21 October 2012

The Are Worse Things Than Run On Sentences

I gave a talk on the 1960s a few days ago. It was called: The 1960s, The Music, The Protests and Me. I felt good about it. I felt energized. I felt that I lived in a magical time in a magical place and seen amazing things happen. I'd seen hippies, the National Guard, tear gas canisters, the world through LSD. I'd heard anti war chants. Beatles records on vinyl that I bought new for $3. I felt excited and hopeful and like all things were possible. I felt there was a chance to change everything. I grew to be disappointed that only some things were changed. I grew to appreciate that which did change. I grew angry and cynical and morose. I grew out of that to wax nostalgic and to re-visit Joplin and Hendrix and Neil Young and The Who.

I saw Watergate and said: that figures. I saw Vietnam end and said: it's about time. I saw Reagan elected president and said: oh no. I saw disco come and go and said: dance, dance dance the night away. I saw an end to my own over indulging and said: thank you.  I saw my children born and said: this is fantastic. I saw the U.S. invade Iraq and said: here we go again. I saw a middle school classroom for 18 years and said many many things. Now I see how things have been and understand some and not others. I am glad to be able to remember what I do and wish that I could have been a better passenger for the first decades of my trip through life. I learned to accept what I cannot change and not have regrets not have resentments and to try to be honest at all times in all things. I learned there are worse things than run on sentences.

I gave a talk on the 60's a few days ago. The Beatles were singing, people tripping, soldiers dying (when, oh when, don't they?) and a helicopter flew over my head pouring tear gas on us. I was in high school, cut class and headed for the demonstrations on the Cal campus. On the way through campus large men in bright blue uniforms in full riot gear hid behind shrubbery, they were as obvious as the sand in a desert. We chanted, we yelled, we exercised the U.S. Constitution. Gave that mother a good work out. Then a helicopter appeared with the white clouds flowing out of unto us. An indelible moment in a young man's life. Lo these many years later the sound of a helicopter has a special meaning to me and not a pleasant one.

We ran.

I escaped the clutches of arresting officers and made my way back to school, the day's lesson learned on a college campus.

I spoke of this the other day. I spoke of Woodstock, Altamont, the Domino Theory, Nixon, Johnson and the Haight Ashbury. I write of it now. I write of belief. So powerful to have a belief system and values. A code we live by and up to and with and never ever -- if we can -- ignore. If we fulfill our duties to ourselves we are doing all around us a favor. The Sixties formed me and gave me backdrop and a sense of what is important --- crazy crazy ideas like peace and love. And brotherhood and sisterhood and true equality and not tolerance but respect and holding your truths to be self evident and not in need of facelifts. We who we are have us to become and to value and to hold dear and be and we be as we are this. This. Ourselves.

We are who we were.

I was young and smart and idealistic. I have a past to live up to.

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