I just turned 64. I swear I never thought I'd make it this far. When I think back to some of my "antics"....well.......I'm thankful I'm here. I'm a slow learner. I'm just starting to get it. Well, maybe around 50 I started to get it. I'm a Pisces. I'm a dreamer. If I could get paid for dreaming I'd have a mansion on the hill. The thing is.....I never wanted a mansion on a hill.
We've all seen the posts regarding the "dangers" we survived as kids. Some real. Some....not so dangerous. Kids rolling around in the back of a station wagon with no seat belts is ....fun?.....dangerous? Walking to school by yourself? No bike helmets? Etc and so on. You decide. There was a big drainpipe we used to walk through in Greenbrook Park in Plainfield, NJ. Went on for hundreds of yards. I later found out that gas was released through that pipe in regular intervals. Cheated death again. Falls through the ice, exploring new and old deserted buildings, cutting through cemeteries, flying down hills across roads on bikes with no brakes, On and on.
In my job I meet lots of parents. The job seems to be....keep the kids occupied at all time! Early school starts, sports, sports, sports and hours of homework seem to be the norm. College tours are starting in sophomore year. I decided I wanted to go to The University of Texas at El Paso in my senior year. I applied, got accepted, secured a $1,000.00 loan (this covered tuition, books and dorm...with a meal plan), my mom co signed and I was off. Never went to see the school. Mom bought me a suitcase for HS graduation and gave me a ride to Newark Airport in September. See ya at Christmas!
I was....am.... lucky. As a kid I feel like I had it all. Good home life. Family dinners every day around 5:30. Friends. Baseball. Lots of freedom. Adventures. Plenty of alone time. (That Pisces/dreamer thing), TV, choir, altar boy, and later...uh oh.....musician. My popularity increased. Maybe the intense competition was there, but if it was....it went right over my head. I know this is sacrilege but I never minded coming in second. And it made coming in first that much sweeter. Competition, from what I observe, has reached an intensity that I, and my pals never experienced. Again. Better? Worse? I guess it depends on the singular experience. But the world has become more intense, more competitive.
Stupidity also entered the picture later on. Driving to the gig with four guys in a VW camper with no seat belts, loaded with equipment, beer and bags of weed.....probably not a good idea. Ditto for the ride home. The danger factor just never crossed our mind. Really. Or hitch hiking from El Paso to Hollywood. Hitch hiking was the mode of travel in the 60's and 70's. But again....survived. Most of us. Some dangers we bring on. Others are just out there. And that's life on planet earth. As long as lessons are learned along the way...and there's still room for Bugs Bunny and the Three Stooges........I'm cool with it.