Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Occupation of Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street kind of excites me but attending means a trek into the city. The distance would seem shorter if my like minded friend rode the train south with me. I was correct in assuming that he'd exercise unrest from his couch, but on Saturday, I finally set my sights on the occupation.

My first action was to get lost in lower Manhattan. I found a member of the 99% and asked for directions to the revolution. "Huh," was all the hotdog man could muster until he realized I was talking about "the big crowd over there."

Making my way past the tourists, I anticipated something big. I reached Zuccotti and was first struck by - I'm sad to say - body odor. I walked further and more of the same, but as I continued, that was it. Intermittent traces of body odor contained among a thousand people. Sorry detractors, you could say the same about the Subway and there's no talk of hosing down that undeniable vehicle of civilization, democracy and capitalism.

Overcoming the olfactory aspect of my initiation, I likened my next impression to going to a football game. On TV, football looks like this grand game far removed from mere mortals. But when seen live, you realize, it's just 22 men playing a game.

In other words, both come off less dramatic than when focused by the camera. Of course, that doesn't leave either devoid of the drama due it.

That said, seeing there were actually people living onsite was inspiring. I found two mic-checked speeches interesting and counted myself among a mass of people who probably hoped being there could make a difference. Signing numerous petitions also helped me justify my appearance.

A Laptop booth put a modern spin on revolution and kept a running count of online signatures. Importantly, a comment box enabled me to provide the cohesive message that I came prepared with in case the media - absent an ice pick - tried to portray me as a Trotskyite.

I didn't smell so there was little chance of that. But I had already devised one for the family derision I'll get from a group that last collectively nourished a novel when The Catcher in Rye came up on their high school syllabus - save one or two. Needless to say, I am surrounded by conservatives.

Nonetheless, my cohesion is this. The founders based our society on a balance and separation of power. Currently, our economic and political system is so dominated by money wielded by the rich that our republic is in danger of becoming something that exists only on paper.

In accordance, I looked for common ground from at least the "save one" from above. That would be my conservative brother. He believes many things that would upset liberals, but if you take him on, be ready because he'll put you in your place. He has a PhD in Math and devours books like they are Doritos at the mercy of a bong circle.

What he says about the 1% is that despite their shortcomings they are the ones who make the continental shifts that move the country. All those buildings above and transportation systems below didn't get there by following Jerry Garcia around in a fog or kicking the stuffing out of a Hacky Sack.

I agree and an efficient middle ground might have the 1% possessing half the political power instead of all of it. Luckily, attending OWS allowed me to place our disproportionate society in terms of a daily occurrence that all could understand. When I'm flipping radio stations and have a choice between Katie Perry and The Who, I choose Katie Perry.


The Beatles first indoctrinated me in the 70's. I had my 15-20 albums and couldn't get enough of the old Album Orientated Rock format. Due to my economics and the corporate control of Rock, that amounts to a pretty small sampling.

So by the mid 80's, classic rock became a repetitive droning that only the likes of the latest Katie Perry could cure. So who cares? Sitting down to the Hari Krishna song circle at OWS provides the answer.

It was rhythmic, soulful and uplifting. Who knew? The point is the corporate controlled art form that Jack Black held so dear limited us to 200 songs to maximize profit. In turn, the shortened play lists that incurs less risk has made Lady Gaga seem more talented than Neil Pert. Me being swayed by Hari Krishna music shows I've been thrown out of balance and so has our country.

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