I think it was in 1974 that I was playing guitar with a group called the GOOBER PEAS who sounded a lot like the KINGSTON TRIO. When time and money allowed, we would attend concerts of folk singers we enjoyed. Somehow we got tickets to Constitution Hall in Washington, DC to hear a group of folk musicians, including Pete Seeger, John Hartford, Don Mclean and several other big-time folk performers. The concert was staged to raise money to begin cleaning up the Potomac River, and since Pete was heavily involved in the clean up of the Hudson Bay, it seemed appropriate that he be there.
I had never seen the tall, lean Pete Seeger in concert but I must say he was mesmerizing. His relaxed, peaceful manner seemed to flood the auditorium with gentle kindness. He was the star of the show even though I believe being the star was never a feeling he strived for. At half time, my buddies Joe and John, said they had something to do and would be right back. I sat there alone recapping the first half of the show and enjoying the grand environment of Constitution Hall. Before the show began, my buddies returned to their seats with a smug look which told me they were up to something. Little did I know that they had gone back stage to played a song for Pete, John and Don that I had written. As the crowd settled into their seats in anticipation of the second half of the show, the musicians returned to the stage. Pete went to the mic, waited patiently for the crowd to settle down and then announced that he had been given a song during the break to use as the ‘clean up the Chesapeake Bay’ theme song. I thought that was such a cool thing to happen, but to my surprise, it was my song! I looked over at Joe and John who were smiling ear-to-ear and realized where they had gone during the intermission. Then, from the stage came my simple little song, sung by the entire group! That moment will live with me until I no longer breath.
It,s going down the river to the next place
It,s going down the river to the next beach
It,s going down the river
Down the river, down
The folks upstream think they got it good
they throw their trash in the river and its understood
It’s going down the river
Down the river, down
Now the folks upstream, they forgot one thing
There’s the folks upstream
Singing the same thing
It’s going down the river, down
I am not sure I ever thanked Joe and John for what they did but I want to thank them now as I cry over the death of a hero of mine, Pete Seeger.
I have often wondered why the human male so thoroughly enjoys the act of intentional farting. I can visualize a group of cave dwellers sitting around the fire under a star-lit sky, roaring loudly at the release of gas by one of their buddies. There is no doubt that there is a certain pleasure from the sudden release of gases and amusement when someone else fills the air with sound. As a male, I admit that I have often engaged in the act of ‘flatulation’ and I must say there is a primal enjoyment to be had. There are few of us who can keep from broadly smiling when exposed to an unexpected fart. For this reason, farts are a standard low-brow kind of comedy in all forms of communication.
I have noticed that young people’s farts seem to be more socially accepted than old people’s. When a young man does it, it is seen as a expression of manly virility, but when an old guy farts, it is greeted with sighs of disgust; add to this, society totally frowns on women who flatulate. I could count on one hand in my 64 years the times I have heard a women fart!
Now, I am not a ‘flatuologist’, but there seems to be a lot of inconsistencies on how our society deals with this issue. After all, the act of releasing gas is simply a natural process of the digestive system, nothing more; yet, farts are omnipresent in our literature, our comedy and our daily lives.
So the next time you feel the urge to fart, think of the deeply intellectual discussion that you are currently engaged in. And oh, by the way, I am still confused as to why women do not fart more often, but that will remain for me, one of life’s mysteries….!
I have been retired for almost 8 years and have to say life is great. I work occasionally but never to the point of not enjoying what I am doing, exercise on a regular basis, watch TV and read when I want to. In other words, unlike the second part of my life when I worked for someone else, I decide when and what to do as part of the ‘I’ generation!
Being a realist, I know that society will only function when everyone does his part, much like a giant bee hive with worker bees and the queen. In order for our giant, complex industrial machine and its workers to continue functioning, we must all play our roles. A portion of our lives is given to society in exchange for a salary. Hopefully, the job we choose (or are given) brings us fulfillment and joy. However, many times this is not the case. I know many people who loathe going to work and accordingly live only for the weekends. On the other hand, I was lucky enough to find an enjoyable career and was somewhat competent at it.
For me, retirement was an easy transition because I have always been self-motivated and have more hobbies and projects than I care to count. Predictably, retirement was easy. Many of my friends who are approaching retirement express fear at the notion of having so much FREE time. Having had someone else dictate to them when and where they spend their FREE time for so many years, they find themselves unable to entertain themselves! If you take a careful look at the way we raise our children, it seems as though we are conditioning them to be reliant on someone else to map out their days. During my childhood, there were some organized sports but not like today’s world of year-around activities to keep the children occupied throughout the year. The old adage that, the idle mind is the devil’s workplace, seems to be the motivation for this barrage of activities. Returning to the issue of retirement, maybe our childhood may be seen as training for retirement. Could the difference between today’s generation and previous generations be that in the past they repeatedly made their own decisions on how they used their time; whereas, we allow someone else to decide how we spend our time in exchange for money to buy goods. If this is true, when we do retire we will likely need to relearn, just like a child, how to entertain ourselves! Most retired people I meet seem to do well with this change in lifestyle, although some simply fade into inactivity when left to their own devices. I can remember so many times when I was working that an activity arose and I had to say, “I can’t go.” Now, I choose to enjoy every moment the way I want to. I have grown tired of hearing the word, ‘retirement,’ because it does not describe my life. I simple have changed paths: work when I want, play when I want and relax when I want.