THERE ARE a few, just a few, positives to the dull business of running down life’s clock. Plenty of time for weekday golf, that is one of them, as is the barber’s unsolicited offer of a senior’s discount. And the right to review memories of an earlier life without guilt or shudders of remorse -- that certainly needs to be mentioned because it is by far the brightest candle on an otherwise grey and unpalatable cake.
At a distance of years and decades, memory has the decency to present the missteps of long ago in the merciful third person. Yes, it really was a young Professor who went over the back fence as the Drug Squad came in the front door, but those two hours spent cowering in a neighbour’s outhouse bring a smile these days, not the cold shivers of terror which made that summer afternoon so memorable. The winces of later life spring not from the knowledge of a career and reputation jeopardized, nor even the sound of a co-cultivator getting a good and vigorous slapping from one of Detective Inspector Kyte-Powell’s prohibition agents . If there is sadness, it is prompted only by thoughts of a primo crop being uprooted just as it was heading. What a lovely ketch those profits would have bought! What a crew of bare-breasted hippy nymphs might have decorated the cockpit on that planned voyage to Tahiti and beyond.
And guilt? Well, there was none then and less now. Had it been a meth lab in the back yard, that would today be a source of shame. But a quarter hundredweight-or-so of finest Fitzroy buds, there was no harm in that, other than that which the herb’s purchasers would have shouldered knowingly and entirely of their own accord. It was apparent then, and moreso now, that there is a fundamental injustice in denying individuals the right to make of their lives what they will, even if it be nothing more than wreckage. And illegal drugs, they do have their benefits. There is a definite streak of truth, for example, in the old saw that many libertarian conservatives began their journeys to enlightenment not with Hayek in hand but with a bong.
Older gentlemen, even those who shoot under 100, are entitled to their reveries, but this post is no mere trip down memory lane. Rather, it is a word of encouragement for a young fellow who has had a dreadful start in life and whose fortunes, he must surely be telling himself, last year took a disastrous turn. His name is Rory O’Gorman, who dropped from Lee Rhiannon’s loins some 32 years ago and was last year incarcerated after being lumbered in his Bondi home with 7 kilograms of dope and $120,000 in cash.
Let us not be too hard on the lad, who may well be his family’s redeemer. Three generations of his antecedents have looked to Marx and central planning for a better world, but not Rhiannon’s little lad. Somehow, in that multi-generational tangle of bright Red bloodlines, a little wisp of entrepreneurial DNA survived all those renditions of the Internationale, eventually to blossom. Rory’s mad mum raves about government as the source of good, and she dreams of the day when even greater levels of legislated coercion will be available to keep the proles in a state of officially approved happiness. Rory -- and may the Great Bunyip bless him for this – saw a market opportunity and took it.
Hope springs eternal because, where profit and personal betterment are concerned, it really is eternal.
(*Do click the link and scan to page 30, where you will find a quaint summation of drug abuse in Victoria, circa 1970. Four decades later, and with countless billions of dollars having been squandered on the unwinnable war on drugs, drug abuse is endemic, organized crime has prospered and prohibition has been proven, yet again, to be an expensive folly. It is no endorsement of drug use to observe that marijuana, at the very least, needs to be legalised. Rather, it is a vote for the blindingly obvious.)