to that magnetic pole that sends out a siren song to wannabe warriors, Pensacola, Florida is also a magnet for the nefarious. In that one house, we perhaps have, for the first and maybe only time, a meeting of the minds of magnetic attraction that give Pensacola it’s unique history as a collective siren sending out its luridly enticing song to those inflicted by a weakness of will.
Not to suggest that Jim Morrison was a criminal (despite his official record of questionably criminal behavior), but then perhaps neither was Geronimo or Aaron Burr. Not to suggest that Jim Morrison was so mean he could potentially have shot a man just for snoring…but to conceive the idea that the meeting of sperm and ovum that resulted in the Lizard King took place in a house in downtown Pensacola is unintentional situational irony personified. Tens of thousands of residents have probably passed by that house on numerous occasions without having the slightest idea of its potential place in rock and roll history. That alone endow with it the spark of a singular zeitgeist.
Pensacola has enjoyed more than its fair share of notoriety, yet the somewhat infamous possibility that Jim Morrison of the Doors quite literally began life here has gone unnoticed not just by me, but by almost everyone in this town to which I have posited the question: did you know Jim Morrison may have been conceived here? One of the very interesting aspects of this footnote in history is tied to the fact that so many infamous crazed lunatics who have called Pensacola home have taken the concept that life begins at conception to its ultimate length.
Abortion was illegal in this country on the night nine months prior to Morrison’s birth. Debate over whether life begins at conception was all but unknown in the Pensacola in which Morrison’s parents engaged in sexual communion that would result in that birth. About a decade and a half Morrison’s death, Pensacola would become the epicenter of the debate over conception and abortion thanks to the bombing of a clinic on Christmas Day by four young “good Christian kids” and the subsequent murders of two doctors who performed abortions in later years.
The idea that Jim Morrison–the vanguard for the hippie revolution against authority–was conceived by a man whose presence in Pensacola was due only to the express purpose of training him to become a more attuned figure in the ultimate expression of authority–the United States military–is almost too richly ironic to hope for. It is almost the equivalence of the insane babbling of a person trapped inside a fever dream to allow for the realization that it is one beautifully rendered moment of synchronicity. Pensacola was at once the standard bearer of military authority and the location of transmission of full scale rebellion.
The house where Jim Morrison may have been conceived remains standing. And if you’ve got enough money, you just may be able to buy this piece of history.