If I forget to set the alarm and sleep on through the dawn don’t remind me.

May 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

Title page of the first edition of Moby-Dick, ...

Title page of the first edition of Moby-Dick, 1851. Source: Beinecke Library, Yale University *URL: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/photoneg/oneITEM.asp?pid=39002036007103&iid=3600710&srchtype= (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I’d rather be dreaming of someone than living alone.” Majestic – Wax Fang. 

My childhood taught me a lot about bravery. It’s rewards and that there is a time and a place for it. When it should be used and when it should be passed off as misjudged small town madness. You have to time these things with precision, the slightest miscalculation and you can leave you with scars. It always makes me think of an exchange between strangers in a dinner in Idaho in June 2012. I was eating along at the counter in one of those old 80’s throw back bars, which seemed fitting for the story ahead. Sat in one of the booths was a group of six high school jocks, so stereotypical that they could have been plucked from any 80’s high school film, complete with baseball jackets and smarmy rich boy hair cuts. Laughing loudly, being rude to the waitress, throwing bits of paper at each other, spending Daddy’s money. A few seats down from me was a kid sat alone who looked around the same age as them, a few years younger maybe, scraggly hair, thick rims on his glasses, long green coat, eyes buried deep in the book that was face down on the counter. In his own little world. The sun was starting to shine in the bright mid morning as the jocks’ voices started to rise and drown out the din of everyday day dinner noise.

“Hey kid” Shouted the one who was clearly the leader, directed towards the book-boy at the counter. Wisely, book-boy did not flinch, eyes did not shift from what I guessed, from a distance, to be Moby Dick. “Hey Dickhead” The leader continued, causing his knuckle dragging friends to laugh like yes men and politicians during a debate. Again, book-boy was found to be unmoved. “Good” I thought. “Wise move” I thought. However, the situation had not passed. Urged on by the laughing the leader jock continued yet further “Hey faggot, what you reading? Fuckin’ Twlight?” The jocks howled with laughter. Book-boy flinched and sent a look over his shoulder at the leader. Calm, composed but clearly annoyed by the pestering. From that he went back to his reading. But this was not enough for the leader, he wanted more, he taunted the boy a few more times but this time got nothing back. So, clearly with something to prove, he sent poured his milkshake into a plastic cup and threw it across the diner at book boy, hitting him square in the back. The pale red milk flashed across the back of his coat and up into the hair above. The jocks screamed with laughter, think that the square had got what he deserved. I felt my foot hit the floor, pointing towards them, off my chair, unable to suffer this injustice any more, but I stopped when I saw book-boy do the same. He turned to the table. Now he stood at it, meters from the jocks, who had started flexing their muscles, more to prove to each other than to the book boy. “What you fucki…” Started the leader, he was cut off “Shut the fuck up.” Book boy spoke. Piercing his silent enigma personality forever he spoke with a calm aggression, a calculated and composed anger, which meant that everyone, the jocks, the waitresses, myself and all who had witnessed the flying milkshake, where hanging on his every word.

Book boy continued with that same delivery, as if there was ice in his veins with every ear listening. “You don’t know about me. You see my clothes and my hair and my glasses and you come to assumptions about where I’ve been and what I can do. Well let me tell you, I’ve been to places you couldn’t come back from, places that Daddy can’t save you from. I know people like you, people who have never been in a real fight, maybe just thrown a few punches at a weak kid that some arse hole was holding down from you. See, I know, that if it was really to kick off here right now, it wouldn’t be a case of “Do I think I can beat you?” It will be a case of “Do you think that you’re friends are strong enough to pull me off of your battered body before I do permanent damage?” Because I go there. Every inch of every yard.” He leant in now, keeping eye contact with the leader who was the focus of the rant. ” The last boy who treat me like that…” He paused and leant in further, now to the ear, and whispered in a way that everyone heard ” I kept his fucking teeth.” You could hear a pin drop. Things had got real dark, real quick. The tension you could cut with a knife, the air was humid with it. The jocks weren’t having fun any more. The tables had turned. The jocks were on the back foot. This wasn’t cheerleaders and prom queens and quarter backs and trust funds. They had been taken from that. They had been showed the sharp edge of the real world and it scared them because they had brought it on themselves. They had flown too close to the sun.

Despite it’s darkness there was beauty in this moment. However, profound and convincing the speech was, for the boy it was brave, it was necessary, he did what he had to do to turn it around. He had  taken his pure, liquid crazy and used it for salvation. We should all be so lucky. He turned, whipped off his hair, and got back to Moby Dick. The diner wanted to applaud, to congratulate him, but the moment was less Hollywood than that. I didn’t say a word to him. I paid my bill, then his, then left for my destination.

I felt his anger. I felt that twisting feeling of his injustice and ultimately respect for him for doing what he had to do. Most of all I respected the way he used his crazy.


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§ One Response to If I forget to set the alarm and sleep on through the dawn don’t remind me.

  • AguessT says:

    “Time and tide flow wide. The hated whale has the round watery world to swim in, as the small gold-fish has its glassy globe. His heaven-insulting purpose, God may wedge aside. I would up heart, were it not like lead. But my whole clock’s run down; my heart the all-controlling weight, I have no key to lift again.” (Chapter 38 – Dusk)
    A hero can hide in Hollywood and no one really need know or understand their purpose; onlookers just have to believe that such a thing might exist… but what they fail to catch, within the drunken monomaniacal slur of a man inside the belly of a whale, is the realisation that no such reason can be found. I wish to always watch that someone who would crash through the paper thin walls of this film set and scream out their lungs in the key of hope.

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