“the falling sky”

I was talking to my grandfather today (who still does head stands and smokes at the age of 91) and he told me that he was glad that he was not my age in this day and age. I asked him why and he told me that it was because times seemed really hard for most decent people. It almost reminded him of the depression. “Everything is so expensive and everyone has to work all the time to afford to live in this society. Government does not care about the people anymore, politicians are greedy and the environment is saying enough is enough. This ain’t living it is more like a perpetual state of worry.” I could not disagree with him but I had to mention that yes for most these were very trying times (violence and disease rates are at an all time HIGH- the effects of stress) but lets not forget that the few, the very few- the rich are living like kings and queens as we speak. This is what is inherently wrong- there is a great imbalance between rich and poor and this imbalance eventually will tip the boat. My grandfather said “you said that right” and then proceeded to do a head stand with a cigarette in his mouth.

Thoreau said “that the cost of something is the amount of life that you are willing to exchange in order to have that thing.” The bigger the pond you swim in or the more advanced the technology is on your automobile or computer system- the less time that you have to live (free from work or worry). Those who are unfortunate enough to have mortgages or car payments that they can barely afford are the ones who are being robbed, literally of their life. Those who have more material possessions to up keep have less time to live. This is what many theorists refer to as the myth of capitalism. It is a trap.

I try to ride my bicycle whenever I can. This not only gives me much needed exercise, but I also feel as if I am waging my own strike against high gas prices and the epidemic dependency upon cars. Yesterday as I was riding my bike I was thinking why not sell my car, sell as many things as I can and live simply? I decided that it was more important to me to have time to live (to take naps at three p.m. or to play my guitar at a cafe around noon with not a care in the world) than to work. Am I trying to afford not only my social status but also the very things that have given me a sense of self or would I rather have less but gain time?

When one starts to identify themselves by the things that they own or the work that they do…some form of basic life is surrendered for work (the need to make money). As I rode my bike past all sorts struggling to get back to work after their lunch break, I thought of my grandfather standing on his head. I giggled and thought to myself- it does not need to be so difficult, just live simply, need less, learn to value what you have (for the long term) and ride a bike or walk when possible. If more people could do this the end result would be the solution to the social, psychological and environmental catastrophe we all now live within. My grandfather likes to call this catastrophe “the falling sky.”


  1. I feel you. I’ve often thought of doing the unfrozen caveman and running into the hills (out of my bmw, or whatever), but these days that is more of a fancy-ass daydream than a reality. Unless you can afford to take off and have a nest egg large enough to keep you afloat in a 3rd world country for a while, as you ride your bike, smoke cigarettes, and fulfill what it is you think you would with that time.

    Another trap is that given that time, it could largely be spent unproductive. Despite the best intents…it still takes personal discipline and all that shit to make something of “paradise.” Or whatever.

  2. I do agree with you, but I believe there is a simpler way. Maybe this simpler way is without fear. This means not worrying about what will happen or what if’s. Just be present in your life (now) as it is lived and this will keep you from making choices that may leave you feeling trapped or unproductive. Now, if I could only act upon this advice than maybe I would be a man who was not filled with daily worry and fear.

    Also if you need little you do not have to afford much. Material things always leave you feeling unfulfilled. It is a trap. Look within and you will find a realm of endless possibilities for experience. I guess this is what you may mean by “paradise.”

  3. Omigod, he smokes! I thought smoking was a crime in California. I have not stood on my head in a long time. I started standing on my head on a semi-regular basis after I read that Kathryn Hepburn stood on hers everyday. She said something like she wondered what people would think of this “old lady” standing on her head.

    No longer have my old quote collection. There was a story in it that ended: If you learned to like beans you would not have to flatter the King. I learned to like beans a long time ago. Or the more things you own the more they own you.

    I often wonder if my Aunts felt the way I do about stuff. That is, I am now their age. Seeing the world through your grandfather’s age, tells me, that yes, indeed things have changed and not for the better.

  4. Just today my Grandfather called me and told me, “you should move to Spain, things ain’t gonna get any better.” He had just listened to George Bush give a speech on television (which he watches at least eight hours a day,

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