During my nightly psychedelic sojourn on the sofa is when I come up with most of the stuff I post on this blog. When I say most of it, I really mean All of it, cause I rarely think about stuff to blog about when not sojourning on my sofa….psychedelicized. Most of the time (and now I don’t mean All of the time) I’m havin’ pleasant thoughts while listening to records from the Sixties, enjoying unrealistic fantasies about how good times where back then. Forgetting about the JFK assassination, Watts riots of 1965, the RFK and MLK assassinations, police beating the shit out of anti-war demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and how my ass almost got drafted and sent of to war in Vietnam. One’s euphoria can sure turn to absolute terror thinkin’ bout all that shit going down in the good ol’ U S of A (assassination?), land of the free and home of the brave.
Now that I’m in My sixties, I sometimes look back and think, “How’d I survive all that crap?” – Lucky I guess. Don’t get me wrong. Everything wasn’t scarier than hell. College was cool. I spent four glorious years of draft differed fun living on campus at a small California college. I majored in Art. As did my wife (aka The Wife), got married and wound up working at Camarillo State Mental Hospital on the children’s units. After six months we were
drafted asked to be surrogate parents in a grant project, living with and treating four autistic kids from the hospital in a home setting.
From there to two years as a welfare worker to becoming a probation officer, was a strange time (the 70’s). Never thought I’d end up a P O. Especially after all the pot I smoked in the prior decade. But I found correcting people came naturally to me. Bureaucratic bullshit didn’t. Having a ‘career’ was bizarre. I never thought of work as something ya liked to do, but rather something ya had to do. The only cool thing about being a P O was the shock value people got when they asked me what I did. “You must work with some really bad people”, they’d say. “Only if ya consider addicts, rapists and pedophiles bad people”, was my usual response.
The last three years of my ‘career’, I found myself working with the mentally ill again. Mostly Bi-polar clients with substance abuse problems, in a grant program to keep mentally ill non-violent misdemeanor offenders out of jail. Housing them in county jails was Real expensive. And because our former Governor, Ronald Reagan (ray-gun), thought it was much too expensive to keep them in State Hospitals, local communities ended up swamped with the mentally ill wondering around the streets with no place to go when they acted out and broke some law, except local jails and county short-term treatment facilities.
Meanwhile, thanks to all the getting tough on crime that politicians were riding into office on, Jails and Prisons were starting to fill up with all the eternity-length prison terms being dished out. Who would of thunk that all that incarcerating would end up costing so much money, and leave our prisons bursting at the seams? Now, the latest and greatest idea to solve our state problems is: Hey lets have local county probation departments supervise some of these convicts an deal with them in the ‘community’.
Weird how some things just get re-cycled and re-cycled. I think I’m just about ready to take my sojourn into the bedroom, and dream of Strawberry Fields Forever.
Art-work at the top courtesy of Branden, age eleven.