Boomers come in two varieties.
In the sixties the legendary demarcation line was LSD.
You were either on the bus for the trip, or not.
The differences were obvious.
- On The Bus: You lived life for the experience and worked to make each one new and fresh.
The young woman in the corner of the party waving her hand in front of her face wasn’t chasing flies, she was clearing space for a new revelation.
The photo effect of ‘cid made it look like twenty hands at the end of her arm. She may look mental, but it’s temporary.
Later in life the same hand motion becomes a silent code for “they must be tripping” when things don’t go according to plans.
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum.
- Off The Bus: You locked into the status quo. Your goals and aspirations were built on what came before you.
Your dad was the first in the family to go to college and graduate. You kept the string going.
The family approval rating for Off The Bus boomers skyrocketed when parents pointed to On The Bus hippies.
Things changed when longhair gained redneck approval, hippies listened to Merle Haggard, and a helping hand reached out for all. At least that was the idea.
Once the counter-culture trio of sex, drugs, and rock and roll went mainstream, the bus got bigger.
A non- chemical reflection shows the contradictions boomers grew up with.
Did Ken Kesey ever say “Don’t trust anyone over thirty?” He was thirty years old in 1965. If you couldn’t trust The Chief, who could you trust?
He did say something about the bus.
If you get credit for inventing the 60’s by holding Acid Tests with the Grateful Dead as house band, you own The Bus. And you drive it on the first day-glow coast to coast roadie before parking it in a swamp.
The great tripper band of the sixties and beyond, Pink Floyd from Cambridge, England, played the soundtrack for millions of hands waving in millions of faces.
Maybe it’s coincidence that one of the founding members was named Syd? He retired early from show biz. The story was he took too much ‘cid, tripped around the clock and lost his sense of time.
If the songs Wish You Were Here, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond, aren’t about him, they should be. And he’s not alone.
Is it too easy to point to the Beatles as the catalyst for everyone On The Bus? Here were four nice young men in matching outfits singing harmony about holding your hand. Oh, the innocence.
Then they met The Chief, took their own magical mystery tour on their own bus, and gave cultural birth to Pink Floyd. Boom.
Not when they traded influence with the Beach Boys and the stoned wizardry of Brian Wilson, not when Charlie Manson took a shine to Helter Skelter, and not when Michael Jackson drafted himself into Sgt. Pepper’s platoon with his snappy uniforms.
You don’t need to fry on acid to get on the bus. It doesn’t take bath salts or molly. It’s a state of mind. It takes focus.
So look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you’re On The Bus, or not. Then see if it makes any difference.
That’s one way to boomer, Boomer. That’s how you teach it.