Nothing’s going to stop us from remembering but remembering itself
Sometimes we stumble into epic moments in life without understanding what we are seeing. These moments can be as disappointing as going to The Louvre in Paris and discovering the Mona Lisa is not larger than life, it’s smaller than most paintings and is surrounded by tourists taking irreverent selfies photobombed by one of the most famous paintings in the world.
Or it can be embarrassing, such as when you realize several years later that you attended a Woodstockian concert at Winterland in San Francisco in the 1970s and you had no idea who you were listening to. Sure, you wore a beaded headband, but you were largely unaware of protest music, never cried over tear gas and the only sign you brandished was the astrological one pinned to your fringed bag.
I was not a hippie in the ‘70s, my hair just looked that way because of the humidity. Plus I hated wearing bell bottoms because my calves were the only part of my body I liked in those days. I did love telling the joke: How does a hippie know it’s time to go on a diet? When her bell bottoms start getting tight around the ankle (wait for the laugh, still waiting). Some day bell bottoms will come back into fashion, and I can try that joke out on a new, more-freer-with-their-laughter-than-their-love generation.
During my sophomore year of college, my hippie boyfriend, Frank, and I drove down to San Francisco to see a concert one sunny afternoon, or perhaps it was raining. Frank was the perfect boyfriend. He had long, greasy hair; wore a faded Army jacket; and was four years older than me—you know, every father’s worst nightmare, especially when your dad was career military. Frank lived in a tiny room in a Victorian mansion surrounded by orange trees. I do remember picking the oranges and handing them out at the concert in exchange for second-hand smoke. I wasn’t into first-hand smoke because of the aforementioned father.
On the stage were some of the generation-defining bands of the time: Jefferson Airplane (“Go ask Alice, when she’s 10 feet tall”), Country Joe & the Fish (“And it’s one, two, three, what are you fighting for? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn, the next stop is Viet Nam”) and enough other bands to fill several hours. With my luck, I probably saw Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead.
The reason I’m reminiscing about all this now is my interview with Mickey Thomas, the lead singer of (Jefferson) Starship, jogged my memory. Thomas, now a Bowl of Heaven franchisee, was one of the musical road warriors who traveled in a caravan from concert to concert for five to seven months straight. They followed a pre-determined geographical route that took the custom busses and the semis loaded with musical equipment and lights from city to city. Now musical groups travel for the most part by plane, Thomas said. But it can still be confusing as evidenced by Bruce Springsteen’s recent faux pas when he greeted a crowd in Cleveland by saying, “Hello, Pittsburgh.” Fortunately, the Steelers and Browns didn’t play football earlier that day.
I’d like to think that my lack of memory is because the concert was so many years ago—actually, I don’t like to think how many years ago that was—but I’m finding my memory hasn’t been helped by age. I have a hard time remembering the plot of the book I just read a few weeks ago or which play I saw or whether Friday night was a symphony or a ballet. I know, first-world problems. And no, I’m not angling to get a prescription for medical marijuana.
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I think it’s cool that Thomas not only remembers his musical career, but hasn’t abandoned it entirely for franchising. He’s built his soon-to-be three Bowl of Heavens on rock ‘n’ roll and as he sings on the road: “Nothing’s going to stop us now.”
What the world needs now is more fully clothed love
Last month I wrote about the Anger Room, where people with pent-up rage can safely break things, like glass or computers or dummies with pictures of their boss’s faces pinned to them.
But while I think getting rid of anger serves the public good, what I’d really like to see is someone franchise cuddle rooms. Apparently, people need good ol’ fashioned snuggle time fully clothed with a stranger. (I thought that was what dogs were for.)
There are a few independents offering these services, but to date no franchises. The strangest one I ran across on the Internet was in Japan, where patrons paid 1,000 yen (around $8 today) to sleep in the arms of a beautiful girl for three minutes (come on, who can sleep for three minutes and feel fulfilled?). For an additional 1,000 yen the girl would also pat the customer on the back or change her clothes—one time. Please note these prices are in 2012 yen; and I’m not sure the concept’s still going.
But before we judge, we should note that cuddling releases oxytocin, the love hormone, which makes us happy. This was pointed out in a StarTribune article on a local cuddle party movement. Does that mean that if you feel love, you don’t feel like sex?
I can’t wait to see the lawyers tackling the FDD on this one.