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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Nowhere Man, 'Isn't he a bit like you and me?'"



A song on Goldie's radio triggered memories of a troubled time. The year was 1966, and a wet-behind-the-ears kid watched Vietnam play out on the news every night... wondering if the "Death Machine" of our Industrial Military Complex would still be consuming high school graduates when he became "eligible" in a couple of years. Indeed, "Flower Power" was no match for the "Machine."  An unlucky draft lottery number put life and plans on hold, and brought the age of innocence to a screeching halt. Man-child had to become a man, practically overnight. It's hard to make a Life-plan when an "Invitation to War" stares you in the face from your dresser top.


I turned sixteen in the fall '66. Missouri's hardwoods glowed with unusual intensity that year. John Lennon's "Nowhere Man" was working it's way up the charts... a Beatles song that intimately expressed the dubious nature of the times, and how it felt to be coming of age in the notorious '60's. Police, "To serve and protect," were taking aim at protesting students... tired of The Machine. "War! What is it good for? More dead in O-hi-o."  

Mom and Dad surprised me that lovely Autumn, with my older sister, Sally Jo's, 1960 VW bug. "Jo" met with an untimely passing in her mid-twenties. Dad had the "Bug" repainted a brilliant Competition Orange. It was my first car... understandably sentimental. I kept in impeccably maintained... as if it was a shrine...  always immaculate. Dad would say with pride, "You could eat off that motor; it's so clean." 

The measure of any "classic" is in its timelessness. After hearing "Nowhere Man" on the radio today, I realized that even at this advanced age, I still identified. I still don't have Life figured out.  Lennon suffered self-doubt from time to time, too. Who wouldn't... going overnight from a "Nowhere Man," to being, in his own words, "more popular than Jesus." That off-the-cuff remark set the evangelicals into an accusational, finger-pointing frenzy. But then, what doesn't? 

Can you imagine? The instant rock-stardom likely scared him shitless when he was all alone at night. Lennon is said to have written "Nowhere Man" after a brief and scary bout with songwriter's block... a humbling experience when you have been anointed "The Gifted One" of the Fab Four. 

Here are "Nowhere Man's" lyrics, set to the "music" of Valley of Fire. I bet you know every word...

He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.


Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?



Nowhere Man please listen,
you don't know what you're missing,
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!




He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?





Nowhere Man, don't worry,
Take your time, don't hurry,
Leave it all till somebody else
lends you a hand!





Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?




Nowhere Man please listen,
you don't know what you're missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command




He's a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.




Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody!



Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.



And from "Strawberry Fields Forever,"


Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone
But it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me







That sounds a little like me today, "... a real Nowhere Man, making all his Nowhere Plans for Nobody... Misunderstanding all he sees..." 

I guess some peak short of fame, fortune and glory; what the hell, you can't take it with you. I'll slowly fade to black, answering the call of eyes, heart and soul... exploring the Third Rock's Freaks of Nature. I always did fit in with the Freaks. That might explain the occasional nostalgic "litter" found on the pages of this purposely atypical RV blog... a desperate attempt to stand apart and take a road less rutted. If at time the BCB makes no sense to you... then I am succeeding.

I think Bayfield Al summed it up pretty good. "I’m not as good a listener anymore... There was a time when I might have been interested in somebody’s blow by blow RV travelogue of their trip from Moosewater Saskatchewan to EL Burrito Mexico back in the late 80’s sometime.  But, unless I’m planning on specifically going to EL Burrito next week I could really care less about how many food vendors & restaurants they have there, how wide the beach is, how tall the waves are, or the color of somebody’s first cousin’s wife’s Uncle’s socks.  And, if I was interested, I would ask…….with interest of course:))"

Indeed.

13 comments:

  1. Profound for an early AM Post! It will give me plenty to chew on today. Hey Old man.... You are one year older than me and yes sang along every word.

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  2. Awesome posting, and really brings back the memories. I too had a ' 59 and '60 VW bug. Tore em apart, fixed em up, rebuilt the engines and painted both the same color.
    Now we are are living the song.

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  3. I love those two Beatles songs, still know the words by heart.

    And the unexpected in a blog is very satisfying.

    Good job.

    P.S. Don't tell anyone but I graduated high school in 1970.

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  4. Wow, what memories those old bugs bring back.

    My older sister had one and it died in the Arizona desert in July because she forgot to put oil in it. Engine seized. She just left it there and hitchhiked back to Colorado.

    She got another and I totalled it there at Colona swerving to miss a dog at night. Rolled it twice and then crawled out the window into a patch of cactus. They took me to the hospital but I was OK except for the cactus. LOL

    She got another and we painted a big dragon on it, a la Tolkein along with the name Chrysophylax. She was already out of school and would pick me up behind the high school at lunch and we'd go hiking in the Black Canyon and forget to come back. She loved to get me in trouble.

    Yup, the good old Sixties. :)

    More great photos, wish I was there.

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  5. I see how the desert brings out your nostalgia. The 60s were an era like none other. Glad I grew up then.

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  6. Susan here and I STILL have a bug. A new Beetle that is to say. And have to add that the colors of your photos match the kaleidoscope eyes of those days.

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  7. Well, I will cite another famous song from that era when it comes to blog posts. "Different Strokes...for different folks."

    If it weren't for bloggers writing about their trips to El Burrito, Mexico, I might not ever know there was an El Burrito. If I never read about others experiences, I would have never known about places like Anza Borrego. Or Darby Wells. Or the Wave. Or The Narrows. Or The Subway. Maybe the answer is "Do your own homework," but I, for one, enjoy hearing of others discoveries, even before I am "planning on specifically going there."

    I guess my blog "resembles that remark," but I marvel at the beauty of this world, and feel compelled to try to share it, even if no one is listening. ;-)

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  8. K Explores,
    Chew away... don't expect it will sate your hunger, tho... Vicarious just doesn't cut it. Your time will come... soon, I hope :) thanks K.

    Geo and Suz,
    Well thank you...
    I, too, overhauled that 1960 VW engine... with the help of Dad, of course. You will recall that only two bolts held that engine in place... Whoa! Two bolts. Love that car.

    Travel Bug,
    Ironic, eh... that we are talking about "The Beatles," and "VW Beatles." And I thought no one would pick up on it :)) Thanks for your well traveled two cents!!! Always welcomed here... even if you are nearly as old as I am :))

    Spotted Dog,
    Bugs and Beatles... we need an entomologist here :))
    I think the VW Bug had a one star crash rating... you are lucky to be alive! What a story... Your sis was a good influence... think of what you would have missed! I like her. The Black Canyon rocks... love to snow shoe the rim. Also have hiked to the bottom a few times... talk about a vertical trail!!! And Colona... they passed ordinances to keep growth out. Good for them. Thanks, S. D..

    Wise Suzan,
    That's right... and it has a super charged engine. Your hubby doesn't like the feminine color tho :)) and... Are you sure you can remember the sixties? :)
    thanks :)

    Suzanne,
    Ah, but you missed Al's loophole... "if I was interested, I would ask…….with interest of course:))"
    RV blogs in general... including the BCB... are a great resource for travel destinations. Of course on the BCB you are likely to get photos of someplace cool... and dialog about something entirely different. My Mind and Photos often go in opposite directions... sorry about that. Thanks for the honest comment... I enjoy those the most :).
    mark

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  9. Oh, and Suzanne... I'm "listening."
    mark

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  10. The sixties? No recuerdo nada! -scamp.

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  11. You just struck a note..Anza Borrego, Darby Wells...Ahhh, the saguaro suggests the Sonoran Desert!

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  12. My very first car was a vw Bug as well. A 61, & like you I kept it sparkling with multiple coats of wax. Went on have half a dozen more bugs over the years. Just the best & most funnest cars of ever. If I had a dollar for every gear shifted in a bug I'd be rich beyond my means. Being a big music listening guy since I was old enough to understand my ears, 'Nowhere Man' is one of my many, many, all time favs. We, at this age are so fortunate to have spanned the music diversity that we have. Our minds have been expanded, not narrowed by the likes of a lotta crap going on out there in the music industry nowadays.....

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  13. Scamper...
    you were but a child in the Sixties... what were you doing smoking the pipe?

    Still Howlyn,
    Yes, The Sonoran Desert always calls... December thru April! We are working our way there... thanks!

    Bayfield Al,
    I remember sailing along... hill and dale on Missouri's narrow backroads... running thru the gears, puttering up, and flying down, listening to the Beatles and the Beach Boys... Don't even get me started on the Beach Boys... with "Pet Sounds" lyrics and harmonies that could make a love spurned teenager bawl like a baby...

    What is it about an empty highway and music...

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