Friday, March 27, 2015

Steal This Book

My 10 grade school book fare at Greensboro's James B Dudley Sr High School, the last thing on my mind was stealing anything. We were told stealing would be impossible as they would check everyone coming and going and I wasn't one to steal, wasn't in my nature. Still isn't.

On one of the tables was a copy of Abby Hoffman's Steal This Book. I picked it up and thumbed through it. Suddenly being told stealing was impossible became a challenge-- something I had to show the people in charge they were wrong about. (Turns out showing leaders they're wrong is in my nature.) As I walked around the room with several books in my hands I pondered realizing that 1 day a week or so I sometimes showed up for a class in that very room. It was Spring, the heat had been turned off, I dropped Abby Hoffman behind one of the steam radiators, paid for the rest of my books and left.

A few days later I rescued Abby Hoffman. Steal This Book changed my life. I admit, a lot of what is in the book is useless today and much of it was BS then but it opened my mind to another world of possibilities. I carried that book across 48 states, Canada and Mexico for almost 3 decades until it fell completely apart.

I'm not saying Abby Hoffman's ideas are the direction this country needs to go. I mean, seriously, the dude tried to put LSD into the Chicago City water supply, he's probably not the type we need to be following. Hoffman was a Socialist, I'm a Capitalist who sincerely believes that Capitalism works best when shared. But the writings of Abby Hoffman taught me there are other ways of looking at things than what the status quo wants you to believe. I dismissed much of Hoffman's work at 15 years old but through Hoffman and others like him left and right, I learned the world wasn't what our leaders want us to believe it is. I learned it wasn't what Hoffman wanted us to believe.

Were it not for men like Abby Hoffman and their sometimes screwed up messages I might just be brainwashed by the system, unable to point out the corruption and the Fascism that has become our real enemies.