Steal This Blog

Our bookshelf at home during the 1970's included some interesting reading.

As an impressionable youngster I often found myself leafing through Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, Erich van Daniken's Chariots of the Gods, Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book, and Charles M. Schulz's Snoopy Come Home, to name just a handful.

stealthisbook_250Yippie Abbie Hoffman's book particularly intrigued me, as it was a sort of groovy guidebook to living life against the system during that rebellious period of the early 1970's. Oh sure, it included plenty of "revolutionary" ideas -- and plenty of stuff that was clearly illegal -- but it was also chock-full of all kinds of helpful hints for the out-of-work hippie living on a budget. I recall one bit in particular about fashioning a pair of sandals from old tires. Now how hip is that?!

Somehow, over the years, the book went missing. Perhaps a summer visitor took the title literally, and stole it! Seems fitting. Anyway, with Steal This Book on my mind I thought it might be a worthwhile exercise to provide readers with some useful hints for surviving these painfully bland years of the early 21st century. I call it Steal This Blog.

1. Quit your job - Do this immediately. Stop by your place of employment on Monday morning and tell them you've had enough of "the establishment." Let them know in no uncertain terms that you don't need their money anymore and that you can live off the land for your daily sustenance. In fact, tell them you're thinking of starting a commune. If they give you a hard time call them all greedy capitalist pigs ... but before you do that, ask Human Resources if you'll be paid for accumulated vacation and sick time.

growyourhair_2252. Grow Your Hair - That's right, man! Let your freak flag fly! It's okay if you're going gray, or even if you're balding in places. After all, it's the effort that counts. (Well, not really.) Men should grow facial hair as a form of revolution against this oppressive society in which we live, while women should stop shaving their legs (so they can appear more European). But can we all please agree that nostril hair should continue to be trimmed? That's just plain gross.

dropout_210_013. Drop Out - We go about our lives believing that we are an integral part of everything that goes on around us. You know what? We're not. Believe me, the sun will rise tomorrow even if you don't get your lazy butt outta bed. Nobody cares. So here's what you do. You drop out. That's right. Just let life go on its merry way without you. You don't even have to shower if you don't want to (just please adhere to the nostril hair policy as outlined in item #2 above).

4. Change your political party - The two party system is bogus, man! We now live in a 21st century world full of choice ... heck, television alone has something like one thousand channels to choose from. (So why can't I find something decent to watch on Saturday night?) We should have more political choices. Oh sure, we have the Independent Party, and the Green Party, and the Libertarians, but perhaps it's time to bring back some of the old time parties of the 19th and 20th centuries, like the Prohibition Party, and the Populists, and the Socialist Labor Party, and the Know Nothings, and of course, the Whig Party. Let's not forget Ross Perot's Reform Party or Strom Thurmond's State's Rights Party. (On second thought, let's.) Or better yet, start your own political party. All you need is a few hundred thousand signatures in each state and a $100 million war chest to make a serious presidential run.

protestsomething_2065. Protest Something - During the 1960's and 70's there were so many great things to protest -- the war, Nixon, DDT, nuclear power, disco music.  Nowadays you have to search a bit. Here are some ideas to help out: 1) Rotaries - are they the nuttiest things ever invented or what? 2) The shrinking size of candy bars - have you seen a Three Musketeers bar lately? It's an outrage! 3) Utility costs - is it just me, or are we not being strangled to death!  4) Summer - it should be longer ... perhaps it should be changed from May until October; 5) Talking on the cell phone while driving - it should be made mandatory for all motorists, just to make it more interesting for all involved; 6) Four meals a day - a fourth meal could be shoehorned in between lunch and dinner; 7) Pluto - it should be reinstated as a planet, and not some wimpy "dwarf" planet; 8) The moon - it should be given a proper name ... perhaps something like Babylon 3 or Rigel IV or Maurice; 9) Solar power - is it just me, or does it seem strange in our search for clean energy that we are completely overlooking the greatest power source in the entire solar system? 10) Vietnam - I say, let's go back over there with our new high tech weapons and our new kick-butt attitude and win that damn war once and for all!

6. Disrupt a Political Convention - What ever happened to good, old-fashioned civil disobedience? (Google "Chicago 1968") What ever happened to protests in the streets? To rallies? To sit-ins? To love-ins? To drive-ins? Nowadays our idea of civil disobedience might amount to merely sending a strongly worded email to the public relations department of a big corporation threatening to boycott their products unless they refrain from using third world child labor or refrain from polluting the environment or refrain from testing their anti-aging skin cream on laboratory animals. No pepper spray! No fire hoses! No billy clubs! No rubber bullets fired into the crowd! Where's the fun in that? I can't see the Chicago Seven emailing it in!! So, log off your laptop and get out into the street! But don't forget your sunscreen (not tested on animals, of course)!

If you follow these six easy steps you'll be well on your way to ... to ... to I don't know where, but not knowing where you're going is half the fun in life. Look at Christopher Columbus, he didn't know where he was headed and he discovered America. And just where would we be without Columbus? For one thing, we wouldn't have a three-day weekend in October, that's for sure.

I know there was a point when I began this blog ... damned if I know what the heck it was.

Jack Sheedy

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