Saturday, February 8, 2014

Letting Your Freak Flag Fly


For no particular reason, on a whim, I took out my old freak flag.

I hadn’t seen it in many years and actually had no idea where it was.  I came across it in the attic packed away among some old college notebooks, term papers I didn't remember that I'd rather forget, and my autographed picture of actor Christopher Jones. Quite frankly, I was surprised I still had it and shocked to see how torn and tattered it had become.

There were many different freak flags back in the day --- some festooned with peace signs and political slogans, others with drug paraphernalia, and still others with Morrison, Guevara, or a nude John and Yoko. The flag fit the person and changed from time to time. Mine was most often a bit heavy on the cannabis sativa interwoven with Beatles, long hair, and a just a dash of "Impeach Nixon." 

It was a grand old flag, if not always a high flying one, but it had seen better days. No white collar conservatives flashing down the street would have even given a thought to pointing their plastic finger at it.

I wondered how you legally go about disposing of a freak flag. Since there are guidelines for the U.S. flag, I went to Google and sure enough there it was: the United States Department of Flags, Freak Flag Division. I dialed.

“Hello, United States Office of Freak Flags,  Mr. Kelly speaking,” said the gentleman answering the phone. “Peace, brother.”

“Hi, Mr. Kelly,” I said. “I’m kind of surprised to see there is a government office on freak flags.”

“Established in 1987,” Mr.  Kelly responded, "to maintain and preserve an important part of US history."

"I didn't know they were." 

"Even if a bit self-indulgent, weren't they meaningful to you? Didn't they express something that was real, if only a freedom to look and feel in a different way?"

"I guess you're right," I said. "But mine is all tattered.  How does one respectfully and appropriately go about disposing of a worn freak flag?”

"Well, no mystery to that, sir. Fold it into the shape of a peace sign and burn, baby. burn!”

I should have known.

"But I have another idea for you. Just keep it; tattered and worn is par for the course for a true freak flag anyway." 

"I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you, Mr. Kelly."

"You're welcome. And one other thing, sir."

"What’s that?"

"Every now and then, when you feel like it...."


"Just let your freak flag fly!"

Know what?  

Right On!


Perry Block said...

I knew the 60's were over but I thought somebody remembered. I understand there is a stupid song in the musical "Shrek" which totally misinterprets what a freak flag is. That's how long it's been. Oh well, I'm old. Nothing new there.

Caroline Gerardo said...

Time for the St Vincent De Paul truck at the Block house. I believe in boxes and bags for those who might consider my stuff "possible to become antiques."
I saw Neil Young in Winnipeg fundraising for the Athabasca Chipewyan 1st Nation in January. But then I'm like all women when the guy asks me my birthdate: 1992.... :) hugs

Perry Block said...

Isn't 1992 your birthdate? I've always thought of you as jailbait.

Thanks for writing, Caroline. Hope to have Radnor back in action soon!

Russell said...

I wonder what ever happened to my Freak Flag? Connie never throws anything out and she's crazy about antiques, which explains why she keeps me around.
I suggest you make a do-rag out of it to cover that bald spot.

Perry Block said...

Yes, but I thought she only keeps valuable antiques around or at least those that have sentimental value. Go figure. I'd make a toupee out of my freak flag, but I wouldn't want the part that's made of John Lennon's penis winding up anywhere but where mine is supposed to be.