You guys know “Young&Twenty”?
It’s gotten to the point that when I wake up in the morning, I no longer immediately check out “Huffington Post”.
I’ll go check out what the current incarnation of Ol’ Jules or Y&T or a hopefully bright-eyed Mandi or Dohn or a few others of you have to say for yourselves.
Then I’ll worry about checking out the sad state of affairs of my Fantasy Baseball League team (“Los Cialistos”) or the rest of the world
That link up top here is to her most recent post. Check it out, then come on back here.
So these thoughts came to my mind.
Hey there, kid.
Funny you should mention this.
Back when I was roughly your age, I was in the middle of extensive research on this subject.
My feeling has always been that no matter how ugly and catastrophic some of one’s actions in life might be, as long as you learn something from them, you may properly classify them as “research”. Otherwise, they’re to be rightfully categorized as “fuck-ups”, eh?
There are very few things that are actually easier when you’re drunk:
1) getting pulled over by the cops three blocks away from the middle of nowhere;
2) doing karaoke to that damned Celine Dion song from “Titanic”;
3) voiding your bladder in your sleep;
4) similarly evacuating your bowels;
5) entering wet t-shirt contests, and God bless each and every one of you who were justified in doing so, The rest of you need to stop drinking immediately;
6) hiding the pain as opposed to easing it;
among others, but most notably…
7) just plain not giving a shit.
There is something to be said for Number 7, and some of you young ladies might want to give serious consideration to Number 5.
Thank you in advance on behalf of frat boys around the world.
As far as not giving a shit, there is a veritable plethora of things we really, truly should not have to give a shit about.
Like we folks south of the border:
my wife and I should not have to give a shit about the thousands of dollars it might cost us so she can have the back surgery that will make it possible for her to walk more than fifty feet at a time without sitting on the stool built in to her walker. And to be able to do it up in the hills. Or down on the beach, hunting for sand dollars with our grandson.
Or to be able to sit in a car long enough to visit our grandson.
In some less prosperous yet far more civilized and compassionate countries around the world, people don’t have to give a shit about such things.
Yet we do because it would brutalize the national coffers leaving us less money to invade Iraq or Syria or Whathefuckistan.
We should also not have to give a shit about global warming and the satellite pictures of Greenland actually rendering its image in green, nor about the rain forests or the cross-continent pipelines.
In those examples, “not giving a shit” means “not worrying about”, and sometimes we must give more than just a routine shit.
Then there are times when “not giving a shit” figuratively means “not giving a shit”.
Kimye, Bieber, the sexual proclivities of some catty bitch we have to work with, political squabbles in countries most of us have never heard of that can do us no harm, Bieber, who’s wearing what on the runways of Paris, whether you spell “among” with or without a “u”, the disappointing finales to a television series (and I don’t give a shit what people say, the last two-and-a-half hours of “L O S T” were brilliant)…
Not giving a shit doesn’t make you vulnerable as much as it frees you from caring about being vulnerable, and that can be advantageous at times:
I don’t give a shit who knows I have Depression, Anxiety and ADD. That releases me from having to bear the weight of the stigma of Mental Illness on my shoulders. Sure, I still am a victim of such unenlightened idiocy… but I don’t give a shit.
The big reason I don’t give a shit is that I’ve taken all the fun out of it for people who try to saddle me with that stigma, their stupidity holding the reins.
Trust me: I’ve made more jokes about my Mental Illness than others have made smarmy remarks behind my batshit-crazy ass. They should give more of a shit about their callous, mindless, thoughtless, ignorant prejudices than I do, but they don’t, and guess what?
I don’t give a shit.
And I don’t think it makes me more vulnerable. Might even make me stronger during those times I need to be.
Getting drunk does indeed let your guard down, which can open you to vulnerability if you’re not careful, and can indeed open you up to unjustified trust. Anyone who shows up at your table with a pitcher of Margaritas does so on a beam of light, their feet never having touched the floor. How can you not trust them?
That can easily culminate in a marked variety of vulnerability that does come to mind as having been the result of a world-class bender that can subsequently result – forty weeks later – in a child who, by all rights, should be named “Jäger”.
So there are most assuredly instances when vulnerability and trust from chemically induced bravado can follow you through the years.
Same could be said about not giving a shit if and when you don’t take not giving a shit seriously enough to consider the difference between when it results from not caring and when it results from not having to care.
Being unable to discern the difference between the two is something about which one really needs to give a good, healthy, fully considered, breathtaking shit.
“You don’t crave the alcohol as much as you crave the freedom it gives you. It’s the sort of existence reality deprives you of.”
Sometimes the alcohol takes away your freedom.
I learned that from an eight-year fuck-up, not research.
I will acknowledge, though, that on a short-term emergency basis only, some of life’s realities can most effectively be dealt with by firmly attaching them to a barrel of fine Kentucky sour mash and tossing it overboard. Fill up the bong and watch it drift down to exile within the seaweed-strewn depths of Davey Jones’ locker.
The problem there is the inevitable return of those realities when you are meandering through your preferred reality and they are hiding behind the biggest tree around the bend, and all you’ve got with you is your bottle of charcoal-filtered water, your iPod and your fanny pack filled with some trail mix and four sheets of biodegradable butt-wipe.
Reality is the most deviously sneaky of all recognized cosmic mindfuckers.
When you’ve fully committed yourself to not giving a shit about certain things, it doesn’t matter where or how well they hide themselves. Doesn’t make a difference when they come out from behind some two-thousand-year-old Redwood screaming “Bazinga!!!!”
’cause you rightly don’t give a shit.
Just make sure about the “rightly” part of it and things should remain cool.
And the best part of all of this?
No need to be “normal” to embrace it.
Would defeat the purpose.
All 2,574 words of this post started as a Reply to one of my Little Sister Bloggers. She got me to thinking about something, and it just took off from there.
That’s what this place should be about: pushing ourselves and each other even farther.
I’m going to be sixty-three in September.
I don’t think I’ve changed that much since early adolescence.
Almost at all, when I think about it to any degree.
Same basic personality, got it.
Core values, got it.
Basic collection of attitudes, got it.
Basic outlook on life and people around me, got it.
Likes / dislikes, got it.
Emotions, triggers, buttons … check.
Blonde hair, all there, all mine … got it. The pony tail kicked in about 1971. Get it cut every eighteen months or so whether it needs it or not.
Same cute little ass, but as the years went on, it just got smarter, so … check.
Different world, different issues, different variations of the same old shit, South East Asia replaced by the Middle East. Gotta keep on my toes, so … check mate.
I really don’t think anybody changes after a certain plateau has been reached in their lives.
Once our core values and ethical priorities have been firmly set in place and in motion,
and that can be earlier than some might presume.
I see that in most of the people I have come to know long enough.
I realize that there are any number of traumatic episodes that can indeed change the game entirely:
a girl getting gang-raped at a Frat Party; watching one of your Brother’s jarheads flying fifty yards down a dirt road ’cause of some young girl with a bomb strapped to her; spending four-hundred forty-four days as an unwilling guest of the Ayatollah; being a Senior, Class of ’99 at Columbine.
Most of us (not quite as many as there used to be, thank you Messrs. Holmes, Lanza and LaPierre) get to lead pretty uneventful lives outside of whatever events we pursue for ourselves and the occasional fender-bender in either a literal or figurative sense. We’re lucky that way.
Don’t believe me? Ask someone who grew up in Belfast through the ’60s or in Palestine since forever.
But very few of us live through something beyond a point of no return.
John Lennon expressed that same belief once, about folks not truly changing after a certain point, and the only reason I mention it is that I think it’s pretty fucking cool. Brother John and I thought alike. Maybe I just want it to be that way, but he was an introverted young lad as I spent most of my youth on the outside fringes looking in.
Listen to the last of John’s messages and teachings he had time to share with us. Listen to his Imagine album and allow it to embrace you the way he meant for it to do: some of the most personal lyrics and haunting melodies I can remember from a guy who actually did a cover of “Be Bop a Lu La”. Almost like he knew that even in his late thirties, he was a relatively older man than I am now.
I’m still that way.
John was shot and killed when he was forty, still – and forever – Sgt. Pepper incarnate.
I can even give you an example of what I mean:
my friend Brad. Met him when I was seven when he moved kitty-corner to me. I must have known something special was going on there, ’cause it stuck with me indelibly. Steve introduced me and Marty to Brad standing behind Hank’s house. Hank was nowhere around, but his backyard was the shortcut to Mary’s backyard.
And Steve said “Meet your new friend Brad.”
That was that.
Brad and I spend many long playing Whiffle Ball straight through the long hot day, spend Saturdays in NYC in The Village or Times Square, pick up our back issues of “Playboy” and sneak them home. We spent parts of our college summers hanging around getting high, listening to music, talking about things. No matter what we were in the middle of doing, it never distracted from our talking about things.
Brad was different. Only one of us allowed to go certain places and experience certain things even after a certain age, first with hair beyond his collar / shoulders / shoulder blades / lumbar vertebrae. First one living with a chic. Always seemed to be more aware of certain things than others of us were, We all were worked up about Viet Nam, Civil Rights, Equal Rights, but Brad always saw more behind those things that just wasn’t right and it bothered him. Saddened him and infuriated him and, in their own ways, encouraged him.
It was through him (as one of my two “big brothers”) that I first came to understand that while there were incidents and episodes which deeply affected me through life, they were only just examples of a concept / mindset / zeitgeist that needed to be addressed. That punching out the kid who always picked on me might feel good, but it would not stop the bullying that went on all around us. That was the problem that needed to be addressed.
I was the mild-mannered Sancho Panza to Brad’s Don Quixote.
Brad always had a gentle, compassionate social conscience, and as it went, he left the country during the Viet Nam war for reasons that might have included the military draft we had down here. Went to law school in Canada.
For hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people around the world, that was a good thing.
Kind of lost track of him mid-way through college till we reunited in our early 50s, but here’s what he’s done since then:
My tender soul of a brother.
Then there was Marty, who I mentioned before, a cut-throat Monopoly player since midway through Grammar School. Graduated after four years at Johns Hopkins with a Bachelor’s and Masters in Economics. In four years. Went on to law school, recruited and hired by one of the prestigious Manhattan law firms, and one of his first clients was Bolivia. The country. Not a bunch of coffee bean farmers, I mean the whole freakin’ country, got it?
Well, since then he helped orchestrate the Comcast/ Universal NBS / GE / Sony deal down in L.A. Picked up an eight-bedroom “weekend home” a block-and-a-half off the beach in Central Jersey shortly after that.
The rich get richer helping the filthy rich get sickeningly rich.
Neither Brad nor Marty changed, they did manage to adapt. To adapt and to perfect.
Especially Brad, that shameless ol’ hippie. Whether addressing the Canadian or Australian Parliament, the United Nations or the elders of an Inuit tribe within a stone’s throw of the Arctic Circle, who you saw was who you got. Just dressed appropriately for the occasion.
(continued on Page 2)