Just got back from watching a movie that advocated the overthrowing of government and ya know it left me in a pretty good mood with visions of democracy as the proverbial carrot on a string dancing just out of my reach. Leading me to conclude that I’m way past ready ta start a revolution and tear down the walls of those corporate conglomerates that we all know are in fact our true government. Of course I always tend to get this way when my rebellious nature is shaken up a bit. Only unfortunately I know that this euphoric sense of political accountability will pass and after a night of sweet anarchistic dreams I’ll wake up and it’ll be time to rush off to work as I reluctantly take my place in line with a few hundred others who are doing the very same thing and once again I’ll become just another cog in the machine.
A rather dreary image I know, but as I said it is unfortunately what will come to pass. After all I have been down this “let’s overthrow the government” road before. Such as when I was a drug addict/criminal and I used to think that what I was doing was “alternative” in a very anti-establishment kind of way. But the truth is that the very behaviors that I was readily engaging in were exactly what any oppressive regime would want their dissident citizens doing: destroying their lives all by themselves until they almost inadvertently present their oppressors with the moment they’d been waiting for, the moment to lock them up and throw away the key!
Although tonight while I was sitting there in the semi-darkness of the movie theater and the final credits were making their way up the screen and the soundtrack of “Street Fighting Man” was reverberating off the walls, all these people around me seemed so sedate and unmoved as they were getting ready to leave. And like I said there I was sitting there tryin’ to think back to when was the last time that I thought “the time is right for fighting in the street” and it occurred to me that I hadn’t given it much thought lately and ya know that kinda scared me.
Yet to be brutally honest I gotta admit that some days a lot of things seem to scare me and not all of them are as earth shattering as destroying the prevailing establishment. Like earlier in the day when I almost ran into an old girlfriend of mine, well, actually I saw her walking along on the sidewalk as I was driving by, and from what I could see she didn’t look so good. She’d obviously lost a lotta weight and the sores that one gets from shooting up drugs were running up and down the sides of her bare arms, visible even from as far away as I was.
However it was the glazed over expression on her face that really got to me and as I slowly drove by I could almost hear myself saying that same old shit that I used to spout about how the only free people in society are the outlaws and all I wanna do is be free. And then I turned the corner and drove home to my apartment where unbeknownst to me something even scarier was awaiting me and this time it wasn’t some deranged crackhead wandering my building’s hallways.
It was something a little more insidious, a little less kind. It was an email from a Ms. Barbara Karvis regarding my last post and what she saw as my promotion of the world’s evils:
“I find it very irresponsible of you to advocate the giving of money to alcoholics and drug addicts. The last thing these people need is money to help them continue down this road of despair. Had you the foresight to not help facilitate their continued indulgement of their sins or sympathize with their unpleasant plight is some way other than to perpetuate their suicidal behaviors you might not be as unhappy as you are. Have you ever sought out god and asked for his forgiveness?”
And ya know I may be a cynical bastard at times but I hardly think that giving money away to someone that’s hanging out on a street corner drinking themselves to death is really what I’d call a sin. After all aren’t they doing what they want to do? And being a recovering drug addict myself I know all too well that if you’re not ready to give up abusing whatever substance it is that you are abusing then you’re just not ready to quit, and forcing the issue only prolongs the inevitable degrading cycle of attempts at sobriety followed by countless relapses that can keep addicts stuck in their addiction.
Though if I was really pressed to say what an actual sin was, well, then it’d have to be something along the lines of how this current government negates our very existence or worse makes it Ok for us as a society to turn a blind eye when someone’s life, due to the effects of repression, poverty or mental illness, is truly being destroying. Or what about an administration that through lies and manipulation forces its citizens to fight a war that none of us wanted and let’s not forget the few million or so folks that are rotting away in prison because this nation would rather spend money on incarceration instead of rehabilitation!
But then of course I’m only too sure that Ms. Karvis with all her compassion totally intends to come on down to my neighborhood and help out a couple a those impoverished people that I sometimes write about. Say maybe take them out to her house so that they can take a bath, eat a hot meal and kick it on her living room sofa with their feet up on the coffee table as they watch her 42 inch Plasma TV and hang out with her kids. As a matter of fact Barbra, if ya really want I’ll pack a few of them up and drive ‘em out to your house myself – Ok?
Walkin’ back from the movie theater it starts to rain and as I wrap my jacket around me to ward off the cold I’m even more conscience of the local street people huddled in doorways off to the side tryin’ to stay dry and outta the rain. It really can’t be pleasant to spend night after night out here in this cold sleepin’ on the cement with only a jacket to keep you warm. And I can only imagine that if this is the reality that they’ve accepted to live in, well, then what can the alternative have been like? Because none of these folks were born homeless, they became that way, either out of circumstance, oppression, poverty or choice and when they ask me for money I don’t put conditions on what it is they are gonna spend it on before I give them what little I can afford.
Tryin’ to avoid the trashcan that’s laying on its side in the middle of the sidewalk I almost trip over the artist as in my haste I didn’t see him there pressing his body into a space between the newspaper racks that’s right below an exhaust vent pumpin’ out warm air and ya know he’s still not lookin’ that good. Though instead of pointing out the obvious health hazards that he is engaging in or burdening him with the dilemma that others are having on his behalf or even half heartedly discussing my recent emails with him I just hand him a five dollar bill and tell ’em that Ms. Barbra Kravis sends her love and wishes him well.