"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Clearing the (cough) air

It's occurred to me that anyone reading my posts this week who either does not know me well or is new to this blog (or both) might come to several unflattering conclusions about this "Mr. Toast" fellow:

1. That I am an Old Fart.
2. I was a drug addict.
3. I'm a conceited, craven name-dropper.

So in the interest of full disclosure, let me address these provocative allegations one at a time. First of all, the age thing: guilty as charged. Born smack-dab in the middle of the post-war baby boom, I am a Bona Fide Old Fucker at 57 years of age, which makes me older than most of my blog readers. So what? Age is a relative thing, and there is much truth to the cliche that "you're only as old as you feel". To be honest, I'm proud of my boomer status. Every generation has its strengths; my father and others of his age defended freedom by winning the second world war, and if I had a son or daughter, I could point with pride to their generation's accomplishments in science, medicine, and technology.

We boomers have a lot to our credit. Our generation made some of the best art and music in modern history, and we were social activists and idealists who tried to make the world a better place. Sometimes we succeeded. Many of us were indeed catalysts of change who pushed the envelope, taking America on a wild ride from the stuffy, up-tight, button-down mindset of the 50's into the liberated, swinging 60's and beyond. But this is not to say that there weren't missteps as well; for example, while the emphasis on "free love" seemed admirable and completely natural at the time, it also led to much emotional turmoil and the rampant spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. And many critics point to the widespread drug use during the time as creating a wealth of social problems still being grappled with today, which brings me to my second point.

Yes, I smoked a lot of dope in the 60's and 70's, but I quit a very long time ago. Fortunately for me, I never progressed beyond anything stronger than pot, and it resulted in no addiction or other lasting effects except perhaps for my current admittedly warped sense of humor. In my defense, anyone from that era will attest that smoking marijuana was an accepted social custom about as common as having a drink is today. Of course, we live in a different world now, and while I think the personal use of cannabis in this country should be decriminalized and regulated (as it is in parts of The Netherlands, for example), I would not advocate its use to anyone today for a number of reasons -- not least of all due to its illegal status. It's simply not worth risking jail time just to get high. I know that a lot of parents feel hypocritical telling their kids to "just say no" when they themselves once indulged as I did, and that's a legitimate concern.

Finally, the name-dropper charge, to which I plead no contest. Back then, as now, I was an ordinary guy who didn't run in any stratified social circles. I was just as awestruck by celebrities as anyone else, and it was simply amazing beyond belief to me that I actually got to rub elbows with these people for a few moments in time. What impressed me then was how "normal" they seemed despite their star status. They had managed to achieve fame, but underneath the public image was a real person that comparatively few others got to see, and I felt fortunate to be able to do so briefly. I don't blog about it now to brag or to feel important, but merely to reminisce about what were some of the most memorable events of my lifetime. Everyone has equally memorable moments of their own.

As Elvis Costello says, "what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?"


  • At 5/18/2006 02:34:00 AM, Blogger DogMa said…

    My hub feels the same way.
    He gets uneasy when I bring up celebs he has rubbed elbows with.

    There seems to be a fine line between being humble and being interesting sometimes!

    As far as the age thing goes, to me it makes you more intriguing and I don't even notice it if that makes you feel better!

    I'll tell you a short funny drug story. I was at The Beavers Inn (a strip club) once and a one legged stripper came out, it was akward so I went out back to a trailer and smoked weed out of a potato with a 6 fingered woman...just thought I'd share.

  • At 5/18/2006 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Janelle said…

    I think I have gotten to know you well through the blog world and I am happy to call you "friend" no matter what you sound like to others. Besides, I could drop a few names too and you know darn well that if anyone sat and chatted with anyone famous they would do the same darn thing.

  • At 5/18/2006 07:26:00 PM, Blogger Max and Me said…

    i didn't come to any of those conclusions! i think that the older we become the more stories we have. and yours are very interesting. i can't wait to hear more about your life!

  • At 5/18/2006 11:14:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    I agree, no way do I find you as the bragging type. Your stories are very interesting, and I'd love to hear more (don't hold out, I know there are more!) Meander is right, the older we get, the better stories we get to tell, isn't that what living your life to the fullest means? getting to share your life experiences with everyone! As for the age thing, I'm with Dogma, I don't care, nor have I ever noticed. You don't even look 57!

  • At 5/19/2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Awwwwww..... thanks, guys!


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