This is the tale of two brothers. Let’s draw a rough parallel and say one is a “hippie” and the other is a “punker.”
Although they come from the same Father and had the same set of values instilled in them, in the long run they turned out to be two very different people.
The one, (the hippie) walks around with flowers and prayer beads and since he is a Beatles fan preaches, “All you need is love,” in the tradition of John and Paul.
He sees the world as a garden (although it was once a paradise) and himself as its caretaker. His main job is to get people to come into his garden and share in the bounty of pot, chanting and free love!
The other, (the punker) has a much harsher view. He thinks the world is a dangerous place, much like a desert, and the only way to get ahead is to make his own way by his own means.
The world to him is unforgiving and his way of coping is to live by a certain set of rules and then to get as many others as possible to follow those rules as well.
That way they can all live in relative peace and harmony in the neighbourhood.
In this tale there are also cousins around who are skinheads, rappers, jazz buffs, classical musicians, into reggae and country plus all sorts of buskers, freelancers and people from Utah, but that’s another story for another time.
Now the hippie has been around a long time and been through a lot of trials and tribulations. He has had his ups and downs and for a long time was even the town bully. Also, due to his drug dealings he was quite well off. But, age and a few appearances before the (secular) courts have mellowed him somewhat over the years.
Becoming a responsible adult with age and experience the hippie has started to become the sort of man his Father wanted him to be. True he still occasionally listens to the Beatles and rock music. He still occasionally espouses his philosophy to his neighbours. Once in a while he even plays his sitar.
Overall though, he has learned many of life’s cruel lessons and is becoming an adult who is responsible for his own actions. He got a job, will probably marry and have children one day and for him the world is slowly unfolding as it should.
His younger brother, meanwhile, came from a different Mother and grew up in a totally different neighbourhood. His was a life of conflict and strife and the one rule he learned early is that you have to survive by your wits and strength.
His was not a world of love and peace but rather a test to see who was strongest.
Gone was the concept of “Love thy neighbour” and in its place the family became all-important. To survive he had to rely on his brothers and half brothers and together with them face what life had to offer. In times of crisis, his cousins and uncles were called upon, and as a last resort he would even have to convince his neighbours that a united front was needed.
Instead of “love one and other,” it was a case of “us against them” and he looked inward instead of outward. No “sit-ins and protests” for our punker friend here. No, rather he became a “head banger” and instead of pot he turned to harder drugs, which he had to take 5 times a day.
Under the onslaught of heavy metal and the sayings of Curt Cobain, (who by the way died tragically) the younger brother had a much rougher childhood and adolescence than his older hippie brother.
Unemployment was rampant in the family and many times he had to live on government handouts and the kindness of strangers. Crime was all around him and the struggle to survive gave his life a rough edge.
Early on, the younger brother discovered a drug called “ecstasy” that took away much of the pain of living and replaced it with boundless energy and a feeling of ………well, ecstasy!
Now the days were less cruel and at times even pleasant. The drudgery of life was lifted whenever his pusher filled him with the magic elixir and he began to feel so good that at times he would go so far as to kill or give up his life for it.
His ecstasy was carried as a shield before him and he began to live his life around it much as his older brother had done before him with his “pot” and “counter-culture.”
So, that’s the way the story sits to this day. Oh, I’m sure that the younger brother will one day follow in the footsteps of his older brother and start to grow up and become the man their father wanted them to be, but you see the teen years are not easy and I fear junior still has a few bumps ahead of him. Only time will tell.
Allan W Janssen