counterculture history, conspiracy theory & reviews

My take on the generation gap

with 8 comments

Original1500wideHey, Steve, I visited your smashwords site, and it’s really cool. But there’s so much material, where’s the best place to start?” —Longtime Fan

Great question. Since I put up around 30 eBooks (most very short), I suggest people go through them in chronological order.  The first (very brief) story to read, East Village, was my first serious attempt at fiction, written at age 17. It takes place in New York’s East Village in 1967, a very important year in counterculture history. For over a year, thousands of male teenagers had been pressing their parents to discontinue the ritual of visiting a barbershop, so they could display locks like their rock role-models. For many parents, however, having a well-shorn male child was just as—if not more— important as having a well-trimmed lawn. The biggest battles may have taken place in the fall of 1967— many could escape haircuts during the summer, but not when school started.

My friends Bugsy and Maarten pulled off a daring escape for a few weeks, landing in a crash-pad in the East Village, which was experiencing an explosion of teenage runaways, and celebrating up a storm, all of which came to a sudden halt when a society teen was found murdered in a speed-freak shooting-gallery. Their adventures inspired me to write my first short story.

Next, read The Steam Tunnels, which will only cost you 99 cents, and you’re already registered, so the entire process is painless, just click “download eBook” and download as many copies as you like (in any format you desire for the rest of your life) including all future updates and additions (I like to keep improving my eBooks every year). But please don’t share them. I’m a single dad with two kids and the eBook revolution hasn’t really taken off yet, so I haven’t seen any return for the immense amount of effort I made to get these important historical archives available to the public.

The Steam Tunnels takes place in 1967 and involves my climactic confrontation with my parents. After this day, I’d never be forced to get another haircut. I soon moved down into the basement and transformed it into a psychedelic playland. It became the rehearsal studio for my band, The Knight Riders, my art studio, and a clubhouse for all my friends. My mom called it “The Den of Iniquity,” so I painted a sign on the entrance: “Are you sure a nice person like you belongs in this Den of Iniquity?” I was exploring the steam tunnels at the same time, and actually did consider moving down there permanently for a second. One night we thought we’d been caught by the University police when the lights came on unexpectedly. It turned out to be Guy Maynard, lead singer of the Seeds of Doubt, and a friend of his. I had to run away from home twice before I could negotiate a liveable arrangement with my parents, one that afforded me the freedom that I needed. I was branded “emotionally immature,” because I wanted to be in charge of my life’s trajectory. The threat of reform school, military academy, and/or the dreaded “electro-shock therapy” was always hanging over my head. I wrote The Steam Tunnels at age 20, five years after it happened. Wesly Pinter is a composite of Bugsy and John Hayes, founder of the Knight Riders.

The third eBook to read is The Stockholm Manifesto, written while living in Sweden trying to evade the Vietnam War, which is free to download in any format.

NewMartaCoverI’d eventually get kicked out of Sweden and flunked my physical thanks to a sympathetic psychologist. I just told him I didn’t fit in the Army and they wouldn’t want me. He asked how I knew that and I told him I’d gone to Valpo University and been put in a dorm, and ended up in a huge conflict with a lot of people in the dorm who didn’t like my style. Then I began to shed a few tears. Hey, I was on the chopping block—an impeccably-groomed master-sergeant had escorted me to the psychologist’s office. Very few potential inductees even saw the psychologist. You had to demand to see him! I’d already been identified as a flight risk. You had to sign an oath right off and I refused, saying I was sympathetic to the Viet Cong, and considered the USA the aggressor nation and refused to fight. After that, they kept a eye on me. What I was counting on was my weight. After days of fasting, I was probably around 125. I had some magic number in my head that if I was under that, I would be 4-F. The weighing-in however, was extremely fast and sloppy and they were taking everybody they could get by 1971, so my fasting was of no avail. The sergeant guarding me was already letting me know I was going downstairs in ten minutes and getting on that bus to boot-camp! Just as soon as you get out of that office, hahaha, you dirty hippie! He didn’t say that, but I knew he was thinking it. It was a spider looks at the fly moment. But that sergeant was positively crushed when the psychologist branded me 4-F and his little fly flew out the front door, back to freedom! It was one of my peak ecstasy moments and it had allI been a lot easier than I’d thought. I sure could tell that sergeant was pissed this little fly got away and the Army never got their claws into my brain.

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Written by Steven Hager

February 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

8 Responses

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  1. Hi, Mr. Hager,
    How are you? I’ve recently read your article “Stoner smart or stoner stupid?” and I have questions. First, I do not consider myself as a stoner stupid just because, if I have the opportunity, I’m gonna smoke everyday. So, do you consider everyday-pot-smokers stupid? I have the responsability of doing what I have to do even if I’m high. I usually work high and I didn’t receive any complains about it or about my work. Otherwise I wouldn’t keep my job. I’ve smoked before some tests and I’ve almost nailed it. I think stoner stupid is someone who wants to show himself to everyone as a pothead. A stoner stupid is a kind of person who needs extreme attention. Its a self-affirmation habit. I think some people just can’t handle themselves and this don’t define them as smart or stupid. Because, you know, everyone was stupid sometime, even Bob Marley with his toe.


    February 10, 2012 at 8:50 am

    • Hi Lucas, thanks for stopping by. I think you missed the point of the story, which was to suggest that waiting for 4:20 PM to get high might be a good idea for some recreational users. I don’t prescribe rules for anyone, especially not medical users, and certainly you are welcome to get stoned whenever you like. However, it’s been my experience that I accomplish a lot more if I wait until later in the day. If you don’t care about accomplishing things, and just want to be high all the time, please feel free to ignore this advice. If you have a happy life, and you are accomplishing all you want, then of course, this suggestion can easily be ignored. I have met people, however, who have benefited greatly from this approach and they should probably stay the course and not return to the wake-and-bake state-of-mind. Cheers!

      Steven Hager

      February 10, 2012 at 9:24 am

  2. Ahh, ok. Now I understand better and I’ll try your point to see how it works. Because I really like smoking everyday and I’ve missinterpreted what you said, sorry.


    February 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    • yeah, and don’t be too ecumenical, always feel free to bend rules when necessary, it’s just a guideline, a message from the ceremonies atop Mt. Tam perhaps, and you don’t have to be smart all the time. Sometimes it’s fun to be a little bit stupid, long as nobody gets hurt, of course.

      Steven Hager

      February 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

  3. Hello new to computers and wish to have a copy of your video on tinctures that was pulled from u tube. This was the only way I could figure out to ask you. Sorry for my approach but I realy would like to see the program that yuou originally shot.

    Charlie Anderson

    April 7, 2012 at 2:39 am

    • Someone complained to YouTube about the video and it was pulled. So it won’t be appearing again, although I don’t know what the problem was. Were you the one who complained to YouTube?

      Steven Hager

      April 7, 2012 at 7:27 am

  4. Danny Danko told me You can get ahold of Rick Simpson,Im th med.breeder Who created a new strain with amazing medicinal properties! I want to gift Phoenix tears clones n seeds.You and I met Years ago in 93 in Jack Herer’s R.V. I retained a friendship with Jack off n on for Years,amazing things are hapening thatwill change cannabis forever,please call me,or Danny or Michale Czerhoniak if any questions,thank you.

    Mathew Gordon

    October 2, 2012 at 11:52 am

    • Rick is on facebook. Phoenix Tears has a website that’s easy to locate. Rick’s in Europe right now.

      Steven Hager

      October 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

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