I Told My Hippie Friend that the Sixties are Dead
If He Could Only Let Go of the Sixties
My friend hasn't cut his hair since I have known him. I'm not sure he washes his feet, either.
He's a yoga peer. He comes every day to yoga class in his overalls, bare feet, love beads, and his little suede weed bag. Just to look at him, you can hear the a cappella sounds of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young singing, Teach Your Children Well.
In downward dog, his hair and beads hang down to the mat. it's a wonder he doesn't strangle himself as he goes through his vinyasa.
If he would only cut his hair, maybe he could see what and where he's going. If he could only clip his ear hair, maybe he could hear the yogi in front of the room explain how to do the scorpion pose.
If he could only let go of the 60s, he could move on with his life. He could trade in his 1970 VW Bug with the Woodstock and anti-war stickers on the back and get something that has a decent heating system and a working defroster.
If he could only let go of the 60s, he wouldn't have to wear his Birkenstock sandals all the time and perhaps get a comfortable pair of shoes with some arch support.
If he could only let go of the 60s, he would stop using drugs and perhaps his pupils would dilate and contract normally.
If he could only let go of the 60s, he would get rid of his tie-dies, bell-bottoms, platform shoes, strobe lights, burnt draft card and his psychedelic day-glow poster of Jimi Hendrix playing the guitar with his teeth
If he could only let go of the sixties...
Times Have Changed, but He Hasn't
I know my hippie friend will never change. He will always be that outdated hippie teenager that promised his Buddha that he would never be a sell-out. He took an oath with the Tao that he would never cater to corporate America and would never turn his back on the Flower Power of the 60s.
I know my hippie friend was around in 1967 when Timothy Leary exhorted young people to, “Turn on, tune in and drop out.” As well as to encourage the masses to ingest peyote, psychedelic mushrooms and LSD so they could undulate like a tsunami wave.
I know that my hippie friend was around when beat-writer, Jack Kerouac, wrote: "No one's on the road so lets go get stoned and we’ll worry about money and responsibilities later." Which prompted my long haired friend to smoke under the influence and get busted by the cops on numerous occasions.
I know that my hippie friend was one of those students at the University of California-Berkley staging sit-ins, be-ins and demonstrations and marches to end the war in Vietnam, stop racial and sexual injustices, call for environmental protection, and stand up for freedom of speech.
I know that my hippie friend rubbed shoulders with anti-war icons Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Jane Fonda in order to protest against the political far right and the military industrial complex. They all held hands and sang along with anti-war folksinger, Phil Ochs, I Ain't Marching Any More.
Hell, my hippie friend was there for it all. He was the poster child for hippies. He went along with the wave of change, being carried away much like Forrest Gump did, experiencing it all. My hippie friend stuck the carnation down the barrel of the soldier's gun at the mall entrance of the Pentagon.
He was there during the Summer of Love and during the Summer of Complete Burnout. He was there listening to Bob Dylan sing Masters of War and even heard the Byrds chime, Turn, Turn,Turn. And I'm even sure he was under the bedsheets with Lennon and Yoko while they were making love and while chanting, Give Peace A Chance.
Hell, my hippie friend was everywhere when history was made in the 1960s. But that was 50 years ago, friend. Times have changed. Unfortunately, he remains the same.
Make Sure You Wear a Flower in Your Hair
Money, Silicon Valley, and the Kardashians
My long haired friend once told me, "When I think of the 60’s I think of freedom and exploration. Many young people who participated in the movement travelled cross country to find more meaning in life, more peace, music, love and sex. Some of them were even lucky to find it. It was a time of great expectations and California dreaming."
Now, more than 50 years later it’s a completely different story. Today if you are an adventurous young spirit you might be in the minority. You might strap on your backpack, put a flower in your hair and trek to San Francisco but the only thing you will find in the bay area is, perhaps, grief—high prices, lack of employment, Kim Kardashian on the Instagram, and a slew of yuppies working in Silicon Valley and hanging out at Starbucks. Now Golden Gate Park has no flower children, no Grateful Dead and no strung out hippies. It's just a park.
Today's youth who try to explore a life of freedom and nonconformity are often met with the economic reality of our time. Without money, they typically end up on the streets trying to beg for food or play a banged-up guitar and shake a tambourine trying to scrounge up a few dollars from passersby. It’s tragic in many cases. The current times are not Jack Kerouac on-the-road friendly. But more like, homeless-unfriendly.
The modern hippies may look like a hippie with their long hair, dreads and colorful clothing; they may talk like a hippie with their groovy jargon—but they don’t get the respect like their 60s predecessors.
And that's sad, especially for my long-haired yoga friend who really has good intentions and is a kind and loving person but, unfortunately, misguided.
Do you think the 60s will ever come back?
Are They Hippies or are They Homeless?
The Homeless are the New Hippies
My long-haired friend is not homeless, but he is poor and lives in a house that he rents with several other like-minded people who smoke dope and have sex with or without Viagra. They reflect on a time long-gone. They dream of what could have been. They wonder if the 60s will ever come back. In their hearts and minds they are hippies and they are proud of it, but when they walk down the street they are seen as just another poor, unkept pitiful soul.
Indeed, as the yuppies make their way down fancy California streets, my long-haired friend might be seen as homeless. He might be seen as a loser, demented, a sorry state of affair. Yuppies, who now rule upscale neighborhoods, may take a glance up from their iPhone 6 and let out an audible sigh—but that’s all the attention that they will give my long haired friend.
Let’s be honest—the homeless are the new hippies--they are dirty, wear sandals, smoke reefer, panhandle and drop way too much acid. Today's version of the hippies are no longer a symbol for change--love, civil rights, anti-establishment, and peace-- but they represent a part of our society that is decaying, the forgotten underclass. These people can barely make it in our changing and very very expensive society.
Aquarius, Aquarius--Harmony and Understanding
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the minds true liberation...
(From the Age of Aquarius, sung by the Fifth Dimension--http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/0-9/5th_dimension/aquarius.)
There was Never an Age of the Aquarius
I told my hippie friend, in a nice way, that the 60's are dead.
The 60s were never the Age of the Aquarius in the first place. It was a time of hope, faux revolution and great expectations but it was also a time of drug overdose and major disappointments. It was anything but a peaceful and loving time, more like a violent and unforgiving era in our nation's history.
There was never an Age of Aquarius where there was peace, light and love in the air. There was never a time when the stars and the planets were in such a position that peace and love ruled the earth.
The 5th Dimension sang that wonderful song, Age of Aquarius, beautifully. And there are still some people, namely astrologers, who feel that the Age of Aquarius will appear in another 50 years. But I'm sorry to say that's just a pipe dream and people like my hippie friend hold onto this notion because their current reality doesn't please them.
But who am I to burst anyone's bubble? When the moon is in the Seventh House and when Jupiter aligns with Mars and where peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars--it will be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
And if you believe that, you just might have dropped one too many tabs of acid.