September 21, 2018

…. Here We Go. Again…

I remember – precisely – the moment I passed over from being something like a Hippy into something like…into something that was…ah, well, something not like a  Hippy.  It was on a warm Autumn evening, I was in a borrowed car in one of the “genteel” neighborhoods of Charleston, South Carolina.  And I was in love.  Again.  And the moment of transformation occurred when I heard, on the tinny speakers of the car radio, and for the second time, the song Come Down In Time, from Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection album.

 I had heard the song once before and I thought it was terrific.  But in between the first and second hearings, I had read a story in Rolling Stone about how Elton John had become a multi-millionaire in about two months time.  There was an accompanying picture of Elton in a satin, sequin-covered I don’t know what, sitting in a mink upholstered, tricked up pink Rolls Royce.  My sensibilities were revolted.  Repulsed.

 But, then, in that South Carolina twilight, I was waiting for my girl to appear.  Her parents had absolutely forbade her from seeing “some no-account PFC from Ft. Jackson,” but I was waiting, down the street from her house, anyway.  And that’s when the song came on the radio.  And it, well, I don’t have the talent to describe for you what it felt like, but it was a near-lethal cocktail of passion and longing, yes, but also wistfulness, and regret for time passing and some sort of thing like “pre-nostalgia,” and a vast wonderment at how great the world really was, and the feeling my senses were, finally, fully, at last, all the way alive and hitting on all cylinders.  It made me feel – no, truly and fundamentally, it made me understand, how brief and fleeting this thing called “youth” was, how deeply miraculous it is, and how it would be gone soon.  Most of all it made me feel like I was absolutely “right” in what I was doing, what I was going after, and what I wanted.  Then, I felt, anyone who can trigger that kind of uncontainable combustion, that level of high octane emotion, and sandpapered senses was worth every goddamned penny he could grab.  The poor and underprivileged of the world would have to get it from somewhere else.  Keep this kid going and let him spend it anyway he wants on any thing he wants!

 This attitude, kind of, continued, more or less, as I plowed ahead through time.  For example, a little more than a decade later I remember similar, albeit not so heartfelt, feelings of gratitude (“let them have their millions!”) towards Jobs and Gates for coming up with the technology that allowed me to start my own business, etc.  But lately (and by lately I mean since 2008), I have had a growing apprehension of this attitude.  In fact apprehension is not the word I am looking for, or really want to use.  What I want to say is that when I read about the latest hedge-fund wunderkind hiring midgets to entertain guests on his yacht or Limbaugh hiring the same Elton John to sing at his wedding for millions of dollars, I actually conjure images of those people bleeding from their eyes (and other orifices) with some horrible disease.  Increasingly, as I read the financial news and see the name of a big bank, brokerage or hedge fund, I think of Mike Taibbi’s description of Goldman Sachs as a “great vampire wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells of money.”  In other words, folks, I think I am reverting to type.  I think I have re-become (is that a word?), or am becoming a Hippy.  Again.

 PS #1:  Yes, she did show up.  And, Yes! incredibly, and unbelievably adding to the magic of that night, she had torn her jeans on a corner of the drainpipe she slid down from her second-story bedroom.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Even now, from the vantage of years:  I was “right”!  And, even more than that her name was Pam Summer.  Yes!  Really.  And, Yes!  She held me tight.

 PS #2:  I thought I would leave you with a “taste” of what I heard that night (particularly for the young ‘uns and kidz who may have never heard it before).  I went to YouTube and found all kinds of versions of it (including a version with Sting singing with Elton), and they were all richer, more complex, and actually “better” than the original.  But then I found the original.  Naw! – Man, this is still IT!

 PS #3:  So, then I thought I would also include my actual favorite song from that album, and then thought “no, this Blog is getting entirely way too long.”  Then:  What The Hell!?!  It beats the work you are about to do for the rest of the day.  See?  That Hippy thing is kicking in!

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