A Beautiful Repressive Niche
Most people only take snippets from
uni-sensory images seen briefly from electronic media, sound bites and
consumer-driven sight to build a foundation of perception, which are full of
half-truths and propaganda. Only from the horse's mouth of the doer can human
potential be studied effectively; the look in the eye, a twitch of the mouth,
the almost indecipherable sneer somewhere in the face, the uneasiness of a lie,
the odor of heightened emotion, the limp muscles of defeat, the lines of
experience, the able hands scarred from the contact with life, the quiver in
the voice when the tragedy is reborn, the shaky fluttering words of joyful
recollection, the impatience of wit barging out resulting in interruption and
apology, the calm even tone of competence, the flush of a cheek of embarrassment,
the lowered eyes of shame, the aura of flourishment and the lethargy of
despair. This is the language of truth that speaks to the soul, not the mind,
the world of moist subjectivity, not the world of dry objectivity.
Without this language life can only
be mundane, routine and humdrum, something almost detached and surreal. True
engagement does take courage, but to be aware that you are acting in your own
self-interest should be impetus enough to engage with an astute eye, looking
for parts of people that speak to you subconscious mind on a higher level that
can be identified by a tingling sensation, a smile on your face or the feeling
of infinite possibility in your heart. Trust your intuition that gives you that
inner voice that says: ‘that's it! That is cool.' And be mindful that thing,
that "it" is different for each of us. Whether a doll or an airplane, an
adventure or an idea, all is great for the will; all are pieces of your puzzle
waiting to be considered, adopted and tested before they become part of you,
another color in your character, more light for you to see who you are and
where you would like to be in a world that has everything.
Comfort was never part of life. It
has never been a given or a constant; only pain and sorrow are the nuts and
bolts of living, the alpha and the omega of life's journey. Accepting this as
the underpinning prepares you for the injuries and bruises that accompany those
who participate in the mix. It minimizes disappointment and causes you to
relish the triumphs and moments of joy along the way. It guards against
over-expectation and vexation, hardens your defensive armor during the battles
that ensue. And it helps open the door a little wider to the action, to the
melee where the scrum pushes and pulls and fights for supremacy.
Learning from books will give you
the conceptual apparatus that can function as a digestive tract, but without
the sounds and smells and sights and feel it will always remain an empty
stomach, flimsy and feeble, and forever on the verge of being blown over when
in the presence of a man of action, a doer with his center a man in full.
Close-mindedness and quick to judge
inhibit growth and dwarfs character development; always a sign of a small man.
Learn to identify these traits in others and then avoid them without being
rude. Some very wealthy and powerful people are close-minded and quick to judge
and label others, but below the material bells and whistles they envy the man
of character, the does and explorer who has experienced so many of life's
mysteries, absorbed the wisdom and fortified their self into a person with
gravitas and someone who commands respect. This will always be the hierarchy of
man. What the Small Man lacks in character he makes up in toys.
Innovators explore; sheep follow.
Does weigh more and have more than avoiders. Avoiders cannot help admiring the
doer and the competence that is written all over his face and shown by the way
he moved his body and by the he sounds. Herein lies what defines the pecking
order of man. The avoider is also a sober man, in mind and body, a person
without the knowledge of the highs and epiphanies of Bacchus and his higher
realms of truth. He is a plain hamburger without the joys of condiments or the
sesame seed bun, destined to be bland and uninteresting, overlooked and
inwardly little. His laughter is shallow and false, coming from a barren room
where the imagination has atrophied and dried up, void of the life force of
anima, the spring and fuel of the man of character. The laughter booms with
infectious glee from the man with inner knowledge and self-awareness, an audio
beacon attractive to all recipient ears like a medicine that has the power to
disintegrate and remove problems pressing down on the brow of man, a momentary
blast of the coveted panacea hoped for by those burdened by gravity and
ailments of passion. Laughter is the thunder of man, an emission illustrating
his comfort and freedom of self, an intangible trophy earned from overcoming
and conquering, a gigantic YAWP that reveal the level of evolution and how high
he has climbed, the mark of a thinking man who has achieved balance between
contemplation and action, a brewer who has mastered the art of distilling, a
sharpshooter who has perfected his eye on the target that enhances and
contributes in his never-ending snowballing of self and place, the inner
exploration deemed by Socrates to be the most significant task of man.
Laughter from the gut is the
hallmark of a person who knows and has found a place within his worldview where
all nuggets of knowledge fit with no hindering incongruities. It is the most
genuine sound in the world; cadence overflowing that touches the soul of all
from its sureness of truth, its celebration of knowledge. It is pure, without
malice or scheudenfreunden, unstained by envy of derision, an explosion
of joy that is impossible to ignore. It is the sound of a master, a sage and
the coveted silent philosopher all aim to become. It is a declaration that he
has the keys to the mysteries of life, the secret code of the mystics and the
lightness of a child at play. It is the voice of unity, showing oneness of self
and having the power to unify others. It is a sound that exemplifies the
rhythms of nature, the primeval hum that all animals seek, a momentary fountain
of youth, an elixir all thirst for. And the most valued medicine known to man.
This is the fruit of a man's labors
that seeks to find the truths of character, his place in the world and the
poise and calm strength of having this knowledge. Therefore it is not a journey
with any reward nor is it an empty task or a pointless exercise. It has as its
gold mans highest yield, desired by king and peasant, loved and respected and
admired by all yet possessed by so few.
These were Reno's thoughts while
soaking in the hot springs in volcano alley.
"Watch out for hypothermia when we
get out," said Diego, jolting Reno out of his tangential epiphany.
Reno thought Diego was dabbling in
hyperbole. Simply said they were on the equator. But his body temperature had
risen so much that he did flirt with mild hypothermia, thanking God he had
brought his black wool beret. His teeth were chattering when they reached the
"Diego, how many years has it been
since you've been here?" Diego laughed.
"Two days ago." He touched his wool
jacket. Groovy, covered with indigenous designs, it was a beautiful piece of
clothing, thick yet soft to the touch. Understated. And with class. Unique.
"I sell these," he said. "In
California, Mexico - where there is surfing." He didn't seem like a businessman
but it did occur to Reno that he had found his niche and had perhaps been a
top-ranked surfer or skateboarder who had made some serious bread through
sponsorships. After all, he had the word "skateboarder" written across his
abdomen. This was a far as he got with the Diego enigma until they stopped at
his house an hour outside of Quito. Diego's expensive Jeep didn't match his
tattoos and he didn't drive it like an owner. Once Reno attached himself to the
puzzle, the riddle of Diego began to grow.
Posh, high-security neighborhood but
with the most impressive property in the enclave. Private electronic gate with
two other expensive four-by-fours parked in the double garage.
"The servants are here so please be
quiet. Follow me." Instantly anxious, Noble glanced at Roman who nodded. Diego
earlier had shown him a photo of his wife and two young daughters and had told
me they were in Switzerland on vacation and then on their way to the Vatican.
"Who wants to go to the Vatican!" he
had said. Noble left it at that because he would've have gone, but he had also
become aware that many young guys in South America were openly hostile to the
Diego was on his own for a couple of
"I have to make a call to my wife. Make
yourselves at home but stay on the balcony and try to keep it down. I won't be
long," he said and left to make the call. The house was massive, big enough to
have two servants and a full-time gardener. The house was built on the side of
a deep gorge. Palm trees, putting-green lawn, greenhouse, garden above the
garage, patio; serious old Spanish wealth had built this work of art. It had a
separate building across the yard stocked with hundreds of bottles of wine, a
long table, bookshelves and a desk - a man's ideal getaway and study. When he
asked Roman about the house he said it was Diego's wife's house given to her by
her father. This, of course, was a corner piece of the puzzle.
After, when Roman was having a nap,
he and Diego went there where they promptly did a long, nostril-stinging line
of coke, clearly in an effort to raise his spirits. He had spent almost two
hours speaking to his wife on the telephone.
"Jesus, you have everything here."
Reno was back.
"This is all an illusion," he replied,
sweeping his hand over it all. Reno shook his head.
"Maybe so, but every man needs a
home base." These words pierced his armor and he started to talk. He loved his
wife he said but it was difficult sometimes, that she kept him on a tight
"She's really strict about my
partying," he said. "I don't know, sometimes I think I prefer Argentina to
Ecuador." Diego sat on the couch in the corner. "I had some friends over about
three days ago and when she called here the gardener told her I was having a
big part. She was pretty angry. And I'm angry at the gardener."
"It's none of his damn business,"
said Reno, speaking man-to-man firm. "You're the man of the house, tell him to
mind his own business, that he sees nothing. Set him straight. You don't want a
bloody spy in your own home."
Perked, Diego said he didn't have
any friends in Quito. Yes, he thought, that was it: Diego was being manhandled
and suffocated by his wife, didn't have the freedom to party when and how he
wanted, and didn't even have one good friend he could talk to.
"Listen man, every man needs at
least one guy who he can talk to about anything. Not a sister or father but a
male friend. Otherwise you suffocate." Reno saw it now, how he drove into the
city, hung out at the Irish Pub, met friends that only lasted a night and then
he was back to where he was. In all the wealth that surrounded him the irony
"Do you mind if I ask you what your
"She's a DJ."
"DJ? As in disk jockey?"
but she's really good, plays all over Europe. Ibiza and whatnot."
Another corner piece
"She still does it but with the
girls she's taken some time off."
The melancholy was still there as
they walked in silence along a trail just outside his fence overlooking the
gorge and knew that it was time a man with nothing can still attain a sincere
level of happiness, and that a man with such riches can truly be miserable.
"I'll tell you man," said Reno with
some gusto, "with your driving skills you should be a rally driver." Even Reno,
who was seldom startled, was amazed at his turn of mood.
"You think so?" he said, his stride
quicker. The man hadn't found his niche.
"You tell me you don't have the
gift. Your driving today was world-class man." Like a child with warm milk and
a nipple, the lightness returned, Roman was awakened and drinks were served.