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Somebody I knew died this weekend. I had worked with them for a few months, although rarely talked. Nobody at work, including myself, was particularly shocked or even upset and I was curious about that reaction in myself as well as others.

So this is an obituary of sorts, but more of a tribute to a singular type of character. I have just watched the film of "On the Road" and realised how some aspects of Dean Moriarty/Jack Cassady reminded me of this person.

So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, ...and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty. I think of. Dean. Moriarty."

I thought of that line when I heard J. had died,  OD'd over the weekend of heroin in Thailand, he thought it was cocaine which you'd do if you were stoned in Thailand and somebody offered you some white powder cos cocaine is what white powder always is, isn't it? Except, in Thailand it's heroin. That's not a mistake anybody gets to make twice and so poor old J. is dead, at 27.

There was something of Dean in J. That charm, the easy languid smile, the restless seeking of the next sensual thrill. He was a user too, of people as well as chemicals, although more an abuser of both. Oh yes, he even studied how to be a bastard at Pick-Up School-for-Scoundrels. He'd steal from anyone, which was how he got fired from when I knew him but there was more to it than just a dark mischief, he stole for fun, to prove he was a better survivor, more predatory, sharpened his instincts. I'm sure he was fun to be around, but he wasn't a nice person even if he did me no harm.

It's tempting to say he deserved what he got. Although any of us who've woken up after rattling our bones at the ol' reaper know that it's never about deserving. No, in those circumstances when you wake up in unfamiliar rooms with the sweats upon you and you count your limbs and lucky stars you know it's all about dumb luck and the roll of the dice. Well he chased snake eyes all the way of the dragon and somewhere along the line his luck ran out.

Dean was the life and soul of a party, wherever he was there was a party. He was a hedonist, relentless in his mischief and, disguising his damage with energy, he attracted the very best of people to him and the intellect and spirit to keep 'em. The positives outweighed Dean's dark side and made his awfulness forgivable.

J lacked such enthusiasms, he was just damaged and lost. And now he's dead. In Thailand, where the cocaine is heroin and the heroin is cheap and nobody cares about another dead tourist who OD's cos there are always plenty more.

The saddest thing is, unlike Dean, few will think of him. At work everybody went "meh", there had always been that "oh me oh my, feel like I'm fixin to die" inevitability. Live fast,  die young, leave a beautiful corpse. If it wasn't going to be from sleeping with the girl with the deranged ex-boyfriend (in SX that is always a possibility) then drugs was always the probability.

I think of Dean Moriarty, cos something in you reminds me of him. I'd never met a self-styled "pick up artist" before and the desperate sleaziness fascinated me. But I will not think of you anymore. A lost soul who lost out.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 1st, 2015 at 12:49:38 PM EST

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