1 03 2011
when you’re young, you’re easily impressed
Recently re-reading “On the Road.” “On the Road” for me, like a lot of other kids, was one of those things, a secular bar-mitzpah like “Rocky Horror” or copping beer with a fake ID. It was some necessary fuel that propelled you–so I thought–into a trajectory of the wildest, most colorful, harmless-crazy explosion of youth for all the world to admire. Now, 18 years later, pushing through it again, curious as to what I’d find this time around…
…I’m just flipping over rocks in the creek trying not to act disappointed.
Sure, maybe a little, I’ve been finding myself nostalgic for the old times, back when the old times were all new to me. But I didn’t crack “On the Road” with any expectations, just, I couldn’t really remember most of it and it seemed like an interesting book to blow through inbetween my dull “look what the government has allowed all those shit coorporations to go and do now,” books I’ve been occupiying my mind with recently.
The book has been enjoyable at parts, certainly still a page turner, which is more than you can say for most books. But reading this, I’m thinking something that I didn’t notice the first time around–this guy Kerouac is mostly shtick; some drunk, stoned guy rambling into an open mic amusing only himself 100% of the time. A large part of this is the childish man-child, Dean Moriarty.
I dunno, when you’re young, you’re easily impressed, I guess. Now, 18 years later, I see that “On the Road” is a full prostrate man-crush worship of Dean, the stupid, immature shit psychopath. I know that now. Call me dumb but I didn’t get that all before. Or maybe pyschopaths aren’t as endearing to me now as they once were. I mean, didn’t everybody try and collect friends like Dean and Carlos and Stan? I did.
Sure, I can still see the vision, the goal, the IT, but now I realize Kerouac wasn’t ever going to really get there, maybe he never even wanted to. The IT, like Dean, was just a distraction, something for bored, clever boys to conjure up and occupy themselves with until they got old and died drunk along the railroad tracks. And reading “On the Road” now, I can’t help but feeling a little sad and lonely and lost. Utterly spun out by chasing distractions, hungry for something that’s real. And I’ve got to “Go, man, go,” until I get there.