One of the greatest books I’ve ever read was Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Yes, I love the way Wolfe wrote it, all that new journalism stuff about how he gets across exactly what’s so new and exciting about the drug-fueled zaniness of Kesey and co.’s zipping around America in a bus, but I also find wonderful the very fact that Kesey and co. were zipping around America in a bus.
Imagine my delight, therefore, when I discovered a while ago that fellow Pushback alum Ned and some of his friends will be criss-crossing the country in a bus this summer, except without a speed-fueled Neal Cassady at the wheel, which I think can only be an appropriate concession to safety. I’m thrilled by what they’re doing, both because they’re breaking out of the pre-professional, job/internship mold that I think a lot of college kids (myself included) see as the only way to spend one’s summer, and because they’re getting in touch with a notion of idealistic Americana that seems to make so much sense in this brave new world of the post-Bush era. That’s how I’m reading it, anyway. Maybe I’ve totally misconstrued their ideas. In any case, the hippie in me thinks this is like the greatest idea every, and I wish I’d thought of it first. I applaud their determination, too, in making what for me would just be a pipe dream into a really cool reality.
That said, they need our help to make what they’re calling the “Juan Way Tour” successful. If you know what your plans are this summer and where you’ll be (cause I don’t, yet), you should totally go to their website and fill in their “Help Us” form. Let the power of the Internet come together to support all awesome, out-of-the-box ventures!
I think now would be an appropriate time to invoke Ken Kesey, as painted by Tom Wolfe: “You’re either on the bus or off the bus.” Make of that what you will.