I got my wisdom teeth yanked out this week by some manic mutant who has dedicated his whole life to the defense of mastication and it gave me four full days of nothing but time, a rare commodity in the Boring 20's. I spent most of it on a diet of yogurt and vicodin re-exploring the worn fretboard of my timeless friend Larry Goldtop and the mixolydian mode but at some point, I needed to veg out so I popped on Long Strange Trip, a six-part documentary on the Grateful Dead that is streaming on Amazon right now.
Whether you're a fan of the Dead or not, this documentary is pretty damn neat. I'll spare the entire laundry list of gory details and get to the point. It all starts at the Acid Tests. To anyone who doesn't know, Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was introduced to LSD by the CIA during project MKULTRA and decided to introduce it to pretty much everyone he could. Kesey would throw massive parties in warehouses called Acid Tests where the Grateful Dead would jam out and everyone would have some LSD and explore their consciousness, have a good time, and yuck it up. There's a fantastic book about it called The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. Sounds fun, right?
During one particular Acid Test in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts, they pull over the bus and get out to view the Watts Towers. Again, wow. I didn't know about these things but apparently, one dude just built them for shits and gigs and they're massive. His philosophy was you only get remembered if you're "good good or bad bad" and he wanted to be remembered for being good good. He spent his whole life painstakingly building these massive things until one day he fell off one and got hurt.
So Jerry Garcia is looking up at these massive things with a head full of the most amazing LSD ever made, produced by Owlsley Stanley, and he can't get over it. The time, the energy, this guy labored his whole life over this one art installation, tortured himself because he wanted to be remembered. Eventually, he gets into this thought loop about fun, he just wants to have fun. He doesn't want to labor over his art alone in the sun for 50 years and die, he wants to live in the NOW, he wants life to be fun, he wants to play his guitar.
The Dead never tried to be commercially successful, instead basing their career around playing live, spreading psychedelics to the masses, and having fun. They made a great living but they never sold out, never tried to make a shit song for a few bucks. They allowed their shows to be taped, didn't like being photographed, and once dosed a film crew to get out of being the subjects of a documentary. Life was about fun, free spirited in the eternal now.
In these Boring 20's of modern civilization, we are often pressured to assign ourselves value based on our own wealth, our career, or our accomplishments. Taking time off from work is looked down upon as if you're a heretic and a lack of hustle is perceived as a lack of character. Pay no attention to these bullshit rules. They are perpetuated by human garbage who are jealous of the free, jealous of those who fill their days with silent enjoyment of their own pastimes with no expectation of wealth accumulation. They will get to the end of life and realize that it was never a race, never a game. The number one regret of people as they lay in hospice is working too much.
You only get so many minutes in your life, no one knows how many you'll get but we all know it will be a finite amount of minutes. Use them wisely. Read a book, write a poem, take a fucking nap. Be you, do not compromise, and do not let the rat race turn you into a pig. Don't get to your death bed and realize you didn't have enough fun. Fly your freak flag high.
Do No Harm but Take No Shit
Currently Listening to: Morning Dew - Grateful Dead, Europe '72