Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day Of The Dead

A year ago today, on la Dios de la Muerto, The Dead came to my window. They appeared to be several hundred strong, and they gathered in the street below my loft windows, singing songs, beating drums, chanting my name and demanding solace in the form of drink. Not being unaquainted with this form of solace, and impressed by so many of The Dead knowing my name and whereabouts, I capitulated with cocktails and beer, speaking to them out my window like some Dark Pope, and finally waved them on to Flanagan's Bar, where dead people are always welcome, if only due to the Irish name. We all know that the Irish love both the drink & the dead, so it seemed like the right thing to do. I hope they come back again tonight. I rather like The Dead, not only because of their fashionable black outfits and over sized skull heads (anyone knowing me is familiar with my constant black attire and big head), but because they make us Who We Are. Everything we have going for us as Humans came from Dead People, unless it comes from people who are about to be dead. Someday, anyway. But the stuff we take for granted, the New World, fire, television, rum and of course cooking school, all came to us by way of people now long dead. So there's that. And the afore mentioned Irish and their Dark Poets, who romanced Death, even before they did it. Those wacky poets. What might not be as obvious is what death does for us now, on a daily basis, for free. All by just being there, if we'd only pay attention. Death is a punctuation point at which our lives, as we know them, anyway, end. There's much discussion about what's next, but that has nothing to do with Death. It may have a great deal to do with how we approach the subject, but that's for another day. Today is la Dios de la Muerto, the Day of the Dead, and I want to offer up my respect to those who have gone before, and the message they seem to be leaving, at least, when they show up at one's window, chanting your name and demanding cocktails. We Are All Going To Die. See how simple that is? It doesn't take much study to understand. The problem is that folks just don't like to think about it. They spin off in to theological discussions about Next Worlds, and stories about lost family or loved ones, or make video tapes depicting horrifying car crashes, or write bound-for-DVD scripts about sexy teens on forbidden islands getting picked off one by one... Anyway, I think you see my point. It takes quite a bit of moxie to stand in front of your mirror and say to yourself, "I'm going to die." In fact, it may happen anytime in this crazy world. Anytime at all. We take measures to ensure our health and safety, as well as the health and safety of those around us, but that's not enough. The best thing to do is much simpler; Live. I figured out the message that The Dead bring to my window. Not that one must give demanding neighbors free drinks, although that's a very interesting subject for another column, but that we must Live Now. May your morning bowl of cereal be perfect, crispy and cool, if that's what you desire. May your work, at whatever task you have in front of you, be the best that you can do. May you tell that lovely man or woman you've just met (you know who you are) that you think they are lovely and would like to know them better. Sing out loud when joy finds it's way to your lips, laugh louder when confronted by ridiculous circumstance. Cry openly at the loss of love and lovers, in your favorite movie or in your life. Smile at complete strangers and feel the glow of that smile returned. Do something amazing with your life, if only for an instant, and take the time to be amazed by the actions of others. Above all things, find your place on this earth of ours, to experience the breath and blood of living, to celebrate YOUR life, as it's the one thing you truly own. Find others to join in this celebration, to sing with you, and when necessary, to rise up and protect your right to that life. I am blessed in that I have found my place, and therein, friends abound. To night, I shall celebrate my life, and the living of it, here in my beloved New Orleans, when my friends, The Dead, pass by my window. Thanks to The Dead, for showing me the meaning and truth of Life. I may never have done it without you. Lord David Pirate & Artist Skull Club New Orleans

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