A.K.A. Josh or known affectionately by the Oswald Park beach bums as "Weird Beard" is the topic of this review. On a night when a spectacular green and pink meteorite blazed the sky and came to an end in the cool waters of the Pacific. Josh flashed his true colors before taking a dip in the frigid dark waters of the night. We had the pleasure of meeting Josh after being invited for mussels at his beach fire right around dusk. The mussels were delicious. The ones cooked around the outside of the fire were fresh with flavor, semi-raw and just the right amount of chewy texture, but the ones cooked in the center of the fire came out with a delicious complex flavor. Seasoned with the carcinogens from the burnt shell it created a flavorful sauce much like you might find in a stir fry. Of course, the grit of the sand was there with every bite as a reminder that you were eating something that Josh had just plucked off a rock in the shallow pools where starfish cling. Josh is a big promoter of free eats. He's amazed that you can get your day's protein from picking a slug up off the ground and fighting it down like a dog with a mouthful of peanut butter. To think people seek nutritionists' advice to reach these same feats!
Josh is misunderstood; his truth feared. You see, he argues for people to break away from the confines of civilization and take things for how simple they are. Many people would construe that he strives for some sort of utilitarian hippie utopia in the woods, but I sense otherwise, because he has no respect for property or culture or religion. He lives life as if there were no history to guide him. He wants to be "off the grid" (sidenote: 'Box of Moonlight' is a good off the grid movie.) When hungry - find something to eat, when the sun is out - lay in it, when horny - have sex. This, my friends, is not how great civilizations were founded, and this would not solve the problems of the world. What it does is push the idea of the individual to the forefront, while the idea of communal progress becomes an afterthought. Sure, Josh shares what he has, but he also burns what is not his (I will touch more on this later). As he says, if 12 of us went to live in the woods without anything, we would probably become really, really skinny, and a few of us would probably die. This is survival of the fittest. I think the point here is that abandoning all the culture we have does not benefit humanity, but it changes reality. People running through the course of life try to escape the predictable rigors and guilt and fear that has been placed on them by society by doing drugs and drinking and abusing their bodies and wasting their minds. In Josh's life these escapes are not needed. The fear felt alone in the dark woods of Mount Hood National Forest will compete with any street drug. The drug of hunger from not eating in days will make you do crazier things than any binge-drinking frat could conceive. The drug of truth is a powerful one. We all know what exists in this world, or at least we have our ideas, but things become much more vivid and powerful when experienced first-hand under extreme natural circumstances. When you're so far away from the sounds of civilization, nature becomes an intense vibration and chorus of organic life.
Josh isn't going to save the world, but he is going to avoid it because he believes there is a better way to live and some time ago the majority of humankind took a wrong turn. There's a oneness that can be found with nature and if you grow up with it (as the Hawaiian girl had in Josh's campfire tale), then it can make you invisible to the modern human race, our crime scene of a species. What is this race anyway? Most of us don't even know why we're racing anymore, and the worst part is that we have fans purchasing massaging recliners, watching their carbs and going to see the latest Vin Diesel movie or whatever their tell-a-vision suggests they crave next. What are people working towards besides self obsoletism.
Don't get me wrong though, Josh is an asshole. He burned my Rockports, and Nick's drum, and he tried to fuck Dallas and he tried to make us realize that if we wanted to, we could lay around naked all day and let the sun bathe our genitals while snacking on fresh mollusks on a secluded beach. It's nice to be reminded sometimes.
Another sidenote: You may remember Josh from an 'I anonymous' article in the Portland Mercury in which Josh "the naked hippie" was chased out of Berbati's and climbed up a tree before falling out on top of somebody.
Editor's Note: The 'I, Anonymous' article JOT is referring to can be found here.