Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Wasn't Born To Follow

It is a wonderfully cool evening. Later in the summer we will wish for such coolness. Across the street my neighbor is planting flowers and banana plants whose beauty I will soon enjoy when I look at my window. The sun has set and my neighborhood is filled with peacefulness. Around the corner in the kitchen a small amount of coffee is brewing. It contains just enough caffeine to keep me alert the rest of the evening until it is bed time. I am starting to read a new book by Tom Brokaw called "Boom! Voices of the Sixties". The book is his personal reflections of the 60's and today. Brokaw also wrote an excellent book about my parents generation called "The Greatest Generation". I am anxious to see how my generation is remembered in his book. It has been quite a ride so far being a Baby Boomer. I felt like a Baby Boomer/Easy Rider on the way home yesterday. I was alone and I was jamming to the soundtrack of a 60's movie called "Easy Rider". It was a beautiful day and I was driving down the highway. Blaring out of my speakers were songs like "Born to be Wild" and "Wasn't Born to Follow". When I was in my late teens such songs were anthems. Of course, I am no longer a teenager. I am a 57 year old Pa Paw who gets stiff if he sits in the same position too long. I can no longer stand up for an entire rock concert. I am not as openly rebellious as I once was but I still like breaking the rules. I think it's still true that I wasn't born to follow. Of course, when you are rebellious it doesn't mean you are against everything. I cooperate with many things that I consider good. What I am rebellious against are stupid and meaningless things. The world is full of both. If I ever run for president my campaign slogan might be "Freedom from Stupidity and Meaningless Things". Freedom of all kinds is important to everyone. The joy of freedom is why I like a day off from work. A week of vacation can seem like a blank check for freedom. We make ourselves crazy thinking of ways to spend it. Sometimes when I go visit my Dad in the nursing home I am inspired by some of the residents. Certainly there are some that make me sad and they bring tears to my eyes. There are others, however, who seem to wake up everyday planning their escape. My mother in law routinely says that she's leaving her assisted living home and "getting her own place". She also threatens to "call a cab, go to Mike and Denise's house, and take my car back". We have her in one of the nicest places in town with the best room and she still dreams of getting her freedom back. Sometimes one or two of the residents where my Dad lives sit near the exit and try to figure out the coded password to open the door. Occasionally I fantasize about being a Pied Piper and leading all of them to their freedom. If you ever see a middle aged hippie, who can't really dance very well, leading a procession of wheelchairs and walkers down the highway, you'll know I have finally lost it.

Consciousness is that annoying time between naps.
-Unknown author but sent to me by a friend who knows me well

Enlightenment is what happens when someone turns on the light while I am taking a nap.
-Michael Brown

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