Jewish World Review May 7, 2003 / 5 Iyar, 5763
When Hippies Retire
The San Francisco Chronicle informed me the other day that Stephen Gaskin,
one of the original hippies, founder of the Farm, the largest hippie
commune in America, now has plans to start Rosinante, a kind of
retirement village for aging hippies.
Apparent hippie Donnie Rainboat, 58, who is building one of the first
homes for this village, told the Chronicle, "It ain't gonna just be a
bunch of people just comin' round here to hang out and smoke dope. If
you want to come in here, start building a house and show you have some
incentive to stay."
There's something wrong with this picture.
First of all, what's this house-building nonsense? When you retire,
You're supposed to play golf, or go fishing, or take up bridge, or work
in the garden. You don't build a house. That's why G-d gave us
double-wide trailers. They were expressly created for retirement
It's all right to sand furniture when you're retired, or build a
birdhouse, or a dollhouse for the grandchildren, but any physical
contact with two by fours, roofing materials, or blueprints should be
illegal. Sit on the porch, whittle. If you're a retired hippie, why not
spend your days carving hash pipes out of driftwood? Don't build a
house. You're just going to throw your back out.
I don't get it. Where did all this ambition come from?
Back in the day, the hippies I knew pretty much lived to hang out and
smoke dope. Sure, every once in a while they'd throw a candle or a
basket together, or tie-dye a golden retriever, but most activity was
confined to smoking pot, "rapping" --- that is, spewing whatever stoned
thought was in one's head to whatever stoned ears were listening - and
trying to remember the words to Donovan songs.
In other words, hippies were ALREADY pretty much retired. Tune in, turn
on, drop out? Hello? When you retire, don't you essentially drop out? I
don't know what the AARP's position is on ingestion of mind-altering
psychedelics, but when it comes to the whole dropping out of the rat
race thing, seniors and hippies should be on the same page.
Come on, hippies, get with the program. Whether you're in loud golf
pants or patched up bell bottoms, you're still a retiree, aren't you? So
get in the multi-purpose room, fire up a water pipe, and start playing
pinochle. Okay? Okay.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales