Occupational Therapy

03Nov11

I hate winter, but in this Year of the Occupation, I found myself dreaming of a white Halloween. Mother Nature obliged on Saturday, October 29.

Who says dreams don’t come true?

Occupy Boston - revolutionI suppose the Occupy protesters think that by camping on public and private urban parks indefinitely, they are demonstrating their commitment to whatever cause they are espousing. But have you noticed that when anything – good or bad – is around all the time, one of two things tends to happen? Either it wears out its welcome or it becomes part of the landscape and you stop noticing it.

Snowy TreeWith their numbers already dwindling, I see two likely scenarios for the Occupiers. When the big city mayors, most of whom are Democrats, finally figure out that these endless demonstrations aren’t helping President Obama’s re-election prospects, the eviction process will begin. Either that, or noted conservative Old Man Winter will give them the boot.

At least the Occupy protesters can point to their ability to attract bipartisan support. Both the American Nazi Party and the Communist Party have endorsed the protests.

I can appreciate the appeal of wilderness camping. But outside of committed outdoorsmen, the attraction of sleeping on the ground tends to fade for most people after about age 30. And even among the most progressive of the earthy crunchy crowd, most adults have a hard time identifying with the idea of sleeping in an urban park for one night, much less for months on end.

Occupy BostonBoston’s Dewey Square campers may be doing without a lot of things, but they have hubris in abundance. Quoted in the Boston Globe, one worldly 19 year-old had this to say about holding out through the long, cold Boston winter. “Did civil rights leaders give up when they brought out the hoses?” he mused. “It’s just winter.”

Sure, kid. I wonder if the Globe will do a follow-up interview with this committed camper in January after a week or so of 10-degree high temperatures and -15 wind chills. I suspect that interview will take place at his parents’ home in Brookline or Arlington.

One positive thing has come out of the Occupy movement – some pretty damn good jokes. Even before the video of the first Occupy marriage proposal went viral, Twitter users were tweeting their favorite Occupy Wall Street “pickup lines.” Some of them are not suitable for a family newspaper, but here a few of the better printable ones:

“What time do you get off not working?”

“Can I have someone else buy you a drink?”

And my own humble entry, “Excuse me while I slip into something less sweat encrusted.” (Of course, that was written a month ago, when it was about 40 degrees warmer than it is now.)

Dan HicksThe Founding Fathers talked about “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” They said nothing about “camping out indefinitely for the redress of grievances.”

The latter-day hippies in the various “Occupy” campouts might want heed to the words of one of the original 1960’s counterculture troubadours, Dan Hicks, who wrote, “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?”

[This column originally appeared in the November 3, 2011 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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