How demeaning is our society to individuals--cattle call # 1. Recently, I have been exposed to what our culture has become. So I don't read the directions: Flying, Buzzers, bells going off "Sir step over there please." Wanding: "Sir, you have something in your left pocket." (Pack of Camels, I've since quit again to avoid this--I didn't know it could be a bomb.) Again. "Sir, you have something in your left pants pocket." (One thin dime--After this trip I didn't know I had a cent left.) 3rd scan, "Sir, you have something in your right shirt pocket." (I didn't know I could start a forest fire or bring a plane down with a toothpick.) Now I'm getting worried. "Please let me go home, I couldn't stand another hurricane Sandy. I'll be good."
Second case--cattle call #2. My son-in-law Scottie, who I must say I have become very fond of in the last 10 or so years. He has taught me how to be a better red neck. I now go out to kill fish and Bambi as he has taught me well. Every time we go out to fish he asks, " You have your license." "Yes boss, in my wallet." Well I did have my license when the gamie asked, "Can I see your license?" "Una problema sir, this is last years license. I'll go check to see if you have a current one in the system" Sick feeling. I thought I might get a warning--nope. "Your mandatory court date is set for 8:30 January 7." "Do you know how much it will be?" "It's up to the discretion of the court." Wow if he would have told me then it was a class C misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail and a 1000 dollar fine and a revocation of my ability to obtain any sports licenses for 2 years, I might not have forgot about my court date until 7:40 Monday morning the 7th. (It takes 45 minutes to get to the courthouse from our neck of the sticks. Traffic accident on I-5. I think I could have made it on time speeding, thinking of the excuse I gave the cop about why I was speeding. Don't think it would have flown. So, I can't find a parking place close. 3 blocks away, pump the meter with 7 quarters, don't know how long this will take, off running, forget to lock the truck, still in range--beep. Line all the way down the front court house steps. Where do I go. Talk to the guy in front of me in line--looks like he has had some experience down here. "Talk to the lady at that desk after you get through the metal detector." "Step back sir, one at a time." They have to say that all day. This time I search my pockets--not that same dime. I think I'm cool, walk through. Beeeeep! "Step over here sir." I was wearing my bib overalls and oops there is my tire pressure gauge and 2 pens in the top pocket right below my face.. He hands me my keys, pens, gauge, and the dime. I say, "Keep the change"and he doesn't think it's very funny.
I hand the volunteer old lady at the desk my ticket and ask where I should go. "I'm sorry, I can't read that small print." She asks me my name and I find the K's for her on the 4th page. I walk into court room 2 and the clerk interrupts the august proceedings to tell me to take my hat off--hey, I didn't know I was in church. I sit by a couple of cute girls and ask what is the procedure here. The cutest and closest says you can raise your hand if you wish to plead guilty then you can go next. Oops, I also forgot my hearing aids so I can't hear #@#$. She says go talk to the district attorney. I talk to the d.a. (a girl maybe 30) and tell her my name and I can't hear you know what. The pompous ass asks who wants to plead guilty. I raise my hand. The judge asks me my name but is flustered because he can't find my case because guess what the d.a. has it and she asks me to go outside with her. It's like tv getting: you have the right to...and I say, "This whole process is very demeaning from getting inside this courthouse to here." I tell her my story and she keeps going on no previous... and I say, "What's your bottom line?" She says, "80 dollars." I say, "Can't you go any lower?" She hesitates but 80 bucks is already written down. Get to go up to the bar, start to say something and he says that you can take this and shut up, or plead not guilty to 90 days, etc. I get one smart ass thing in when he says you will have to the end of February to pay it and I say that would be great because my 47 percent check will be in the mail by then. I couldn't understand his rush to get this over as it was raining and he just didn't seem like the guy who would golf in the rain.
What's the point of the pictures of Basket Flat burning man and my cattle call experiences? Society is sick. Justice is not even a point to be listened to or cared about. The whole experience of being a cog in a giant grinding wheel, a cow coming to the slaughter house, (Where is the autistic lady that designed a more humane method?) is so sad. "Just a number not a name" Why can't we get crazy if it doesn't hurt anyone? Did you hear Paul Hanlin's fireworks at burning Flat? Did it wake you up? I know his address if you want to turn him into the man. Vince Kelly and I at our reunion had the same conversation we had 50 years ago. That was Vietnam. Now it's Afghanistan. I didn't want to rant and the man makes you afraid that if he hears you, you will be in even deeper into his system. Like Voltaire advised me to do: "Cultivate your own garden."
A Hippy Dream
When the darkness was but a youthful lark
I could ignore its flight
Now the wings block out every strand of light
There is only craving the light switch
Fingertips trying to catch my fall
The pavement racing towards me
Wanting you to save me
I am still tempted by the precipice
Do not want to be an apostate or apostle
Only to protest in bed Lennon like
To want a peace that is something more
Than between the sheets
Of newspaper sensation and talk show truth or lies
That gossip around and only draw flies
No one recognizes Ruth or truth
Faces no one believes were ever real
We must escape our personal hell
Try once again to communicate
Out of this selfish strife
This complicated thing we call life
Spend all of our energy
Creating love and peace