Looking back is a dangerous thing.
Our history is shit, you know.
Yet I survived it, as have you. Seeing how you’re reading this and all.
My head has remained intact, above my shoulders, despite riding in the back of trucks. Without cabs. Sometimes even with boys. Sometimes even with grown-ass men who tucked suspiciously tinted thermoses of water between their legs; men who never looked back long enough to reckon what us children were doing.
That’s not a brag, just a fact.
I have survived strong licks of sugar salting my tongue, skimmed from the lid of a cake—vanilla probably, but only on the outside, like so many of us back home.
Sarah Lee cake
Dogs licking our faces
Sucking on pennies
Sucking on much, much worse
Unanchored swingsets and waterfalls and white water currents
Batteries on my tongue
Stitches on my tongue
The corner of my eye
Packing a bag and running away to the city, any fucking city
I survived without a helmet, tracking device, or cell phone. And later, without a mother too.
Running away to another country when that country had borders as porous as nothing else I am familiar with. Running away to mint julep and crocodiles and a stinking bayou that might have been the death of me.
Might still be.
This was my world, and I learned to navigate it. I cannot tell where home ended and the glamour began.
I still suck the icing off spoons and put wrong things in my mouth.
And it is shit you know, all of it. Because then isn’t now, and now takes precedence over all, just as it always has. Just as it always will.
So why tell you this?
Why bother reminiscing?
Because, the world was my wilderness before it was our prison.
Because the world was my wilderness even as it was being paved over with good-bad ideas and political correctness and helicopter parents and dumb-ass safety warnings too dumb to save the bottom feeders and the headed-for-extinction-anyway…
Is Darwin still relevant or is he too a sinner of a different century, a dinosaur rendered irrelevant and shameful with time?
Fuck you all anyway. I don’t mean YOU personally, I mean the people who shit on Darwin, and Tolkien, and even on poor old Arvo Pärt. I mean the people who shit on running through the forest at night (too dangerous), hitching rides with rednecks to get where you need to go (too dangerous), laughing out loud at something that’s not being transmitted through a cell phone (exceedingly suspect, especially whilst solo.)
Yeah, not everyone survived. But not everyone is surviving now.
There are no good old days, either. Everything costs. Everything. Yesterday cost and tomorrow will cost too. I’m just aware of counting for inflation now.
Maybe it isn’t the criticism that gets to me but the snark. I am guilty, you are guilty, fuck the word guilty. No really, fuck it. Scratch that word from my life because public shaming is the ass-end of the wagging tongue called sanctimony, and right now the only things that is sacred is the ‘authentic self.’
Let’s just hang that one on the cross as well, shall we? Just do away with it all together so we are free if the burden of ranking the lifestyles of others, wholesale.
Let’s just put down our pointers and run through the forest together, at night, and laugh ourselves silly one last time.
Because shit has gotten dark and it’s only getting darker. My hipster neighbours leaned over the fence to discourse on bug-out bags and guns.
That would have been amusing a couple of years ago. Now I just answer their questions.
Fuck this shit. I want to return to the forest, to the rednecks, to mint julep on suspiciously rotting porches, when I could stand by the side of the road, thumb cocked, too young to drive, and get where I needed to go.
And no, not everyone was so lucky—I watch Discovery ID, sure I do. And Lieutenant Kenda is still looking all kinds of fine, IMHO.
I don’t want the world to go backwards; I am sentimental some days, not fucking stupid.
We aren’t going back again because there is no going back again. But sometimes I look out the window of the train we’re all riding and have battle my urge to jump.
And why the FUCK does Gord Downie have to die? Yeah I get it smartasses of the world—we’re all going to die, but maybe not at 52 years of age, and almost certainly not after creating some of the most astonishing music made.
You either get it, or you don’t.
And if you don’t get it, well, my apologies but it’s something that I just can’t fucking explain…