Sunday, August 16, 2009

Waking up at Woodstock.

Letting my freak flag fly.
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I was never at Woodstock. Believe it or not I actually thought it was disgusting - what I saw on the news at the time that is. I was busy trying to be respectable at the time - I wore suits to work and wanted to be taken seriously. My friends from school were the ones who kept trying to make me turn on. I thought drugs were sleazy and I worried about them that they used marijuana, LSD, Mescaline, speed, and just about anything else. My drug of choice was scotch and Benson and Hedges. (To be sure, not everyone at Woodstock was a hippie - most people were there for the music, albeit most of them were high. Woodstock really just changed the cultural landscape. But I digress.)
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Eventually my old friends managed to drag me out to a few concerts locally. I tried grass and other drugs, and really enjoyed them. Amazingly my attitude changed and I began to let my hair grow, wear jeans and neon colored t-shirts with my suit jackets, pierced my ear and quit my job before they fired me for coming in late on days I showed up at all. Then, once in awhile for fun, my friends and I would go to the drive-in to watch Woodstock - the documentary - and pretend we were there. Naturally we did attend other outdoor concerts that Woodstock popularized, where everyone was high and nice and huggy. I looked the part - but I never fit in - story of my life I guess.
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There were always limits I wouldn't, couldn't pass. I always, always carried around within me a sense of oblivion, annihilation, doom, fear, what have you. I mixed my drugs with alcohol, which was more fun for me, and it allowed me to ignore the gnawing fear. Waking up on Sunday mornings was always the worst. I never found peace until I returned to the sacraments, until I encountered Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I've told that story before however.
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Now days I usually only experience those old fears when I look back on things like Woodstock and recall the hippie-wanna-be-avant garde and cool artificial life I had constructed... or when I stray too far from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
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I'll admit it, I'm special-ed, retarded, incapable of life on my own, totally dependent - which is why I cling to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament...
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BTW - I went to confession last night - another encounter I need regularly, as well as a remedy for those fears of pointless annihilation that can creep up on me when I realize I spend way too much time online.
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Finally, to be perfectly honest, I have no fond memories of Woodstock or those days - the emotions some of the music evoke are melancholic and meaningless. Purification of the memory can entail a certain amount of suffering comprised of disgust and revulsion - its a good thing.
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Photo: Some guy at Woodstock.

2 comments:

  1. Ter: Superb post. I know exactly what you mean. I wore the same costume for years myself-you know, the phony one.

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  2. I think that there was a certain “innocence” to those times. Some of the individuals who were a part of some hippie caucus thought they were living in a consequence free environment, and could therefore take any drugs and behave in ways that were completely hedonistic. Needless to say that the anti-drug message back then wasn’t anywhere as ubiquitous as it is today. Today we know to avoid using illegal drugs because of the pernicious afterclap that comes with the usage (not to mention that fact that they are indeed illegal), and most of us recognize the many consequences of promiscuity.

    I know this sounds trivial, but I’ve noted that in those times there was a certain accessability to people and places that today would be nearly impossible to approach because of obvious security concerns. The movie “Almost Famous” I think captures the so-called innocense and accessability of those times (by the way, you can substitute the word “innocense” with the word “ignorance” and capture the same meaning).

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