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The Hippie Couple

March 4, 2015

Hippie Couple

To behold this couple is to think that Jerry Garcia has returned from the dead – the actual dead rather than the Grateful variety – to escort a Vermont lesbian to a CSN concert. They both have the round wire-framed glasses made popular by European avant-garde writers of the Twenties, though The Hippie Couple still takes its literary cue from Jack Kerouac and Spiderman comic books. They eat stuff only bought from expensive organic food markets – an amazing feat of economic juggling worthy of a Republican senator advocating tax cuts and an increase in military spending and balancing the budget, since the husband works in a vinyl record shop located in an alley way, while the wife is a social worker for a Catholic charity. Still their waistlines continue to expand to produce ample stomach spillage over the same faded jeans bought thirty years ago at a bizarre at St. Mark’s Place after a sit-in demonstration against Richard Nixon’s bloated jowls.

When they see old friends, the occasion is treated with a note of high-level bonding usually reserved for a reunion of war veterans, those who have survived a terrifying ordeal together and lived to tell the tale. These folks view the personal past through important historical events, much how Churchill once divided his life into his escape from the enemy during the Boar War, the disaster at the Dardanelles in 1915, his opposition to the Munich Accords, his Iron Curtain speech and the time he got wasted with Stalin while Truman sat in an adjacent room agonizing over which bowtie to wear the next day at the Potsdam Conference. To the Hippie Couple, there was Haight-Ashbury in 1968 when the days were filled with head-altering substances; the utopian weekend at Woodstock (though, like most of that generation, they never made it to upstate New York in August of ‘69, having stopped at a party en route only to remain comatose until Thanksgiving), and, of course, the tragic night at Altamont four months after Woodstock when they had witnessed comrades, dear friends, fall to the pool cues of the Hell’s Angels, casualties of war. Now they can be seen at Blues Festivals doing something in an empty patch of grass that cultural experts believe to be a form of dancing, though, to the layman, it more resembles two herons having an epileptic fit.

The Hippie Couple never had kids, since raising a family would have forced them to drop the act of arrested adolescence. A child wants THINGS, wants to not sleep on the floor of a commune surrounded by marijuana-baked human flesh, wants to play imperialist sports like football and baseball – and even the most stubborn adherent to the Counter Cultural ethos of selfishness would have had to eventually put their offspring before their own utopian slacker fantasies and get a real job and buy a house in the ‘burbs. The Hippie couple dodged this reality-bullet due to their unique interpretation of Planned Parenthood, namely, the technique of birth control called LSD-Induced Miscarriage – and after enough of these horrible events, the issue of selling out to The Man became a moot point. Thus the road was clear to get jobs that made them “happy” and to continue to get high while listening to Iron Butterfly – i.e., to be silly people.

The walking cane is a key prop in the lifestyle of The Hippie Couple, just like it is for the post-thirty-five-year-old methadone clinic attendee. There has yet to be a study done linking past chronic drug use to needing a cane to prevent one from falling to the pavement and, as a result, spilling the contents of one’s fanny-pack all over the sidewalk. But every scientific study must be preceded by a hypothesis – and this is our hypothesis: that one member of this Tie-Dye T-shirt retro-couple will, in a supermarket, proceed to the Hummus display with the aid of a cane.

The nobler version of The Hippie Couple is a legitimate eschewer of Materialism. This subspecies at least has the toughness of the true rebel to persist in an unpopular belief at the expense of comfort and wellbeing, as demonstrated by how they will live in a tent throughout various campsites in Western desert terrain. There is no Viking oven to cook their yams and veggie burgers – nay, it is done in a tin can over an open fire. There is no cable TV to watch VH1; rather their nightly mode of relaxation comes in the form of reading dog-eared copies of Allen Ginsberg and Herman Hesse, and strumming a beat-up guitar and singing Bob Dylan:

All the people we used to know/ They’re an illusion to me now/ Some are mathematicians/ Some are carpenter’s wives/ Don’t know how it all got started/ I don’t what they’re doing with their lives/ But me I’m still on the road/ Heading for another joint/ We always did feel the same/ We just saw it from a different point of view/ Tangled up in Blue.

(Check out my website: http://www.authorjamesfjohnson.com)

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