James Opie

James Opie

James Opie on LSD, trucks, and good women

“Well, you have these questions. You young men have taken this LSD and you have a lot of questions. You saw something. And it’s hard to put whatever you saw out of your minds. But let me tell you how, in my experience, life works—how it works for a man.

“For a man there’s an order in life. First he needs to get himself a good truck, and by that I mean a job—something he’s naturally good at that earns him a living and connects him with the world, with other people. First, a good truck.

“After that, with any luck he attracts a good woman. Maybe he’s got to look for one and maybe one just shows up. They’re around. But you need to go at life in the proper order to be sure of finding one. If you mix up the order, things get harder. Maybe you find the woman first and then the truck, or maybe you don’t find much of anything. Either way, putting these big questions you like to ask before you get your truck can be risky. You’re apt to never find very much you can live by. Very big answers have a way of slipping through very small fingers. You know, boys, a man can get stuck looking at the cosmos, as you call it, or at other men’s wives. Sometimes a person doesn’t end up with a real grasp of the big things he thinks he’s after, and doesn’t get the most basic things right, either.

“A man needs what he really needs. No one can change that. First, get yourself a truck. Then a good woman. After that, you’ll be surprised how these other things, the cosmos and everything, find a way of working themselves out. Then you can question things from a patch of ground that you’ve earned, and everything means more to you. From his own patch of ground a man can see a long way.”
— “Oldie” Hutchinson, father of “Lost John” Hutchinson in James Opie‘s “For A Man There’s An Order In Life” in Parabola, Volume 32, Number 4, (Mt. Kisco, New York: Tamarack Press, Winter 2007), p. 47. Also available in Utne Reader, (Minneapolis, Minnesota: LENS Publishing Co., March 1, 2008).