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Time for the awakening...

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December 11, 2010


It's taken me awhile to get used to blogging, and to find a way back to the person I was when I loved to write. I'm not there yet, completely, and never will be... I'm 56 now, not 18. A lot has changed and a lot remains the same.

This topic is dedicated toward young adults age 18 - 25 in America. It is directed towards all adults... Parents, Generations X Y and Z... and especially those adults who are in a position to "influence and direct" the minds of young adults as they go through that critical transformation from child to adult.

I was 18 years of age in 1972. The era of the hippie was over. The Viet Nam War ended August 31, 1972 - that is as far as the draft is concerned. The war actually extended into a few more years after that. But to me, the long war had ended. A very unpopular war. A war that influenced me pretty much from 1964 to 1972.

And then came the victims... I was just entering the work-force... and "In The News" were Viet Nam Vets entering the work force. Somehow the fact that the war was so controvercial and unpopular spilled over to onto Viet Nam Veterans. I think it is historically tragic and something not to be forgotten, that the veteran at that time was in many ways considered a co-conspirator, a government puppet who voluntarily involved himself and herself in an "unjust war", a war that was "wrong".

These veterans ages 18 - 25 found themselves returning home to an atmosphere of hostility, changes, radicalism, and hostile feelings towards the government they served. It created the momentum for what came to be when I turned 18 in Sept. of 1972. It needs to be clarified these veterans I refer to were returning all though the latter 1960's... their influence on me were at the time a laser inscribed feeling of doubt, about our government. And fact was, I didn't question authority nor our government my whole life as a child and teenager. I was a conformist all the way. But by age 18, my feelings and concerns began to undergo change.

I graduated HS at age 18 right on schedule. The following fall 1972 I found myself in the local community college pursuing a Associates Degree in Electrical Technology (an Associate of Science degree). I loved electronics - still do, and at the time since I had to chose a major, electronics was it. Problem was - I was bad at math, but to sidestep that issue I began my courses with those not involving math, or at least, not dedicated to math. They included physics, of which I completed two semester of it, basic low voltage electrical design and basics. I really don't remember much from that time except physics. It was way out there, but fortunately a security guard who worked at the same dept store I worked at, who was in my physics class , well, we worked together, and I remember spending hours on the phone at night with him working together to solve our assignments.

The key to all of this, what I've just written, is to understand this was me, prior to my Rite of Passage. At the time I was ultra-conservative, conformist and I didn't question much. I truly believed the world had order, logical order, especially our own country. I went from HS to College because i had to. It was expected I would. I didn't however join our church after three years of Confirmation Courses. I grew up in a Protestant, Zion Covenant  Church - going most Sundays to Church. My mother controlled that aspect of my life. My father wasn't into organized religion - he rarely went to church with my mother, and us children. That fact set up an interesting dichotomy within our family. Why did my sister and I have to go to church when my father didn't?


Freedom of...

By age 18 I was ready to move out on my own, but I didn't. I worked at a chain dept store... part-time. I went to college during the day. I lived home. I knew it felt good that public school was over. It took at least a year for that to be realized. But between age 18 through 20 or 21, my future was pretty much undefined.

It should be noted I was a voracious reader growing up... and quite inquisitive. I had microscopes, chemistry sets, electronic design and radio kits, and books - lots of books, mostly sci-fi... and mysteries...

I felt unconfortable in my chosen college curriculum of electrical tech - as much as I liked sciences, it didn't feel like me. But I had no way of knowing why. So until the Fall of 1974 I lived home, went to college and worked part-time. Had a girlfriend with hardly any intimacy, nor do I remember ever doing anything with her - we met through her cousin I worked with. I think that was during 1972, and lasted until 1974.

A side piece: I had this 1968 Ford Mustang at the time, something that in the annuls of history on Earth represents a major victory and a most unique opportunity. The 1968 Mustang at the time was one of the best motor cars out there, albeit, it was the runt of the litter. For a "runt", it was quite the car!

I bought the Mustang in 1971 with a bank loan.  It had a 3-spd standard transmission, and torque the likes we can't begin to imagine today. The Mustang's 289ci-V8 engine was one of the smallest, high performance engines out there. Loved that car. I did have frequent problems with the car, meaning the FORD slogan at the time fit in well with my enjoyment: FORD - "Fix or repair daily".

I used to take that Mustang off-road, down class 5 roads... into the snow... as it was unlikely with snow tires that one would get stuck... and although simply rear-wheel drive, the combination of horse-power and torque available from that 289-V8 engine could easily provide the power to dig out of the worst conditions.

More on this car in the next post.

At age 18 it should be remembered I could legally go to a bar or store and buy alcohol. Which I did; however, one problem - I couldn't drink much. Over two beers max I'd get sick. I couldn't tolerate alcohol well, unlike my friends who could easily drink 1 -2 six packs each, whenever.They often drove the roads in NY state drunk with beer, looking for girls looking to get picked up. They found them... me... I would often try to compete with my friends and remain on location throwing up! We liked our weekend camping.

Between age 18 and 21 I was pretty much a lemur... I had friends but had no place to "fit in". I went to college, and otherwise was a loner working in a room in my attic on electronics or chemistry. My isolation deepened when i found I couldn't compete with my friends. When I found myself questioning why was I in college getting this degree? I really didn't want to be in college. I wanted time.

The following comes with a warning: Within Christian theology is the story of Adam and Eve. In the story a woman, Eve, is influenced by a snake to eat of the one fruit that God has forbade them to eat. Eating of such fruit, describing the experience may be offensive to some... so please do not continue beyond this point if you feel uncomfortable with graphic depictions of actual events.

NEXT: Rite of Passage: Why Are You Rebelling?...


  1. I think being a "reader" clearly has shaped your life and always had you asking questions and seeking answers

  2. Talk about hitting the nail on the head!!!

    In my 9th grade English class, we were asked to fill out reading lists, of books we'd read the prev. week or month. The average # of books my classmates read was about 2. My list was generally 3 pages, 20+. Must have been by the month.

    Books made me who i am. Professor Doug who you'll read about in the next post inspired me with the idea that "it's not the answers that are so important, but rather, the question..." The questions you ask, the way you ask, influences the answer, and in general, we want answers that help us.

    At 56, given what I know today, I would expect to be in prison - based on the fact that I believe in the Citizen of the World" ideal. The fact that the books I have read, the questions I've asked, the answers received... well, I feel more like a criminal, an eccentric geek, a fake; "eccentric geek", yeah, maybe, but the other tow? No way!

    See we live in a systemic environment. Depending upon where one lives, obviously dictates their potential experiences. I lived in the Boston area for 6 years. I found out rather quickly, 9 out of ten people I'd spoken with (and that's a lot of people), admit to being mugged at least once. Now that was in the mid 1980's... but it was also after Boston declared victory on it's ultra high murder and violence rates...

    Boston was the last place I thought of living... yet there I was. Right in the middle.

    Books did it, and I feel, given the similarities to how books affect me and how cannabis affects me, books should be regulated by the DEA. Seriously. I would welcome the DEA to do the right thing, ban books.

    Many books were illegal to buy, sell or possess for 2/3 of the 20th century. Regulators, governments were afraid of books... the First Amendment. Just like they're afraid of cannabis, what they call marijuana.

    Books were a "victim-less crime, but just as with cannabis, the legal challenge was made to "prove society isn't a victim"?

    Right on Slam... books definitely influenced me.

    Why aren't they illegal???