Slayers of Boogey Men, pt.1
An essay that seemed to be in line with our themes of conquering fear... and wishing we were cool enough to have earned an eye-patch fighting tigers
A while back I received an amazing compliment. A good buddy of mine sent me a scan of a business card that some guy found in a box of his (presumably deceased) father's affects. It read:
B.R. Newell TMCS (SSS) Ret
Singer of Sentimental Ballads, Last of the Big Spenders
World Traveler, Soldier of Fortune
Privateer, Grenadier, Raconteur
Have Bag Will Travel
Revolutions, Gunrunning, Bootlegging, Civil Wars, Smuggling, Orgies
If you know me as well as my buddy Steve does, you'd know that I got giddy just looking at this and was tickled that it made him think of me. And this guy's son scanned it and it got passed around because I'm far from alone in my love for this guy... not necessarily B.R. Newell, but the Man that would carry this business card.
Bullshit or not, it's a wonderful illustration of our love for a certain person; That person who can lead us into adventure, into The Verboten; whether that's as grand as fighting Turks off the coast of Tunisia, or simply sweeping us away to a nice dinner at a restaurant we'd never gone into. Our lives, hearts and narratives are littered with stories of the time we did the unexpected and people talk about the people that did it with a certain respect that is something separate from good or bad, though nearly always positive.
And then I started wondering what was it about these people... what was that quality that there is probably some term for in every language but our own?
Not long after I had that card sent to me, I found myself in a separate conversation talking about risqué-type goings-ons and a friend made the comment: "Damn, I'd suggest a party, but shit might get weird." And I retorted with, "Isn't shit getting weird the best reason to suggest a party?" And some people agreed.
This made me think that this was a dangerous situation. Not because it was actually dangerous but because it's the kind of situation that one man could lead everyone in to; that epic character who could hold his cool, wink at you with a cocked grin and a cigar or a lollipop as he pulled down some dusty eye protection from hair that had been pulled in ways that would look foolish on anyone else but on him looked simply right. And while the simple social danger of being the first one naked in the hot tub doesn't require you to be someone who has faced down tigers or sailed with Somali pirates, that guy is the one who says "Fuck it. Let's go to Vegas!" She's the gal that makes going home with two people seem totally normal. They're the person that says, "That's a bullshit idea" in a meeting and after everyone freezes, the boss shakes his head and agrees. Who is that person?
I often come across this kind of idea; it's a little something in your mind but you don't really know what it is... but there's something there. So the first thing I do is start collecting things-- anything that I feel is related and start looking for some kind of thread to pull on to unravel this straight jacket that has no obvious seam.