Friday, June 04, 2004


Oak trees here much much taller than an elephant's eyes. Thanks to a wonderful student who served me a pizza down on the main drag of State College, Pennsylvania and who shared his password with me, I am able to log on at the Student Union building of Penn State University, home of my hero coach, Joe Paterno. Why should we all like Joe? Back in the 60s and 70s when college coaches wouldn't let their players grow afros or long hair, Joe Paterno said he didn't care how an athlete wore his hair as long as he could play football. He was one of the first coaches to do that. And he won a lot of games by letting his players be free men instead of lock step slaves. And his teams had discipline too. Of course I was born in Ohio and an Ohio State fan, and Penn is now part of the Big Ten, but I didn't like Woody Hays. He thought discipline came out of the barrel of a gun. Now I'm mixing Woody up with another strict disciplinarian. Mao who?


Enough said.


There really is something to my observations as I've traveled around about many of the beautiful places now being taken over by the rich. When I was in some of these places 40 to 50 years ago, I was not so aware of the rich. They fit in and enjoyed the rusticity of places of escape, like the gritty Gulf Coast and Hemingway's Key West. They enjoyed the local flavor for what it was, I think. Now they take over, build million dollar homes and change the atmosphere until it relects them. Rather than being just part of the scene, they are the scene. One place for the rich becomes very much like any other of their places. A poor man like myself becomes ever more aware of his "place" in society, surrounded by such opulence.

The ferries from Hyannis to Nantucket now have a "first class" cabin for those who want more opulence in their two hour trip. We peons get to sit on slate board seats while they lounge in air conditioned comfort on plush blue cloth seats. Of course the difference in price is not so much that an average Joe with a union job wouldn't shell it out just sos he could say he'd traveled first class. And you know, really? The rich, knowing the value of a buck, might not actually be the ones to travel in that first class comfort. So... as I peeked in to see if any movie stars were aboard and hiding in first class, who was I really seeing in there? Eh?

But, remember the Gilded Age in America, when the wealthy were very rich and the unions struggled to get a decent wage for themselves? When several were rich and few were middle class and most were poor dirt farmers? That's the age that the Republicans want to return us to—before the DAYS OF BIG GOVERNMENT. If you don't believe me, check out their think tanks. See what the intellectual underpinnings of their "shrink the government" philosophy comes from. They want to make the working stiff powerless again to fight back. That's why Republicans support the right to work, why they oppose lawyers for the poor, why they want to undercut the National Labor Relations Board, why they want to stop the little guy from easy bankruptcy. Hey, it's okay for the rich to go bankrupt, why not the poor? I'm tired again after a day of driving, and I have to stand at this computer (Mac though it is) so I just can't muster a long list of the ways in which the capitalists are trying to put down protections for the average American laboring guy. Not tonight.


Now that I've reexperienced a few of my old haunts, they will never be recalled the same. Recall—my reading in brain chemistry tells me that every time I bring up an old memory, I must make new chemicals in order to store the memory in my current brain. That's why we mix things up when we recall them. Now, I'm sure I'll never quite be able to separate what I just left from what I left 50 years ago back there in Nantucket. I know I'm repeating myself.


Now on to Ohio and old buddy Carl from my hippy days. He was a student in a high school class I taught and, later, after my first divorce, I roomed with him and a couple of other people and began my Johnny-come-lately hippy days. Should arrive in Dayton by tomorrow evening.

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