A picture of hopeDo you know which four things dominated your attention when you were 18? I do. It was girls, girls, girls and girls; blond girls, tall girls, small girls and all girls.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Do you know which four things dominated your attention when you were 18? I do. It was girls, girls, girls and girls; blond girls, tall girls, small girls and all girls.
I bring this up not to shed insight into my shallow past but because girls were something that once again became quite relevant this past Thanksgiving weekend.
You see, I rode with a friend to Arkansas to pick up a U-Haul full of furniture and came back with an extra pickup truck and an 18-year-old nephew.
Now a nephew is not something that you throw into the shopping bag at the last minute while waiting to pay the cashier at Dan’s, Running’s, Ace Hardware or the Ponderosa. Because this is a living, breathing, goatee wearing, 18-year-old human being with adult-sized feet, hands, dreams, drives, goals and appetite.
Not to mention that this particular 18-year-old is a good kid who was raised the right way even though he’s on the outs with his parents who love him; which is what happens when hormones take over and parents have expectations, like all of us do.
You and I can remember it well, that wonderful time when you knew it all and someone else paid all the bills and you had nary a care.
In fact, the age of 18 is so important that even rocker Alice Cooper wrote a song about it in the early '70s entitled “I’m Eighteen,” with a second verse that summed it up better than Freud, Pavlov, Jung or even Dr. Phil ever could. He said, “I’ve got a baby’s brain and an old man’s heart. Took 18 years to get this far. Don't always know what I’m talkin’ about. Feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt. Cause I’m 18, I get confused every day. Eighteen, I just don’t know what to say. Eighteen and I gotta get away.”
Apparently that’s the way hormones talk; a little choppy, filled with emotion and devoid of logic, which brings me back to the girls and why they are so important, other than that during the last couple of days they dominated this young man’s life from dawn until dusk, leaving him with little time for anything else.
“They’re all texting me now that I’m leaving,” he says, especially two of them who are still cranking out more words via cellphone per hour than the Los Angeles Times, New York Post and National Enquirer will do in the next month.
After all, he’s soft spoken and a bull rider of some note from the “deep south,” which is bull riding country right next to Texas, who will say less in a lifetime than a traveling salesman will say in one week. He’s a loner, introspective, simple, fun loving and searching, and the kind of young man that drives young girls crazy.
It feeds into the way human beings play the mating game these days I guess and at no time is it newer and more confusing than when you’re 18.
For him this ultimately led to conflicts, tempers flaring and regrettable instances that further led to his being thrown out on the street, he and a girlfriend, with not a dime and sore feet, until Saturday that is and that’s when we entered the picture.
You see, I was minding my own business having a friendly beer or two about a month ago when my friend asked if I’d accompany him on a nonstop, get-out-of-town, drive-to-Arkansas-and-back Thanksgiving weekend trip and I agreed. We left late, arrived early, met a lot of good family and friends, cruised throughout the backwoods like moonshiners driving the General Lee and had a jolly old time.
But outside the realm of fun and goodness loomed a problem, a boy on the run from his boyhood and confused about what it is to be a man. So his uncle, who is my friend, felt compelled to do something about it and offered him a new start and he grabbed hold of it like a hungry fish does a hook, a stock trader does a tip and junkies do a fix and that’s where you come in North Dakota, Dickinson and the rest of this Oil Patch region.
You’re in the life-giving, fixing, renewing, and rejuvenating business these days, offering new jobs, real hope and fresh starts to people from across the land just because a bunch of mulch from a few hundred million years ago decided to turn into oil and hide itself in shale a couple of miles down there below the topsoil.
What a fuss it has caused and it has propelled North Dakota into the headlines, become part of the talk of the west, put us on the map and now it is offering new hope to rich people, poor people, bad people and good people.
Who’d have thunk it? Western North Dakota, with its wind and snow, waves of grain and cattle dotting the hillsides, is the hope of the world in this, the new millennium.
Well, crazier things have happened. I just can’t think of any of them right now.
Holten is a freelance cartoonist and columnist from Dickinson.