Sunday, May 3, 2009

Le Plus Loin Le Plus Serre

It is the last weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, aka Jazz Fest, and It seems the crowds are bigger than ever. I have left the lot of those jazz-mad puppets of fate, (those women with their sleeveless shifts and their shiftless men in cargo shorts) to their own devices and turned my attentions to more intimate gatherings with my small yet larger than life group of familiar faces- the friends I call family.
I was discussing families, extended or otherwise, with Mr. Moose and it occurred to me that as it is indeed fortunate to be born into a family that is both nurturing and well placed, it seems for many people, it is not necessarily conducive to a successful and fulfilling life just as being from what one used to call a broken home is not in anyway a omen of doom for any child that is by chance it's progeny. It is a good thing, for if our behavior were really determined by our ancestors, we'd all act like amoebas. We would eat by osmosis and reproduce by division, meaning we would smear food all over our bodies and have sex by throwing ourselves under a train. (very David Cronenberg non?)
Well, But really then, which family is really better to be from? That is given the choice...of course.
To become a mannerly and courteous person you want only a few things from your real family: breeding, dignity and piles of money. That is all anyone ever wanted from a family. Yes your family might love you and cherish the quicksand you walk on, but that has very little to do with "True Love." At best family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and bad repetitive pattern, like trance music or Finnish wallpaper.
Are rich families any better? Not necessarily and especially not in America. The dignity evaporates when you discover that they made their fortune in dog laxatives. As for breeding, most rich people are far too busy getting divorced, drinking, and well, breeding to show their sons how to tie a Windsor knot or to tell their daughter not to marry a man with that knot in his tie. Rich children are shipped to boarding schools, often before they are weaned. It would be unfair to say that the atmosphere in these schools are bestial, for a child who was kept in the Bronx zoo would acquire more courtesy and taste. Occasionally boarding schools turns out someone along the lines of the preppy skull-n-bones stereotype, but in real life their graduates are more likely to wind up playing the electronic Xylophone, and singing 50's toothpaste jingles while rubbing raw meat all over themselves as a part of a performance art ensemble.
And, when it comes to money, wealth does not guarantee it. Rich parents are famous for both miserliness and astonishing longevity. And when they do die, you will find that they have left their in inviolate trust to the golden retriever or the sad little brown children they plucked from some orphanage in a third world nation late in life -usually after the gardener is deported or the chauffeur marries someone his own age.

Poor families are much better to be from. Of course the poor family won't give you much breeding, but it will give you preparation for life. It is far more instructive to have a drunk parent right there in the tenement with you that it is to have a drunk parent off in Gstaad. Poor people also tend to scream at each other, never have any real pocket money, and are prone to some really creative violence. This is excellent preparation for becoming, say, president of a large corporation- what with the acrimonious board meetings, constant cash flow problems and corporate products and byproducts that maim and kill people. In fact, I think being poor is generally much better for getting rich that being rich is. Poor people have a lot of time on their hands and spend it thinking up inexpensive and easily marketed fads like crack.
There is also some dignity in being poor. A poor person who has made out even slightly good is more admired than a rich person that has only done slightly bad. We are, after all, a nation of immigrants, laborers, and what is known as the common man. In our modern popular mythology, the lower classes are decent hard working and possessed of simple piety and common sense- as long as they stay downwind. You proletarian dignity, however will do you no good if your kin are one of those that appear on reality television programs wishing to find what is commonly called in certain circles, their "Baby Daddy."

And then there is the rest of them, the Middle Class, that sliding scale of division that we all share knowledge of, or stuck in, with embarrassment. There is Dad, tiresome Tom with his mailman shoes and job selling wholesale something or another with a receding hairline and declining interests. Mom, out-of-it Olivia with her astronauts wife hair-do, MBA and pseudo-Tuscan designed flat in Yawnsville USA.
They might be your loving and devoted parents but the only possible thing to do is either distance yourself from them by telling everyone that they were eaten by pygmies on your tenth birthday while on safari in Ubangystan, or kill them yourself. You will probably get out of the mental hospital in five or six years and then sure as the sun will come up tomorrow there will be a big fat book deal waiting for you when you do. Tell your ghostwriter "I did it because of the little ceramic burro planters with ivy growing out of the little side baskets..." Every sensitive person will understand.
So, cheers.
Raw Diamond
1 oz 1800® Select Silver - 100 Proof Tequila
1/4 oz pear puree
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz agave juice
Combine ingredients and shake with ice Pour into a lightly salted highball glass

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zeitgeist, particular friend, perky libertine, animated trickster, iconoclast, rabble-rouser, object of worship, provocateur, capricious damp enchantress, idiosyncratic beloved reptile, whimsical saucy booze hound, bellwether, luminary, stoic, pensive illicit paramour, aloof, engaged, intuitive, curious, perplexing deranged mastermind, passionate, lasciviously adored offspring, amorous, sultry flamboyant charioteer, scholar, scribe, exalted thespian, voracious, considerable chieftain, impaired, cynical colleague, dreamer, procrastinator, loathsome glutton, artist, oppressed peasant, dainty heathen, narcissist, self-loathing...renaissance man