Long Live the Bums

Ever feel like Wile E. Coyote, in the old Roadrunner Cartoons, when he falls off a cliff and an anvil follows him down and smashes him after he’s already decked? Splat-Bam!

A few months back I wrote positively about the things that I value. But people whose fundamental life values center on materialism make me sick. I feel it physically, in my gut, when such people try to force their shallow concept of living upon me. Of course I shouldn’t care, and since we tend to self-select our peer groups, I usually avoid it well enough. But things don’t always work that way. Sure, we’re all materialistic to a degree, especially here in the U.S., and I am a hypocrite like everybody. But travel the world and see how most humans live, and you see that even the most minimalist of our community live privileged lives. I always return home grateful for my life and the things that truly matter. And so maybe it’s the lack of perspective that so repulses me.

If someone accosts you with their pathetic and antiquated ideas of what constitutes “life,” while berating you for living what feels like – what you know is – a fulfilling and passionate existence, and for that derides you as a loser and a bum, how should you respond? Yeah, sure, you should feel sorry for them. But I’m tryin’, Ringo, I’m tryin’ reeeeal haaaard to be the shepherd. So it goes. Security is an illusion, life is precious and it can be lost in so many ways.

And so, though I’ve been meaning to get that accident report going (maybe this weekend), in the spirit of living life I’ll post a slide show (look out, trying to get fancy…hope it works). A sampling of some memories that fill me with love, physically, in my heart, and make me grateful for all that I have. Even if I am a bum. The bums will always lose!

Nah. Long live the bums.

14 thoughts on “Long Live the Bums

  1. My fuckin thoughts exactly Kelly :) charger photos bro, inspiring, humbling and super motivating. Sending you positive vibes for a speedy recovery. Keep cranking.

  2. I can only assume that you’ve very recently been “accost[ed] with their pathetic and antiquated ideas of what constitutes “life,” while berating you for living…”

    If this is the tone I think you have in mind then it reminds me of this vignette. My friend is a documentary producer she’s done pretty intense film shooting (which usually last months) from Patagonia to India to the Amazon. Just her still photos alone are intense never mind the raw footage. In these tough economic times, she had been without work for nearly 8 months. Instead of encouragement from her siblings that something will come up, they chastise her for not wanting a steady job and to “grow the fuck up.”

    It’s hard for her to ignore the so-called “advice” but she’s the only person I know who’s jumped in the Amazon with anacondas, swung on jungle vines in Brazil and braved a Patagonia storm… all for that one documentary shot. That’s some living… she doesn’t characterize herself a bum but she said that the closer she lives to the edge of life, the more she appreciates it..

    my two bits and if my assumption is wrong then my apologies and thanks for reading… looking forward to your grizzly accident report. speedy recovery!

  3. right-on, thanks guys.

    volk, yeah, no problem on your assumption. you are correct indeed, and i’m sorry to hear your friend’s recent experience with such judgmentalism and small-mindedness. from the outside — like looking at her story — it’s a lot easier to see that things like that (“grow up” — oh yeah, verbatim) reflect entirely upon the person saying it. i’d bet anything that it’s deep-rooted code for “i never lived out my dreams, so here’s my chance to rip on you for doing what i wished i had the courage to do.” anyway, so much for my amateur psychiatry. maybe i should stick to margs :)

    thanks again.

  4. Inspiring slideshow Kelly, makes me grateful for the support I get from family and friends for this fringe lifestyle, not all my friends are so lucky.

  5. And once again in sharing your love of life, you make other lives richer (including mine), we all live better and more globally. From my tiny corner of the planet I radiate gratitude that you share! peace, K

  6. My Ralph’s card is a far cry from the data shadow I leave these days. Ahhhh, the simpler life of non-attachment. Life was a bit more visceral in the dirt, that is for sure. The greatest pieces of human nature that I’ve encountered all live in, or were birthed from the dirt too?

  7. Thanks for sharing these words and photos.
    I especially liked 13,19,32 & 44
    I wish the entire quote in the last photo was clear

    do not believe everything you hear
    do not desire everything you see
    do not proceed to do everything you are able to do

  8. Thanks so much, you guys.
    d rob — i know, i remember seeing that, painted on the side of this old beater truck in the Bugs this summer, at the end of the “unfuck kelly’s head” road trip (my fiance had survived a harrowing, nearly deadly brain disease earlier in the summer, and i was still a mess). i stood there studying the old and peeled paint, trying to figure it out, and then i thought it perhaps fitting, almost like that was somehow, unknowingly, through the faded paint, the whole point of it all.

  9. I think a lot of people who live a more adventurous lifestyle encounter this attitude you’re describing among friends, family, etc.
    Oftentimes you have to fly pretty close to the earth, take a fair bit of economic risk to pull it off. People who, instead, pursue a more ‘traditional’ lifestyle have more economic security, but often dream about the adventures you have. It’s green envy pure in simple in my opinion; the ‘forcing of opinions’ is just a (subconscious?) reaction from that person that can reinforce the decision he/she has made to live a relatively boring, yet secure life- make him/her feel better about this decision, reconcile the regret of not pursuing dreams with fear of taking the risks to make them real.
    I’m sorry to hear that you have to deal with this sort of thing while you’re ‘down’ Kelly. It sounds like you have a healthy perspective on life- just remember that and don’t let envious people get to you (maybe feel sad for them).

  10. If winning is “Growing the f*$k up” then I hope the bums don’t win. Heck, I can’t wait to graduate so the living can start, or develop more or whatever. Also, if I read Volk’s post right, then Grizzly encounter?? Lucky the bastard didn’t take the whole leg….Kidding, I hope.
    Hope things are looking up,
    John

  11. This made me think of a quote..

    “I reminded myself that the wisest, most inspired people I knew had all taken this second path, heading for what I call the Far Outside…Why is it that when we are hanging from the cliff — beyond civilization’s safety net, rather than in it — we are most likely to gain the deepest sense of what it is to be alive?”

    and from the same text

    “at the periphery is where I can come to understand the central issues of living.”

    The fringe isn’t made for everyone, just keep on keepin on!

    p.s. Continuously inspired by this blog since I stumbled upon it some time last year.

  12. “There are so many ways to lose one’s life besides dying” -Someone dope.

    One of the most brutal (to the soul) ways of “losing one’s life” is to have the life into which you pour your passion, blood, and treasure denigrated by someone and their subjectively universal judgements.

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