The Daily Beast: P.J. O’Rourke on Grabbing the Keys to Happiness

January 24th, 2014

The Daily Beast
by P.J. O’Rourke
January 24, 2014

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven, as William Wordsworth said when he got his driver’s license.

The Baby Boom’s first social movement was cruising. This is not to be confused with Cruisin’—adolescence on wheels as it is poorly remembered in popular culture and badly reenacted in Plymouth Belvederes by old bald guys. I never saw a carhop wearing roller skates. The idea was as stupid then as it is now.

Nor did we cruise in the singles bar or Christopher Street sense, loitering with sexual intent. We were full of sexual intentions. And we could loiter. But we had a broader agenda.

We drove around and around. Our parents didn’t understand cruising. They thought we were driving around to find a place to drink and make out. Not that we weren’t. But the Greatest Generation, with its dull powers of fancy, never suspected that our goal was to have no goal at all. Life is a journey, not a destination, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said when he got his driver’s license.

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