Tuesday, August 14, 2007

gone native part 1

i grew up in the 60s and 70s. (yes, i am that old. and i love it!) i was a kid just when the western world shifted and a series of cultural revolutions changed everything. gender roles. attitudes about sexuality. skin color. disability. music. hair. clothing. morality. sometimes i think it's no wonder that the people in america in their 40s and 50s aren't all crazy. no, i mean, really crazy. it is hard to grow up during a war - or, in our case, lots of wars in our country all at once.
i had a crew cut in first grade. we all did. by fourth grade i had hair in my eyes.
we went from listening to "the sound of music" to simon and garfunkel.
i remember my parents walking in after seeing "the godfather"; they looked like aliens had landed and hit them in the head. the increasing violence and sexuality of cinema were overwhelming.
these may not seem like big shifts, but they were earthquakes at the time, for nice families in the suburbs.
my upbringing had been based in being a good boy. grow up to be a good man. "good" was defined as "successful." that was how my parents' and grandparents' world defined a good man: stable, successful, well-behaved, clean-cut, respectful, churchgoing.
but i wanted to be a hippie. i went from the beatles to crosby stills nash & young to jimi hendrix. and then it was all over.
the voices in my head kept telling me to be good, so i was. i did well in school, was class presidentl, didn't smoke or drink, was a pleasant young man.
but i had been infected.
and since young man disease is all about pushing away from what a young man - or woman - is afraid of becoming (see luke and darth), i decided in high school to make some Bs - or even Cs. my friends and i (all student council, band, choir - fine young men, seriously) dipped snuff and drank lone star longnecks. i got drunk. threw up. told my mother No. didn't clean my room. i went off to college and had sex. (okay, not much, but still.) drank more beer. smoked a little weed. played hooky. made more Cs. didn't give a shit. it felt good. didn't do laundry for months. slept late. was not class president.
it was good for me. it made me feel strong. i didn't want to be a good boy anymore, and dammit i didn't have to.
all along, a voice kept telling me, You're going to fail. you're going to ruin your life. you're fucking up big time.
i didn't know whether it was the voice of old ladies with beehive hairdos who thought elvis was the devil, voices in my head that were still trying to keep the world from changing ... or whether it was jiminy cricket, a true conscience, trying to help me find my way.

next: part 2, welcome shadow.


writeright007 said...

i cannot help but think of "Greater Tuna Texas the 3rd smallest town in Texas"....the play that Mr. Sears and Mr. Williams plays all the different characters in the town.

check out Greatertuna.com

i am pretty sure you have seen these they are home based in austin. every thing you have said is portrayed in those plays.
I love watching them.and yes they have the ladies with the beehive hairdo's
( after watching Tuna Christmas my family and I sneaked back stage when they were here a couple of years ago and met them. what two great guys and actors. that was an amazing sneak effort. annie knew sign language their were some deaf folks in the audience after she could see their interpretor at the stage door. signing... to the guard. well annie went up to the door started signing she had a sister that was with us who was disabled and signed and she was signing to the guard while talking and he couldn't quite figure out how we fit in with the deaf people. but he let us in... and they took us back stage saw all the props and wigs , clothes etc..
and down stairs to the dressing rooms. they were such gracious men. so fun and so thoughtful. oh yeah... good stuff fond memories.

know wonder you felt like going off to let go for a while. discover for yourself who you were and what was important. be it all through several not so good choices. ah ha we know it has a good ending to that chapter.

what made you think of these things today? just writing and not editing your thoughts today?

my oldest turned 31 today Whoa ponies. i was 35 when I took writing classes from you.
thats what your thoughts made me think of today!


revrin rick said...

i don't know WHAT got into me this morning to make me think about telling this story today, but it has a 2nd part. maybe a third part. we'll see.

Joe said...

Damn son ... you make yourself sound so, so ... well, so normal.

So am I. (shhhh ... it's our little secret). Only God and the universe know about it.