Thursday, May 10, 2012

Being True to Your Truly True Self

One of the perks of my double life as nocturnal, reeking resident of the Rescue Mission and my daytime superhero gig as sub teacher is that I can walk into the average Starbucks and look, in my khakis and dress or polo shirt--my standard teaching uniform--like a reasonably non-threatening fellow.  Sure, I might be reading Burroughs, Ballard, or some other purveyor of the perverse, but no one seems to give me second glance.  Besides, I have an iPod and actually order coffee instead of water and don't spend inordinate time in the restroom and emerge looking as if I'd taken a shower.

 Another perk:  I get to eavesdrop and spy on groups of well-heeled adults with bluetooths and iPads gather at tables clutching identical binders and slim paperback books emblazoned with praise from today's media mavens: New York Times, Vogue, and Al Gore.   These books always feature words and phrases  in the title like "healing" "quantum" "becoming" "power" "rapport" "revelation" "at the end of this age,"  and my favorite, "paradigm."  These people have the same vacuous smiles and loud, deeply unhappy laughter and have clearly paid money for seminars purporting to offer "The Secret," like a recent and particularly odious book did to the tune of millions--both to people who could afford the book as stocking stuffers and to people who failed to pay their power bills to buy the slimy little thing.

Here's another question I constantly ask myself as I watch kids at play--screeching in preadolescent ecstasy--how did we get from all this innocent energy and enthusiasm to meth, coke, booze, shows like "Cops" and "American Idol," nicotine addictions, were-wolves beating wives and step kids, computer thievery from people with no real tech skills, and general howling mayhem here at the beginning of the new millennium?

Then again, how did we get from the Enlightenment, Voltaire, Beethoven, Charles Darwin, and Einstein to impeccably dressed denizens of cafes and bistros who think Deepak Chopra, Sylvia Brown and Oprah are great shakes?

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