"While all these ugly gentlemen play out their foolish games"


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I have a sneaking suspicion that in admitting to the numerous occassions I have cast my thoughts back to my youth (so says this 27yr old speck in the eye of infinity...) and agonised over those moments where my silence has donned a cowardly disguise, I disclose far more of myself than I would ordinarily be comfortable with. But these same suspicions lead me to believe that should I continue posting, I'm just going to have to grow accustomed to my carefully cultivated air of mystery fading... Case in point: I am 17 and eagerly running wild at our local church youth camp (naturally my wisdom, objectivity and insight were at that age honed to a knife edge, unlike the cynical husk of the present day). It's the fifth night, the performance night, the culmination of frantic brainstorming and frenetic practice. We sit entranced as each carefully rehearsed movement plays out, a shimmering tapestry of scriptures brought to life (somebody better revoke my dramatic license before some serious damage is caused). Toward the end of the performance, a young man quietly steps onstage with his guitar (no, it's not me, my cowardice make a more grand appearance at the end of this tale) and proceeds with his reinterpretation of a song he feels might connect with those sitting at the fray, those who up until then had felt no connection with any of the performers. The song was "Rape Me' by Nirvana, only he had substituted "rape me" with "save me", and I had been witness to the sincerity which had gone into choosing and altering that song. The fray loved every line, for a moment their perception of what they have been told a thing is was lost in a tangling of hair, heads thrashing to and fro...that is until one of the senior youth leaders interrupted him and chastised him for his misguided actions. And that is where my memory of the moment becomes crystal clear. I see myself. I'm thinking "Say something you dolt!". But my eyes are glancing around me and I lose myself completely. Now I know most will say, but everyone is like that at that age. It's part of growing up. It's the learning curve. But it isn't. My family are close, my parents brought me up in a manner I will only completely understand and be thankful for when it is too late. But along with their unconditional love, they also passed down to me their framework for viewing the world. Every question I possessed had a pre-ordained answer. I did not understand how to speak in that one, crystal moment. And as I write this, realisation slowly comes. I possess this fear (or, rather, this fear possesses me), not from a desire to right past wrongs, but because the idea of fatherhood becomes something tangible with each passing day. And as my wife and I talk about wanting to have a child, one thought reverberates in my mind. How do I teach my child wisdom, compassion, to be open-minded...how do I teach my child without creating him in my image? I want my child to speak up at that moment, to speak with wit and insight, never divisive. But never with the words I might have chosen. I look forward to hearing what those words might be....


7 Responses to “"While all these ugly gentlemen play out their foolish games"”

  1. Blogger Hans the Destroyer 

    Ah, isn't Jeff Buckley genius? I had misplaced my cd of his and actually just stumbled across it yesterday night, and was yet again amazed. And wouldn't it be amazing to be able raise one's child without creating an image of oneself? It seems as though it would be quite an accomplishment, because I don't know how they would go about doing it.

  2. Blogger Fence 

    Seems to me that a lot of teenagers are reluctant to speak out and rick being ridiculed, or simply looked at. I know I was. Only when you begin to grow up, and personally I have a lot of maturing yet to do :), does it matter less and less what others think of you. Apart from your friends, and people who are responsble for giving you your salary of course.

  3. Blogger Hans the Destroyer 

    Hm, interesting fence. I must say though, that I realized at an early age that I wasn't ever going to be what other people wanted and therefore I didn't try to appease their tastes, or lay low. As far as garb goes, I was always way out there and that gave a pretty fair warning as to my eccentricities. I learned that people can think what they want of you, but that doesn't mean you have to care. I also have much maturing to do though- just my thoughts.

  4. Blogger forgottenmachine 

    The friend who performed the re-interpretation of Nirvana had by no means a solid and structured family life. His parents were divorced before he turned 12 and to this day he still has issues with his father. His mother is a school teacher and brought him up to be able to think for himself, to be different if he that is who he is, and to approach the unknown with an open mind.
    What is it that allows certain kids at an early age to be far more clear on who they are, to embrace individuality?

  5. Blogger Hans the Destroyer 

    You know, what a wonderful question. If anyone knows the answer to it I'd like to know. Never having been one of the "followers", I don't rightly know what it's like to try and appease everyone, or avoid any and all friction betwixt oneself and others...

  6. Blogger Fence 

    Great question, but I think it is kinda unknowable. Not a helpful response but there you go. I don't think I was ever much of a follower when Iw as young, but I know I wasn't a leader either. I just floated through life, I still do to a large degree only now I'm more aware of what I think and feel, and I think less about what other people think I should think (if that actually makes sense, but too lazy to think it through)

  7. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Does anyone actually know why Kurt Cobain wrote that song?

    Or what the song is actually about?

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