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Posts tagged ‘Jack Kerouac’

Life’s Tourist Traps

July 24, 2012


Photo credit:  Nicolas Esposito

“And this was really the way that my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.”  – Jack Kerouac

When I was young, I had some of the best times of my life on our summer vacations. My dad, mom, brother and I packed into our family car—hitting the open road.

I remember the billboards we’d see for miles—advertising ghost towns, caves, souvenirs, alligators, the world’s largest something or other—places and things offering adventure—only 107 miles ahead! Our parents would tell us that these were “tourist traps”—and their only purpose was to take our cash. This didn’t mean we wouldn’t stop at some of these places—just that we’d be careful about how we spent our time and money.

Looking back now, I realize that this was great advice on how to live.

It’s not life that traps us, it’s the human made pitfalls that lead to our biggest problems. Unhealthy food, prescription drugs, alcohol and credit cards promise one thing—but ultimately make us slaves to a system that holds on to us until the end of the road.

This is something that many of us learn the hard way—when it’s too late and we’re already sucked in by marketing and bad choices—real traps of poor health, debt and addiction—created by humans for humans.

But life is forgiving—these things can be overcome. If we make a wrong turn, we can always take action to get ourselves back on the road—back to our fantastic journey.

So enjoy the trip, but think about how you spend your time and money.

“Man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.”
John Steinbeck

If daisies
Are your
Favorite flower
Keep pushin’ up those


July 8, 2012


Wrecked Cars“Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume…”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

I have too much stuff. So I’ve been getting rid of a lot of my possessions: old clothes, shoes, TV sets, books, CDs, dishes, paper files, sports equipment, and generic junk. It clutters up my life and weighs me down. It liberates me to donate, sell, giveaway or throw out these things. I feel better without them.

This is just one step toward my goal to live more simply. Getting rid of material things lets me focus on what’s important in my life—and it’s not “things”.

Here’s George Carlin’s classic standup routine about “Stuff”. It’s a funny observation about how the stuff we own—really owns us.

“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”  – George Carlin

Got stuff?