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Adventures in the Garden of Owl

 
Nov
24
2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time when American families and friends gather ’round the dining room table to break bread together while contemplating our American way of life, the long history (good or bad) of becoming what is modern America. Since tradition fuels the holiday spirit, here’s a traditional little song you can sing after dinner, while waiting for coffee, pumpkin pie- I bet even Grandma will join in the chorus:


This song is called “Alice’s Restaurant.” It’s about Alice and the
restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant; that’s
just the name of the song, and that’s why I call the song “Alice’s restaurant.”

You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant. You can get anything you
want at Alice’s restaurant. Walk right in, it’s around the back, just a half a
mile from the railroad track; You can get anything you want at Alice’s
restaurant.

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago–two years ago, on Thanksgiving, when
my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant.

But Alice doesn’t live IN the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the
restaurant, in the bell tower with her husband Ray and Fancha, the dog.

And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs
where the pews used to be, and havin’ all that room (seein’ as how they took out
all the pews), they decided that they didn’t have to take out their garbage for
a long time.

We got up there and found all the garbage in there and we decided that it’d be
a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump.

So we took the half-a-ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW microbus,
took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, and headen on toward the
city dump.

Well, we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across the dump
sayin’, “THIS DUMP IS CLOSED ON THANKSGIVING,” and we’d never heard of a dump
closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes, we drove off into the
sunset lookin’ for another place to put the garbage.

We didn’t find one till we came to a side road, and off the side of the road
was another fifteen-foot cliff, and at the botton of the cliff was another pile
of garbage. And we decided that one big pile was better than two little piles,
and rather than bring that one up, we decided to throw ours down. That’s what
we did.

Drove back to the church, had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,
went to sleep, and didn’t get up until the next morning, when we got a phone
call from Officer Obie. He said, “Kid, we found your name on an envelope at the
bottom of a half ton of garbage and I just wanted to know if you had any
information about it.”

And I said, “Yes sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie. I put that envelope
under that garbage.” After speakin’ to Obie for about forty-five minutes on the
telephone, we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and he said that we had
to go down and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at
the Police Officer Station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the shovels
and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the Police Officer
Station.

Now, friends, there was only one of two things that Obie could’ve done at the
Police Officer Station, and the first was that he could’ve give us a medal for
bein’ so brave and honest on the telephone (which wan’t very likely, and we
didn’t expect it), and the other thing was that he could’ve bawled us out and
never to be seen’ drivin’ garbage around in the vicinity again, which is what we
expected.

But when we got to the Police Officer Station, there was a THIRD possibility
that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was both immediately arrested,
handcuffed, and I said, “Obie, I can’t pick up the garbage with these here
handcuffes on.”

He said: “Shut up, Kid, and get in the back of the patrol car.” And that’s
what we did–sat in the back of the patrol card, and drove to the quote SCENE OF
THE CRIME unquote.

I wanna tell you ’bout the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where this is
happenin’. They got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car,
but when we got to the scene of the crime, there was FIVE police officers and
THREE police cars, bein’ the biggest crime of the last fifty years and everybody
wanted to get in the newspaper story about it.

And they was usin’ up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hangin’ around
the Police Officer Station. They was takin’ plaster tire tracks, footprints,
dog-smellin’ prints, and they took twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored glossy
photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one
explainin’ what each one was, to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures
of the approachm the getaway, the northwest corner, the southwest corner–and
that’s not to mention the aerial photography!

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was gonna put us in
a cell. He said, “Kid–I’m gonna put you in a cell. I want your wallet and
your belt.”

I said, “Obie, I can understand your wantin’ my wallet, so I don’t have any
money to spend in the cell, but what do you want my belt for?” And he said,
“Kid, we don’t want any hangin’s.”

I said. “Obie, did you think I was gonna hang myself for litterin’?” Obie
said he was makin’ sure, and, friends, Obie was, ’cause he took out the toilet
seat so I couldn’t hit myself over the head and drown.

and he took out the toilet paper so I couldn’t bend the bars, roll the toilet
paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie was makin’
sure.

It was about four of five hours later that Alice–(remember Alice? There’s a
song about Alice) Alice came by and, with a few nasty words to Obie on the side,
bailed us out of jail, and we went back to the church, had another Thanksgiving
dinner that couldn’t be beat.

and didn’t get up until the next mornin’ when we all had to go to court. We
walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored glossy
pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one,
sat down.

Man came in, said “All rise!” We all stood up, and Obie stood up with the
twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored glossy pictures, and the judge walked in, sat down,
with a seein’ eye dog and HE sat down. We sat down.

Obie looked at the seein’ eye dog–then at the twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored
glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
one and began to cry.

Because Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
blind justice, and there wasn’t nothin’ he could do about it, and the judge
wasn’t gonna look at the twenty-even 8 x 10 colored glossy pictures with the
circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
one was, to be used as evidence against us.

And we was fined fifty dollars and had to pick up the garbage–in the snow.
But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. I’m here to talk about the
draft.

They got a buildin’ down in New York City called Whitehall Street, where you
walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and
selected!

I went down and got my physical examination one day, and I walked in, sat down
(got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went
in mornin’, ’cause I wanted to look like the All-American-Kid from New York
City.

I wanted to BE the All-American Kid from New York) and I walked in, sat down,
I was hung down, brung down, hung up and all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things.

And I walked in, I sat down, they gave me a piece of paper that said: Kid,
see the psychiatrist, Room 604.

I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I wanna kill. I wanna kill! I wanna see
blook and gore and guts and veins in my tereth! Eat dead, burnt bodies! I
mean: Kill, Kill!”

And I started jumpin’ up and down, yellin’, “KILL! KILL!” and he started
jumpin’ up and down with me, and we was both jumpin’ up and down yellin’, “KILL,
KILL!”

and the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said,
“You’re our boy!” Didn’t feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall, gettin’ more injections, inspections, detections,
neglections, and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me at the thing
there, and I was there for two hours–three hours–four hours–

I was there for a long time goin’ through all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly
things, and I was just havin’ a tough time there, and they was inspectin’,
injectin’ every single part of me, and they was leavin’ no part untouched!

Proceeded through, and I finally came to see the very last man. I walked in,
sat down, after a whole big thing there. I walked up, and I said, “What do you
want?” He said, “Kid, we only got one question: Have you ever been arrested?”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of Alice’s restaurant Massacre with full
orchestration and five-part harmony and stuff like that, and other phenomenon.

He stopped me right there and said, “Kid, have you ever been to court?”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored
glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
on–

He stopped me right there and said, “Kid I want you to go over and sit down on
that bench that says ‘group W.’ Now, Kid!”

And I walked over to the bench there, and there’s–Group W is where they put
you if you may not be MORAL enough to join the army after committin’ your
special crime.

There was all kinds of mean, nasty and ugly-lookin’ people on the bench there
–there was mother rapers–father-stabbers, father-rapers! FATHER-RAPERS
sittin’ right there on the bench next to me!

And they was mean and nast and ugly and horrible and crime fightin’ guys were
sittin’ there on the bench, and the meaniest, ugliest, nastiest one–the meanest
father-raper of them all–was comin’ over to me,

And he was mean and nasty and horrible and all kinds of things, and he sat
down next to me. He said, “Kid, what’d you get?”

I said, “I didn’t get nothin’. I had to pay fifty dollars and pick up the
garbage.” He said, “What were you arrested FOR, Kid?” and I said, “Litterin’.”

And they all moved away from me on the bench there, with the hairy eyeball and
all kinds of mean, nasty things, till I said, “And creatin’ a nuisance.”

And they all came back, shook my hand and we had a reat time on the bench
talkin’ about crime, mother-stabbin’, father-rapin’, –all kinds of groovy
things that we was talkin’ about on the bench, and everything was fine.

We was smokin’ cigarettes and all kinds of things, until the sergeant came
over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said:

“KIDTHISPIECEOFPAPERSGOTFORTYSEVENWORDSTHIRTYSEVENSENTENCESFIFTYEIGHTWORDSWE
WANTTOKNOWTHEDETAILSOFTHECRIMETHETIMEOFTHECRIMEANDANYOTHERKINDOFTHINGYOUGOTO
SAYPERTAININGTOANDABOUTTHECRIMEWEWANTTOKNOWTHEARRESTINGOFFICERSNAMEANDANY
OTHERTHINGYOUGOTTOSAY–”

And he talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said
. But we had fun fillin’ out the forms and playin’ with the pencils on the
bench there. I filled out the Massacree with the four-part harmony.

Wrote it down there just like it was and everything was fine. And I put down
my pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there–on the other side
–in the middle of the other side– away from everything else on the other
side–in parenthese-capital letters– quoted-read the following words: :Kid,
have you rehabilitated yourself?”

I went over to the sergeant. I said, “Sergeant, you got a lot of God-dammed
gall to ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself! I mean–I mean– that you send–
I’m sittin’ here on the bench–

I mean I’m sittin’ here on the Group W bench, ’cause you want to know if I’m
moral enought to join ther army, burn women, kids, houses and villiages after
bein’ a litterbug.”

He looked at me and said, “Kid, we don’t like your kind! We’re gonna send
your fingerprints off to Washington.” And, friends, somewhere in Washington,
enshrined in some folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints.

And the only reason I’m singin’ you the song now is ’cause you may know
somebody in a similiar situation. Or YOU may be in a similiar situation, and if
you’re in a situation like that, there’s only one thing you can do:

Walk into the shrink whenever you are, just walk in, say, “Shrink–

You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant.”

–and walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it, they may
think he’s really sick and they won’t take him.

And if two people do it–in harmony–they may thing they’re both FAGGOTS and
they won’t take either of them. And if THREE people do it! Can you imagine
three people walkin’ in, singin’ a bar of “Alice’s restaurant” and walkin’ out?
They might think it’s an ORGANIZATION!

And can you imagine FIFTY people a day? I said FIFTY people a day–walkin’ in
singin’ a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’out? Friends, they may think
it’s a MOVEMENT, and that’s what it is:

THE ALICE’S RESTAURANT ANTI-MASSACREE MOVEMENT!–

and all you gotta do to join is to sing it the next time it comes around on
the guitar. With feelin’:

You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant, exceptin’ Alice, You can
get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant; Walk right in, it’s around the
back, just a half a mile from the railroad track; You can get anything you want
at Alice’s restaurant.

Thank you Arlo for giving us this song at Thanksgiving.

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