I go by the name of Waldo Fernweh. I have been called many things; some, not flattering, quite a few, earned. I am a self made man, and that, too, is earned. However, the reality is, the term is all encompassing, and as a profoundly titled spaghetti western stated, that must include the good, the bad, and indeed, the ugly.
I am convinced the use of words and phrases is somewhat out of fashion these days as regards describing things. Instead language, and to my way of thinking, the necessary thought and effort to accurately express ones self, has been replaced by the much improved, ever popular and universal use of the emoji. Apparently they are perfect? Press a button, get an absurd looking caricature and presto, you safely transmit what you think you want to say, what you feel, without coming close of course, and do so in such a fashion you can decry its meaning as need be. Ah, technology. And many wonder why we communicate so poorly with all our ‘advances’. Even after all these centuries, Machiavelli was right I suppose.
I was born in the Bronx. Often I have been asked, “How could you stand it?” For the longest time, I was perplexed not knowing how to answer, no one told me I had a choice in the matter. I used to joke that I’d asked for Honolulu, but I showed up in one of the five boroughs. Go Figure. Besides, I didn’t think of it all that much. Hell, until I was thirteen I thought trees were pictures in books and that everyone had roaches and rats. My friends and their families all did. We didn’t think much of it. Stomped the crawly wiggling antennaed creatures when we saw them, shot the fierce looking red-eyed rodents with self-made zip guns when we could steal them. They usually belonged to older brothers; the wannabe ‘hoods’ supposedly protecting their turf. They were the only ones that knew how to fashion the piping of a car antennae, ripped from some unfortunate schmucks double parked car by the fire hydrant, and connect a potent rubber band to force the projectile. They weren’t very accurate, but elevated your street credentials if you got your hands on one.
Looking back, I think we had a version of political correctness even back then, but no one was really offended by certain terms. We were simply living life, trying to better ourselves and realizing we were all in the same boat; competition was fierce, I call it social Darwinism. To my way of thinking, the concept relates to any and all things. Anyway, thousands of us, the progeny of immigrant sons and daughters, were crammed into the slums. Thats what they were called until someone got the idea the word was too offensive, suddenly we lived in the tenements. The funny thing; it was still East 181st Street and we all called it home though I doubt Dorothy would’ve clicked her ruby reds to join us there. Mentioning colors, the only color that ever mattered to any of us was green. To this day, I remain strong of opinion that is indeed the root of all evil. Yeah…I am a man who pays attention to the great quotes. They have a wisdom that lasts through the ages. A stitch in time will ALWAYS save nine. And with all the supreme insanity that is infecting us, if we did live by the Golden Rule, things would probably be better and we’d treat each other with respect, even in disagreement. But hey, at least we are selling a lot more play-dough these days. Too bad its for ridiculous reasons.
Growing up, I had friends whose last names resembled a spoon full of alphabet soup and required practice if you wanted to pronounce them correctly. Most of us didn’t bother; nicknames sufficed nicely. So too, our ethnicity made our street resemble a mosaic as well and no one seemed to care about that either. I was a Whop..the sound shit supposedly made when it was flung against a wall. My Mom told me not to be concerned about it, that what I thought of myself, and how I behaved, was the only thing that mattered. I think its called taking responsibility for ones actions and not placing a chip on your shoulder because of some other chip laden individuals comments and behaviors. To this day, I am certain she, and all mothers of that era, were right about that, regardless of skin color, country of origin, or soup-related last name. Now I suppose, there is an emoji for that instead.
Accused of being a heretic as regards an opinion that runs counter to general acceptance, I’ve been asked what astrological sign I was born under. An intriguing and far reaching question as far as I am concerned. For the record, I was born as a Libra, but I think it might be of more interest what ‘sign’ was prominent when X met Y. The signs of the Zodiac; the stars in the sky. Mythical. Magical. It was we humans who needed to name them and it served good purpose early on. It would’ve been hard to cross those expansive seas without help from above. Now, it is more an entertainment industry than an explanation of why things occur to many.
Yet, oft I’ve wondered how it does cause eyebrows to furrow and quizzical looks to scrunch up ones face. I am especially entertained by fervent ‘non-believers’ who, when thought not being observed, display those facial expressions when their horoscope reflects just enough truth that their eyes dart from side to side, a hand in the cookie jar look frozen on their face, hoping they weren’t discovered before making a quick recovery. It simply CAN’T be anything intended from the heavens…or can it be?
It strikes me that there are similarities, even if basic, in people born under the same sign. I defer, and agree, with Heraclitus concerning the impossibility of standing in the same river twice. The present moment is an essence at best. It flows in the current of what was, and what lies around the next bend. Expanding on that, is the River Universe. It, too, flows in perpetual motion pressed on by Time. Whimsically, maybe its a giant circular river, the ultimate lazy river? Except in this one, there are particular points, with particular nuances, that everyone who starts where you started, gets a similar experience. Those who start elsewhere; their collective initiation is distinct from yours, and alike with those who join in at that starting point. Doesn’t matter what day, year, lifetime…the start is the same. And if you jump in a few inches, feet, yards on either side of the designated jump zone, the initiation is slightly different, but similarities abound. You are similar, and yet different. Nature is perfect, it never makes a mistake.
Maybe you like billiards better? Get a cue stick and try this out and see what you think.
Somewhere out in the infinite, I’ll call it the Great Everything, God to some, Fate to others, a life force its been called as well; its a personal ‘call’, perhaps their is a force emanating in all directions. It bounces off one celestial body and is deflected or even blunted for a time by yet another. Careening off that rock, it continues on, sometimes unimpeded for great distances, other times, smacking head long into others; but always moving on. I wonder…when it eventually strikes this planet we call home, that at the moment of conception, its power, its Will, is instilled within that miraculous occurrence? As the eons fly by, and they do, all born at that moment will have similar traits, varying of course ever slightly, because, the Universe River concept decrees it as such.
The rocks in space, we call them Venus, Mars, etcetera, provide the obstacles and provoke the angles and deflections that the Force must navigate to arrive at our unique moment in time, our conceptual birth. Imagine this billiard game replicating itself over and over, ad infinitum, and it might make a brow furrow, or a face scrunch up. Food for thought or welcomed lively debate.
This in no way is meant to be heresy. I am a spiritual being. I just offer it as a point of thought and stimulation. One of many as I travel on Frost’s Road Less Traveled, A ‘poet with a troubled soul’, I was endearingly called during a time of great consequence, another of those earned names. For now, I shall hope at least to have inspired an opinion, even a disagreeable one, and maybe you will travel awhile with me as I set out on my next great adventure.
Care to come along? Follow my photo included narrative at firethieves.com as I travel from the Adirondacks of New York, to the Arctic Circle in Alaska…
Sorry, no emojis….