A Divided Mind on the 4th of July

I find it kind of amusing that our country celebrates its birthday by blowing shit up, considering our foreign policy as of late.  When I was in Chicago there were so many fireworks going off that it sounded like a warzone.  I even saw a member of our entourage duck at one point because it was so loud it sounded like gunfire.  I couldn’t half blame him.  These weren’t fireworks that you could see, but just loud bangs going off at regular intervals with occasional whistling sounds like incoming.  I remembered the story of Devil’s Den from growing up near Gettysburg. 

The next day I read an article about how fireworks are bad for people with asthma, frighten dogs and other animals, and kill birds.  Nothing like a grand old tradition brought low.  

As one grows older and learns more you must develop the ability to live with a divided mind.  Or to put it another way, you must learn to be selectively crazy.  What did Slade sing about us all being crazy?

I was at a cookout recently in which I was there on a professional level.  Being that I am not a vegetarian could I enjoy the roasted pig knowing that pigs are as smart as dogs?  When one of the males made a crude comment about all the wives present, without any wit or knowing absurdity, should I just shrug it off or comment that he sounded like a dumbass? 

The show Curb Your Enthusiasm is so brilliant because Larry David so often says the things that we often want to, but manners and politeness keep us from doing so.  There are no easy answers.  So much of modern life is absurd that we must often choose the best path out of many bad ones.  It reminds me of a quote at the beginning of the Anthony Newley song Maladjusted: “On this glorious occasion of the splendid defeat.”

I Understand Why People Do Drugs

I can’t really blame anyone for using drugs.  If you watch advertisements, the TV news, anything to do with our political culture, reality TV, work a meaningless job, or pay attention to the million and one other absurd social and cultural things that go on in this country, you might need to get high.  If you aren’t good at compartmentalization or aren’t a Zen master, you might need to ingest some kind of chemical to numb your thoughts.  I’m not saying it is healthy or preferable, only that I understand.

We make criminals out of drug addicts, but hasn’t our society made drug addicts out of citizens?  I feel like the only way to exist in this country is to live with a divided mind.  For instance, you might realize that our economic system is unfair, but you have to earn a living and work within that system to pay your bills.  A mind divided will surly fall, or something like that.  If you look out at our country right now and think everything is as it should be, then you are either dumb, seriously deluded, or some kind of mutant sociopath.

I once remember reading or hearing something about Hunter Thompson’s drug use that talked about how he was just trying to cope with an insane world.  He was acutely aware of the injustice of the Vietnam War and long slow decline that followed.  He was highly intelligent and tuned in to what was going on around him.  It was his way of self medicating.  Sometimes I picture drug use as a way to even out the insane pressure from the outside world with insane pressure from the inside.  Maybe it’s just creating a state of equilibrium.

We should stop demonizing drug use.  We should help those that need it get better.  Better still would be to make society a place where insanity isn’t the norm.  It would be far better if drug users would spend all the time they used acquiring drugs to fight against societies ills, but too often those that don’t use drugs can’t even muster up such stickfuckingtoitness.