Living like Willie Wonka

For some reason today I thought about the line from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka tells his group of guests in his factory about the Oompa Loompas and their country and how they came to his factory: “Oh, well, then you know all about it and what a terrible country it is. Nothing but desolate wastes and fierce beasts. And the poor little Oompa Loompas were so small and helpless, they would get gobbled up right and left. A Wangdoodle would eat ten of them for breakfast and think nothing of it. And so, I said, “Come and live with me in peace and safety, away from all the Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids.”

I sometimes wish that a place like the Chocolate Factory existed, and that those of us who wanted to, could go there. “Well there’s Heaven” some people will say: “It’s a lot better than a Chocolate Factory” Well I’m not ready to go there quite yet. As the country song says: “Everybody Wants to go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die” That’s how I feel about it. (ok, that’s my limit for clichés and quotes for the day!)

The kind of place I am thinking about doesn’t exist anymore, if it ever did. As the days grow more and more dangerous during this age and in this time, there is very little a person can do to get away from the world that want’s to harm them, unless you want to move to one of the islands that the “Survivors” have abandoned, and start using their stuff and living like them.

A lot of people have tried to create their own “safe haven” Jim Jones, and his followers. David Koresh tried. A lot of people try to start their own Valhalla, and somehow it always seems to fail. I wonder why? Is humanity and human nature so geared to be combative and hateful to other humans who don’t “fit in” that no matter what we do here on this earth, we are doomed to fail when it comes to loving and protecting those who are different? You would like to think that wasn’t so, but tell me a time and a place where there has ever been a “Chocolate Factory” for the Oompa Loompas?

Sadly, I can’t think of any. I know that all religions promise us a place like that of one kind or another. Heaven, Nirvana, you name it. We have been promised it from them all. But that’s ONLY due to us after we die. I sometimes wonder about the theory some “preachers” espouse that people are living their “hell” while they are here on earth. Some people do I think,… of their own accord.

I know there are many, many joyful things that we have while we are here. Most of the time, we don’t really see them or appreciate them while we are experiencing them, and it’s only through the glasses of “nostalgia” and memory that we look back and think about what we should have done, or might have done to make things better, or to enjoy things more. That’s probably why I reach back into the past so much through my writing. Maybe I didn’t get it right the first time! Damn I wish I had another chance sometimes!

But sometimes when really bad and horrific things happen to good people you HAVE to wonder why. Senseless murders, children molested, wars and killings of innocents. Good people having to suffer with horrible, painful diseases. Where was THEIR safe haven? Life just never ceases to puzzle me when it comes to things like that. Why do these things happen? What can the purpose of this possibly be?

I guess it’s all in what you seek while you are here. I think none of us, from the Pope to the Dali Llama really knows, with absolute certainty what is waiting for us.

I kind of hope I open my eyes and I am walking into this big Chocolate Factory where everything is made of candy and………………

Peace and Joy!

The Baby Boomers

The Baby Boomers

I think that my generation, our so called “baby boomer” generation has been awarded the privilege and had the luck to grow up during the last, best America which will ever exist.

I don’t say this as a matter of contention with other generations either before or after the boomer generation, but it’s just my considered opinion.

We were the first television generation. Except instead of CSA and Bones, we had Ed Sullivan and Bonanza. We played outside in the sun and rain. We ran and ran, playing hide and seek, freedom, pick up baseball with paper tape balls and broomsticks, tackle football with no pads, and any other active game we could conjure up, including a lot of “cowboy and Indians” (please pardon me my native American friends)

Our Moms and Dads wore us out for lying, bad homework, cussing and back talking. Most of us don’t resent it, or feel like we were abused. There was rarely a parent who didn’t know when to stop. Some abuse existed, but I don’t believe it was as bad as today’s society. We had a lot more newspapers and a lot fewer news channels. A lot more reporters, and a whole lot fewer pundits.

Elvis was alive and singing, and you got his music on something you could hold, and not something you “download” Rock and roll was born, and songs had lyrics you could understand and melodies that stuck in your head. Think about “Unchained Melody” right now and then see how long it takes you to get it out of your head. There’s a reason they still use those songs in movies.

You could go off for a day and not lock your doors. You helped your neighbor with his garden and he helped you with yours, and people shared the excess with others. You could pull your car up on the curb and do most of the work on it yourself, but if you needed a mechanic you got somebody with a pouch of tools and not a computer.

People were not afraid of sweating during the Summer, or wearing a few more clothes to keep warm during the Winter. The clothes we had also had to last us an entire school year. There were no “designer” clothes unless you considered “Levi-Strauss” to be one.

Our parents didn’t like us to waste food because “children in India” were starving. They would have been welcome to a lot of the stuff that Mom tried to make me eat, mainly the foods that fell into the “green” food group.

Most of all, we were all primarily happy. We weren’t afraid to walk to the movies or to school by ourselves. We were embarrassed to think about even kissing or holding hands with a member of the opposite sex. We knew all the cops and postmen by their first name. We weren’t afraid to roll in the dirt and get filthy, dirty and sweaty.

We dreamed of doing big things, and some of those things got done. Some of the impetus to do them got lost in the late 60’s and never got reclaimed. Its still not too late through. There is still time left for we fifties babies to do a lot of good if we will just remember that it was our purpose in life to make the world a better place for children, dogs and all other living things. Peace.