Did your father ever tell you that you'd better buckle down? That you'd better stop acting like nothing matters because someday, it's all gonna come back to bite you on your ass? Neither did my father. He did say something to the effect, though. Sometimes, Instant Karma takes a long, sweet time to come around. I started college in the fall of 1967. Right after the Summer of Love. There was a war raging in a far off jungle and a cowboy was the president. No, not that cowboy. Not the phony one, who went to Yale and posed in a jet fighter. All the way, LBJ. That one. I had recently discovered marijuana and became of legal drinking age in New York the day after I arrived. I didn't like beer all that much. Maybe it was the pictures of the Glimmer Twins throwing Jack down their necks that made it so attractive to me. God, how I loved the Rolling Stones. That picture of Jimmy Page sucking on a bottle of Jack? A fucking poseur. Been a long time since I rock 'n rolled, indeed. Cutting a class or three meant nothing to me. I was in New York City. Well... Brooklyn. But, close enough to take a bite into the Big Apple, eh? I took some school seriously. Evidently, not enough. Well, shit catches up with you. But, I'm rushing it. The picture above? It was taken by Vincent Topazio, may his soul rest in peace. He was my room-mate for most of 1969. That was the year Curtis LeMay dipped his hand in the hand cranked lottery ball and came up with a cherry of a number. September 14. Number one with a bullet. My birthday. I won the fucking draft lottery! Who could concentrate on classes when my ass had a time bomb strapped to it? I wore a pin that said #1 SON on my corduroy jacket lapel for the rest of my schooling. That jacket had a bond with Phil Ochs, but I was marching some more. I marched across the bridge and into the city. I raised my fist in the park and railed at the king and all his servants. And I cut class. We were told to not trust anyone over 30. And, really, I wasn't sure I'd get past 22. In the jungle, baby.
So now I'm closing in on 60. The freak flag is in tatters and the revolution ended with a fizzle. Stephen Stills is deaf. Jimi is dead and Mick checks his stocks on a daily basis. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about "the establishment?" Gone. Gone. Gone. The Military Industrial Complex? Hell, it is about as quaint as Kents with the Micronite filters or Annie Greensprings. Gone. Gone. Gone.
But now, I have decided I want to teach. I need a license for such an endeavor. Part of the deal is to provide my college transcripts. Had I known this day would come, I would have slammed the door on the dealer, ignored Abbie Hoffman and, well, have gone to classes more often and... paid attention. I'm not stupid. Well, the jury is still out on that one. I got my transcripts and... Holy Shit! I flunked PE! That's right. I failed gym. Well, to be fair, that was only one semester. I got B's two other semesters. I got a D in package design. In 1993, I won a Clio for a package design, but that's another story. One semester, I did so badly I was on probation. Why does that immediately remind me of Dean Wormer and double secret probation?
The next semester, I was on the Dean's List. Man, I was nothing if not inconsistent. This is all nearly 40 years ago, mind you. I graduated (evidently, by the skin of my teeth) in 1971. How much should all this count? Like my mother used to say when she didn't want to say "no"-- "we'll see... "