Sunday, February 22, 2009

21 in 69

Life was very different in 1969. Things were relatively safe compared to now. There were very few people back then who were really crazy and dangerous. Life was much more ordered and disciplined. There was less room for creativity and being different than other people. Especially in the South, Just like in "Easy Rider" if you were different you might just wind up gone and secretly buried in someone's back yard. Even in California at this point people were just beginning to allow people to be more creative and different and survive.

So, wearing long hair and hippy clothes might get you killed because they were associated with people who didn't got to war and fight in Viet Nam. There was a lot more of the attitude, "My country right or wrong!" People felt you should be loyal to the United States no matter what it did or what mistakes it made and this sort of person volunteered, fought and died in Viet Nam. Most of these people came home from that war, very very disapointed and distraught. And many of them became the most extreme anti-war activists as a result because they felt their loyalty and been perverted by their country.

By the way, because I had had childhood epilepsy I did not get drafted. I was what you would call then a 4F. This meant that I would only be called up and drafted if our nation was attacked in one of the 50 states. But I wouldn't be drafted for any war outside of the country. There also was a 2S category which was for college students. Not many people had college degrees before the Viet Nam War. But it was so awful and controversial as to whether it was either necessary or useful in any way, shape or form that anyone with brains enough went to college and got a 2S deferment. So many people both boys and girls got all sorts of Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees and PHDs and became doctors, lawyers, nurses etc. It is the single main reason that so many people have degrees today because by setting this precedent all their children then felt they had to get advanced degrees as well.

It was not this way at all before the Viet Nam War. One man could easily support 4 to 8 people with no one else working even if he didn't even have a high school education. This wasn't true anymore after the Viet Nam War because so much money had been wasted on that war that the wealth of America was gone.

So we went from being the richest nation on earth in the 1950s and 1960s to a debtor nation by the late 1970s and now to a bankrupt nation today. We haven't gone completely bankrupt only because other nations keep lending us money. However, we do still have one thing, infrastucture. No nation on earth has as developed an infrastructure as we do.

The problem is that our infrastructure is circa 1950s and before. Many of our roads and especially bridges were built between the 1930s to the 1950 during the Eisenhower administration.

People in America beginning to save money could start to change all this and we might come back to real wealth again internationally as long as other nations don't buy all our best property at bargain basement prices. If other nations buy up all our best real estate and have controlling interests in our real property we may never recover.

In 1969 I had a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro 327. It was metallic blue and I drove it up to 140 miles per hour. It was the fastest car I ever owned and could go from 20 mph to 70 mph in less then 2 seconds. I was saved from many car accidents on Los Angeles and San Diego Freeways because of its speed and maneuverability. I can remember when I was in the fast lane doing about 70 mph in a line of cars all going that speed when suddenly I could see the smoke ahead of me from screeching tires. I couldn't hear it because my windows were closed. I made a command decision to go into the left emergency lane at 70 mph. Other drivers did no have the vehicle that could execute this maneuver and either lost their lives or their cars. By this maneuver I was able to save my life and my car. Somehow by slowly slowing down in the emergency lane I avoided the whole thing.

Looking back I saw that all the cars in front of me and behind where I had been were all smashed. Only by being young and having the right car and very quick reflexes was I still alive. Thank God!

1969 was the strangest most pivotal year of my young life. I often look back at that year and wonder wehre my life would be now without that very strange eventful year.

I suppose the single strangest change to my life was giving up my virginity. I was raised in my family to stay a virgin until marriage. However, I didn't really believe in this. However, since up to that time I had only dated women I intended to marry I had honored the girls I had dated by not insisting that they have sex with me. By being an honorable man and only dating the kind of woman one marries I had stayed a virgin. Though I felt my honor intact, emotionally I felt kind of crazy from abstaining in this way. Especially, because it was very common back then to go out and park on Mulhulland Drive overlooking Los Angeles from the coastal mountain ranges and Make out (heavy petting) from 9 pm until 4am in the morning. This also didn't mean I hadn't spent the night with girlfriends since I was 16. It just meant that I hadn't had intercourse because I respected all these women as potential wives.

I had almost always had a girlfriend since I was 15. So by age 21 I had dated 5 women, each for an average of one year. But I had dated the 3 I was the most serious about 1 to 2 years each. The three girls I was most serious about were members of my parents church so this added to the respect I needed to pay them because in my church this sort of thing wasn't a secret.

I often look back at these times and wonder if I had made different choices what life I would have lived.

My parents moved to San Diego in 1969. This was a sea change for me because I had mostly lived at home since I was born and mostly lived at home since I was 18 and returned from a private school in New Mexico in Santa Fe in 1966.

When they moved to San Diego I felt sort of like a fish out of water. I temporarily moved in with my Aunt in the Hollywood Hills. She had a Swimming pool and she had been an actress on stage and TV so she was interesting to talk to. But since she was divorced I felt sort of uncomfortable and moved to Venice next to Santa Monica. I got a job working as an electrician as I had burnt out on working midnight to noon 7 days a week as a programmer operator on mainframe computers. However, Venice is a very strange place now and even more strange then. I had moved there because an apartment on the beach was part of the pay of my new job. Since I was lonely and away from friends there and I had a big apartment I met guys on the job who needed a place to stay so they paid me rent so I had more money and they stayed with me in my apartment on the beach. Since it was 1969 there were always girls coming over for the night or weekend and endless parties so this was a whole new world for me. Most of my life before then had been hiking, skiing, swimming, body surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving and riding motorcycles over the deserts and dry washes and going to church, this was a whole new weird world that I had never seen or experienced before. I no longer dated women I intended to marry because my heart had been broken finally by my last 2 year romance with a girl in my church. So at this point I was just trying to stay alive and to survive without the girl I had intended to marry. This made things even crazier in many many ways. Then I got excommunicated from my church for living in a crazy place like Venice on the beach. This only made life more crazy and more difficult for me. This experience turned me permanently against organized religion. I realized why firsthand more people are driven insane by religion than any other single cause. I realized I had to be my own boss and to have my own personal relationship with God and that people who give their trust to organized religion are in the end only poor fools that organized religion will take advantage of and betray.

I suppose I might have had a different point of view if I hadn't been driven so close to suicide at that time. But my experience was that organized religion simply cannot be trusted to be your friend or to actually help you. Trusting misguided people is only a mistake. Organized religion and Hypocrisy became synonyms for me always since those days.

Though that was a very hard lesson that I almost did not survive what it taught me was to separate my relationship with God from organized religion. I have never ever forgotten that difficult lesson. This changed every aspect of my life ever since.

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