Wednesday, October 19, 2011
[boh-hee-mee-uhn] noun - a person, often as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.
dude [dood] noun - See bohemian!
And, though I was alive during this "free love" and "flower power" era, at ages 5-10 my purpose in life (or lack of purpose), spiritual direction, political views, taste in music, art, and my love for nature had not begun to define me, or molded me in any way...and recreational drug use, a big part of the culture, was not yet an option. There were no kids dealing on the kindergarten playground (that I knew of). Now that I think of it, there was that one kid who always had money?
By High School, in the late 70's, things began to change. I had finally become opinionated (too opinionated for some) on just about every topic imaginative; including whether recreational drug use was going to be an option or not. There were no playgrounds, but this time there were plenty of dealers. It gave a whole new meaning to "High" School...dude, you know, if you were there.
As I reflect back, I remember being too concerned about trying to do all I could to be the best at everything I did, and that left no time for drugs, or drinking to get drunk. Sports, art, music, faith, classes, grades, and acceptance were more on my radar, one just as important as the other. I thought if you had to go to school, why not give it your all. As a new freshman, I figured everyone forced to wake up that early everyday, and attend school because the law required it, must feel the same way as me, but, dude, I couldn't have been more wrong. It took a couple of months into my freshman year to get the lay of the land, and as my awareness of all that was going on around me kicked in I began to notice a group of people that, though they attended school everyday, were definitely not into school. I also noticed something else about them...in the eyes of many, they were considered very cool.
Wait! That was my goal! Was I running in the wrong direction? This "cool" group was doing everything they could not to run, in any direction, and yet they seemed to winning on every level. Do you remember this group? Were you one of them? Are you one of them? Dude!
This group of non-conformists only strolled to class, slowly and flashing the finger, when pushed by the campus patrol.
Edie Brikell "What I Am"
What is a bohemian? The definition at the top of this article defines them well in just a few words.
The name originates from a culture of people who lived in 19th Century (Bohemianism), a people group that had gained a reputation as those set on counter-culture thinking. An anti-social group with little regard for place or position, a strong anti-establishment approach to politics and social commentary, and yet, very much in tune with, and recognized for their love of music, poetry, and the arts. Bohemians also had a lower regard for appearance and physical hygiene.
Bohemians, Flakes, whatever you thought of them...they were dudes and "Dudes Most High"!
Dudes, by my definition are still today's modern bohemians, and are alive and well and growing.
You can spot them today in two familiar groups.
The ones we stare at and say, "Dude!"
I was a late bloomer as a dude and still haven't tasted fully from the "dude" cup. I still, all too stressfully, run around chasing the American Dream, but I'm learning to relax. Finding a way to be stress free, having never practiced it when I was young, is exhausting...dude. My wife asked me last week, "What's with all the Soft Jazz music on your radio dial?"
"I'm just trying to stay mellow enough to not want to strangle anyone, honey!"
Having a daily cartoon strip about dudes (www.Gocomics/dudedude) has become a great stress release and escape for me as I slip into my studio (dudeio) and just think about all things dude and the humor and insight that comes from it.
It help makes me feel young again! I think it would be worth it for all of us, especially today with all the reasons to be stressful, to study how today's bohemians, young and older, approach life. Borrow some ideas, find some escapes, learn something about going at life on your own terms...and someday, just maybe you'll look good with messy hair (if you have any left) or, at least, halfway decent in the glow of a fire ring!
Dudes...the modern bohemians, watch out world, they're coming on slow!...dude.
Comment and share your dude secrets, your escapes, your ways to relax!
Keith Poletiek is an author, illustrator, speaker and cartoonist. Creator of Dude and Dude, a daily comic Distributed by Universal Uclick for United Feature Syndicate at www.GoComics.com/dudedude