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September 09, 1971 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-9

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Thursday, Sepfembe.r 9, 1971

THE MICHIGAN 'DAILY

Page Five

Thursday, September 9, 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

A

sweet interlude

that mists overornorw

By RICK PERLOFF
Associate Editorial Page Editor
Reality, hisses Ann Arbor in
the soft sprinkly tone that sprays
dewdrops at 6 a.m., Reality,
you're a rumble tumble flouncy
bouncy floorshow, you're a ran-
cid prune-faced fiend, you're
greasy, you're old-Reality, says
Ann Arbor speaking softly to dis-
guise its fear; Reality, stammers
Ann Arbor, 40 miles from the
nearest traffic jam, seemingly
Go th
By JIM BEATTIE
Executive Editor
REDWING, Minn. - Walking
down a street at midnight, the
rhythmic,; grinding of my own
footsteps was almost criminal.
My own harsh movement was
all that prevented the haunt-
ing beautiful silence from com-
pletely permeating my sur-
roundings, and I alone stole
from the world the majestic
natural victory over the bois-
terousness of man.
At last I too stopped, as a
gentle breeze stirred. On my left
it swirled around old houses far
back from the sidewalk. Leaves
rustled as ,it swept through the
carefully manicured trees,
shrubs and lawns in front of
me. l
On my right the wind mas-
saged even the pavement as it
i passed beneath streetlights sur-
rounded by swarms of silverfish.
But the nightowls watching still

worlds from a holdup or jab in
the ribs; Reality, Ann Arbor dis-
likes you, your problems and
your smells and quite frankly
and more sweetly, Reality, Ann
Arbor would like you to disap-
pear completely, to disintegrate
into dust.
Ann Arbor isn't shouting-its
language isn't cruel. Ann Arbor's
simply a dream-like place, a
misty stream containing giggles
and chants and chortled conver-
saticns of thousands of nighttime
actors who roam the silkscreen

we call Ann Arbor for a painted
moment that lasts four years.
This is the most certain mes-
sage of a campus which loves to
frolic. There's diversity-you see
clean, studious types, uncertain
wobbly others, freaks resplendant
in their squalor, wild wooly radi-
cals - but the message is the
same. The Diag joins around the
melody of play. And though they
resent it, those whose jobs are 8
to 5, whose hopes come on lunch-
breaks. we claim different.
We mingle with the streets and

mix with the morning. We flutter
at daybreak and shout feelings at
noon. We hug hands and fling
frisbees. We burst, we dream
and we cry. And the message is
so simple and sweet that no one
with any fragrance could deny
but that it's pretty. Certainly, I'll
be the last to issue accusations.
I shall float out praise for a
life-style so enchanting. You
couldn't in high school, you can't
after graduation, capture the
serene spirit that university life
embodies. You can't, in past or

en, be still

no longer'

that cared nothing for their
identities, their names, their
feelings, or their hopes. What
pitiful sights these men had
been, limping home for a little
"living" after contributing their
bones, muscles and energy to a
company that only waited until
steal and electricity could be
engineered to replace them.
No wonder their only desire
was to get a little boogy. Forced
by their economic status to
spend their lives chasing money
-the products of their labor be-
ing only incidental to the pro-
cess-their jobs were simply di-
seases, and money an indefa-
tigable virus.
Then, after a lifetime of this
sweating and senseless drubbing,
they would simply die. So why
not be like terminal cancer pa-
tients awaiting the end and cry-
ing for morphine? Why not sim-
ply dissolve their brains and
mindless decadence? Why not

will be forced to live with the
bugs and the rats and the stench
that remain. And each day these
things shall be there to remind
you that man is but a treacher-
ous beast who never believed in
or paid attention to anything
but himself.
"Remember, we are only the
earth. But we shall remain the
earth no mater how you try to
rearrange us. It is you and not us
that shall reap the fruits that
you create. Go then, and be still
no longer."
As before, I did as nature told.
I walked onward; but this time
I moved on the grass. The si-
lence that engulfed me sat on
my countenance like a bomb,
and I dared not disturb it. But
where I had just been sure about
the direction my life should
lead, now I wavered, possessed
by doubt.
Readily, I understood the local
population's desire for overt
non-violence- for avoiding all
disturbance of any kind. How
dare hey or I show disrespect for
the vast magnificence that lay
before me? Would it not be
more palatable just to space out
on a religious trip, pay atten-
tion to all that was good here,
and to tolerate the bad? '
I walked on without answer-
ing the question, indeed, with-
out thinking anything; just let-
ting the dilemma wrestle with
my emotion. The night owls
hooted at my indecision, but I
could do no more than glare at
them and throw up my hands
in response.
At last I reached the edge of
the business district - third
street. Now the scene was ter-
ribly inorganic, with endless
parades of p a r k i n g meters,
gaudy signs and absurdly de-
signed storefronts. But still the
silence remained-not a moving
vehicle or another person was
in sight.
The wind hissed "Well?" but
my mind rebelled.
Finally, I turned to go home,
knowing that all the way, I
would face the same gauntlet of
the impassive examiners that
pursued me here.
But as I pivoted, I realized
that the world had changed.
Seeing the sidewalk suddenly
full of people, I looked up the
street and noticed the movie
theater just emptying. At first
it spewed crowds of people who
shuffled by laughing and talk-
ing. Then, close by, a car door
slammed, then another.
In an instant my world was
transformed from the silent
haven into an incredible battle-
field. B-W-W-A-A-P! A car
without a muffler roared behind
me. Countless others groaned
and whined and rumbled. More
doors slammed. Tires screeched.
And at once the sweet smell of
dew drops was replaced by a
disgusting sulpherous stench,
I reeled a bit, suddenly aware
of the incredible number of
little e x p 1 o s i o n s thundering
around me. Each one ripped
through my brain like a slug
from a machine gun, and with
every shot a different flash pass-
ed before me.
I saw idiotic monkeys driving
around and around in circles,
until the fumes from their beau-
tiful new cars strangled them
one by one. I saw men with new
snow-blowers, piling the snow
first on one side, then the other.
Back and forth, back and forth.
I saw men on snowmobiles
charging through the forest.
They laughed as the animals,
driven wild by the din in the
wilderness, fought and killed
each other in their frenzy. I
saw fat Americans throwing un-
used food on the ground, just
out of reach of starving people
too weak to pick it up.
Then I saw the managers,
the advertisers, and the stock-

Please Follow Smokey's ABC's
ALWAYS hold
matches till cold
BE sure to
drown all fires,
# CAREFUL to
crush all
c...a

holders dashing m a d ly about,
always thinking of new ways to
make people eat more, drink
more, buy more. I remembered
the workers and the part they
are forced to play in the whole
game. And I thought of the
young men, dying in far off
lands which they systematically
destroy to assure that the fire
around me would be allowed to
continue.
At last I laughed absurdly,
just to let out some of the fury
building within me. I ran home,
and as I passed those quiet, un-
derstanding trees, I screamed,
"Fuck it! I'm not the only hu-
man alive, and even if I stand
here for the rest of my life you
will still be destroyed."
They did not answer, or at
leastI did not hear them. I just
kept running, and with each step
I felt my uncertainty dissolve.
When I arrived at the house,
I paused only briefly at the
steps, and took one last glance
at the scenery behind me. But
I did not look long this time;,I
didn't want to be swept into an-
other dream.
I walked calmly up the stair-
way, thinking carefully over all
that I had just been through.
Without stopping, I stepped into
my room, and seeing my bed, I
was relieved, for I knew I had
to sleep. But as I collapsed onto
the blankets, sweating in the
heat of the night, I felt resolute.
"In the morning I'll know
what to do," I muttered, and
drifted into nothingness.

future, perform such a disappear-
ing act upon your problems-
yon can't so easily snap your-
self into the lazy hum of a gui-
tar, you can't feel the kinship
of students and the warm capsule
of friendship extended by a smile
resembling your own.
You can't melt into a crowd
and know an invisible haze of
exams and parents and future
circles kindly above your head.
You can't rise at dawn, doodle
over an assignment, read a book,
buy some bread, then chug along
to class and enjoy it, and chat
the rest of the day.
We're protected here and whe
like it. We brush back our hair,
twirl a curl 'and sometimes we
try to forget.
We like to forget. Why not?
Out there there is a world which
never has learned to float on its
back; where reality has become
a syllogism for logical untruths
and socialized nonsense; where
secretaries are afraid to yelp for
fear of an unerasable typo;
where bosses shout at workers
all day, but are afraid to talk
to their children for fear the
kids will swing out a kazoo and
hurl pleasure into their ears.
Theirs is a world where gym
teachers relax for a sip of cof-
fee which maybe will awake
them from the fatigued jumping
jacks they've taught for years.
each year with less fervor, less
hope.
In a world where rent hikes
and bills and weary, sweaty jobs
blare, where people hate the
postman for reading their mail.
the garbageman for the rats on
their garbage, plus the children
and the salesmen and the city,
where all this happens and no
one smiles on the Monday bus.
no wonder we choose to play
and memorize the quote of T.S.
Eliot stating that humankind
cannot bear very much reality.
No wonder we won't think of
tomorrow. It's because we have-
n't tired of today, and we've re-
claimed our bodies and tossed
away our minds with the morning
garbage; and no wonder, if all
that's reality, why hallelujah
and welcome the sun but we're
going to deny that any of that
could ever be possible-and we

may even deny that malnutrition in Ann Arbor on an eternal hell- We should only r esolv' to try
or mathematical suffering is go- day. It believes the world's a; help what we can-for
ing on because India does nt ench wil lop if you prmie t chne isn't a windmill of Don
exist, is only a slab of geography WAd your nose. It ignores in Q xote. only our dreams were,
on a map that hangs in some- blissful indefference Reality b Ann Arbor will recognize
one's dorm room. cause it's afraid h. t will conntuie to shelter
We still cling to the silly hope Understandably afraid, per- nts during a time they need
that if you sing enough rambling haps. and perhaps our dreams rIetion. It will always pro-
songs of the '50s, recall; enough for America w ere always too vides giggles and frisbees and

-Dany-uary V inani

of the shows of Howdy Doody our
memory will become a paper air-
plane that will fly back to life.
We'll be young forever-will al-
ways pluck out fun from the air,
swimming and giggling, delight-
ing in the luscious pleasure of a
banjo and a drum.
But while our vision snuffs out
future and thus it limits growth.
And it's selfish, it's mean and it
makes a mockery of the hope
that the country evolx e to some-
thing crisp and fine. It keeps us

idyllic, impossible to meet. But
just as we lowered our romantic
expectations for change in Amer-
ica, so too we should alter our
romantic visions of life on the
Diag,
Not surrender them complete-
ly to a life in greasy Reality -
become harsh and mean and
real, losing ourselves as we bet-
ter the ghettos - because that's
as destructive to ourselves as
our vision of eternal youth may
be to others.

the pitterpatter of feet. It will
always wave the wand of green-
ery to its travellers.
Gnly we must remember its
heme is temporary. We should
realize Ann Arbor's an island,
not a world - or perhaps, a self-
cantained bubble.
sut the bubble won't last our
lives, we can't let it. The bubble
must burst because babies are
sarving. And our hands must
smell because the cradle's made
cf plastic.

-Daily -Gary Villani

thought these things very dead
and useless.
Standing still, I listened.
"See," whispered the air, dis-
aprovingly,. "See what a monster
you are. All of us around you
are happy and at peace. With-
out a single strain of conflict
we meditated in s il e n t com-
munion, and each of us held
hands tightly with all the others.
"Now you have come along
to interrupt us. S-S-S-S-S-S-S.
Why not join with us? . . . Be
still and silent," it said as it
faded into the distance.
In silence again, I dared not
move. Biut my mind was rest less.
"So this is Dylan's little Minne-
sota town," I thought. "But how
could it be? Dylan retched those
words with a dismembered voice,
and here there is only a quiet,
soft as the Om of the somana."
But I am not surprised. Dy-
lan lived in New York, city of
the screaming alarm clock high
style egocentric rip-off nine
d o 11 a r cab ride. Swimming
through the smog, he surely
had not spoken to the sun in
years. He is very far from the
land of which he speaks.
Yet I, too, am a stranger here.
For never at the University have
f learned from the speechless
understanding tree bark or the
widely weaving grass. Never have
I felt their message so strongly.
There I listened only to hu-
mans, and they spoke not of
unity but of contradictions, not
of peace but of mindless de-
struction. And I knew why.

just laugh at the walls and fuck
the barmaid? In the midst of
this kind of life, what the hell
could responsibility mean any-
way?
Knowing that these were the
men among whom I lived and
worked I felt an almost unspeak-
able guilt. Sure, I was as alien-
ated from my work as they, and
I, too, felt the same sense of
idiocy in everything I did.
Yet I was so damn privileged.
Not only was I young, and could
look forward to more than just
operating mills until the day I
died, but I also felt I under-
stood the oppression u n d e r
which we all live. And if I did,
I could at least hope to do more
than just forget it in a drunken
haze.
Was there a need for revolu-
tion? God, something had to be
done to smash the ogre that led
men to arrange their lives like
this! Somewhere we needed to
find the cannon that could de-
stroy capitalism's blood-soaked
throng forever.
But just as my resolve became
intense, a breeze stirred. Ever
so suddenly it roared all around
me, like the calm rumblings of
a waterfall in the distance.
Amid the quickly flickering
leaves and tiny swirls of dusk I
was swept from my little brain
trip with a start.
Once again attending to my
surroundings, I heard the trees
speak to me again. "How can
you sit there and dream of revo-
lution?" they said. "Are you so

m

Is

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