Editor’s Note: In October 2019, along with a large group of my former classmates, I’ll be celebrating the 50-year anniversary of my high school graduation. I never thought I’d live this long or be this old. But, hell, it sure beats the alternative.
Texas hold ’em (“the Cadillac of poker”), when players bet the minimum
required to stay in a hand, it’s called “limping in.” Unless they’re
“slow playing” good cards (the opposite of bluffing), it usually indicates a
a year that tried to kill me three different ways, I’m limping in to my
50-year Greenwich High School (GHS) reunion, a three-day event slated for the
first weekend in October. That’s right, I’m shamelessly using this space,
which is normally reserved for such high-minded purposes as bashing Orange Mussolini and
mocking Moscow Mitch, to publicize my reunion. (For more information, former
1969 classmates can write to ... firstname.lastname@example.org.)
rioting in Chicago reflected badly on both sides. Ironically, the radicals (e.g.,
the SDS and the Black Panthers) helped scare the “great silent majority” into
voting in a fascist president the Left despised. In 1968, uninspiring Democratic
candidate Hubert Humphrey lost to an even less-inspiring and totally corrupt Richard
Nixon, the first president to disgrace the office by resigning one step ahead of
an impeachment conviction. Tricky Dick had campaigned on a “secret plan” to
end the war in Vietnam; it was a lie that no one believed or took seriously —
his “plan” escalated and expanded the war, while bloating the body count.
By comparison, 1969 felt like a breath of fresh air. The moon landing, arguably the greatest achievement in human history, made us proud to be Americans again. On a far less cosmic scale, the Woodstock festival was inspirational in its own way, even for those who couldn’t go. (I had a rickety car, and my parents refused to let me borrow theirs, for which I never forgave them.) For millions of us, newly graduated from high school, the sight of 500,000 of our comrades on the six o’clock news, many frolicking naked in the mud, lifted our spirits, and it felt like a whole new world was waiting for us.
as the Buddha said, “All things are transitory.” As 1969 came to an end, the
Woodstock mystique would be tainted by murder at Altamont. The following summer,
Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died of drug overdoses, with Jim Morrison gone
soon after. In the spring of 1970, the endless killing in Vietnam came home to
roost, with four students shot dead at Kent State, two more murdered at Jackson
State and campuses across the country closed down. At the same time, the sixties
would end, both symbolically and literally, when The Beatles went their separate
this October, I look forward to limping in one last time on the long and winding
road back to 1969. And who knows when my back pages will be turned, and what will be
written there? After all, John Lennon saved the best lyric he ever wrote for the
end of his too-short career:
is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
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