Waving your dick at a family out for a Sunday afternoon boat ride can probably only lead to guns being pulled, sooner or later. I look back on this now as the end of the hippie era, even though I’d known it was over for quite some time. Like the Democrats in full governmental power at this point in time, it’s almost impossible to keep the crazy ones in check long enough to see any good coming from it all. And that’s the way it was with hippies. Treat people better and leave folks alone to do their libertarian type "thing"? Good idea. Get out of Viet Nam before any more innocents were maimed or slaughtered? Good idea. Make sure folks of all races were treated equally in a country which prides itself on "all men are created equal"? Good idea. Waving your dick at a family out for a Sunday afternoon boat ride? Not such a great idea. And, yet, that’s what it all was leading to all along. Nancy Pelosi is waving her dick at you right now.
Green Pond was an old strip mining pit between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. It might still be there for all I know. This happened over 30 years ago. Oddly enough, the sign at the exit on the highway said "Woodstock". Was this how we found this place? Who knows. All I know is that one day Lenny and Robin said they’d found a great swimming hole. We piled out little regular crew of dope-smokers into the VW van and drove the 45 minutes up to the Woodstock exit, drove down a 2-lane for a bit and then Lenny swerved off onto what looked like a trail. The seemingly impassible road led swervingly down into a flatland where we saw the holy grail of swimming holes. I’m not sure what they were mining in this place, but the water was the most stunning jade green color you could imagine for a "pond". It was bigger than what I’d call a pond; I’d have called it a lake. To swim across the full measure of the water would have taken a much better swimmer than me. But that never really occurred to us. What we wanted to do was blow up the rubber ladies, take off our clothes, smoke some dope or drop some chemicals down our pie holes, and spend the afternoon relaxing in the life of leisure to which we’d become accustomed. After all, what better way to stick it to The Man than to fuck off naked in a drug haze all day? AMIRITE?
Crockett was the one who looked like Jesus. Except for the devilish gleam in his eyes. And I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't have put a fifth of Jack Daniel's on top of two hits of orange sunshine acid. Regardless of the excuses one could use for what happened next, I'm pretty sure there really wasn't an excuse at all. It's like when someone takes a bit of pleasure in cutting the most rancid fart imaginable in a closed car or an elevator and then says, "Excuse me." The only retort, really, is, "Dude, there is no excuse for that mess!"
We'd been to Green Pond for at least half a dozen outings that summer and there never was anyone around except us. That's one of the things that made it special. But then one afternoon we saw some folks on the other side of the water. It looked as if they had a vehicle as well. There was obviously another way to get into this place. We didn't let it alter our routine and assumed they'd go away after a bit. But then we saw a car backing a boat trailer down to the water over there on the other side. When the boat was off the trailer and ready to go, the boat captain cranked it up. I'd like to think that if it'd been a sailboat, that would have been the end of it. They'd have sailed peacefully on that side of the pond and we'd have floated around on our side and that would have been it. But an outboard motor on a boat is fairly loud and especially in a place like Green Pond which was really a natural sort of amphitheater with cliffs all around the water. Have you ever noticed how far sound travels on smooth water?
I looked at my friends. Lenny and Robin were a bit put off but ready to accept whatever happened next. They always were. My girlfriend pointed over at Bob and his brother Crockett. They had the bottle of JD between them on the sandy beach and I could see that there was precious little of it left. Crockett was getting agitated, as he was wont to do, and Bob was trying to talk him down. Which was somewhat amusing because Bob had manged to get out of going to Viet Nam by getting a dishonorable discharge for fucking a chicken in front of his ranking superior while out on a training mission one day. Seriously. He fucked a chicken right in front of a Colonel in the US Army and they kicked him out for it. I often told Bob that I applauded his extremism in this matter but wondered about the long-lasting effects on his mental health. He said it was a serious issue and required serious measures. In hindsight, I suppose he was right.
But in this current matter at Green Pond that afternoon, chicken-fucker Bob seemed to be the reasonable one as the motor boat with some guy, his wife and his two kids started blowing circles around what used to be our secret and pristine (as pristine as an old strip mine can be) swimming hole. The four of us out on the water started moving toward shore because we were not real sure that the boat captain didn't have running us over on his mind. I suppose that fueled Crockett's anger even more. The resulting behavior was sudden and inexplicable. As the boating family got close to our little corner of the Green Pond world, Crockett jumped up in all his naked Jesus/Devil glory and, with the almost empty bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and his dick in the other, started waving the latter at the family along with voicing several choice epitaphs.
We all knew it was wrong, even if the boat captain meant to piss us off. But we did what useful idiots do in the face of malfeasance. We did nothing. We were like Blue Dog Democrats and Crockett was our newly elected Community Organizer leader.
Flash forward to a couple of weeks later. It was a slow Sunday afternoon and my girlfriend and I were at Lenny and Robin's house, as we were a lot of the time. Charlie, the ineffectual but harmless loser who hung around sometimes, showed up and suggested we go swimming. He said he would drive. Lenny was off doing car repairs in his little makeshift garage where he fixed all the local hippies' VW vans and Beetles. So it was just the four of us. Well, five counting Buddha, Lenny and Robin's German Shepherd who went everywhere with us back then. Being a hippie in the Deep South in those days was not always a nice experience.
We hadn't been there but barely long enough to get nekkid and blow up the rubber ladies when I saw the first of them. He came over a sand dune just above us. Then I saw the rest. There were five of them in total and they had us totally surrounded, unless we wanted to make a mad dash into the water and try to swim somewhere. As if a fish in bowl has anywhere to escape. I've had my ass beat enough times to not fear a good whoopin', but we had girls with us, and there was one other thing that made this very different. Each one of these very grown men had a handgun.
I quietly said, "Put your clothes on. Hurry. Let's go." As if that was going to be possible with no avenue of escape. But then Buddha started growling. And Robin grabbed him and we started walking toward the car in a tight-knit cluster. I can only imagine that they were just trying to scare us, or maybe they just couldn't decide who would be the one to shoot the dog. But we were ever so grateful to be in that car leaving that place, never to return.
You listen to folks talk about the current political struggles going on right now and hear the venomous hatred for the "right" and businesses like "insurance companies" and you tell me that’s one bit different than what Crockett did that Sunday afternoon at Green Pond. He hated those folks because they were average Americans and because he wanted to goddamn show them that waving your dick was free speech, no matter how young the kids were in the boat and no matter how unfamiliar the wife might have been with casual afternoon dick-waving. His hatred was the motivation and hatred breeds hatred and that almost cost me my life along with some other innocent folks who just wanted to swim without their clothes on.
So when people say, "It's always politics with you isn't it?" I just say, "Well, it really is. I can't help the way the world was made."