Tuesday, July 14, 2009
On a warm afternoon not unlike this one, I sat outside on a grass quad and listened to conversation between two middle aged men. Their appearance would suggest they had dropped out of the 9-5 world of gainful employment in favor of barely getting by; they were content nonetheless.
Young people today would call them Hippies, or wanna-be Hippies, but back then they were just two individuals who dared to stop cutting their hair every few weeks, informed themselves about the political realities of the day, and tried to live by another set of values with the express purpose of seeing if it could be done.
This day they marveled at their appearance as well as every other long-haired, multi-colored wearing person on the grassy expanse. Boots and bell-bottoms were in. Horn-rimed eyeglasses gave way to rimless or wire rimed. Blue work shirts, Levis, headbands, and flowers were everywhere. People wore their politics.
As these two comfortable counter-culture participants sat waiting for the next speaker to take the free speech platform on the UCLA campus, they began discussing what the children of the future might do to express their own cultural identity 30 or 40 years hence.
"They'll probably say, mom, dad, I'm gonna get electrodes implanted in my head, just like all my friends," said one to another. His friend replied, "Yeah, they'll probably listen to their music that way."
It has happened yet, but stick around. These two crystal ball gazers weren't too far off. They never considered the popularity of tattoos or body piercing; yet they may have been in the ballpark after all. People do wear their music and from where I sit, things are headed toward one big electronic switchboard, be it hand-held or internally placed.
I wonder about the next phase of tattoos. I'm guessing we'll able to change them on a whim some day. Maybe through the electrodes in our heads.