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How to be a Hippie in a Conservative School/Town (An Instruction Manual)
Intro: If you are reading this instruction manual, it is to be assumed that you are
a.) A lone hippie seeking solace
b.) A Conservative looking for yet another reason to be an even angrier individual.
Regardless of who you are or your reason for reading, welcome! This manual is a guide for our onely Letter A’s (mentioned above) with instructions and tips on how to survive the most psychedelic spiritual journey of their lives: Living with Conservatives. While a handful of Conservatives in one town setting is a given and merely a lesson in tolerance, an entire town of Conservatives is nothing short of what could become a chilling Stephen King novel, given its traumatizing effects. Now, at this point it may sound like we’re being a little unfair to our fellow Conservative friends, but that’s what brings us to the beginning of our far-out trip, man.
Step One: Accept everyone and possess tolerance, but not too much tolerance. One of the hardest parts of being a hippie in a stressful or annoying situation is keeping a calm and collected hippie attitude, such as when conversing with close-minded gun rights activists. However, it is important to remember that the people who put us in these situations are just that: people, and they reserve the same right to speak their minds, no matter how small, as us. This means that we hold the same obligation of listening to their thoughts and opinions as they do to us. Thanks to this simple and easy to follow logic, we are often given the opportunity to practice our tolerating skills. Although you may groan on the inside, just remember that you are more than likely keeping this Conservative happy and thus saving yourself and others from hate speech or a potential mass shooting in your school or workplace. While this may be a rewarding thought, and given the bottomless well of love, acceptance and sympathy in your heart, it is of course okay to tell somebody to “shut the hell up!” once in a while. If this sets them off, chances are that they aren’t a Conservative, but rather a psychopath.
Step Two: Remember that when they tell you that you’re dirty and smell bad, it’s only one more thing you have in common. Even though one of you is seeing the mud you are both rolling in as a means of camouflage and the other as trippy shades of pinks and greens, it is okay to acknowledge that you are now both filthy brethren. Hugs do not discriminate when they are blindly performed in the shade of the forest floor dripping from your face.
Step Three: Don’t let them make you put your shoes on! Sure, many horrendous and life threatening diseases can be caught through your feet, but just because a Conservative would rub their infected feet on their friends and/or enemies doesn’t mean that you will and it is therefore a-okay to let your toes talk with the earth. If nothing else, never let them make your feet unhappy for feet are a hippie’s greatest Earth-friendly tool when a quick escape is needed from a Conservative whose mouth has begun foaming from the choice words they have for you after you tell them that their homophobic views make you feel unsafe.
Step Four: Never open your mouth at a family gathering. Ever. Uncle Sam has an assault rifle in the closet next to the kitchen. Need I say more?
Step Five: Hug and forgive, but never forget. We all make mistakes, and while often you are the one cowering in fear of the Conservative, nothing will scare them more than a hug and an “I love you” after they have just completely dehumanized your gay family member and insulted your uncut hairdo. It is important that you never tell them that they are wrong, for your safety and others, so your next best option is to let them know that you are accepting of their bizarre lifestyle and they will, from that moment, never forget that you were the bigger person in that moment.
As this manual comes to a close, I would like to note that these instructions and tips are merely a guideline for living in peace with those around you who may not be as keen to the idea of living in harmony as others and the prevention of insanity is not guaranteed. If you are finding it hard to live by these steps, it may be time to reevaluate what side of the playing field you are on. If you do so happen to cross the line from mild-mouthed hippie to consistently cynical Conservative, we will, of course, hold your hand the whole way across. May you live your life with love and acceptance of all living things from both sides of the game.