I was invited to the State Young Writers' Conference out at Cheney, which was a
Eastern Washington university. And I didn't want to embarrass my son, you
know, and I was gonna behave myself cause I had to live there then - it was a
chore. But I got on the stage - it was an enormous auditorium; there were
twenty-seven hundred young faces out there, none of them with any prospects
anybody could detect - and off to the side of the stage was the suit-and-tie
crowd of people from the school district and the principals, and the, the main
speaker following me was from the Chamber of Commerce.
Well something inside of me snapped.
And I got to the microphone, and I looked out over that multitude of faces and
I said something to the effect of:
"You're about to be told one more time that you're America's most valuable
natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources?
Have you seen them strip mine? Have you seen a clear-cut in a forest? Have
you seen a polluted river? Don't ever let them call you a valuable natural
resource! They're gonna strip mine your soul! They're gonna clear-cut your
best thoughts for the sake of profit, unless you learn to resist, cause the
profit system follows the path of least resistance, and following the path of
least resistance is what makes the river crooked! Hmph!"
Well there was great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments - mine. I was
borne to the door, screaming epithets over my shoulder, something to the effect
of: "Make a break for it, kids!" "Flee to the wilderness!" The one within, if
you can find it.
Well, I wrote them a nice letter though, as I oozed out of the state, headed
for Nevada City. I sent it to their little literary magazine. I respect kids.
I love especially little kids. Little kids are assholes. But they're their
own assholes, see, it's when they, when you grow up and become somebody else's
asshole we're all in trouble, you know, like bankers or B-52 pilots and such.
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