Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Thoughts Unleashed

Posted February 28, 2008 by jim young in Lifestyle

– by jim young

Let me start by saying that I grew up in the 60s.

Robin Williams once said, “If you remember the 60s – you weren’t there.”

But I remember the 60s my friends. And I WAS there.

(And just as a matter of definition – the 60s did NOT BEGIN in 1960 and they did NOT END in 1969. I’ll leave it up to others to define and debate the exact timeline. That’s not important to me.)

I often wonder today if it really was that first joint I smoked or the first hit of acid I took that caused a chemical reaction in my still developing brain that would ultimately alter my life and my perception of reality forever.

They say that kids get into drugs because they “get involved with the wrong crowd.” But I was fortunate. Yeah, I got into drugs and Yeah, the crowd I hung out with might have been a factor in that; but I have always maintained that I only survived because I “got involved with the right crowd”.

We were a different group. And even in a time that is most often described as liberal, there were still very distinct classes that did not mix. There was my group – incorrectly referred to as “hippies” and then there were the “rednecks” and the “straights”.

The “rednecks” liked to party with beer and whiskey. They didn’t smoke “fags” anymore because that word had recently taken on a new meaning. In the 50s “fags” were cigarettes but by the 60s it had come to mean “homosexual”. The guys were always trying to score with their girlfriends and brag about it later. In fact, more often, they would brag about it later even if they didn’t score with their girlfriends while their single condom continued to work its imprint into their wallet. They didn’t like drugs and they didn’t like hippies. They didn’t actually have an “Easy Rider Rifle Rack” in their pickup trucks – but they wanted one really, really bad.

The “straights” were nice kids. Usually they got straight “A”s in school and when they didn’t they were sometimes driven to bouts of depression over it. They didn’t drink, they didn’t do drugs and the girls were saving their virginity for their wedding night. The guys weren’t above taking their girlfriend’s virginity – but they would never try to coerce her into it. Usually because they had cum in their pants shortly after feeling her up – on top of her sweater.

And then there were us “hippies”. Or sometimes we were called “flower children”. Actually we were somewhere in between. We liked alcohol AND we liked drugs but drugs were usually our preference. Drugs would expand our minds and provide us with new experiences while alcohol just seemed to numb our brains. Besides – drugs were cheaper, easier to conceal when he were hitchhiking – and until they lowered the drinking age from 21 to 18 – they were much easier to get than alcohol.

We didn’t hate the “rednecks” but truth be told – we were a little bit afraid of them. And we just didn’t get the “straights”. They frustrated the hell out of us. For all their straight “A”s and their intelligence – they just couldn’t comprehend the fallacy “that things were – simply because they had always been.” We liked sex too but we weren’t hung up about it. Contrary to popular belief we weren’t all sleeping with each other and having group sex all the time. But if someone wanted to switch partners and everyone was agreeable to it – that was okay. Timothy Leary put it best when he said “Live and let live”.

Somehow – against all odds – at the high school I attended – all three groups came together. Maybe it was because Jupiter was aligned with Mars and it really was the Age of Aquarius. Or maybe it was just a fart in the universe – but we all partied together and we were friends. No group would push their ideals on another group. We would discuss our ideals with them but we never tried to push it.

This was still a few years prior to Shel Silverstein writing “The FBI is dancin’ with the junkies
All the straights, swingin’ with the funkies…” for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. But it did accurately describe our scene.

(As far as I know Shel Silverstein never attended any of our parties so perhaps we weren’t as unique as I thought we were.)

Yes – Danny – one of the rednecks always swore that when he became a cop – if he ever had the chance to do so – he would bust me. I believed him then and I believe today that he would. I didn’t then and still don’t have a problem with that. I just hope we don’t ever have the opportunity to put it to the test.

And yet – somehow – even with such a diverse group – I never really fit in. While I sided with the “hippies” for the most part, I seemed to know where the “rednecks” were coming from and I empathised with the “straights”.

Somewhere along the way – that left me in limbo. Inside, I felt I never really fit into any group. I had my straight friends, some redneck friends (both of whom never really saw outside the box), and then I had my artsy-fartsy friends – as Barry Manilow described them. I understood them all and I agreed with them all. And just as often I disagreed with them all.

And that’s how I arrived at where I am today.

People often suggest that I argue for the sake of arguing. But that’s not true and I find that very hurtful. I never argue. But when someone takes a position on any given subject I am often compelled to suggest that there is at least one opposing point of view.

Wasn’t it Stephen Crane who once wrote:
“If you convince me and I convince you,
Would there not still be two points of view?”

Or on the other hand maybe I just inherited my tendency to be the devil’s advocate from my father. What the fuck do I know?

But I’ll tell you this right up front. “Even I don’t always agree with my opinions.”

– 30 –


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