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Live Simple: A Manifesto For Change

Updated on September 2, 2012

I am the town crier in the bell tower, ringing the bell of change and hoping those who could hear, who should hear, will hear.

I am the defrocked priest standing at the pulpit, shouting to the Bluetooth congregation about hellfire and brimstone, waiting for the bishop to hand down punishment on my sorry soul.

I am the lost sheep, separated from the flock during a horrendous storm, trying to find my way back to safety before the wolves come a’callin’.

I am a modern day Don Quixote, tilting windmills no one else sees, looking for a time machine to take me back to a simpler time.

I am all those things and more…so much more….as are we all.

“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” and yet Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away. Who will replace him? Who do we have in 2012 who can capture the attention of our nation? The idols are false, the heroes are all media-produced, and real, churn-your-guts heroism is yawned at and marked with the bored eye of indifference.

The Baby Boomers gave way to Generations X, Y and Z, and now what’s next? We have run out of alphabet! Does that mean we have run out of hope? Some would say YES! Ask that question to the 13 million unemployed in the United States. Ask that question to the 600,000 homeless in the United States. Ask that question to the millions who have shut themselves off from the rest of the world in their gated communities, windows and doors barred to provide the illusion of security.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

When was that written? Over one-hundred years ago or yesterday? It seems that Lady Liberty has left and gone away; probably sharing a cab with Joltin’ Joe.

Joltin' Joe DiMaggio
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio | Source
George Reeves....Superman
George Reeves....Superman | Source
These people taught me about Living Simple!
These people taught me about Living Simple! | Source


In 1973 there was a billboard in Seattle which read, “Will the last person who leaves Seattle please turn off the lights?” Can you hear the sound of millions of light switches being flicked? Are those lights being turned off, or hope? Are those lights being turned off, or common decency? Are those lights being turned off, or compassion?

Joltin’ Joe, what say you? We need you buddy? Don’t take a powder now, not when we are floundering as a civilization!


Vacation in the lovely cities of Sodom and Gomorrah! One for all and all for one? Don’t be ridiculous…it’s every man and woman for themselves here. Give me a grande low-fat cup of greed and stir in a healthy dollop of ego while you’re at it.

Toss a few crumbs to that poor slob over there, but don’t get too close. Looks a little unwashed and you know what they say about THOSE people! Seems the golden door is permanently shut to them.

Wait, we can always write our Congressman! The Democrats promise a level playing field; let’s vote for them. The Republicans promise a level playing field; let’s vote for them. They care, right? They are our representatives, right? Wave at them as they drive by in their limos; isn’t that heartwarming, the smile they give us, the empathy they exude as elections approach. I feel better already! How about you?

LOOK! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s……no, Superman is dead! Clark Kent shot himself in 1959….and so it goes. Never fear, though; Superman may have died in 1959 but Simon Cowell was born that year, the perfect replacement for sure. Good old values replaced by cynicism oozing insincerity. Symbolic to the extreme!

The economy is fine, man, so stop your bitchin’. The drug trade is ridin’ high at $400 billion per year and human trafficking is an up and comer, pouring in $42 billion. No reason to sweat the economy, man. What, you lost your job! Re-train, baby, re-train! This is the Land of Opportunity; you just have to know where to dig for that gold.

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“One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” There’s only one problem: the leap was backwards. When we look to the moon for answers for what ails us, we are howling with the wolves.

The Love Generation spoke of peace and love for all mankind; then they traded it all in for stock options and a 4,000 sq ft home in the burbs. It turns out Superman wasn’t faster than a speeding bullet after all was said and done, and Joltin’ Joe ain’t coming back. So what to do? Buying happiness with a credit card blew up in our collective face, and the up-and-coming industry is foreclosure. What to do?

Well, I for one plan on standing on the highest rooftop, where I will scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

You see, the solutions will not be found in the next election. We can’t shuck and jive our way out of this self-dug hole. We’ve got serious trouble in River City, and that starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Progress. Yep, we have progress. We have progressed to the point where we can’t find our butts for a hole in the ground, and we’re looking for answers in all the wrong places.

Who can we blame? There must be someone who can shoulder the blame for the state we are now in. I know, let’s blame the immigrants, and the minorities, and the millions sucking the social service system dry, and the police and government and our damn parents, who simply did not raise us properly and never taught us to strap on some balls and be adults.

Nope, that won’t wash any longer. If we aren’t part of the solution we are part of the problem, and the mirror doesn’t lie my friends. There is only one solution to what ails us, and the solution has been right in front of us all along


From a single acorn grows a mighty tree! We are all acorns, but to grow properly we need to set our roots in good soil, and then we need to feed those roots with proper nutrients. It starts with one, then family, then community, and it spreads. Standing idly by and hoping change will occur somewhere else is a fool’s mission at best. Who do you trust? Your government? Your business leaders? I have more faith in a Revivalist tent show than in any of those.

No, the solution begins with me, and you, and you! I cannot decry crime, corruption and indecency, but choose to do nothing about it. I cannot hide beneath the covers and hope the wolves don’t come to my door, all the while thankful that it was my neighbor who was devoured and not me.

For me to demand respect I must be willing to give it! For me to demand compassion and empathy I must demonstrate it! If I am longing for old-fashioned values then I need to be the communicator of those values.

I need to return to Living Simple!

Yes, as a society, we have lost our way, but I am confident we can turn on our own personal GPS and map out a new route.

Are you buried in debt? Put the shovel down and quit piling it on! Cut back on spending! Find a way!

Are you unhappy with your job? Look at alternatives! Work for yourself! Find a way!

Are you tired of the lack of respect you receive? Begin by being respectful of others! Find a way!

Are you living in fear? Form a community and put a sign in your yard….no fear allowed! Find a way!

We are not sheep! It’s about time we quit acting like them. There was once a simpler time in the United States. There was once a time of community, values, respect, compassion and love they neighbor. There was once a time when bigger was not better, and people only spent what they could afford to spend. The Great Depression taught some tough lessons to a generation of citizens, but those lessons were forgotten, blown away with the Dust Storm of Selfishness and Greed.

Tough words? I don’t think so! We have allowed this current situation to fester and grow. We rode the crest for awhile and then when the wave broke we cried foul! How silly of us…how short-sighted of us!


I have deleted Sodom and Gomorrah from my personal GPS unit. I have no reason to walk those streets paved with pyrite. I have chosen a new path and it suits me well. I said goodbye to a life that wasn’t working, and I stood atop my personal skyscraper and declared my resistance to what appears to be progress but what is, in fact, a hell-bent-for-leather race down a dead end road.

Superman isn’t dead; he resides in each of you. The trick is in recognizing kryptonite in all of its disguises.

I am the town crier in the bell tower! Can you hear the sound? Do you know what it signifies? Will you hop aboard your trusty steed and tilt some windmills with me?

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Visit my Living Simple blog at


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