I grew up in a deeply religious Christian family; Lutheran preachers in my mother’s blood line can be traced back to ancient Scotland. Yet I’ve dived into Buddhism, explored myriad types of Paganism, and read at least something about every religion I learned was out there. I even spent time with the woo woo people and their aliens and their big foots and their healing crystals and non-GMO artisans vegan on a higher plan “chicken” wraps. At best I am an agnostic deist, that is, I don’t believe we can know but I’d like to believe there’s something bigger behind all of this. I grew up with two parents as teachers; again, we could trace teachers deep into our family tree. And yet I would never be able to choose one subject over another, to teach that is. And I read, I obsessively read. I watch documentaries. I listen to stories on the radio, real stories, passionate stories, stories about people alive and breathing as they make their way through the grocery line, stories about people whose hearts can only echo from the eons on ink and paper and brick and mortar and stone. I want to know something about everything and when I learned I couldn’t read all of the books, when I couldn’t learn it all, I told my mom it wasn’t fair. I grew up in a staunchly Democratic household; I can’t recall my parents ever (openly) admitting they’d ever voted for anyone but a Democrat. When I was first able to vote I thought they’d disown me for not joining their party, the party of my tribe, but no, I don’t do tribes, especially when they’ve so clearly marked their territories. There’s more out there, I learned, more ways out there, and only pinches of reality were captured by any of these warring tribes. Woah, I grew up in a dry, hard knuckled conservative cowboy town; fields that held cows now hold Starbucks and supermarkets. In the country, in the small city, in the wide open, in a hippy town, a university town, and now in the big city. I am the country mouse, the city mouse, I am neither, and I am the cat watching and playing and too disinterested to play. My friends came from all background. There was my best friend with hippie parents, his mother half Native American. There was my other best friend, tough and non nonsense, his dad was a trucker. Some of my friends went to the Lutheran youth group, some went to the Baptist youth group, some went to neither. I grew up with the television tuned into the local news then later the national news. They’d switch between ABC, CBS, and NBC as the week progressed. On the drive to and from school the radio would be tuned to Oregon Public Radio, local home to National Public Radio, and I learned, gods did I learn to love to learn, except I’d rather have listened to Rick Dees. I’ve commuted to Rush Limbaugh and Air America (when it was on) but often preferred late night mountain drives with the windows open and a cigarette trailing in the dark and Art Bell sneaking in and out at me through the AM band. I’ve drank to excess, sucked down a doobie or toobie, and experience the enlightenment that comes with shrooms and other psychedelics. And yes, I’ve even managed to score the runner’s high. No—so no—when it’s suggested that I’ve been indoctrinated I can only agree in-as-much as I’m limited to the amount of the world I’ve allowed in, that my mind on any given day is capable, neurologically and psychologically, to accept, to breath, to consume with hunger and curiosity, not any more than I already am: a diet of constantly and continually improving information. Data, baby. Knowledge. It’s a passion, it’s always been my passion, so much so I’ve surmised the only reason I’ve never been considered autistic or having Asperger’s is my passion isn’t a singular focus on a given subject or tribal knowledge but instead on the voyage, the journey, that leads to an understanding of everything, a unifying theory of the who the hell, what the fuck, why the bejesus, and when and where, and it’s always changing and growing. No, no tribe for me, no teams, not flags, no allegiances. I’m allergic. Put a fence around me and I’ll start sneezing, hold me down and I’ll have a meltdown. I will kick and scream and curse and I’ll want out even when the need to fit in tears me to shreds. And it has. But it hasn’t stopped me. Well, not yet, anyway.



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