I want you to imagine a pot-head giving a speech in front of a large crowd. Hundreds, no thousands of people attending and eagerly anticipating his words.
The pot-head has frizzy hair. He wears shades and a Led Zepplin t-shirt. His jeans are dirty and he’s wearing leather bands on his wrists.
The pot-head’s real name is unknown. But those who feel like they know him call him Hyde. The name’s appropriate because it always looks like he’s hiding from something. In a world as real as ours this isn’t so hard to believe.
We are all looking for an out.
The pot-head had a clean-cut solution to his worries. Well, it wasn’t really clean but it was solid fuel to his escape engine. That little talisman was pot.
He was always smoked. He was always baked. He was always higher than the clouds. Which was a good thing, in fact, because it meant he was always away from the monstrosities and atrocities happening around here. I’m not going to list them. They know who or what they are.
Anyway, think of this as some kind of manifesto – some kind of brief from a man who was always put down by The MAN. A man who fought against corporate and corporations, against sadistic employers and capitalism, against denial of truth and oppression. Think of this as the vendetta of a man who never got along well with rules, a man most would call a convict, a rule-breaker, a criminal.
The man is up there, beer in hand, fist raised to the skies, pumping high-up, screaming loud. His voice is raised, kind of like the voice of a mother berating her child or an instructor shouting at her students.
He’s not preaching love. He’s not spreading amiability. He’s spreading drug use, worship of alcohol and classic rock.
“First of all, I don’t love people,” he says. “I love mustangs, Zepplin and pizza, in that order.”
The crowd is wild. They are cheering for him like some kind of messiah. He is loved by the people, he is revered by the people.
He then speaks about the governments. How they never do things for the people. How they rob the people. How they insult the people. How they humiliate the people. He puts everybody down: the doctors, the scientists, the artists. Nobody has meaning, nobody gives meaning to themselves or others. Camus would have heard this speech and rejoiced. He would have liked to know his words are still valid among us.
Nietzsche too, would have been proud of him. Thompson would have applauded him for bringing the little brown Baggie with him.
“Don’t hate me,” Hyde says, “I’m just a product of my environment.”
We all are. And we all should reflect on the people we’ve become while drinking an ice-cold beer. Some of us think about this and imagine a unique scenario: sitting in a hammock on the beach on some faraway island. Others imagine themselves right at home in front of the tv or in their room. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, stop and listen to that man’s speech. It is a revolutionary call, the kind that happens once in a century to wake up the people, to shake them up, to change the direction the crowd’s going in. Good old Mark Twain did it with Huckleberry Finn, Spielberg’s doing it in the movies and Pink Floyd’ve chalked it up and sprawled it all over their lyrics.
All we have to do, is listen.