It’s somewhat amazing to think that today in a culture so materially motivated that anyone contemplating the end of their earthly existence could so easily dispense with the vast number of accumulated all too self-serving notions suggesting attachment to perpetual existence in favor of the simple details that led to their life’s outlook. An impulse completely absent in many caught within this current fantasy bound era everyone owing their public presence to an ersatz form of recycled telescripted lexicon denoting their class, character and appropriate personality. Consider how hard it might be to recover the trail of the intertwining paths of relatives and friends in the thick underbrush of incessant reruns of “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke.”
I sat in the coffee shop of a mildly suburban landscape approaching that ignoble benchmark of my mid-sixties with all the little parts beginning to fall off. Sitting in self-enforced silence wondering once again about those basic questions of just who the hell my father was? A larger than life character who had suffered mightily, especially in that final year of life. A persistent silence lingering unchallenged behind occasional groans and grumbles of that public persona of persistent clowning. The man never betraying his deepest sentiments remaining as ever an enigma as great as any sphinx recounted in tales of old.
The general discussion of the morality of offering for sale a five-dollar and seventy cent cinnamon roll came raucously to the fore. The clerk behind the counter disparaging of any commercial motivation counter to his ethic that might make the fact of its presence unduly attractive to any errant ‘uninformed’ customer. A practice running counter to the cult of salesmanship and totally wrong headed in my late father’s playbook. My father as recalled would trade upon his gift of flowery logic painting a mental picture that would at its conclusion demand the item as a necessary vehicle for the epiphany of success. An implied communard of ‘lumpen’ majority sentiment capturing the imagination of the current generation of would be Martin Luther’s who were saving their sharpest spikes for the paper apparition of an anti-Christ’s arm. This unanimous expression of youthful folly opposite to one posed in my own father’s posthumous conception of a perfect harmonious world. The kind of world that in his earlier times he had never been privy to know.
My own sentiment seeming too easily exhausted by comparison to my father’s. He still retaining the ability to abide a constant smokescreen of youthful cartoon existence in favor of a persistent sense of street hardened early life experience. Everyone else in this increasing TV generation weaving a particular sort of fantastic myth advocating virtues unique to their part of the elephant. This current present tense need of my own to understand his philosophy yet never needful enough during the finite span of his life to take but a tiny little step when I could have to bother to ask.