The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live,
mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn
like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars ...
— Jack Kerouac,'On The Road', 1957

Emigrating to Bohemia

I moved around campus that Fall meeting all sorts of people, but I quickly found that many people were not that exciting to meet. There was a particular type of college drone who dressed like they were supposed to, talked like they were supposed to, and seemed to have no other goal than 'fitting in'. After meeting a bunch of them in succession I had the odd sense that I was meeting the same person each time, only in different skin.

Finding the Misfits

To combat this I began to more actively seek out those people who looked like they might have some originality to offer. This led me to talk to the freaks, geeks and quirky folks that exist in small groups in any college environment. I found that I enjoyed talking to these people much more than I enjoyed talking to the drones. They had some sense of who they were and who they wanted to be. Rather than looking for outward cues or directions they were focused on following some inner direction on which way they should go. The more of them I met the more I realized that I was like them.

Finding The Dead

When seeking out freaks and oddballs it should come as no surprise that I encountered The Grateful Dead and their followers. I'd heard some of their studio work on the radio, but I had never listened to the live recordings. I was so turned off by the people I met who said they liked the Dead that I ignored their music, but once I actually listened to it I was hooked. This was one more pointer that I was going to be getting to know The Deadheads and Hippies on campus, (and in 1983 on New England college campuses there were still a considerable number of these).

A Foot in Two Worlds

With my allegiance split between the Bohemian Team and the Crew Team I was a little bit of an oddity among both groups, which led me to some interesting moments when the worlds sometimes collided around me. I was not surprised to hear friends in both groups pull me aside to say, "Wait — you know these people?!" A few seemed bothered by it, but most found it intriguing, and I liked bringing dissimilar folks together to see what happened. In the end, if they were all good people then it didn't matter what clique they were in — good people generally got along with good people.

While I could get along successfully with many different types of people, I quickly discovered that I had the most commonality of mind and spirit with the Hippies. When I talked about my thoughts and dreams they readily understood them. When they talked about their plans and dreams I readily understood where they were coming from. It was a great fit for me.

Where crew was the perfect expression for my body, the bohemians were the perfect expression for my soul. Exercising both at the same time felt doubly satisfying.