Maybe the best part of knowing that I don't really belong here is that I'm aware that it's me, not them. Outsiders pay a price for the life that they live and the currency is loneliness. Oh, I don't feel sorry for myself. Not at the moment, anyway. Everybody's lonely. Lotsa' folks just don't realize it.
Nobody was ever waiting for me to make something of myself. I am something.
Most of the time I try to look through windows and walk through doors. I'm struggling to figure out whether life is just a series of random events or if, maybe, I just have a random routine. Is there any such thing as a random routine?
All the sorrow in the world is within each and every one of us. Fortunately, all the joy is, too. If you can learn to control your memories, you can choose joy over sorrow most of the time. Most of the time.
The ghosts visit regularly, if not frequently, but the space people never show up. Heck, I've waited this long.
Who decides what's holy? Asking for a friend, of course. I've reached a point in this life where I see no reason to take anything very seriously. Don't suppose I really ever have. Oh, I worry about the suffering that I see around me. I try, these days, to do what I can, when I can, to help and stay away from sorrow.
Joy runs in my veins and I do what I can to share it.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."
Doesn't seem to need much further interpretation, does it?
If you can figure out some way to make peace as profitable as war, maybe we'll get somewhere. Is it naive of me to suggest that we spend the money on feeding the hungry, putting roofs over the heads of the homeless? What if our military budget went to education? Environmental protection? Universal health care?
Funny thing is, I'm an optimist. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
Not every revolutionary is an artist. Not every artist is a revolutionary. Rock'n'roll was at the forefront of changing the world. My world. We fought war, bigotry, homelessness, discrimination. We stood up for minorities, women, animals and the environment. Music was our weapon.
Now I try to make sense of our history.
Rock'n'roll is out of fashion while folks in red caps manufactured in China chant, "Send her back! Send her back!" Yeah, bigotry's back in fashion.
When I was a kid, decent folks tried to take care of hoboes. Now, with homelessness rampant in the country, we pass laws making it illegal to give food to starving people. We lock up children and pay "private enterprise" seven hundred and fifty dollars a day to guard them.
I see no reason to list our shortcomings, as I see them. You probably have your own list.
Rock'n'roll stars didn't invent activism. Bob Dylan wanted to be Little Richard before he settled on Woody Guthrie. Woody never sold many records, never made much money. He was a revolutionary. His occupation was world-changer.
There are kids out there with guitars who aren't selling any records. Not trending on YouTube. They know what their job is.
If we're gonna save the world, we better get busy. It's gettin' hot in here.
Seems fairly obvious to me that the next big war won't be fought with battleships and tanks and bombers half as long as football fields. Oh, we still build those relics. Good for the economy. If you own stock in Boeing, Halliburton, Northrop and GE. Always good to have them ready for a last minute parade, too.
Nerds and geeks replace flyboys with silk scarves billowing as subjects for future propaganda posters. Some home-schooled hacker in Nanjing will shut down the entire U.S. banking system while a work- from-home mom in Menlo Park disrupts all scheduled air traffic in Russia.
Theft of intellectual property? Like Wernher von Braun? Einstein?
Live long enough and stuff happens. I've bored you to death with my stories about Elvis and Don Garlits. I brag about proximity to Chuck Berry and President Kennedy as though that means something about my life.
Oh, I've had my heroes and I've been blessed with good seats. My favorite scenes from my life had had casts of characters who haven't fared as well in some of the history books.
Have I mentioned that I went to see Shirley Chisholm speak? Bucky Fuller? Dick Gregory?
Did I ever tell you that I never saw the Beatles? None of them! I've never seen Bob Dylan.
I've met some of the sweetest, smartest, kindest folks that you can imagine. You've never heard of most of them and I don't remember most of their names. I've held hands with women who transmitted power to change the course of history and I've looked into eyes that revealed secrets of the universe.
My super power is that blood flows in my veins and love beats in my heart. Not sure just how special that is.
Somewhere around 4:00 am I was awakened by profound thoughts and sage advice. I waited until nearly 7:30 to roll out of bed to bring it to you. It seems to have mostly fizzled. Kindness above all. If talent fails you, show them your underwear. I'm sure there was more.
The first time that I can remember consciously re-inventing myself was after meeting Elvis. After this amount of time, I can't remember what I decided to change.
What I do know is that it's past time for another makeover.
My pal, Gurf, noticed that I don't seem to be working much.
"Well, they're not gonna come looking for you," he offered.
Growing old is mostly about your memories losing relevance. Oh, not to you. The worst part of it is that you're not making new ones.
Now, my pal, Ed Brown, liked to say that youth has no concept of mortality. It's not that the concept was over my head while I was young. I just didn't care. I look around me now and worry that youth places no value on memories. Heck, there's a new one around every corner.
Well, I have advice and I'm pretty sure that all my young friends have been waiting with bated breath. Take notes. Pay attention. Write songs. Take pictures. Laugh. Hold hands. Don't ever withhold love and don't waste time or energy on a grudge. When it's love or money, go with love.
Your wardrobe will go out of style and your stuff will rot and rust. Keep your memories handy and share them when you can.