Right now I’m reading Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I’m around 60 or so pages in, not so far in to be able to give any sort of in-depth analysis but certainly far enough to know that I’ll be profoundly impacted by this book. I’ve never been a big fan of the so-called "non-fiction novel" but it’s hard to resist Wolfe’s chronicles about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters – the original hippies of the 1960s. Especially because I love the 60s and 70s and have always wished I could have been the age I am now during that time, instead of not getting around to being born until 1976 (oh well, what can you do?).
On my train ride home today read and re-read a certain paragraph. It occurs in San Juan Capistrano right before Kesey and the Pranksters take off across the country in their day-glo bus and Kesey is conducting a briefing of what’s going to go down on the trip:
None of us are going to deny what other people are doing. If saying bullshit is somebody’s thing, then he says bullshit. If somebody is an ass-kicker, then that’s what he’s going to do on this trip, kick asses. He’s going to do it right out in front and nobody is going to have anything to get pissed off about. He can just say, ‘I’m sorry I kicked you in the ass, but I’m not sorry I’m an ass-kicker. That’s what I do, I kick people in the ass.’ Everybody is going to be what they are, and whatever they are, there’s not going to be anything to apologize about. What we are, we’re going to wail with on this whole trip.
I love that.