Thursday, July 2, 2009
The Fall of the Young Dynasty
Ah, sweet bird of youth...it has flown. And it seems it has flown right into an on-coming car windshield smashing itself to bits on the hard glass of history. I was one of the Emperors of the Young Dynasty. I was a young man who thought that no one over thirty could be trusted. I felt I should die before I got old, as the Who sang to My G-gg-generation. The Sixties was MY Generation. I am the tail end of the Baby Boomers. I bid the old farts of the world to stop trying to understand us or change us or rearrange our lives as they wanted them to be. I was a young Turk, a young rebel. I voted Socialist Worker's party when the Eighteen Year Old vote was enacted. do you think I give a crap if some Republican dick says Socialism is bad? I was rubbing that in their faces in 1969! I marched in the first Peace Marches in Chicago when I was twelve and thirteen. I was at the first Earth Day Rally in 1972. I was recycling before there was anywhere to put recycled garbage. I was the last of the Hippies. I was at the Great Yippie Rainbow Reunion. I was Forever Young.
I wanted to change the world, to bury the old farts in their old shitty world and create a fresh, new, radical one where people were totally free to express themselves, to love one another, to associate with other races, to take into consideration the brainpower and intelligence of other species. The world was supposed to be a harmonious whole. A Whole Earth from which all of our needs could be met. (Anyone remember the Whole Earth Catalog)? I was into everything young, Yoga, Buddhist chanting, LSD, Meditation, and Self Searching. I wanted to explore the entire universe and not let one thing slip through my grasp.
At 54 years old, so much has slipped through my grasp I can hardly believe it. I have come away with a few tiny grains of quartz from the endless beach which is life. And all they do is get in my hair and under my clothes and cause me to itch. The hourglass has turned over and over and hour after hour passes by and my DNA corrodes, my pancreas stops producing insulin, my testes stop producing testosterone, my hair gets thinner, whiter and disappears. My ear hair and nose hair grows like tiny worthless weeds. My eyebrows get wiry and stiff and bushy. I grow hair everywhere in abundance except on my head. My bones ache. My muscles ache. My eyes no longer work as well as they once did when I could see near microscopic details no one else could see. As all this happens I look around bleary eyes at my world and wonder; "What happened to youth?"
The Youth Culture has died. All the innovative and wild things we did back then, are simply being "remixed" and sold by various youth oriented corporations, to young people who are no longer young at heart at all. I don't see young people happily playing and exploring anymore. They seem to be scared and tired. Afraid they won't get their piece of the pie. Or so extremely enraged at the possibility of there being a pie at all that they need to get a piece of, that they rage against anything that vaguely resembles a machine...yet they still wear the stylish fashions which vendors come up with to entice them and magazine pander to them through glossy multi thousand dollar ad campaigns. The machine they are raging against is eating them alive and grinding their bones into dollar bills. A sort of currency which is becoming less and less valuable as the days go by.
I realized the end of the Youth Culture was sounding when I entered my first Gap store in 1971. The bell bottom jeans which were once so hard to find that it caused many actually made their own, were there in their thousands, lined up like little soldiers on the shelves of a nice, clean store with all sorts of "psychedelic" posters around to make kids feel like this was their place. Except it wasn't. It was Corporate America's attempt to corner the Youth Market. We had become not people, but a market. We were a demographic, a statistical probability in an economic indicator. We were no longer Young People. We were young numbers. And we were going to be crunched. Because crunching numbers is how you get those dollars.
Now I, who once wanted to die before Forty so I would never experience old age, cling like a butterfly to a willow branch in a thunderstorm, hanging on for dear dear life. I don't want to die. I don't want to be old. I can't bear to watch all my idols and gods become old men, crippled up with arthritis and diabetes and killed off by cancer like poor Farrah Fawcett. Even Michael Jackson had become old before his time. He burned out his youth in a fatal series of face-lifts, skin grafts, shots, oxygen therapy...(Uhm, by the way oxygen OXIDIZES things. Which ages them. It doesn't make you younger. You might feel better for awhile. But pure oxygen will wear you out,just like Speed). I am only four years older than Michael. And he just keeled over. Another friend of mine from high school keeled over too, from a massive stroke. Just like that. Boom. He is recovering though, slowly. He too is clinging. We are all clinging as the shitstorm's velocity increases by degrees with a ruptured economy bleeding money. Our economy just had a stroke. And it's causing the whole country to become slightly deranged. Some idiots on CNN a few nights ago called upon Osama Bin Laden to PLEASE come and bomb us, so we could become more violent and therefore more safe! People are saying things publicly now that sound like rank schizophrenic ranting. On LSD I was a hundred percent more lucid than these fear-mongering, un-educated Republican Morons.
Of course there's health issues. All of us have them. But My Ggggggggeneration is now getting to Social Security and Medicare age. There are more of us than anyone else! Were were young and we didn't know but we wouldn't find out until we grew. Old Age is a Bitch! It's worse than death because it's like watching death coming for you and like in a bad dream, you cannot get out of its way. You can't run. You can't hide. My Generation is Old. The Young Dynasty has come to an ignominious end. We didn't do anything we set out to do. The world is not coming together over me. Love wasn't all we needed. The commune-ists and the people who went to the love-ins, be-ins, sit-ins, are now lonely shut-ins. FreeWheelin' Frank is now in a wheelchair. Heads are now popping Prozac and injecting insulin. And all around me no one even remembers where all this Green Earth and Save the Whales and Have A Nice Day Holistic World Vison even came from. They think it just blossomed somewhere in the dark like a mushroom. Hey, kids! WE DID THAT! Now get a move on and do something yourselves! Throw away your goddamned twittering Blackberries and listen to the Beatle's Black Bird. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. The Sweet Bird of Youth is still YOURS to become! Start recreating the world in the image you think it should be. For God's Sake, Don't Worry! Be Happy! And take a lesson from the Younger Generation, don't abandon your values and your ideals just because you get older. Don't give up because a bunch of old fogeys tell you it cannot be done! It can be done. And if my generation had brought its power to bear as it became older, we would have changed the world; instead by hating old age we cut off our own noses to spite our faces. It can still be done. A new Dynasty, not of the Young, but of the Determined can be raised up from the ashes of the Youth Culture. Just remember, you're gonna get old. And that's o.k. It's not so bad as I made it sound. And it could be made better if you concentrate on it now. Instead of sitting around worrying about the end of the world, as my generation did, think about starting the world over again. Think of it as souping up an old jalopy...er, I mean pimping an illin' ride, yo. Just Do It! Save the Planet. Believe me, you'll miss the Polar Bears, Monarch Butterflies and glaciers. You'll be sorry to see this sorry old world go away. It's up to you now. Go for it.
Posted by Whisperindave at 8:28 PM 1 comments
Labels: Baby Boomers, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Old Age, Youth, Youth Culture