06 June 2010
The Low Spark of High Minded Drunks (First in a Series of Reminiscences)
I was 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years...old. I was going to "do" "everything." There was no question but that I would attain fame, fortune and not incidentally all woman were at my disposal. But first, I had to get high this one more time.
Yeah, I'd be getting high again later, but in the meanwhile I'd have written the great American novel or starred, man, in a movie. It was all going to happen for me. Not even a question. But there was a six pack of beer waiting. There was Bowie, or Traffic, or Rod Stewart, or Neil Young to listen to. There'd be a party to go to. There'd be girls there. Lots of them. Money in pocket. No need leaving it there. Some more in the bank.
Not an issue. No issues really.
I was also going to figure it all out. It was coming to me. Answers. Not a matter of if, just when. All revealed. But like I said there was some booze and you know maybe something stronger and hey, I'm almost out of cigarettes. That health stuff related to smoking is nothing to worry about it. I'm young now and would be for a long time.
(Tenses change, I know. But it's cool. Was cool. Is.)
Hot outside so the beer is especially good. Iron cast stomach. Long as I ate something. Maybe a burger. As for sleep, that's just what you do after passing out.
I...was...just...so...smart. Couldn't tell me anything. Wouldn't listen anyway. I had good looks, charm, one helluva sense of humor and was athletic. Smart? Sure, but I knew that the real answers were not to be found in classrooms. That and jobs and stuff was not at all cool. Coolness was critical. Fun was crucial. Beers.
There was this girl...uh, Gretchen, I think. She was really pretty and was prob'ly gonna be at the party and I bet she'd....Hey, man, why wouldn't any girl dig me? Then again, why would they? Sh*t, I think she has a boyfriend....Another beer. Worry less about Gretchen, worry less about a-n-y girl. Any ONE girl. If they couldn't appreciate me.... Such a remedy for insecurity -- in a bottle!
Yeah I was cool, I was smart, most of all I was cute. I was living each day without a thought to consequences. I was that kind of forever young that wakes up old real soon and suddenly. Then where would I be? Hadn't the foresight to wonder. Too blessed with a combination of talent minus common sense. Arrogance within egocentricity nestled in my narcism. Greatest compliment I got in high school was when a girl said: "you think your so cool, but you're not." Obviously she thought I was cool. That's all I heard. That's all I ever heard. As a soccer player an adult once labeled me "a prima donna." Thank you, man.
To be good at a lot of things and not be willing to push yourself at anything is a recipe for crushing disappointment.
I see young people who are just like I was (some even worse). You know what I say to them? Nothing. If they're at all like me then nothing I say will make the slightest difference. It's like this: you can't tell anyone to be humble. There's so much that people have to learn for themselves. The real important lessons are out there. Whether people get them or not is a matter of something like maybe luck, or karma, or prayers.
Speaking of luck: I have had more than one could ever reasonably ask for. It's ridiculous really, how fortunate I've been. No. I've got to say it this way: how f*cking fortunate.
Hey, how about regrets? Well, yes there are those. They can eat you alive. Can strangle you. Dead, I mean. And I mean it. Regrets will kill you. They can drive you to self destruction.
But just try, try to pretend you haven't any. Not a chance. It's like a slight or a hurt, you can let those eat you from inside but you can't pretend they don't exist. It's all delicate balances. Like when you're young. Yes, party, good times (even when you're old) but not at the exclusion of going forward. Being useful, making yourself into some damn thing. We grow, we learn, are useful by doing, not by drinking and thinking and listening.
So I was that and must suppose it contributed to the "man I am today." Better or worse. Anyway we're here for the moment we live, not for the moments we'll later live. Weird conundrum. Living for today while keeping an eye on tomorrow. Fer me, tomorrow got way lost. I was all about today reasoning that tomorrow would take of itself and would magically bring enlightenment and riches and I'd still be way cool, brother. Just let it come.
Hot day, beer. White shorts, dark tee shirt. Cigarettes in pocket. Listening to Stevie Winwood and Traffic. Going nowhere. But being somewhere. Thinking of Gretchen or whoever. Feeling the profundity of being high. Answers coming.
Last night I watched a John Ford film.