Sunday, September 22, 2013
My Dixie dear & other thoughts
All that glitters is not gold .... or is it? Here is one more photograph from an "adventure in the days of old," the location and the subject of which, I assume, a few people might recognize. For any who do not, once again I will (for now, at least) allow these things to remain a mystery. Perhaps, I should put a warning notice on this post because it sort of is about suicide .... but, only in an analytical sort of way. The music ties in for two reasons -- one obvious, one unknown. Obvious (maybe): Two of the four original members of the band Badfinger -- Peter Ham and Thomas Evans -- committed suicide. Ham wrote the song and is the lead singer for "Baby Blue." Unknown (for sure): You might note that the song is being sung to a young lady named Dixie. Well, the first young lady who ever chased me and caught me was named Dixie, and, like the lyrics go, I still hold a special love for her. She was absolutely sweet and breathtakingly beautiful. I am not exaggerating. I could not believe such a stunning, big city girl would ask a country clod like me to be her boyfriend. This, the day after we had met, when I thought I would never see her again. We were both twelve, by the way, and bravely entered our teenage years hand-in-hand. First love. She and I still exchange occasional notes.
Pick your own moment to place the period
Death fascinates me.
I assume everyone thinks about death now and then, and I have encountered a few people who like to talk about it and theorize about it and, like me, are fascinated to some extent by it. As a college boy, one of my friends was a "brand new" Catholic priest. He and I would argue (whoops, I mean talk) for hours about death, suicide, god, religion .... well, you get my drift.
The only thing that worries me along these lines is that if death truly is the end, I will not realize it and be aware of it and, consequently, I will be unable to complain about how boring and tedious it seems to be to me. (That sentence was half-serious; half tongue-in-cheek.)
What brought death to mind was the recent suicide of one of my mother's cousin's sons. I am not certain of the correct terminology for my relationship to him, and I am not curious enough to do any research to learn it. Anyway .... this fellow had some legal problems, so to speak, and was "lying low in old Mexico," the last I had heard. (Sort of sounds like something out of a wild west film, hah?) He is back home now, in a manner of speaking.
He was the second relative of mine to do himself in -- at least, the second of whom I am aware. The first was Hellik, one of my grandmother's brothers. Health problems were the motive behind his action.
I was still in high school the first time someone I personally knew killed himself. That fellow was age twenty-five and the best shot with a rifle I had seen before or have seen since. His wife was running around on him. I sort of think he went out with style and like a real man. He did not shoot his wife. He did not shoot his wife's lover. He only shot himself, and he did it with his favorite rifle.
One of my high school classmates killed himself about a decade or so after we had graduated. Money problems.
The man who was my best friend for a few years killed himself. It took him three tries and a lot of liquor. He was intelligent and handsome and had a charming personality. Those three ingredients could not win out when battling clinical depression.
My favorite suicide in literature is that of Carlo Alfred Thomas "Cat" Shannon in Frederick Forsyth's novel, "The Dogs of War:"
He died a month after the coup, the way he had told Julie he wanted to go, with a gun in his hand and blood in his mouth and a bullet in the chest. But it was his own gun and his own bullet. It was not the risks or the danger or the fighting that destroyed him, but the trivial black mole on the back of his neck. That was what he had learned from Dr. Dunois in the Paris surgery. Up to a year if he took things easy, less than six months if he pushed himself, and the last month would be bad. So he went out alone when he judged the time had come, and walked into the jungle with his gun ....
At least there is logic to such an ending -- nothing to do with losing a woman or losing money or mental disorder. Maybe, Hellik and Cat Shannon had it right: When the end of your story is inevitable, pick your own moment to place the period.