I don’t make friends easily. Oh sure, I’ll talk to people and enter into all the social etiquette bullshit, nodding politely, pretending to listen intently, all the while letting my mind drift. Did I leave the tap running?, did I lock the back door?. Can’t help it, one of those things. Got enough problems of my own without someone else’s weighing me down.. Always used to think that I was cynical and didn’t trust anyone, recently though it was pointed out to me that maybe, and hey this is just a theory, I trusted too easily and when people let me down it hurt like a motherfucker every time. Burned, hung out and dried, taken to the cleaners. Cynicism or faith?. They stand between black and white, blurring into grey, making it difficult to tell one from the other. You pay your money and you take your chance. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets please, the wheel of fortune is spinning again. Sorry sir, you lost again, never mind there’s always next time.
Acquaintances come and go, walking into your life one day , strolling away the next and each time one hitches a ride to Nowheresville, he or she takes a little piece of you with them. It can get to the point where you feel like you’ve fed the five thousand and there’s barely enough left for you to sit down and eat. Please sir, can I have some more?. Mentally starving, exhausting and time consuming, friendships demand their pound of flesh, and son you’ve got to pay the toll. No one rides for free.
No man realises what he has until it’s taken away. I’m sure someone famous said that, but who gives a shit?. Just another anecdote from another dead philosopher. You’ve hit rock bottom, there’s no way up and it’s only the shit that keeps you afloat. Barely. It’s at times like this that people seem to flock to you like flies to rotten excrement. Occasionally though, someone will kick your ass back to the land of the living. Carl was like this. Remove those shit coloured spectacles and walk with me grasshopper. Learn all there is to be learned, exploit it and turn it around until freedom beckons you with open arms. It’ll be a long, hard road and you may get tired along the way, don’t fly too close to the sun and you’re eventual destination will be the good life. On your feet soldier, you’re fit for a few miles yet. He could face any situation and make you feel like everything was going to be fine while the walls crashed down around you. He made me laugh while the grip of adversity slowly squeezed the eyes from my sockets. A magnifying glass was held to the mindless insects rushing from one job to the next in the daily grind. If you looked closely, you could see how ridiculous it really was. If you want to end up like that, fine. Before you do though, consider your options. Carefully. Reach for the stars and all things can be yours, be all things to all men, but never be a martyr. Otherwise, a suit and tie would be a fine epitaph to a fine apprentice. Cast adrift on the sea of madness, searching for an island with Friday and two point four coconuts.
They were some of the best times I ever had, and I was naive to think they’d never end. Tripping the light fantastic in top hat and tails, a double act that could have supported Elvis in Vegas on an indefinite run. My quest for the Holy Grail had begun in good company and I could slay dragons and charm princesses. It wasn’t to be. Carl fell in battle, another casualty of war, struggling with private demons, a victim of weakness in the fight against drugs. I wandered the wasteland, a knight without a cause, the bitter irony of billboard campaigns to save the youth weighing heavily on my heart.
Years passed before I finally used what I’d learnt. Don’t grieve for fallen angels. If there is a heaven, I know he’s there, drinking the finest wines, partying with goddesses and pissing himself with laughter at mankind’s ineptitude. Seize every moment as it comes, walk that tightrope without fear and light a candle for another dead philosopher. Life’s too short to be a victim.
Tim Mass Movement
‘Farewell To The King…’ originally appeared in ‘What Would Gary Gygax Do?’ which is available for purchase from iTunes , Kobo and Amazon here