Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Happydale travelogues: It wasn’t funny at the time, but I’m laughing my ass off now

This is the third part of a series in which I had been on a road trip and decided to put some fictional stories together based on persons and adventures I had on my voyage. Naturally I used no one’s real name and changed the names of places I went. We continue with The Happydale Travelogues;

While in Happydale I visited my friend Mikhail Bakunin or Михаил Бакунин in Russian. He usually went by Mike since most Americans could remember that name better. I’m not sure if he really believed he was the early anarchist philosopher, the writer who came up with the idea of the “propaganda of dead.” But many of the people in this town believed they were famous people and he seemed to want to jump on the band wagon.
He went through a lot of trouble to look like Mikhail, complete with a beard and long hair. He lived in a moderate ranch home with his mother. He had read every book the guy ever wrote. He knew his philosophy inside and out.
We sat on the covered porch of house. We on some wicker chairs he had on the porch.
“You know those yellow and black tripped warning cones I drove over last week, at that construction site?” Mike asked me.
“Sure,” I answered. “That episode landed you in the hospital as a major melt down on your part.”
“True,” he said. “But thinking it over, I’ve decided that crashing that road construction site was actually my way of getting back at the Kansas Government for spending so much money on road work and so little on education.”
“Now wait a minute,” I said. “You said that part of the reason you blew up that night and trashed that place was because your medications weren’t working right…You had been depressed all week……And you finally snapped and attacked those cones without putting any real thought into it at all.”
“That’s what I originally thought. But on further contemplation, I realized my subconscious mind chose that site because of political reasons. Keep in mind I am Mikhail Bakunin, the originator of the “propaganda of the Dead.”
“But the propaganda of the dead implies that the propaganda is thought out before the dead is committed. I’ve never heard of it being done the other way around.”
“I’ve never read anywhere were it couldn’t be done that way. Besides do you know that the State of Kansas is among the top five states in road construction spending?”
“And you know as well as I do that for the last five years Governor Sam Brownback has been cutting education, causing less needed equipment, causing the firing of teachers, larger classrooms…You see… we value our smooth roads, but we don’t give a shit about our future citizen’s education. They’ve cut drivers ed., language classes and cut backd on history and even English language arts. So you see…. it was perfectly logical for me to decide to decimate a construction site.”
“Come on. You had got all those facts and figures after you trashed that site, not before.”
“Wrong. I’ve been thinking about these facts for a long time. I am political you know. I pay attention to these issues.”
“OK. Maybe you knew about these facts ahead of time. But I still don’t think you can commit a crime and then decide it was a political crime. I may be old fashion, but I just don’t think that kind of political action is responsible.”
“Well, I didn’t get arrested for that.”
“And that amazes me.”
“I was in the poor black part of town, the ghetto if you can call it that.”
“Did anyone see you doing all that damage?”
“I don’t know. Do you think it is possible that most of the black people living there just didn’t really care that a crazy white guy was going off on construction equipment?”
“I have no idea. It does make me wonder if that site had been in a purely white neighborhood, would some anal retentive up-tight white person have called the cops on you?”
“That’s a good question. I guess I may never know the answer to that.”
“That’s provided you never drive your car over construction equipment in a white neighborhood, some night when you flip out and go crazy again.”
“PLEASE! That last episode was enough for a whole lifetime. I don’t ever want to go through that again. Once was bad enough.”
“And don’t forget that when you were done at the construction site, you went to your favorite bar, scared your girl friend and all your other friends there. It was they who suggested you go to the hospital. And the bartender wouldn’t serve you any drinks at all. Surely none of that was political”
“Well….no. I can’t think of anything political about going off and freaking out my friends. That part was not political at all.”
“We have agreement here.”
“And maybe on one other thing. You see it was probably a terrifying even when I drove over those cones and they went flying in all directions. But now I think it’s funny. In fact, the whole episode at that site seems funnier the more I think about it.”
Mike was right. We both had a weird sense of humor and the more I thought about his car going over all those cones at that construction site, and how many of them were probably flying all over the street, maybe even up in the air, I started laughing. Then he started laughing. The next thing I knew we were both laughing out loud at the though of all those cones flying all over the place.  
And that’s the way it seems with many of life’s trials and tribulations. What can seem like a major tragedy one day; may turn out to be a funny story later in life when the fear and shock wear off.  
-សតិវ អតុ


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