The Need For Counter Culture (a sample experience)

August 14, 2009

As I sat in a house on the east side of town yesterday. Surrounded by plush furniture and accented walls. Watching in amazement as six people in their late 20’s partook in a drinking game. Four of them my close friends. People I have known since middle school. Since I was not drinking myself, it seemed that the bond formed from such an established, familiar friendship was the only reason I sat, blatantly detached, in the midst of something that seemed to attack my very existence. As the night progressed the air was filled with drunken laughter, auto-tuned songs from Power 93.9 (Clear Channel), belligerent phrases based on sexual acts, and the un-denyable echo of consumerism spouting from the mouths of two people, new to my world. Two girls, with fake blond hair, fresh out of the tanning beds. Sporting the latest summer dresses from Dillards. Unable to name even one of the countries that fought in WWII. Yet claiming their education at Bishop Carroll (a private Catholic school) was top notch. Affording them a wealth of knowledge that made college classes a breeze. Abstaining from the fools argument (which is arguing with a fool) I attempted to take pleasure in the blind existence that seemed to consume these consumers. In doing so I was laughed at for not knowing different brands of purses and the latest line of Victoria Secrets perfume. I was taunted when I declined a rum & (diet) coke from swooning, drunken women who attempted to use puppy dog eyes and flirtatious talk to get me to take a drink. I dodged the barrage of questions that followed, “why aren’t you drinking?”, “what’s wrong with you?”, “so what you have to get up early, don’t you want to have fun?”. As I stumbled through the choppy, uninteresting conversation I began to feel anxious, like the room was closing in on me. I took refuge in my phone sending text messages to people with like minds as me. I soon became overwhelmed by the scene and had to make a quick exit. Feeling as if I had just popped my head above water after sitting on the bottom of the pool in a breath holding contest, I drove home. Back to Riverside. Back to sanity. As I drove across the Murdock bridge into Riverside Park I noticed three teenagers walking across the bridge. Their clothes were brightly colored, mismatched, and tattered. Their hair was windswept and wild. Their smiles were large and their cool summers Mid-Night walk through a downtown park looked so much more enjoyable than a drinking game in a cold plastic room. I felt home again. Back to reality. Where people are more genuine, more interesting. Where conversations can cause hours to unknowingly slip by. Where we are safe in our isolation from the pronounced indifference of prefabricated bookshelves and cookie cutter dwellings that spiral us into escapism by means of the arts, of music, and of being weird. So I will stick to my occasional Safari’s to Old Town at 2a.m. Where I quietly observe as if I were Dian Fossey. Somewhat ashamed that such a cool place is overrun by victims of strategic marketing. Lulling away their existence, unaware of their unimpressive attempt at making an impression. Then I retreat. Back into the weirdness of weird people. The personalities that make me chuckle, feel awkward, and tend to be unapologetically opinionated. Back to life. In full work mode to progress this counter culture that will ultimately progress our society.



  1. Nicely stated. I’ve found myself very lost in my ‘friends’ or groups of people I used to hang out with. Sometimes I feel like I’m floating between worlds where I have to put up a facade or a mask of sorts just to pass as a ‘normal’. Luckily I’ve found you guys and can be myself for once. It’s been a great feeling. 🙂

  2. Mmm hmm. Couldn’t have written it better myself.

  3. Very nice. Happy to hear you made it back to reality!

  4. It’s the classic bell curve. The majority of people (including your acquaintances who are drunk on consumption in general and alcohol in particular) fall in the large middle section of the curve. They aren’t especially thoughtful or knowledgeable or creative because that requires too much effort.

    On either end of the bell curve are the oddballs. On one end are the few people who are genetically damaged or otherwise incapable of a creative, thoughtful life. On the other end are the men and women (and almost all kids) who are hungry for knowledge and playfully engaged in creativity.

    Count yourself lucky! You get to expand the culture on behalf of all the other people in the bell curve who can’t or won’t be having as much REAL fun as you are having!

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