Down the river with young people

Scan 23Once upon a time, I was a teenager going to high school in Mill Valley, letting my hair grow long, smoking marijuana whenever I could, hitching rides in Twinkie wrapper-strewn cars with scroungy band members who became the Airplane, reading Kerouac and carrying a copy of Camus, heading to San Francisco for civil rights marches on the weekends and simply not seeing what older people thought were the great red and green menaces of commies and pot.

Hillary Clinton’s impending announcement for the Democratic presidential nomination made me think of this. I was reading a story about her mother in the New York Times and remembering that the daughter is 67 and I am nearly 66.

I also was thinking of JFK’s election at age 43, the “whiz kids” lining up with him, and the start of our disastrous, four-administration experience in Vietnam. And I don’t know what to think of President Barack Obama now sending 450 more military advisers — remember them? — to Iraq.

I never got U.S. policy in Vietnam — starting with Cold War view of the alleged red menace in Asia — and I’ve recently read arguments that ISIS is simply trying to suck us into full-fledged war in Syria. I have no interest in pot these days, and watching a younger brother lose to the temptations of drugs left me thinking that maybe “Reefer Madness,” although clearly weird propaganda, was most laughable for its production values.

This is not an endorsement. I’m just thinking that age 67 is not a bad thing, Maybe the bigger the window on time the better. Certainly I wish I had known at 43 what I know now.

Plus, just before the New York Times story, I had read an entertaining piece by my neighbors’ grown-up kid in my most local newspaper, the Sandoval County Signpost.

It was called, “Rafting the Grand Canyon with old people.”

It left me thinking about young people.

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