Friday, April 21, 2006

Our Back Pages, Forever in the Now.

Beakdip likes to write short observations. Just in case they aren’t archived, here’s his most recent poem. Like he often does, he got me thinking.

the young create hip
the old search for it

the wiser we become
the hip in us is done

This is true. Keeping up with new fads (not a hip word anymore) becomes less important as the years accumulate. Hip is - and should remain – an evolving virus, always a step ahead of an antidote. Once a plurality gets it, the real hip has morphed and mutated away from mass acceptance.

But each generation did have its own fleeting moment of being truly hip. Oh, yes! Remember? Maybe not everyone in each generation had it; but at least then they knew they weren’t. That hip still defined them, by contrast. And as we get older, we can all lie about how it was.

But I cringe when I hear ‘youth is wasted on the young.’

How authoritarian is that?

There seems to be three elemental paths, on the way to the end:

• Become a fuddy-duddy. This is the opposite of hip. And unlike hip, it never changes. A 35 year old fuddy-duddy is exactly the same as a 75 year old f-d. They think youth is wasted on the young. They grew up.

• Become a hip-hopper. They who vainly try to keep up with the hip of the moment. The graying daddy in the club. The soccer-mom who insists on using her teenagers slang, much to the crushing embarrassment of said teenager. They too think youth is wasted on the young, because they refuse to acknowledge youth.

• Stay forever young. Que?

I wish this third option was more in vogue. Think of how eclectic and rich our society and culture would be if everyone continued to keep more in tune with the way they were, when they were hip? Old age is wasted on the old. The gift of aging is we have both youth and old age in us. Re-unfurl your own, older, freak flags.

Bluesmen and modern classicists, still inventive well into the 100s. Ninety year old flappers, still jazzing in the caberets. 80 year old folkies, still singing about This Land. Lindy hoppers, still boogie-woogieing with their bugle boys. The original rockers, wailing. Beatniks, still Lost, but working on their dharma. Flower children, still grooving and throwing up the peace sign (it'll do you no harm). Disco and dancing queens, still at the funky roller disco. Punks genuinely nihilistic. Old school rappers, dressing disco but popping new, um, old school. The grunge and metal legions, forever head-banging.

May we all stay forever young. Maybe it will entice us away from the nowhere lure of suicide.


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