Why I Hang Out with Hippies but Still Can’t Seem to Get Laid

It’s graduation time: students from preschool to high school are transitioning to something new, exciting, worrisome, just to name some of the host of emotions. I remember feeling both relieved and benumbed by the surreality of no longer having to contend with the complex and, to me at least, socially terrifying juggernaut that was public school.

            I watched my youngest son graduate from middle school. I noticed there were a group of students who received wild cheers, like they were returning victorious heroes or some shit, and mostly this behavior irritated me. My irritation soon gave way to thoughts of how proud my mom would’ve been of her grandsons, but she’s dead instead. It was one hell of a sucker punch. I kept the sobbing back just long enough to get out of there.

            A good friend of mine also noticed this phenomenon of greater applause for some, but the experience triggered an epiphany for him. The thought occurred that the withholding of applause (or love, resources, protection, food, whatever) for “me and mine” is one of the reasons our culture is so diseased (if you don’t think it is, I doubt you’ve been paying much attention.) He then made it a point to clap and yell as much for every student as he did for his own. Perhaps this changes nothing, right? We’re talking about applause after all, but if we apply the same principle to things other than just applause and treat all people as we would our beloved (and this is where it starts getting difficult for me), then perhaps we could help more than hinder.

            I have a gnawing misanthropy, which seems to be growing more savage as I age. I try to give people basic respect, at least until they piss me off. When my friend spoke of his experience, it resonated so strongly with me, I actually felt my total disgust with most humans receding.

            Yet, as I sit here writing what I hoped would be an optimistic and possibly even lightweight inspirational piece, I can’t shake 47 years (fuck I’m getting old) of experience. That’s why “Shoot, Knife, Strangle, Beat, and Crucify” is in my liked songs list and “Age of Aquarius” or whatever the fuck is not.

            Try, I guess, and so will I, to be brotherly or sisterly. Believe me, I know not everyone deserves it. But, then again, who are we to judge anyway?

About Jeff Opfer

Jeff is a carpenter and freelance writer born and raised in the Reno area. View all posts by Jeff Opfer

2 responses to “Why I Hang Out with Hippies but Still Can’t Seem to Get Laid

  • ltarleton84

    I was just too tired to clap for all the 100 kids that went through. I admired the energy they all had. To be young and full of life. I wondered what qualities they admired in the friends that they clapped the loudest for. I wondered if something has shifted and the smart nice kids were the ones being cheered for instead of the dumb popular bullies. At least that was my experience in middle school. 🤔 I think your friend is right though, people do withhold for only those they know or consider friends or family. I’m more of a humanitarian and I care about everyone. But, sometimes we just don’t have enough gas in our own tank to fill up someone else’s. I’m depleted a lot of the time, but when my tank is full, I do what I can. 😉

    • Jeff Opfer

      I don’t fault anyone for clapping or not clapping. I was just using that as a metaphor to broach my blurry argument. Humanitarian means you only eat people, right?

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