Ever dress up as a hobo for Halloween? Yep, me too. Hobos and pirates. Love em, can't get enough of em.
Sure I went through a phase where I wanted to grow up to be a marine biologist, but that was fleeting. Secretly...and sometimes I would brave the answer when asked what do you want to be when you grow up? A hobo. A pirate. An artist.
The three were always shocking and always intertwined in my childs mind.
Hobos were free. They rode trains, carved wood, sang songs and lived outside! A life of adventure. I loved dressing up as a hobo. The long stick, a handkercheif tied with snacks at the end, raggedy clothes a dirty filthy face...these were the stereotypes and they filled me with dreams of exotic places and crazy characters. No wonder I grew up to be an artist.
Since I was about 18, I have focused any volunteer work I've done around people who live outside( the "homeless" to the squares), usually doing something related to literacy programs for street kids.
People who live outside have it all figured out. Find some money, hang out with your friends, share some meals, stay safe and avoid the Man.
What else does one need to have a rich stress free life?
Often people felt sorry for the American Depression forced men to travel for work. Today, a general trend of thinking is that people who live outside are mentally ill, or waiting for that one lucky break to join back into the ranks of upstanding society=...earn money and give it to wealthy people and buy some food. You know you are of sound mind and body when you slave forty hours a week to feed your self, your kids, and pay for politicians to play their little games.
But in a world of insane workers subsidizing insane world leaders...are the humble people who live outside without the burden of society really crazy? CRazy like the disenfranchized hobos of the American Depression?Well, they get treated as if they are...less than zero...
"Oh ridin' on the rattlers, a-ridin' all the day,
And nuthin' in yer belly all along the way;
No 'baccy in yer pocket, and no jack for to spend,
And old John Law a-waitin' at the next division end."
Hobo art has long been absorbed as a hot commodoty collectable. Drifters transplanted from Europe with arts and crafts backgrounds jobless in America began tooling cabinets, frames and canes often while riding the rails. A vibrant hearty subculture of songwriters, poets, disenfranchised drifters who survived just this side of social constructs. It makes for great storytelling and songwriting. Just the lyrics to The Hobo's Lullaby bring tears to my eyes, it is an incredible experience to heara good version performed.
The Road by Jack London. London's memoirs of his hobo days.
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer about a young man who gave away his inheritence and hitchiked around America looking for an authentic way to make a living.
Bronco Billy...a seldom seen Clint Eastwood movie about a band of rodeo performers...or are they?
Thumbnails of Tramp Art