Pirate Riot

by an unknown author


Sure, a lot of kids nowadays are obsessed with pirates. Everywhere you look, there's pirate shirts, pirate butt flaps, pirate everything. Everyone wants to be a pirate. I, however, am a REAL pirate... or at least more so than most people. Why? Well, let's look at the facts.

- Pirates live on sailing ships.
I lived in on a sailing ship for seven weeks this spring.
- Pirates sail the seven seas.
I sailed the Pacific Ocean, same thing.
- Pirates dress funny.
So do I.
- Pirates spend their days chasing after booty.

Thanks to everyone who helped me go to sea! Yar!

Special Thanks
Nickey Robo (1st)- for being into this stuff in high school and for being a loyal friend ever since.
Brandon- for helping so much in the production end and for being you.
Billy- for being super nice and introducing me to lots of cool kids.

Say Hi!

Why I m a Real Pirate Tales of my adventures on the High Seas yuppies, preps, and Boy is stereotyping fun! my punk rock pipe dream and why is there an ax on the back cover? - Leslie

Sure, a lot of kids nowadays are obsessed with pirates. Everywhere you look, there s pirate shirts, pirate butt flaps, pirate everything. Everyone wants to be a pirate. I, however, am a REAL pirate... or at least more so than most people. Why? Well, let s look at the facts.

- Pirates live on sailing ships.
I lived in on a sailing ship for seven weeks this spring.
- Pirates sail the seven seas.
I sailed the Pacific Ocean, same thing.
- Pirates dress funny.
So do I.
- Pirates spend their days chasing after booty.

So, you see, I have enough justification to call myself a pirate. I even dressed up like one to see Pirates of the Caribbean (which is a sweet, sweet movie). Everyone has accepted my current identity crisis pretty well, although no one addresses me as Hey, sailor! as much as I d like.

I took a semester abroad from college this past year in order to go to sea. The first half took place on Cape Cod (more on this later), and the second half took place on the Pacific Ocean. We studied sailing and marine biology, two things that I had little experience with. We two dozen kids sailed for six weeks, only setting foot on land once for three days. For four weeks straight, we saw nothing but open ocean. I had never even swam in salt water before, let alone seen the Pacific Ocean. It was fantastic.

We slept very little, worked very hard, and all got along fairly well. The busy schedule kept us from getting bored or stir crazy, and the crew made the trip fun for us. I found little things to amuse myself with, like what I liked to call The Bucket Show. Every half hour, someone dropped a bucket over the side of the ship to take a water sample. If you were below decks, you could see it out of the porthole window. Sometimes it would swing around for minutes, splashing water all over the place. Sometimes it would just fly back up. It was like television, only better!

Some parts of the journey were scary, like tacking a sail on the bowsprit during a squall or going aloft when the ship was moving. When the storm clouds would come and cover the sky all the way to the horizon, it would make the ship seem even more isolated, like it was moving around inside a little room. Some parts were humbling, like steering a 134 foot sailboat by yourself Some parts were just plain funny, like how good I got at getting seasick. I booted nine times over the side of the boat during the first couple of days. This, when combined with the unpredictable and excessive bruising which come from doing foolish things (like trying to climb stairs, walk across the deck, or stand still) on a moving ship, all made for a lovely first week.

Nothing I can write here can describe the beauty of the constantly changing weather, the countless sunrises and sunsets, or the sight of some tropical paradise after weeks at sea. The islands that we visited were beautiful, indescribable, unlike anything I had ever seen. By the end of the trip, though, I found it difficult to leave the ship.

I went into this program with more political angst and drive than I ve ever had. I was very antiwar, and had been going to protests and talks before I went to Cape Cod. I was frustrated that I wouldn t be able to continue with this work when I was on the ship, but knew there was nothing I could do about it short of dropping out of school. Then, less than a week before I was set to leave for the ship, war broke out. Six weeks later, it was essentially over, I was out in the middle of the ocean for the entire freaking war!

In some ways I was really angry that I couldn t do anything about it. I wasn t exactly going to stumble up and down the deck of the ship with a picket sign. Most of the people on the ship were basically against the war anyway. In a way, though, I was glad that I didn t have to be in the country for all the gratuitous flag waving and misplaced patriotic sentiment. At sea, we only had access to media when we were in port, and up until we docked in Hawaii, all we had access to was French press. That only fed my disapproval of what was happening. One small gesture of dissent which I enjoyed was the flying of the French flag. Because we were in French Polynesia, we flew the flag out of respect. I was usually the one asked to raise the French flag. I liked to think that this was because of my political views, but maybe it was just because I always flew the other flags upside down somehow.

Something which I really liked about life on the ship was that we were living almost completely outside of the system. We had our own self-supporting society, made our own rules, and lived our day-today lives currency-free. ironically, this all took place on an incredibly expensive and technologically sophisticated vessel. That aside, there was something almost commune-like about the ship, which was wonderful. I liked to imagine that I was some sort of expatriate pirate, living on a floating community.

I adjusted very well to that sort of isolated environment. I felt comfortable on the ship almost immediately. There was this strong sense of community in the midst of relative isolation. For the four weeks after our port stop, I never saw a strange face. It was bizarre, and yet comforting. The security of the smallness of the ship made me worried that I would resent other people for a little while when I got off the ship, but I did not. I had, however, grown even more disgusted with the materialism of society. I was fine with that, though. After living a harder life than I was used to, I was also less sympathetic to people s minor complaints.

Something which really struck me was how much Western culture had spread in French Polynesia. In Tahiti, I heard nothing but American pop music in the grocery stores, I must say, though, that I was pleased when a woman at one store was surprised when I told her that I was American. My French isn t perfect, so I m assuming she thought I was Canadian, eh. The saturation of Western culture on the small island where we made our port stop was even more surprising, The radio played lots of American pop music (or crap as I like to call it). Here I was, trying to get away from American pop culture, only to have the worst parts of it slap me in the face when I least expected it. Like the radio stations, the supermarkets were filled with a mixture of American, French, and local products, I also saw more international foods on the shelves than I ve ever seen anywhere else. I guess this makes sense, though, since such a small island doesn t produce any processed foods. In a really weird way, it was a lot of fun going exploring at the grocery stores there.

On the small island where we had our port stop, there was a restaurant which we all frequented during those three days. We always had the same waitress, and from the moment I saw her, I knew she was a man. I had read about a third gender which exists in the cultures of these islands for one of my classes, and I was pretty sure she was one of them. I almost peed my pants, I was so excited! Finally, on the last night there, I got up the nerve to talk to her about it. I spoke to her in French, so figuring out how to ask her was hard. I finally settled on Were you born a
man? in French. She was very nice, and explained to me that yes she was, and that it was her choice and people like her were very accepted there. She made sure that I understood that she was not the only one like that on the island. I was really glad to meet someone like her.

I have never really traveled outside of the country before, but I was amazed at how many other transients I met on our way. When four of us arrived in Tahiti the night before our ship left port, we had no idea where we would be staying. Fortunately, I had met a couple of kids from Alaska in the airport who took us to the hostel. They said that we saved their butts because I spoke French and they didn t but it really it was they who saved ours. At the hostel, we also met some European people who were transients. It was nice to meet people who weren t just there to go on a cruise ship.

At our port stop, on an island where our ship made up one percent of the population, a friend and I were fortunate enough to have dinner with a few other travelers. Like them, we were among the few visitors on the island. Also like them, we were sailors. We all sat around the table outside of this little shack of a restaurant at the dock and talked sailor talk. We compared our ships engineering problems. Most of them were on the island because of some malfunction on their ships, although one woman from France had gone there to avoid a large squall and never left. Most of them had sailed there by themselves, all from some far away place (the island is practically in the middle of nowhere).

When we landed in Hawaii, I had decided to stay and work on the ship for an extra week while it was in port. I was a working sailor in a port, which made my pirate pride even more ridiculous. The boat had docked right outside of an outdoor shopping mall, which seemed almost magical after four weeks of isolation. That was disturbing. We were also directly across from a bar. No joking, the ship s gangplank practically lead into the place. We were what we called rolling distance from it... and if we didn t like it, there was another one next door. You see, the three stereotypical choices of sailors in port are I .) alcohol, 2.) movies, and 3.) ice cream. It s true. We all spent most of our money on beer and ice cream, and half of the crew went to see XMen 2 within the first few days ashore. I felt like a real sailor. I also kept going up to random strangers, pointing at the boat, and saying I live there! with a stupid smile on my face.

open ocean, smelly garbage, and really rusty scissors
When one crosses the Equator for the first time on a sailing vessel, one goes from being a Pollywog to being a shellback. According to tradition, one should undergo an initiation ceremony at the point of crossing. According to tradition, one should also shave their head.

For this story to have any weight, you have to first understand that I have never had short hair. Of course I had short hair as a baby. What I mean to say is, since my hair went past my chin, there s been no turning back. Except for a few experiments with bangs and shoulder-length cuts, I ve had hair that reached halfway down my back since I was a kid. Likewise, I ve had people asking me when I was going to cut my hair since then. This factor only increased my desire to grow it longer.

On the other hand, I m a bit of a stickler for ridiculous traditions. This made my Equatorial crossing the perfect time for a change. I was all set. I had started prepping myself weeks before the trip, practically as soon as I heard about the tradition. I was ready to cut my hair .... all of it! I was going to be the grandest pirate there was! (Or just the butchest? That s a laugh I m about as butch as a Broadway musical.)

So, we get to the Equator. The Captain has us heave to (stopping the ship), and we go through what was basically a three hour initiation ritual. I don t want to spoil what happened for anyone, but lets just say that it involved costumes and garbage, so I had a blast. Anyway, we get close to the Equator, and I ask the Captain if I can steer the ship over it. Since I was on deck duty, he said yes. Rock! The coolness of this moment was doubled by the fact that I was wearing a duct tape bra while I did this! It made perfect sense I mean, what s more waterproof than duct tape? My friend (who also does Rocky Horror ) and I spent about 15 minutes taping me up before the initiation that day. If anyone didn t think I was weird before, they did after that.

After I got done steering, and the ship was sitting across the Equator, I began my process. I washed my hair, braided it down my back, and then found the largest scissors I could and made one grand cutting motion!

However, my braid did not drop to the floor. instead, I spent the next couple of minutes anticlimactically hacking away at my hair with foot-long, rusty sailing scissors. I had wanted it to go in one clean motion, so there would be no turning back. Instead, I wound up getting halfway through the job, and had the time to think What am I doing?! At this point, I had already made it through half of the braid, which meant that stopping then would result in either a really lousy shag or a mullet. Common sense won that battle, and I kept going. The braid finally came off, and the cut even looked (mostly) even. What I was left with was far cuter than I imagined. Short in the back, long in the front the same haircut as the young, hip, pierced art teacher I d been fascinated with in grade school, I had planned to go through with the head shaving, probably settling on very short hair with a small faux-hawk on top. I, however, was overpowered by the cuteness of my new short hair, and decided to stop while I was ahead, Needless to say, everyone on the boat was in agreement. Everyone, that is, except for the ones who called me out on my earlier decision to shave my head. I appreciated them for trying to keep me honest, but not enough to go through with it.

I spent the next couple of days on the ship skipping past every reflective surface I could find and shaking my head about for effect, Granted, this is very difficult on a moving vessel, especially with very little steep. I memorized which parts of the ship were usually pretty low traffic, and focused on these parts, although I m sure I made a spectacle of myself in front of at least a few uncurtained windows. My hair had not been this short since I was about four years old, and I was having a lot of fun with it Change has its novelty, and out in the middle of nowhere, it s about the biggest excitement there is.

Generally speaking, I was pretty satisfied with my new hairdo. Two of the guys on board had opted for the mohawk approach, the sight of which sometimes made me question my backing out of going all the way. Most people, however, bad not cut their hair at all, so I still felt a little hardcore about the whole thing. When I got back to land, and began to see people I knew, the short hair really added to the shock effect that I had with my sailor muscles and my (first ever) tan. I like this kind of attention, so I wasn t complaining.

I went to this program already expecting to be very different from the other kids. I had just come from a really fun winter break in Chicago (what I like to call my winter full of anarchopunk vegan polyamorites ) and I was more embedded in subculture than ever, so I wondered if I would clash too much with all these new people, I was also worried that everyone there would be really wealthy, since the only reason I could afford to go was that all of my scholarship and financial aid transferred from my college. In some ways 1 was wrong, and in some ways I had underestimated just how much I would feel like a weirdo. During the first couple of days, everything I said to my housemates seemed to be about something they had never heard of In addition I was trying to be vegan in a house full of meat-eaters, I was more liberal than many people, and my views on romance were way more progressive than theirs. I have never appreciated my weird little college as much as I did in my first week there

The last time i had been put in to this sort of environment was high school. I remember one day at my first high school, during some AP class, everyone started talking about what sort of car the person that they date should have. I raised my hand and said that I would much rather date someone who rode a bike, because it showed that they cared about the environment and that they weren t materialistic. They acted like I said something insane, and the teacher asked me if I was going to marry Alan Alda. The first few days there felt a little too close to this.

Fortunately, everyone there was really nice and accepting. I mean, most of them thought I was weird, which I wasn t going to complain about, I was just glad that they liked me, I wound up becoming friends with this one girt who is a blond cheerleader from a small town and likes country music. When I became her friend, I found out that she was also funny, vulgar, and a big prankster, She had never met a vegan, and I once had to explain to her what sadomasochism was, but we got along really well anyway. She found my weird antics really amusing, and I really enjoyed telling her outlandish stories about my life.

As time went on, I also realized that there were people who shared my interests there, I just had to look for them. They felt a little out of place too, a small handful of queers and subculture kids. I didn t find out until it was too late to do me any good, but I wasn t the only one who was feeling out of place in the first couple of weeks. In a way, though, my lack of a peer group forced me to learn how to get along with all the other kids, and was probably better for me in the long run. I wound up finding some common ground with kids who I had very little in common with. While I was frustrated that nobody there seemed to understand me (that s so cliche, I know), it helped that I had at least a little something like playing music or swing dancing in common with some of them.

Probably the most wonderful surprise was my preppy roommate. At first, she reminded me a lot of the other roommates I ve had over the years. It s as though something on my application forms sends up red flags in the housing departments, something like Unstable Weirdo Must House With Blond Prep for Sake of Campus Safety. Anyway, although I have usually enjoyed my roommates in the past, this was way better. We both quickly realized that we were each others favorite roommates ever, even though neither of us has any friends like the other one. In spite of everything she learned about me and the unconventional things that I do, she never stopped feeling comfortable around me for one minute. At the end of the program, she wrote me a letter that said she was glad that we met, and that I opened up a whole new world for her, which she felt she needed. I almost cried.

My roommate and I even tried to share our interests with each other, Our house threw big parties every week, and for the first one she let me dress her up all weird. It was fabulous. Preppy DressUp had a revival during the last week on land, I was talking about it with the Rocky Horror girl, and a few other girls overheard. They got really excited about it, which was wonderful, and wanted us to dress them up. We did, and everyone was impressed with how sexy they looked. I told my friends at school that I was trying to convert the preppies.

My roommate was sort of a jock, so she in turn taught me bow to play Lacrosse. I d never even touched a Lacrosse stick before. I even played catch with my housemates and barefoot soccer with the other kids while I was there, It was so weird!

My favorite story about my roommate was the time that I took her and my other housemate dumpster diving. When I first came to the program, no one even knew what it was. A couple of the guys thought that it was a metaphor for lesbian sex for at least a week. When I finally explained what dumpster diving was, they thought it was disgusting, especially if it involved food. Eventually, my housemates realized that I had a lucrative hobby, after I gleefully volunteered to be the one who crawled around in the recycling bin looking for cans and bottles to sell. Soon I found people who actually wanted to go with me. My roommate drove the getaway car and my other housemate even climbed around on some dumpsters behind the liquor store. We didn t find much, but they both had fun, and that s the important thing.

Every day I felt a little more accepted by these kids, and less and less like just an amusing novelty (although that never went away entirely). One of the milestones came after the first weekend. I had gone back to visit my college, where I spent a lot of time that weekend with my really good friend who always wears cat cars. When I got back to Cape Cod, what do you think I saw lying on the floor outside my room? That s right, a pair of cat ears! That made me so happy, but also confused. Finally, when no one had claimed them, I put them on and ran downstairs into the kitchen. I asked who s they were, and my housemate said Yours. She explained that she had found them in the attic that weekend, thought of me, and had thrown them down into the hallway. She was amused that I liked them so much, so I wore them to class the very next day... and about once a week after then, They re really neat cat ears furry and tiger print. I even took them on the ship, and wore them below deck, (I know cats aren t supposed to like water that s why I didn t wear them on deck.)


One kid in particular made life a daily anthropology class. He was a frat boy, muscular jock, wealthy, small town, likes country music, very normal. He also didn t know any gay people (so he thinks, anyway) and few minorities, I felt like I had met an alien, and be felt the same way. Did I mention that he lived across the ball? I would constantly say things like, back in high school, when your people were dunking my people s heads in the toilet.,. which would drive him nuts. Strangely enough, though, we wound up getting along fairly well. He even watched out for me a little on land, although he couldn t deal with the fact that I refused to shave my legs on the ship. I still called him a frat boy, and he still called me a freak, but we had some decent conversations too. While I still don t understand his world (and I probably still wouldn t like it if I did) and I m sure he feels the same about mine, it was interesting to learn about a sort of person who I probably would never have tried to know in any other situation.

As much as I thought I would teach some of these kids to be open more minded, I think some of them thought the same thing about me. For instance, the frat boy said that I was stereotyping him as much as I accused the preppies, jocks, and yuppies of stereotyping me. I would get similar complaints from people when I would say things like my goth friend so-and-so or That s so punk rock! They criticized this preoccupation with labels. While I admit that I am more than a little fascinated with subcultures, most of my friends talk like this anyway!

This all made me wonder whether my friends and I were, in our efforts to go against society s obsession with image, becoming too image conscious. I ve heard countless kids talk trash about hipsters, and then say but what do I know, I m a fucking hipster anyway. In my opinion, it s all like one big inside joke. Maybe hipsters like to make fun of themselves just Iike frat kids like to punch each other, I don t know. Maybe the emo kids would get in fist-fights too, if it didn t make them cry first every time.... You see what I mean, I can t help it.

This program was probably just about the most difficult thing I ve ever done. I go to a liberal arts college, so I haven t taken a test since high school. I m also focusing on the creative arts, so I haven t take science or math since high school either. Oa one hand, I had to do all this repetitive, fact-based school work which I thought I d never have to deal with in college. On the other hand, I got a little taste of the typical college experience Cramming for tests, late night trips to the library, study groups. It was interesting, if not frustrating.

One exception to all of this was our history of the seas class. I knew that this class was going to be a-okay when I got the reading list. I started reading one book before the program started. It was about anarchy on the seas, living outside of society, and PIRATES! Sweet. For me, this class turned out to be a forum for me to air my opinions on politics, gender, and anything else controversial. I also enjoyed being one of the most liberal kids there, because it helped me strengthen my arguments to have so many people who disagreed with me.

So, this pirate walks into a bar and he s got a ship s wheel attached to his scrotum. He walks up to the bartender and says Yar! Give me a pint of yer finest brew! The bartender says, Of course, but do you realize you ve got a ship s wheel attached to your scrotum? The pirate says, Yar! It s drivin me nuts!

Okay, I admit it, I go to the gym. A lot. Who knows how this got started I avoided strenuous activity as much as possible as a kid. I was never even remotely a jock.. I was in marching band, for goodness sake! (Although, I guess we did get sports credit for it.) A large part of my personal fitness revolution was the foresight to know I d regret being a lazy-ass when I got older. Besides, I just feel better after I go there, and while there are plenty of ways to get exercise for free outside, weight machines are harder to come by. anyway, I felt the need for the disclaimer based on reactions I ve gotten for this strange habit of mine. Case in point, I was at a vegan restaurant with a bunch of people after a protest, and I said something like, Oh, at the gym the other day and everyone said in unison, mind you You go to the GYM?! I ve been teased plenty, trust me.
So, the point of all this banter is that I ve managed to accomplish some interesting people-watching at the gym. I go to a YMCA which accommodates a range of people on the whole, but mostly attracts yuppies and yuppies-in-training. This is particularly apparent during what I like to call yuppy rush something which occurs every weekday when the 95ers get off work. I tend to avoid this stifling chaos, and instead opt for the afternoon when I can, where I am also more likely to find what I imagine are out of work actors and the likes. Needless to say, I have accumulated a group of favorites, people who yuppy or not I enjoy seeing when I go to the Y.

As favorites, these people have become sort of mystical in my mind, so I ve never actually talked to any of them much. It would probably spoil the mystery, anyway.

5. The Ambiguously Gay Duo
There are these two guys who I ve seen in the gym a couple of times. Even though they go at the same time, I m not sure if they know each other. They re both cute and young, but I can t figure out if they re gay. They should stop being so ambiguous and just date each other... or they should date me. Either s fine.

4. YuppyPuppy Boy
Definitely a yuppy, but a funny one. I only saw him a couple of times there, but he stood out during yuppy rush. He wears headphones, but when he walks around the gym, he carries his headphone cord in his mouth. He looks like one of those dogs that carries its own leash in its mouth when it goes for walks. I smiled at him once, thinking he too might see the humor in it. Judging by his reaction, I don t think that he did.

3. Alan Alda
This guy looks like Alan Alda. I like Alan Aida. Enough said,

2. Long-Sleeves Guy
Questionable status on the yuppy front. There is nothing particular about him, except for his endearingly dorky way of exercising. First, he always wears a long-sleeve shirt when exercising. This and his floppy hair make him look boyish and innocent. Second, he s the only one I ve ever seen use this one cardio machine which to be honest makes its user look goofy. It makes me smile while I m working out. Also, I saw him give some change to some kids once, which showed he was a nice guy like I thought he was. This also gave me some confidence in my personality assessment abilities.


1. More-Hard-Core-Than-I-Am Woman
This title is, of course, not much to brag about. However, this is how I think of her when I see her. I have pegged her as clearly not a yuppy. She wears mostly black clothing, is definitely older than I am, has cool long hair, and could probably kick my butt. I have also noticed her speaking (fluent?) Spanish with some of the few Latino exercisers at this YMCA, which makes her extra cool. I imagine her as being a bartender at some grungy rock-n-roll bar. I wonder if I m completely wrong, and she s actually an accountant or something. If you fit the description, and any of this offends you, I m sorry. Please do not kick my butt.

Some might say that society influences the actions of the counterculture. Some might say it s the government. There is, however, one other source which is often overlooked an important media outlet which once affected us all (and still affects some of us to this day) children s fiction.

Television, children s literature, Sunday comics... Think back to your childhood, ye punks of the twenty-first century! Would you have taken so quickly to dumpster diving, had you not been taught that trash is fun by a surly green Muppet at the age of four? What about the comic strip where Grimm the dog delighted in finding treasures in trash cans, despite disapproval from authority figures and even the occasional cop .... and what about all those cartoon animals on television who lived in the dump? Don t even get me started on the Box Car Kids. Of course, the youth has always been fascinated by stories of other youngsters living outside of authority, especially in creepy old buildings and such. However, the Box Car Kids fought the man even harder. I mean, what couldn t they do? They lived in a sweet train car, supported themselves tax-free, and were more D.I. Y. than just about anyone else we were reading about. Come to think of it, even though I only read a couple of the books, that series was about the only one that interested me out of the dozens available back then. I watched the old Annie movie again recently, and was reminded how much more I liked the part of the film before she got wealthy. I mean, I d much rather watch the orphans singing into shoes and empty hooch bottles, than watch them prance around in frilly dresses. Didn t like it then, don t like it now.

Let s talk about subculture fashion not how the magazines say we dress, but how we actually do. Remember Jem and the Holograms? How many kids do you know who look like Jem and her band, or better yet, their rival band The Misfits ? Yes, that s right, The Misfits. Short zebra print dress, big belt, green hair.... we ve all seen it. In fact, what toys did we have that DIDN T have technicolor hair? My Little Ponies, Lady Lovelylocks, Rainbow Bright all freaks! The marketing scheme at Hot Topic is enough proof of this. While my HeMan toys did not have dyed hair (although, one was called Stinkor which is punk enough, har har), my SheRa toys were just as colorful as the rest. Maybe I have a good point, and you all have friends which remind you of your favorite 80s cartoon icons. Maybe I just had too many toys, and it made me delusional. I don t know.

I have been wondering for a while whether there will ever be a resurgence of the counterculture experience of the late sixties. Most of the kids who call themselves hippies nowadays share almost none of the ideals of the originals, and the phrase hippie chic makes me want to punch myself in the face. I wasn t feeling very optimistic about the new phase of hippies. I consider myself a hippy in the original sense, but seldom find other people my age who do too. So, I began to look elsewhere for the next generation of organized freethinking liberals.

Getting involved with the recent antiwar movement, I began to take notice of who else was getting involved. The protests have been drawing a wide range of mainstream people, which is fabulous. There are also a broad range of other people, from real hippies who were doing this in the sixties, to groups of spunky old ladies who have never been to a protest before. I ve been paying particular attention to the younger people, trying to somehow brighten my expectations for my generation. I ve noticed that there seems to be one group which is fighting harder than any other, and that s the punks. As a generalization, they re very dedicated and genuine in their ideals.

Unlike the new phase of pseudo hippies (also called Trustafarians or The Grateful Rich ), the punks seem not only to be concerned with the future of the country, and the freedoms of the people, but in a much less hypocritical way. In many ways, the lifestyles of punks and real hippies are not so different. Living the free life works for either group. Living in a big dirty house full of activists, using very few new things, making independent venues for entertainment. A lot of punks are vegan, which is even better for the environment, and the number of straightedge punks probably way surpasses the hippies.

In other words, I think that if any group in the current youth culture is going to take over where the hippies in the sixties left off, it s going to be the punks. Considering what s going on in this country, it s about time a group of people stepped up to fight the good fight.

Have you ever met a punk boy who had a fitted bed sheet on his mattress?

Didn t think so.

My experience on the sea was incredible, but what I really wanted to communicate to the zinereading community is how this unconventional kid reacted to a far more conventional place. When I came back from my semester away, I was amazed at how foreign I could feel without even leaving the country. When I went back to my college to visit, and when I came home, I was I reassured that I was in fact not a freak or at least I was not the only one, In my life, most of what I do seems fairly commonplace.

Meanwhile, the kids at the program considered my .. normal activities strange, and were unfamiliar with things that I thought everyone knew. I found this contrast interesting.

I ve always been pretty esoteric within my age group, but these kids were reacting to activities and interests which I share with lots of kids I know. I began to wonder why this was. Had I been so different because I was from the city? Did I just surround myself with weird kids? Was I just raised differently?

This experience was really eye-opening for me, so I thought that other artists, sub/counterculture people, and the likes might be interested to read about it. It could be that I have narrowed my social scope so much that I don t feel like a freak, or maybe I ve just been naive about how different people can be.