The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Where Else Can You Live?


Lets talk about the alternatively homed!

What I have in mind here is a romp through the world of the alternatively homed, sort of like the way that guy with the deep voice on Nature romps through 20 species on hour showing you all the exciting ways they all have adapted to their little niches. Or big niches, as the case may be. Or think of this as a sketch for a National Geographic special, "Lost Tribes of the Suburban-ghetti", or something like that.

Adaptation is the key concept here. Why is it, I'm wondering, that we admire so much the way that indigenous people like the Inuit, the Australian Aborigines, the Hopi, the Dayaks, the Bush People of Africa, the Maori, the Swedes, all used to build their huts, igloos, lean-tos or whatever, praising it as proof of Man's adaptability in the face of harsh Nature, but when someone does it down the street they're seen as outlaws?

Am I the only guy in this city who's seen the "Gods Must Be Crazy?"

What does the attraction of Survivor mean if the same people who make it number one in the ratings also spit on the real thing when they see it? Maybe it's the same thrill that white Americans got watching Red Dawn. They spent years preaching freedom while snuffing it out everywhere in the world it appeared. Then they used the magic of cinema to identify themselves as the "real" freedom fighters. Look at me, I can be a guerrilla warrior too, for seven dollars, four at matinee.

Or, hey, I can be Kevin Costner and live in a teepee. For the price of the video I can learn to spell it tipi and impress my PC friends.

Meanwhile there are a hundred men, women and children right here in this city who are surviving in tents because they have to. They aren't doing it to identify with the oppressed, they are the oppressed. How about celebrating their successes at survival now, instead of waiting for the National Geographic special, or the Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts version? How about it?

But I digress. I was going to talk about other alternative homenesses. Not just communal tenting.

The road nomad. This is usually someone with at least four wheels, horses being out of fashion and motorcycles providing little shelter. As I learned personally years ago, even a car that doesn't run can provide decent shelter if it is fortuitously parked.

My Home Was a '69 Rambler
Opus 7, Verse 2

My home was a '69 Rambler
In a warm garage it was parked
My home was a '69 Rambler
As I already have remarked.

[Oh Rambler, Oh Rambler, Bring back my Rambler to me, etc.]

If the garage is right, who needs the car? I am thinking now of an actual person, a legally blind old man whose name wasn't Angus but should have been, who would have been home in the Highlands with Lassie, a serviceable knife, and someone else's flock.

Angus found himself an aging benefactor, some old woman, who rented him an unused one-car garage for ten dollars a month "for storage". Angus then stored himself. He paid his rent by clearing the neighborhood of aluminum cans every day. The earnings provided him enough extra money that he could spend his spare time in dignity drinking coffee at a 24-hour establishment as an honored customer, where he buried himself in books hour after hour, until his benefactor died.

Thanks to my ranting I've run out of space. But I'll get back to this. More Lives of the Alternatively Homed, later.