Thursday, October 23, 2008

Psychedelic Kid Fodder

I was thinking the other night, when my daughter and I were sitting on the couch enjoying our evening, watching the movie "Across the Universe", a whimsimusical about the late 60's, love, war, music, free spirit. It was a pretty good movie, great Beatles stuff and period music performed by actors in the movie. Rent it today, yo-- --there was reference to the war in Vietnam and all of the "recreational's" of the culture back then, college students partying, passionately striking out in radical manor at the government, images of violence and anarchy over our counties involvement in the war. There were protests, riots, even Detroit burned. There were marches and spirited involvement by young and old everywhere, protesters, draft dodgers. There was an "acid" scene too. I asked Natalie upon some confusing imagery: "Wtf, are those people trippin?" (It just came out that way) and she replied: "well duh...???"

So, I guess I am OK discussing this stuff with her--some of the crazy things from my past, our past, our culture, the stuff that, because of my age and "demog", I struggle to remember and shudder to think I was even a part of. During the sixties I was younger than the college age kids portrayed in the movie. And to be honest, the hard core psychedelic generation skipped me over--a good thing. Granted, there was the occasional "acid head" kid back in school that would get people talking. The "deep thinkers" who actually did pretty well with grades but on weekends got down and dirty at "basement central" with the brain candy: the blotter and purple microdot thing. I remember seeing the stuff from time to time, never really caring much for frying the noggin that way. Not without a native American guide eh? I had a hard enough time getting my ass off to school/work to toss much brain matter out the window of an eight hour journey to Lucy.

Unfortunately my cousin did a bunch of that stuff and remains mentally disabled to this day from an overdose on LSD at age 15, so says his father whom I saw at a funeral recently. The last time I saw Randy was in 1991. He had just gotten he and his mother (with whom he was dependent on) evicted from their apartment in Las Vegas. Randy apparently wouldn't stop jumping on the bed one night...he was 35 years old. I suppose I can share this information with my kid now.

There were others whom I knew of that did that stuff too. Two of which are Doctors, one is a Professor of (of all things) philosophy in a university nearby. Yes, I escaped those things for the most part. In part to find my way to this computer, or on the couch next to my kid with a little less than half the comfort neccesary to explain what it might mean to her.

You know, (and I don't mean this in a bad way), my parents were a little whacko back in the 70’s. They weren't the psychedelic generation. More like the "Love American Style" generation living right next door to the "Beaver Cleaver" generation, it was either/or for these people: straight, or way over the top. Tacky stuff these trendsetters were involved in, they with their leisure suits, the brown liquor and the music...this likely explains our (my demog's) poor behavior in the 80's, that which most people my age, ahem, fordyish, can relate. I am skipping over this, wiping away the disco years, the urban cowboy thing, the Funkadelic…fast-forward straight to punk. Yes, punk was good-er. Moving on.

My kid doesn’t hesitate to ask about the culture back then, finds some of it interesting--some of the deep topics that parents don’t often reveal to their children. I “up” some reality every now and then. But even though I wonder if I should, I pretty much trust her to process the information in the same fashion that she proccesses influence at school or out on the street (internet). I would rather her form opinion on her fathers choices and evaluate the resulting outcome rather than embark on and live through some things unnecessary (especially some of the ugliness).

And she has to trust my assessment whether I tell her all of it or not—a positive and/or negative perception of the way that things were--what things meant back then and what they mean now—after all, she is the one who has what's yet to come, a journey navigated through her own "garden of forking paths". She who will someday shoulder the responsibility, to interpret meaning from her own experience and pass on the influence to others--her own kid someday.

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