Occupying Your Hometown. November 6, 2011Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
Tags: BOA, Occupy Amherst, OWS, student apathy, the future
Well OK, Amherst isn’t exactly my “hometown” – it’s an hour’s drive away. But as the scene of my Adventures in Higher Education, and as a place where the Future (read: college kids) lives amongst the Dinosaurs (read: We The Old People,) it still resonates as a nexus of power and a place of potential change. After all, I remember well the activism of the early 70′s and how it changed the general public’s conception of what the United States was actually doing in Viet Nam.
So when I heard that an Occupy action was going to take place at the town’s main intersection, which just happens to be the parking place for one of this country’s Great Big Banks, Bank of America:
I took the first important step by responding to an email invitation, hedging my response against more self-serving temptations like going out looking for photos, by saying that I’d “try” to be there.
And I did make it, albeit a bit late. Good thing I hadn’t committed to setting the thing up, but BOOOO on me for not being there to help.
Now, being late, I sorta expected to drive into a scene of some hundreds of college folks making a lot of noise, fueled perhaps by their understanding of their dwindling prospects as the wealth and opportunities of This Great Nation settle comfortably into the pockets of the Already Wealthy.
But instead, I saw a group of activists of my own general vintage:
…and while it was gratifying to connect with those I spoke with as the Action proceeded, I have to admit that it was a bit deflating to see ABSOLUTELY NO ONE from the college community.
I mean, it would have been inconceivable in 1970 to see the Greatest Generation out there protesting the Viet Nam war, alone, without student support.
This may be the best argument ever for reinstating the draft – I can’t help wondering how different the demographics of this gathering would be if those who benefit from our Corporate Hegemony were called on to put their lives where their line of credit now sits. For the hour I spent mingling and offering “Thank You’s” to these folks, Our Future brushed past in tight pants and sexy boots, Mall-ward bound and thinking about less weighty things than their own futures.
As if there were such a thing.
I spoke with a couple of people who seemed to be positioned at the base of this action, for which I can’t possibly thank them enough. They were all of the mind that Occupy Amherst’s action hadn’t been adequately linked to the broader Occupy movement, and that if I wanted to see young people gettin’ jiggy wit it, I ought to check out neighboring Northampton’s regular Occupy events.
I’m totally inclined to do that. I need to know that The Future I’m fighting for cares enough about the outcome of this battle to stand and fight for themselves.
This isn’t just an intellectual distinction. If young people can’t be convinced of the dangers of the Bread and Circus they’re now being served, we’re not going to make it. We The Vocal are getting older, losing our voices, and destined to settler into the rhythms of a life spent trying to keep our greying heads above the rising tides of income inequality and the concentration of wealth in the hands of people we’ll never know.
And this kind of “sustenance existence” isn’t conducive to worrying about others. We’ll have our hands full just staying warm in winter.
So come on, kids – show us you’re not just riding the wave of prosperity generated by the the coordinated movements of your parents’ shoulders. We paid it forward with the expectation that the ball would be picked up and moved down-field by YOU.
I hope that challenge is taken personally, though I doubt if many from the Next Great Generation will read this.
Meanwhile, I’ll pray that you prove me wrong.
The Beginning Of A Great Adventure January 4, 2008Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
Tags: shoulder, surgery, the future
So. Life Is Good.
But it’s complicated, too.
I’ve had it pretty good for the last fifty-four years. I’ve worked hard, played harder, bummed around the country, climbed mountains in just about every state which has them, had a loving wife, raised two beautiful daughters of whom I couldn’t possibly be more proud, and dodged many of life’s bullets, even when my own careless actions could have put the target boldly between my eyes.
Thank You, Mother Earth. Thank You, Father Sky!
But nothing is ever free, nor should it be. And while my life has been good, lots of people have been carrying heavy loads. And many of them haven’t gotten to travel around the country or hang loose in the desert or sleep under the stars on an un-named peak.
So the Wheel turns, and it’s my turn.
Seems my left shoulder needs work. Surgical work.
Like a LOT of surgical work. With a couple of weeks of serious unpleasantness, followed by a couple of months of being one-armed, and a year of “recovery,” culminating, as I understand it, in a not-insignificant chance that it won’t be worse than it is now.
That is to say, I may be able to lift my elbow off my side, a year from now, if I get lucky and do everything right.
Not exactly the prognosis I had hoped for, but you know, we don’t always get to make those calls, do we?
Not to fear though (leave that to me!) I’ve been counted out before, and I’m still here. I shattered my forearm in 2005 and was told I’d be out of work for six months and would never climb again; I took the rest of the week off and was back to climbing in two months.
Admittedly, this is different – I have one of the country’s top surgeons on my case, and he looked pretty discouraged as he gave me the news.
But he doesn’t really know me, so I’m not totally buying it. I’m a rasty little bastard, and I’m gonna fight like a rabid chihuahua to get back to good.
Wish me luck.
Meanwhile, as Lou Reed (remember The Velvet Underpants?) said, “It’s The Beginning of a Great Adventure!”
Yesterday I drove my five-speed stick shift around all day with one hand. Steer with the knees, shift while you’re going straight. Takes a bit of planning, but it’s not magic. Learned that trick back when i was a joint-rolling hippy. “Look Ma, no hands! “
And shoveling snow? Done it. Saturday. Took a bit longer, but hey. I’m young, right? Right??
Oh, and for a real hoot, time yourself tying your shoes with one hand. Best effort so far: both shoes, one minute flat. I’m sure that will suck when I’m late for work, but fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke!
Then there’s the Alternate Solution: Ctrl+Alt+Del had me bummin’ ’till I noticed the right-hand Ctrl – voila! Like magic! I just needed to look a little harder.
But the real Bottom Line is, I’m nowhere near throwing in the towel. I intend to be able to tuck my shirt in again, and I intend to be able to get a glass down out of the kitchen cabinet again, and I intend to climb again.
And while I’m working toward those things, I have a lot of other things I’ll be working on. Like photography. Like writing. Like learning to read again. All those things my Type-A hyper personality hasn’t let me do for the last fifty years.
So if you notice I’ve been absent for a while, it’s ’cause I’m in an opiated coma. Consider it a blessing.
And if you notice I’m back and I sound like I’m drooling, it’s ’cause I am.
But don’t count me out, and keep checking back every once in a while, because people, I like you too much to stay away, and I like me too much to stay down.
With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I might even come out of this a better person, broader, stronger and In Sh’Allah, wiser.
Hey, I can Dream, can’t I?
It’s the beginning Of A Great Adventure.