...but this morning I was looking out the window at work and there's some Old Dude around my age trudging down the sidewalk, his earbuds ensconsed, hands jammed in quilted vest pockets, eyes focused clear and unafraid straight ahead and his mind is clearly focused on whatever the hell it is he's gotta face.
I had to wonder what was playing in those earbuds. When we lived in Southern California for a coupla years recently, I'd walk to work nearly every day and crank whatever fit the mood. The range stretched from The Beach Boys to Mana to whatever, but it was always for purely recreational purposes. The beat extended a stride, improved the cardio, reduced the boredom and made a good day even better.
...but it's stopped being recreational anymore. It's either to reinforce or as a defense mechanism. And things are happening so fast, we can't decide (to borrow a phrase from my dad) whether to shit or go blind.
For a brief while a few years ago, I contributed regularly to The Huffington Post. Given events since this past Jan. 20th, I thought I'd go back to it. I drew up a piece, complete with all kinds of hyperlinks, two weeks ago. The usual process is write a piece on Day One, it's edited on Day Two and published on Day Three. But it didn't happen this time because the relevence of my piece had vanished within three hours of its submission -- not because what I wrote had inaccuracies but because the bizarreness I'd written about had been superceded by even more weird, outrageous and wrongheaded events than I'd cited. Literally, my noontime observations of incivility and untruth were (rightfully) cast aside as not extreme enough before 4pm.
So here we are. I don't spend much time with earbuds these days, mainly because we've developed a day-to-day that's very pleasant, reinforcing and uplifting. We're surrounded by good, supportive friends and family. Our life is so sweet and good in so many ways right now. But that's only for our limited, personal and selfish outlook.
Without earbuds, every day and virtually every hour, my mind hears Bob Dylan. Woody Guthrie. Pete Seeger. Stephen Stills. Paul Simon. Joan Baez. Tish Hinojosa. David Crosby. Their words and music are disturbing, discomforting and, these days, very, very accurate. Demons we fought two and three generations ago are these days reincarnated, strengthened and bolstered by the blind and ignorant. It's only fitting music equally as old be brought to bear, since it won out before.
My g-g-generation has produced three presidents -- the current 70-year-old toddler, the dullwitted frat boy and the well-liked but inveterate womanizer who gave us private prisons and welfare "reform" - and the latter is by far the best of the lot. Hell of a legacy from the "Greatest" Generation (don't get me started). The sad thing is Gens X and Y are sucking wind and the Millennials are simply underwhelmed by politics and who can fucking blame them?
But I refuse, dammit. I refuse to stand down. I'm getting older, but this gives me something of a license Be A Dick if need be. And, despite the politically flatulent reputation of too many of my contemporaries lately, I will not retreat from our original goals of inclusion, empowerment and common brotherhood.
Resist. Every. Fucking. Day. Resist.