Porkpie Hat—My Angels, My Demons

My favourite people are always those who are among the dreamers, romantics, hedonists, sensualists, surrealists—those with large appetites for life.  I have had the pleasure of knowing a great many of these types, from all walks of life.  Sometimes their appetites lead them astray.  They eat too much, laugh too much, smoke too much, love too much.  They stay up too late, sing too loud, get a little too wild, make unfortunate mistakes in love and life.  They are too reckless and overly sentimental.  They show up at your door with pizza and roses, blood on their shirts, and a dozen stitches.  Because they wear them upon threadbare sleeves, their hearts get slammed, bruised, and torn.  They lead charmed lives, but sometimes the charms are dark ones, more like curses.  There are those pious souls who would claim these people are misguided, self-destructive.  I say they have a deep appetite for the rich marrow of life.

I have been lucky enough to have known many such people, from many different walks of life: jockeys, janitors, poets, drug dealers, tattoo artists, cocktail waitresses, line cooks, and long-haul truckers.  Some of them are dead now.  Or have disappeared off the face of the Earth.  One or two of them have done time.  But all of them have been outlaws, in one or some fashion, all refusing to live their lives on any terms other than their own, all blessed with big, fat, glowing hearts, deeply entrenched don’t-give-a-fuck attitudes, usually-empty pockets, and always-full lives.

What a privilege it is to be around people of have a true appetite!  Whether for music, food, books, travel, love, life, experience, or anything.  If there is any doubt that the Goddess loves us—for all the troubles she heaps upon us—surely the best evidence are the bounty of shiny gifts she has given us: our senses, our imaginations.  And this strange, glittering labyrinth of a world she has set us loose in, filled with all manner of terrible prospects and unexpected joys.

Life is too precious.  I have no time for the visibly pious, the apparently abstemious, the secretly niggardly—those who must scan the scene with a judgemental eye, sniff the air for indiscretions, always ready to offer up table scraps and Dutch uncle’s advice to those they deem as being in need, without ever admitting to needs and weaknesses of their own.  Place me in the vicinity of a ne’er do well rather than a know-it-all any day.  Give me the company of flawed, scarred, honest, dirty-handed, open-hearted women and men.

If, as I strongly suspect, there is no meaning beyond what we ourselves choose to do and to value in life, then I choose to spend my time in the company of folks who value pleasure above reputation, experience above wealth, adventure above security, love above virtue.  If, as I believe to be true, this world is the only heaven and the only hell any of us will ever know, then I want to share my existence with the sort of people who understand that the demons we carry within us are every bit as worthy of respect as our angels.

 

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