Jewish World Review May 7, 2003 / 5 Iyar, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

When Hippies Retire


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The San Francisco Chronicle informed me the other day that Stephen Gaskin, one of the original hippies, founder of the Farm, the largest hippie commune in America, now has plans to start Rosinante, a kind of retirement village for aging hippies.

Apparent hippie Donnie Rainboat, 58, who is building one of the first homes for this village, told the Chronicle, "It ain't gonna just be a bunch of people just comin' round here to hang out and smoke dope. If you want to come in here, start building a house and show you have some incentive to stay."

There's something wrong with this picture.

First of all, what's this house-building nonsense? When you retire, You're supposed to play golf, or go fishing, or take up bridge, or work in the garden. You don't build a house. That's why G-d gave us double-wide trailers. They were expressly created for retirement communities.

It's all right to sand furniture when you're retired, or build a birdhouse, or a dollhouse for the grandchildren, but any physical contact with two by fours, roofing materials, or blueprints should be illegal. Sit on the porch, whittle. If you're a retired hippie, why not spend your days carving hash pipes out of driftwood? Don't build a house. You're just going to throw your back out.

I don't get it. Where did all this ambition come from?

Back in the day, the hippies I knew pretty much lived to hang out and smoke dope. Sure, every once in a while they'd throw a candle or a basket together, or tie-dye a golden retriever, but most activity was confined to smoking pot, "rapping" --- that is, spewing whatever stoned thought was in one's head to whatever stoned ears were listening - and trying to remember the words to Donovan songs.

In other words, hippies were ALREADY pretty much retired. Tune in, turn on, drop out? Hello? When you retire, don't you essentially drop out? I don't know what the AARP's position is on ingestion of mind-altering psychedelics, but when it comes to the whole dropping out of the rat race thing, seniors and hippies should be on the same page.

Come on, hippies, get with the program. Whether you're in loud golf pants or patched up bell bottoms, you're still a retiree, aren't you? So get in the multi-purpose room, fire up a water pipe, and start playing pinochle. Okay? Okay.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

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© 2001, Ian Shoales