You know the old saw: The more things change the more they stay the same? I’ve been reminded of that lately. A lot! Because of one thing leading to another, as is usually the case.
I’ve been looking back at my writing through the years. In fact, as far back as 1970. It was good then, too. Moreover, I went still further back in time to the mid-sixties to high school standardized test results. And guess what? I haven’t changed! In spite of fifty years!
Those subsequent years included hours and hours of advanced education, as well as thousands and thousands of dollars spent on “recovery”, i.e. therapy. Time and money invested in Self improvement, i.e. “progress”. And yet the test scores reflect who and what I am as much now as then. I’m the same guy – still curious and creative – super smart with numbers, reading comprehension, abstract thinking, and correctness of expression. In other words a first order writer.
In addition I pretty much look and act the same.
at me then and now. Still writing and challenging the status quo. And turning my back to it/you/them.
It’s Simple But Complicated
which is something I’m still working out with my psych girl. Still crazy after all these years? Maybe?
is an Op-Ed piece I submitted to my community [Evergreen, Colorado] newspaper in 2003. Because I was upset at a column criticizing the explosion of health care providers in town.
I can’t recall if they published my response; but I published in my first book Sounding Off In Echo Hills. [Shout out to Murray Moulding.] Here it is:
RECOVERING: JANUARY 2003
It is an interesting question, why there seems to be such an influx of healing professionals to the Evergreen area. If that is what is at the root of your column? I’m somewhat surprised that your Editor allowed this particular essay to run, at least as it did. There is a good story here, but with a different slant. [Shout out to Krystal Ball and her “Brunchian Oblivion” comment/observation (10/18/2020)].
Seems I recall that you once tended bar? I did, for twenty some years and have lived in the Conifer/Evergreen area for thirty. There was a time, perhaps the time you are referring to as the “Redneck Era” when Evergreen was awash with bars, and that was about the only economic activity going on—the public consumption of alcohol. Driving up from Denver, the first “watering hole” was El Rancho. Then at Bergen Park there was a nightclub where the Carpet Mill is now, and the Vitamin Cottage was a bar called The Timberline. Farther down the “trail” was Killgore Trouts, where some silly art gallery is now, and a bar followed that where the Conoco gas station is. You’d have liked that one, it had saddles on its barstools.
Then there was another nightclub at the Lakeside Center called The Upper Bear. And my favorite, The T-Bar S located about four miles up Upper Bear Creek. Yes, grand times they were.
I had a friend who lived up here and worked in public education in Denver. He lived up behind The Little Bear. He used to make his way home nights by stopping at several of those watering holes. He died back in 1992, drank himself to death. In 1994 I wrote a letter to your paper that was published called “Thinking of Drinking”. In it, I called for a re-evaluation of our drinking motives and habits. Perhaps, all these “quacks” practicing up here have taken the place of the bartender. By that I mean that people are still overwhelmed by the stress of living (maybe even more so today, and maybe trying to alleviate some of that by moving to the mountains actually increases that stress. Now that’s an interesting angle for a story.) and are just trying to get some relief.
I suspect that, do you mind if I call them, “healing professionals”– provide some relief, albeit short-term for the most part, from this crazy world for many of the people who live up here. This method of relief is probably healthier for most people than the prior cowboy practice of “self-medicating”. What do you think? I think a truly interesting piece of journalism would be to do some actual research on the various practices and practitioners up here. You know…investigate? As for the economic engine of Evergreen now—it’s Real Estate.
The Point Is
what has changed? Progressed?
I submit we (humans) are getting dumber. I wish I had the piece written and published that sparked my outrage.
We are now in a period, again, of recovery. Therapists are now so much in demand it’s hard to get a session, even on-line! Bars and restaurants have been ordered to close. The ‘Psychiatric Tavern’ is closed! [Shout out to Dr. Harvey Milkman.]
exists, still. As the name implies. I no longer live or work there. I’m retired. My bookstore’s space, last time I looked, was a health clinic. Dr. Milkman and Murray Moulding still exist, too. As do I. Hang in there.
Merry Christmas! and thank goodness for the evergreen.