To emerge snarling from the amniotic sac, drenched in loathing, charged with keen anticipation.
To sense a pre-destiny of high jinx even in spite of the flicker and glare of fluorescent tubes streaking corridors.
To nurture that feeling of warm expectation: an inexplicable jolt of happiness that finds its passage in the simplest of moments throughout the infant’s days.
To forge kinship with the Mother and Father, comfort in his baritone, her soft timbre, the deft swaddling and warm glimmer of their caring eyes. Further kinship with the stuffed toys, whose dumb mute grins serve as constant comfort from the foreboding beyond the cot’s and pram’s parameters.
To embrace each new step with great gusto, vim and vigour, a near valiance in the urge to transcend any obstacle. Watching carefully with a clarity, alacrity, the branches and trunks of trees that pass, the bowing of blades of long grass in fields and meadows, the sheen and gloss of lanes traversed either side by automobiles. Ensconced in a parental cocoon, the might of industry, the speed of the world of men passes the growing child by, entrances him, lures him slowly in.
To align the fear with bravado; to burnish a portion of his soul and forge character out of the fear.
To bravely go where all have gone before, searching and scanning each horizon for any and every shred of adventure.
In time, and to a boy’s chagrin, to enter the halls and corridors of academia, to learn and unlearn reams and rafts of lessons, a host of extra-curriculur shams and scams. To learn to conform and rebel in equal measure, embracing and dodging trouble. To deftly learn to use one’s tongue to get in to scrapes, fists to get out of them.
To win respect from one’s peers through wit and fortitude, nose buried oft in books, eyes flicking subtly elsewhere at a stray tress, lock or curl dangling by the temple of a vision of femininity.
To learn to chant and sing, revise and recite. Alphabets and prose, charts and poems, odes and psalms. Surrounded by a host of ghosts, literary and real, shrouded by the cloaks and gowns of masters, chased across pitches, tracks and fields, heath and moorland by these towering men and fed with bread and honey, sat in the sun by flowing rivers drinking the milk of human kindness.
To learn to deal in chance, pushing one’s own boundaries and those of others, our kith and kin, with mixed reactions, raising often a hoot or a boot. The smashing of glass, ringing of bells and dashing off. The perils and thrills of youth running riot through his mind, an invasion of his sensibilities. Not the first, nor the last.
To know within himself that such scrapes build character yet a time will come to suppress the mayhem. In spite of it all, the colour and cacophony, the din of existence, the dance of passion that erupts from his heart and soul and loins, to know that beyond the tedium of repetition, the sultry sadness of rows upon rows of homes, the dreadful grind of daily-do that wearies men and dulls their eyes, vanquishing the spark, that ultimately he will grab this kindly life by its lapels and shake it roaring with laughter til it gleefully slaps his back and beckons him come hither, taste a mountain of madness, bare your behind at the chuckling moon and roar down a slope of mirth to stand three apiece at a lengthy bar, sinking tankards of the good stuff and holding court. Such is the destiny of this ilk of man, and many a dalliance with kindred souls awaits.
To know brevity. This fragile planet’s rarefied atmosphere hangs in the balance, hosts your ruddy roars and belches, sates the yearning pangs for pleasure. As these wandering flaneurs take readily to the streets, hills, mountains, dales and valleys, spirits charged, brimming with desire, evading the inevitable woes, dodging each sorrowful bullet to leap merrily into one then another mishap, their antics leave no scar, their grins and guffaws grace the globe’s towns and cities.
To leave a stardust trail of mirth in their wake, a long and winding chain of merriment, accented by trademark quips and jibes. The raised chatter and frequent self aggrandising chuckle; drawing in breath to inhale deeply the righteous musk of their own comic success.
To savour each breath, each vision of dawn breaking over a fertile landscape, each potent love filled smile and even in times of doubt and darkness, each glimpse at the gory underbelly of living and dying. “And know each fleeting moment may be thy last.”
To wander diligently aimlessly, delectably and dastardly, saving scorn for the narrow minds of men, opening them up as jacks-in-the-boxes, silencing the jabbering mouths of ne-er do wells, the trite, the fetid spoons and spanners whose hapless attempts at inscribing this passage with dull ink are flicked aside. “If the pages of our lives are palimpsests, then let no other scribe set down a passage, other than he forges on in arms to the same glorious conclusion: that we have no other purpose than to serve our senses. Modo Erit Jocularis. Only the jocular shall pass.”
To feel the world beneath bare feet, gazing skyward at the rising and setting suns, at constellations swirling in the firmament. Treading lightly over shingle, wet sand, soft soil, a myriad textural topography inscribing a tale in to the sole. Beholden not to a single deity yet respectful of all universal laws, this none-too-shabby band of brothers looking on in admiration as creation unfolds in front of them, folds up behind, an envelope of universal perfection to partake of.
To unite in a bond of mutual admiration for the sanctity of nonsense, holiness of mirth, worthiness of adventure and for the love of love itself, is to be and to know the brotherhood of men.