Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Grow old along with me/ The best is yet to be/ The last of life for which the first was made

In my leisure I am an amateur philosopher cum hallucinogen-fueled spiritual lecturer, as any of my friends who have had the dubious honour of drinking with me can attest. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

"One of the worst things about modern society is the lack of interaction between the generations! There are so many things that young people can learn from the elderly, and yet in our shallow yuppie bubble-lifestyles we only ever interact with people who have the same politics and generational perspective that we do! Noone has any respect for age and all of us silly young'uns think that we've invented everything. Ask Plato - in his glorious "Republic," he doesn't think people are even ready to assume any power until they're at least 40. In fact, every generation has something to teach the rest. Children have zest and joy and a connection to the primal happiness in the universe; adolescents have a painful but ultimately fruitful obsession with the delineation of the ego and an unbruised idealism (reaching its apotheosis in Whitman's "Song of Myself"); adults have a sense of responsibility, stability, and well-developed creative power; and old people have the wisdom and insight that comes with a reconciliation with death. We've all got to interact with each other so that the younger generations develop and the older generations don't forget the lessons they've already learned! Oh, I miss my family! I miss old people!"

Trust me, I could continue in this vein for hours, as long as the semillon doesn't run out. In fact, I've already pontificated about it here.

Unlike many of my fellow philosophers, I had a chance to put my theories into action yesterday, when I was staying with my grandfather Pop near Merimbula Beach. Pop was the second youngest of seven brothers and two sisters, and as a result my family on my mother's side is like unto a mighty Mandelbrot-branched oak tree, with great-aunts and uncles and second and third cousins galore.

In the afternoon Pop had two siblings and two cousins over for tea, and I shall be a modern-day Marco Polo and bring back to you the rare spices and filigreed ivory treasures from our inter-generational entente.

It turns out, dear Reader, that the price of milk in the shops these days is outrageously high, much higher than it used to be. So is the price of a yearly golf membership at the Merimbula Links (up to $300 from the $25 it was a few decades ago.*) Also, television these days is mostly ads; in fact, there seems to be more ads than there is programming! Most of it is horrible and violent, just like the awful modern music these days, which is basically just noise. There aren't any cute little neighborhood shops these days, because it's all big chains (and it all comes down to economics, doesn't it? Yes, that's what rules everything nowadays.) On a personal note, I have a wonderful young figure and miraculous powers of heat-generation, since I was wearing shorts in such cold weather - but I shall find out that these gifts are only fleeting, when I myself get old someday.

At this point, my mind reeling from such a massive influx of wisdom, I excused myself to take the dog for a walk down the beach. Running along the edge of the waves in glorious solitude, taking deep breaths of sea air, I could again relax enough to ponder the vital necessity of rapport between the generations.

Har de har har.

But, to be fair, if the young have a duty to listen to the lessons of age, the old also have a duty to listen to the lessons of youth. And perhaps neither of us have been listening....

*In wide-open Australia, golf is a proletarian sport.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

11:39 PM  

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