And there's nothing left to do but count the years.
Thus starts the third verse of "Black muddy river", the last cut on the last album, "In the dark", by the Grateful Dead.
My sleep patterns (or lack thereof) are weird (why else would I be starting this at 2 fucking AM). Most morning I wake between 3 and 4, if I'm lucky I might last till 5AM. Once I'm awake, I'm awake. Boom, no yawning or stumbling around.
So now its 2:30 'cause I went on a side trip to get the song from Youtube and of course you know where THAT leads. Had to find the year the album was released, pull up the lyrics from my song folder, etc..
"And there's nothing left to do but count the years."
After close to 65 years on this "Big blue marble", I still more questions than answers. As I look back there is always the "What if"? What if my friend and I had gone through San Francisco and wandered through the Haight on our surfing safari in the summer of 1966?
Or if I had really understood what some of those folk songs I really dug were trying to tell me about war? During the student protests at Portland State (May 1970) when they started busting heads, should I have stayed instead of getting the fuck out of Dodge? Fuck if I know.
I guess I still thought there was a way towards a reasonable future. Went to school on the GI bill but got thrown and run over by a horse (not mine) just before finals week in 1976 which ended that path. Of course what path was there for a history/anthropology degree?
Worked as a delivery driver at a reprographic shop and set the land speed record for a Chushman three wheeler (55 MPH downhill). That could have killed me, what a stupid fuck! Got promoted to operating the white press (blueprint machine) and got a face full of ammonia changing out the tank once. Could have gone blind.
I know, why not go into business for my self? So I did. Wood heat was all the rage in 1979 so I bought a chimney sweeping rig from a outfit in Massachusetts, got me a Top hat and tails, and got filthy. On my first publicity booth at the Whole Earth Fair, Three Mile Island had its melt down. Well that gave a boost to wood heat! However as I look back on that "career" and pass by some of the roofs I climbed up on, I wonder how I didn't kill myself yet again. Some of them were really steep and quite iffy.
Sold the business, too much creosote in my hair. Went fishing. Also had a lot of fun with a crazy friend of mine who loved improve. In one such outing we invaded Kalama, Washington as a layover of a sailing race was happening at the marina. He was Walter E. Traprock and I was his faithful man "Stanley".
This was captured on video (which has since been lost to the detriment of mankind) but lead me into another "career" in public access television. When the local cable company got its franchise, it had to provide funding for public access to the cable. The studio had a grand opening and I went down to check it out. Started volunteering and then talked my way into a job as the first "Access Assistant", training and checking out equipment to the "Producers". I became quite good at my job and was a co-producer of a weekly live music show that ran for 3 years. Every Friday we had 3 hours to set up, go live and then break down. Had a great crew and we were good. I hosted and then was the director.
Opening the show with Phred.
Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man. Had to do something with my leftover top hat and tails!
In 1984 I had a cataract removed from my right eye. Cool I will be able to see clearly now. Opps, removing the cataract caused a 270 degree giant retinal tear which could not be repaired even after 2 surgeries. Fuck me. As I also had a cataract in my left eye and the chances of the same thing happening to it was about 50+%, it was decided I get to go blind. Not much advancement for a blind guy in television, so I ended up working on homeless veterans issues. Took over the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial (We were occupying before occupying was cool) as a protest on how homeless vets were treated.
Is this a jail cliche or what?
Interesting enough they didn't beat us, gas us, or otherwise try to kick us out. We actually made some headway and organized the first "Stand down" in Oregon.
Fast forward to 1991 and Desert Storm. Motherfuck, they're going to do it again. Joined the unwashed masses to protest and found a bunch of like minded vets who I've been associated with since then. Coffee every Sunday morning to piss and moan and laugh.
Got my sight back in 1992 with the brilliance of two surgeons and lots of Valium while I lay on the operating table watching them stick three needles in my eye and removing the cataract and doing a Vitrectomy. First thing I got to see was those crazy space walkers fixing the Hubble's bad eye, kinda poetic.
Reasonable future? I'm still here.
Enough counting the years, the night won't last forever unless you're on the wrong side of the grass.