Thursday, May 13, 2004

Abbie Hoffman Died (1989)

"Abbie Hoffman died last week, did you see that?" Dogger asked.

"Yeah, I did. Sorta sad, I guess." Sallye snickered slightly and passed him the joint. So softly that he almost couldn't hear her, Sallye began to sing:

"Oh, he used to be a Yippie,
and now he's dead, dippy, daid,
dippy, dead, yippie, daaaid!"

"Hey-sus! Are you making fun of a poor dead hippie?" he grinned at her.

"No more so than he made of anyone else. He wasn't exactly Tame, you know. Irreverence was his Game, wasn't it?"

"Is that what it was? Well, I'd wondered."

Dogger took a deep drag off the joint and held his breath a while, finally remembering to pass it back to her.

"Don't Bogart that joint, dopey," she said, taking it from him.

"You're too late," he grinned.

"Delayed reflexes," she muttered.

"Remember when we used to be hippies?" he asked her.

"Just barely," Sallye replied. "Guess I lost too many brain cells along the way!" She sucked in her breath and held it for a long while, apparently not minding if she lost a few more. "You know, I haven't smoked any pot in a couple of years," she said as she began to breathe again. "It's kinda strange."

He nodded at her, finally releasing his hold on his breath. "Gonna get blotto if I'm not careful," he told her.


"It's the first pot I've smoked in almost a decade," he said. He wasn't really sure he was feeling it yet. He figured it would sneak up on him yet, though.

"That day won't come around again soon, I don't guess," he said aloud.

"What days?"

"Hippie days."

"Hippie daze?" Sallye asked. She squinted at him for a moment before his meaning fell into place. She made a sort of giggling noise: "Phtt! No, I suppose not."

"It's kind of disgusting, really," he said. Sallye nodded knowingly, then looked confused.

"What is, though?" she asked, passing the joint back to him. "That we used to be hippies?"

"No, not that. That it won't come around again."

"Well, it might; you never can tell. Besides, it isn't all gone, you know," she giggled, pointing to the number they'd been smoking.

He looked down at the joint thoughtfully, puckered his lips, and said, "Hmmm. Okay, yeah. Still-most of the rednecks I meet these days smoke dope, and it doesn't do 'em a lick of good."

"Cosmic cowboys for real, at last, huh? Good grief!"

She giggled and shook her head. She seemed to think that one or both of them was pretty funny. Dogger grinned at her as if he understood perfectly, and even though he didn't, he sort of did. There was something between them, there always had been.

"You've got me thinking now," Sallye said a few minutes later.

"Thinking what?"

"That we're still hipsters of that same generation, you know, no matter what. We always will be, we're stuck. You don't escape the past just because it's past."

"What?" he asked in a tone of mock panic.

"What do you mean, what?" she frowned.

"You mean, the only thing we can escape is the future?"

She looked at him with an amused squint, but otherwise ignored his question. "I figure we can't really be that much different from the generations that went before us. Every generation that's come along has thought itself smarter and more liberal and-."

"And all that jazz?" he giggled, remembering Phil's line a couple of nights before.

"Yeah. Every generation thinks itself better than the preceding generation. Everybody's parents are dull, including the members of our generation who are now parents."

"Fortunately, not you and me," he interjected.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"We're not parents; ergo, not dull yet," he smirked.

"Oh. Well, more or less. You forget I had that baby years ago and put it up for adoption. You know me, lapsed catholic."

Yes, he knew her. Her liberalism didn't save her from her abhorrence of abortions any more than the contraceptives saved her from getting knocked up.

"If that child's alive, she's about 18 now, I guess, and I wonder sometimes-well, I wonder what she must think of me. And I wonder what she'd think about me if we met, too, but that's almost too much to think about. I'm kind of afraid of that. She might just think I was a terrific fool, and I don't guess she'd be that far wrong. I feel as evil when I think of that grown child thinking about me as I would have felt if I'd have had the abortion-isn't that strange?"

"I guess so," Dogger said. He hadn't expected her to talk about this. He felt utterly out of his depth, especially since he was stoned. "Oh, God, I remember this!" he thought. "Being on dope was always such a wonderful excuse for putting life off, for not thinking about things!"

"But, back to the subject," she said. "I think we've all become the same. Perhaps we've always been the same. Okay, we were "hippies"-but so what? Those other generations just called themselves different things, or else were lucky enough that no one managed to glue a name to them at all."

"What is this," he laughed, "some sort of middle-aged One?Worldism you've caught like a disease or that you've adopted like a stray cat? Or is just the power of positive thinking? I'm not at all sure what you mean, but it sounds like pretty universal stuff. Who knows, maybe it's even true."

"It's true whether we think so or not," she said.

"Or maybe true if we wonder about it enough?" he grinned. "If you'll tell me who the 'we' is, then maybe I'll know what you mean," he told her. "I've completely lost track of what you're saying. I haven't smoked dope in a long time, you know. I'm befuddled, dazed, and bemused, I think."

"Oh, you're always 'befuddled!" she said, hitting him on the knee with a folded section of newspaper she'd been holding. "I can't remember the last time you admitted to being 'clear'! Anyway, I mean the 'we' who started out together."

"You mean muh, muh, muh ge-ge-generation, huh?"

"Who?" she frowned, glancing up at him like she thought he was crazy.


"Oh, Christ," she said, smacking herself lightly on the forehead with her newspaper. "Yeah, The Who. Webster's definition: antique musicians, circa the dear departed sixties Drug Cul?chur."

"Yeah, but they're not dead yet."

"Some are," she said softly.

"Not all."

"Well, that's neither here nor there," she said with a shrug. "McCartney is alive too, but half the Beatles are dead."

"Yeah. What are we arguing about, by the way?" he said, lighting a cigarette. They'd only that minute finished the joint. He had a terrible smoking habit.

"I don't know. I wish you wouldn't do that."

"What? Smoke? Does it bother you?"

"Not exactly; it makes me want one. You know it hasn't been that long since I quit. Somehow it's always seemed to me that drugs and cigarettes go together."

"I've heard people say that about cigarettes and beer," he laughed. "But I hadn't heard this before. Do you want me to put it out?"

"No, that's okay. Just see if you can smoke fewer of them. If they really bothered me, I guess nowadays I'd have the societal upper hand and could be just as goddamn snotty as I wanted to be about it. Smokers are like dinosaurs these days. Hippies, too, for that matter."

"Dinosaurs didn't know they were doomed, though. And they didn't have to spend the last years of their lives being pissed off all the time because people kept coming around hollering, "You big dumb bastard, you're gonna die if you don't stop being a dinosaur!"

"Well," she laughed, "since it's just that you make me want one, too, I'll try to be stoic, Mr. Dinosaur! I need to learn to cope with this sometime, anyway."

"I guess it's not easy, is it?"

"Not for somebody that's nervous," she sighed.

"What do you have to be so nervous about, anyway, for God's sake?" he teased her. He was blowing smoke rings now, and starting to feel incredibly relaxed. "You're doing all right. You're a big deal real estate agent now. You just bought a nice house, even if it is an old one. You're as stable as anyone I know."

"And as unstable, too! And I'm just a 'little deal' real estate agent, thank you very much! Anyway, I'm nervous about making money. I'm nervous about paying for the damn house. I'm nervous if the cats aren't here when I get home!"

"What?!" he laughed explosively, nearly choking on the cigarette smoke.

"Well, hell!" she grinned. "I guess I just mean that I'm nervous about whatever it is that I'm doing at the time, okay?!" she laughed.

"Yeah, sure," he said, wiping tears from his eyes and grinning. "I believe you! It's just that you're the only one I know who's so provokingly honest that you'll say so. I feel that way too a lot of the time. You and I do have things in common, don't we?" he teased.

"Yup! Always did," she said sheepishly. "Hipsters of the same generation, coming from 'there', sittin' here-as Joni Mitchell used to sing-going 'no place special'."

"Is that really true?" he asked. She'd touched a nerve in him. She frequently did, of course.

"That Joni Mitchell sang a song about it?"

"No, fool. That we are-that way."

"Well, I think it is," she answered.

"She doesn't sound like she doubts it much," he thought. He wanted to sigh. He thought he did hear her sigh. They sat together quietly, looking serious and tired.

"It's the dope," Sallye said suddenly a long while later, lifting her head and grinning at him. "It'll do that sometimes."

"Do what?" he asked.

"Make you think too much, dopey. And leave you sitting around with the listless blues."

"Oh. Yeah. I knew that."


4th draft: 05/13/03
©1989 Ronald C. Southern

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