Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship...one of thousands of song snippets that filter through my mind as memories collide one with another fighting for a stolen moment, once again to be in the limelight as part of a story shared, tales of youth being told around a campfire, or perhaps over beers as we wait our turn at the dart board. Oh to know what I know now and go back again and start all over...youth is wasted on the youth until the young grow old and look back on the remarkable lives we lived so many years before.
Free spirits, that's what we were, the original Indigo Kids before someone coined the term, Bohemians in training without a clue that we were in school. We knew we were different early on, sitting upstairs in the attic bedroom, black light posters of Santana and Hendrix lighting up the night, Janis wailing sullenly because our parents had gone out with friends; would not be back home until around one in the AM. Remember Uriah Heep, King Crimson's Court of the Crimson King, a nickel bag four fingers tall costing you five bucks, and a bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry wine was a dollar ninety eight.
Midnight saw us leaving a note on the kitchen table telling Mom and Dad we'd gone over Johnny's house, we'd stop by his home on the way to the dam to leave a note saying he was at Tim's place so that no one would worry about where we'd gone. A Panasonic eight track, our music, party supplies and a dime with which to call home and we were ready to go, thinking nothing of the 12 mile bike ride that laid ahead.
The girls usually drove, would have a camp fire burning when we arrived, had the foresight to bring foodstuffs, and some towels for drying off after everyone went skinny dipping in the cold pool that had been dug over a hundred years down at the base of the dam.
The police knew we were there and left us alone knowing we weren't out to cause trouble were not hurting anyone with our small fire, in taking a swim. Occasionally they'd stop by to check up on us, their flashlights giving their presence away long before they arrived. We'd turn the music down, sometimes cover up and then wave as they came into sight.
"Everything all right?"
"Yes officer, just enjoying the stars, and taking a swim."
"You kids behave yourselves, we have to get back to our rounds."
"Good night officers."
Live and let live. They knew what we were doing, knew we had bottles of Boone's Farm that had been hastily pushed under the closest blanket, that our joints had been quickly hidden out of sight. We wrote poetry and talked about peace, love and cosmic revelations we'd had while listening to the Moody Blues while tripping on acid or coming down into mellow land as we took another Quaalude...how many remember 714's or Christmas Trees. The Dead Poets Society long before Robin Williams became a household name.
No one saw us as college material, though in certain subjects we all were at the top of our class. I took the SAT one Saturday morning while peaking, mesmerized at my perfectly sharpened fist full of brand new number two pencils, most of them less than 4 inches in length from a overnight sharpening vigil while listening to Helter Skelter and the rest of the White Album, smoking Blond Lebanese Hash provided by my friends...I know what you are thinking, but I ended up ranking in the upper five percentile nationwide.
Planet earth is through and there's nothing we can do...God, looking back it seems strange to realize we made that first Earth Day happen, created the Ecology flag, and now some 30 years later the world is just waking up to the reality of Global Warming. As the Moody Blues would say or was that Pink Floyd?... "Is there anybody out there, out there." We wore old faded blue jeans, patches sewn over patches, each one with a special meaning to those who were in the know. We were a world within a world, a perfect utopian dream breathed into life by a few souls who happened to believe there was a better way to make it in this world.
Tricky Dick ran for a second term, we tried to warn everyone to, "Just Say No". I still remember the campaign slogan our parents would wince at, "Don't change dicks in the middle of a screw, vote for Nixon in 72." We wanted to plug into the system, acted as volunteers for George McGovern, actually believing he had a chance. Watergate proved us right, but no one seemed to care. Perhaps that singular event changed us more than we could ever know, in McGovern's defeat, watching as Nixon resigned in shame disenfranchised us, made us in some ways the lost generation, the young Boomers that never quite figured out how to fit in and become a part of the system, figure out how to mainstream the ideas we'd had in our dreams.
It's odd all these years later to see mainstream journalists writing articles with titles like, "The Hippy's Were Right After All". Our dreams, our visions now being touted as the Green Economy, Al Gore winning a Nobel Peace prize about something we had written poems about decades before, but then let's not forget he invented the internet too. Who knows, maybe he is one of us, and old stoner that learned how to fit in...if you think about it, Tipper looks like she's rolled a few, spent a few nights sitting around the campfire joined in song as someone played a guitar or shook a tambourine. "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man play a song for me"...losing track of the lyrics we'd end up singing about Mr. Bo Jangles and slide right into a rousing rendition of Arlo Guthrie's, "City of New Orleans" that was originally done by Steve Goodman.
40 years after I smoked my first joint, rolled up a big old dubbie and took a puff people are still being imprisoned for smoking and selling pot, a whole generation shamed into keeping their stories of youth hidden away. Legalize the stuff and get over yourselves already. Is there anyone that really believes smoking pot is any different than sitting around in some bar slamming down Martini's with exotic names at ten dollars a piece and then getting in your car to go home and take care of the kids...can any one spell H Y P O C R I T E ? The more life changes the more it stays the same, close friends suggesting maybe I should cut my hair and dress my age. Here's a clue, throw away your cell phones, and stop buying your children games that teach them to kill, instill in them a belief that human life is expendable. PEACE MAN, and KEEP THE FAITH.
Hillary Clinton's book, "It Takes A Village" was met with rave reviews, yet our attempts at communal living were always shut down, usually with the police using some level of force to chase us off our land and out of town. We grew up, got older, and many of our numbers headed in a different direction becoming the Yuppies that drove the 80's and 90's generation of self satisfaction and loathing, giving birth to children they could put on Ritalin to keep them from being who they are.
First Man: I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.
Establishment: Of course you are my bright little star,
Pretty files of your forefather's fruit
and now to suit our great computer,
You're magnetic ink.
First Man: I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.
Inner Man: There you go man, keep as cool as you can.
It riles them to believe
that you perceive
the web they weave
And keep on thinking free.
For those wondering, Moody Blues lyrics from, "In The Beginning".
People think I am boasting when I say our generation lived through the greatest period the music industry has ever known, but it is true. We had our parents music from the 50's, and the cross over stars like James Brown, the whole Motown Sound, and lets not forget what changed the world, that old time Rock and Roll. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Roy Orbison teaching us about love gone bad. As the Vietnam War was ending, stars like the O Jay's began to change and the times changed with them. When a man loves a woman...sing it Percy.
The lost generation, yet we have been here all along. We are the grassroots that has been there quietly preaching our message, taking up causes that no one else had time for, or chose to ignore. We were the dream walkers to stubborn to walk away. Indigo children, hippy freaks, tree hugging fools...pick your label, we've been them all and a few that have yet to be named. We are the elders without the respect, we are the wise men (and women) still walking out in the desert searching for the blind man, or perhaps the fool on the hill who sees the sun coming up. Nowhere man please listen, and if the song is right, isn't he a bit like you and me?
Ride Captain ride, and the world comes fool circle again. In 1969 we had Apollo landing on the moon, and now with it almost 2009 we have a long haired Billionaire, one Lord Branson flying his Virgin Airlines, with plans to run the world's first commercial space flight service...any one want to bet that man has done a bong hit or two? Here's a wake up call...Bio fuel the way it is being done will not work, and if we travel down the nuclear highway far enough it will kill you and most of everyone else. Someone should call up the DOE and tell them the cat's out of the bag. Let out the battery technology you have been suppressing, and bring us the Electric Car...anyone wondered why the most famous electric sports car is called the Tesla?
Feel right now like someone should put on Tubular Bells...not the side with the theme song from the Exorcist on it, but side two...GOD, I miss my LP's. Album covers were works of art, the albums themselves handled with reverence, ever vigilant that one scratch could ruin your favorite song. The IPOD is a wondrous magic box, but have to wonder if it is not marginalizing music, devaluing the experience and sharing in joining together for a night of song. There is no protocol with an IPOD, no chance for romance, the stolen kiss you find in going through your wooden fruit boxes, pulling out some of your favorite Vinyl's from so long ago, admiring the covers, recalling a concert from the days of your youth.
"I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told"...Simon and Garfunkel from their album, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest"...I'd figure out how to raise a million bucks if the Republicans played that as George W. Bush takes the stage at this years Republican National Convention. "Oh Behave!" I can hear Mike Myers now, followed closely by the Church Lady with her renown, "Well isn't that SPECIAL."
Vietnam, Iraq War, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Will Obama be this year's George McGovern? Stay tuned, same bat channel, same bat time. Will the Democrats snatch defeat from victory, give the White House to John McSame, and the Supreme Court to the Evangelicals of the Radical Right Wing? Don't answer that, I don't want to know. Someone stop the world I want to get off.
Bye bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry...as Red Skelton would say, Good Night and God Bless. Hope you have enjoyed a small slice of my world, a glimpse of your own from the eyes of the Green Cosmic Rabbit.