Heart Downtown Dallas 24-HOUR Coffee Shop $6.00 up No Charge for Children Under 18 Radio-Television Completely Air Conditioned FREE INSIDE PARKING outitrinb Commerce-MurphyMain Streets Telephone: Riverside 2.6431 Dallas, Texas HOTEL “Oh, like first off I’d compose a groovier commercial message,” Harry said. “Then I’d just fly around some ’till they shot me down.” I asked him what sort of message he had in mind. “How about, for starters, how about .. . AUSTIN SUCKS?” “Very nice. Ought to make folks proud to live in this great country.” “Yeah. Sock it to ’em. Through the stupendous medium of my own famed monument-gauge graffiti.” He looked up at me, pensive and redeyed. My visits with Harry often as not coincide with instances of national peril such as presidential abdications, assassinations, nominating conventions. “What the hell’s gone wrong now?” Harry said. “You come to sound me out again on the temper of the times?” I plugged in my tape recorder. “Ordinarily,” Harry began, choosing his words with great care, “I would prefer to remain anomalous. There comes a time, however, when decent citizens got to stand up for America and tell it like it is.” “How is it, Harry?” “It’s like, the American people are very up-tight man.” “About what?” “Law and order, baby. Violence in the streets.” “How do you feel about it?” “They’re right, man. Never saw so much 10 The Texas Observer violence. I myself no longer venture out after dark. Never can tell when you’re going to be poleaxed by rioting troopers or melancholy spades or overreacting rednecks pursuing you with pipewrenches and calling you a dirty, freaky longhaired queer.” “How about ‘ler issues?” “Permissiven, among cops,” Harry told me. “I’m thinking about staging a hair-burning ceremony at Zilker Park, a sort of Burn-In, to protest. Nothing pretentious, you know, nothing flamboyant like with incinerating draft cards and Buddhist monks. Still, I been considering a nice little barber shop singe. Burn it up off my shoulders.” Harry explained that he regards this as a matter of conscience: “I really couldn’t live with myself, man, if I got sort of stomped to death by my fellowman.” I asked him about the candidates. “Hard to say. I mean take Wallace, for example. I dig what he puts down about violence on the streets and all. Except when he says he’s gonna run over longhaired hippie anarchists with his car. Presumably he would do this on some street or other. Now it may be stretching it some, but we figure that qualifies as a somewhat violent act.” “Possibly. What about the other candidates?” “I like Humphrey. I mean, I think he’s on record as being opposed to running hippies down in the White House limousines. As a matter of public policy. But Nixonhe’s something else. Nixon refuses to comment at all on whether he might, as president, run us all down in his new car. He says he’s reluctant to say anything which might upset or compromise the American position in the delicate peace negotiations in Paris.” I ASKED Harry if he had any concluding comment. The tape was running out. “If I had the courage to go out at night like in the old days,” Harry said, “I’d get my paints and put up a few slogans, pithy fragments of graffiti wisdom, flipped-out metaphysics and like that.” “Like what?” “How about APOCALYPSE NOW? OR NEXT WEEK? How about a number of hip reminders as concerns the drug peril, you know? I wrote some down the weekend of our First Annual Therapeutic Indian Madras Peyote Chewing and Freestyle Hallucinations pageant. My way of dramatizing my own determination to quit taking drugs altogether. All kinds. Or most kinds. Or at least cut down a lot. I mean anything that tastes as unspeakable as peyote can’t be all good. As for acid, I am hugely bugged by the possibility of even so much as annoying one of my chromosomes.” Personal Service Quality Insurance Alice Anderson”Bow” Williams INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 465-6577 “How do you propose to curb drug abuses?” “Gonna warn all these kids leadership, man. These kids coming up are just outta-sight irresponsible nuts! They’ve had it too easy. So I intend to lay down the law to ’em. Bridge this generation gap. Like, do not carry any more dope on your person than can be ingested in an instant. See? Also, do not carry dope if you are subject to insulin shock, epilepsy, or coronary occlusion. Also, do not drink while doping. Very dangerous, as we all know. Also, do not sell or give dope to undercover narcotics agents \(the kids, unappreciative friends, unresponsive chicks. Finally, do not attempt feats of skill and daring while stoned, such as walking on water, racing heavy machinery, wandering into police stations, crawling into theater lobbies or giving ten percent of your stash to church poorboxes.” APOCALYPSE now? Or next week? Our party nominees should be so straightforward in their campaign rhetoric. Our examination of the awful, unwashed hippie peril degenerates into obsession and polemic: the shift from a whiskey culture to a drug culture among great numbers of the American middle class. A regrettable tendency, of course, though not without its mitigating factors. Nice boys and girls do not lightly commit felony crimes every day of their lives without exhibiting some disproportionate concern with the felonious act itself let alone great destructive heaps of paranoia. It’s one thing to argue that the Lawgood or badought to be respected; it’s quite another, however, when some incorrigible lump of draft bait suffers a longer stretch in prison, as a second-time offender for possession of the killer weed, than the otherwise respectable-looking contemporary who has merely chopped up his parents into little bits and pieces of prime London Broil. Antisocial acts are relative affairs. My friend Harry is genuinely intimidated and more than a little fearful. And he is unqualifiedly appalled that the great majority of Americans appear to approve of Chicago’s solution to such social problems as unpleasantness created by freaky-looking protestants. Even a routine weekend hippie picnic or outdoor dance invariably draws more secret agents, establishment provacateurs, outraged police, militia and federal gangbusters than the best-advertised Mafia conventions. It’s possible, of course, that America would forgive its youth, provided young people trim their hair, dress respectably, get some sort of job, and exhibit sufficient patriotic zeal for incinerating Vietnamese peasants. Still one is reminded of Scott Fitzgerald’s observations from another time and place: “Don’t get to thinking this is a real country just because you can assemble a lot of high school kids in gym suits and have them spell out BANANAS for the newsreels.” El
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