A Flash Fiction about a rave in a park, brought questions from ‘Old Fogeys’ about WHY. I responded that I once worked with a young fellow who said that, after work, he was going to the big bar down the street, to party with 300 strangers. He was strange enough to fit right in. I didn’t see the attraction.
The answer may lie in the ability to make a drunken (and/or drugged-out) fool of yourself in anonymity. A second layer to that answer may relate to ‘Good Christians’, who want to engage in (to them) SINFUL behavior, without friends, relatives, or neighbors finding out. It’s how my Father and Mother met and got married.
During the 1940s and ‘50s, in my area, it was not considered wise to go drinking (and perhaps, pursuing the company of young females) in a local establishment. I heard the axioms, ‘Don’t Shit Where You Eat,’ and, ‘Don’t Mess Your Own Nest.’ During the war years, young men of Armed Service age, who were drinking in a bar, might be loudly and forcefully accosted.
My Mother’s younger brother and a pal, used to drive 30 miles north, to my Father’s home town, to do their drinking and Hoo-Rahing. My Mother returned from Detroit, sans husband. When my Father returned from Naval Service, her brother was quick to point out that she was single and available. Introductions were made, and soon, a marriage was performed. Don’t start counting on your fingers. I was born 14 months after the wedding date.
Even after he was married, the local undertaker/furniture store owner used to drive 30 miles south every Saturday night to go anonymously drinking. The town was a mile off the north/south highway, and the access road used to come out to a T-intersection. Drinking and driving must have been an Olympic sport. So many cars wound up through the fence, and into a farmer’s field, that the Department of Highways added a 90 degree curve merge ramp.
One Saturday night – actually Sunday morning – he went screaming around the merge ramp at highway speed. Normally, at that time, the highway would be empty, but this night there was a young family returning from a visit to his parents. If he even noticed them, he still slammed into the side of their car, spinning it out of control, first into a tree, and then a deep drainage culvert.
The mother and young boy were killed instantly. The father survived, but was so badly smashed up that he could never work. The dark joke around town was that the undertaker was just making more business for himself.
You want to party? You want to get drunk? You want to do drugs? You want to do it –not at Cheers – where nobody knows your name? You have the right to be stupid. Just carry ID, so the cops know who to notify – either for a funeral, medical treatment, or bail.
Click to hear Buddy Holly going to a rave, back in 1958.