I wish the government would stop making feeble attempts to patch up a sick system. Let the old institutions die, and maybe we’ll be forced to come up with creative new ways to live. If technology has made everything faster and easier, I don’t understand why I still have to sit at a desk all day. Unless it’s to let my spine warp, my arteries harden, and my tunnels carpal so that I’m forced to spend money on health care. That must be it. Not everyone dreams of having a marriage, a mortgage, a baby and a car. Some days I want nothing more than fresh air. I want to walk barefoot through a forest and spear a fish for dinner. I want to be so grateful for each new day that I’m up to watch the sun rise. I have civilization sickness.
Sadly, I missed a rare opportunity to slip off the grid. Years ago, I was on Greyhound from San Francisco to Chattanooga and met a Blackfoot Indian chief returning from a ceremony in Utah. He was carrying the skull of a buffalo wrapped in a sheet, and explained that he had just performed a ceremony in which the enormous skull was hooked to his back on chains while he pulled it around in a Utah desert. It was a ritual of sacrifice, an offering of flesh which is the only thing one can really own. He told me about his home in Missouri, where he had several breeder wives working to repopulate his tribe. I told him I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but that I often felt pulled toward Tennessee. He said he knew of some kind of commune there started by a guy named Sun Frog. I never did knock on Sun Frog’s door. I was too shy, and besides, I felt like I had done the communal living thing with my anarchist friends in SF. Group showers aren’t for me.
Two weeks later, I found myself in Alaska, and while I was moved by it’s wild beauty, I still found myself needing the money that came with sitting at a desk for eight hours straight. I’m caught in some hideous limbo between hating the dull routines of society but not being brave enough to be a full-time wild animal. If humans are the bridge between nature and spirit, what is the point of business? Why trade time for imaginary dollars and store the data on a plastic card? How many years before I figure out how to live in this world?
Anyway, if you run into a guy named Yellow Hand and he’s lugging a malodorous skull, tell him to email me.