Badass Motherfucker

I thought about you a few weeks ago. I wondered what you’d think of my band and, more importantly, what you would think of my vocals. We haven’t spoken in a while, years, but when we jammed back in high school (almost 8 years ago now) and you treated me and my fellow guitarist at the time to an excellent performance of Cradle of Filth’s rendition of “Hallowed Be Thy Name” I remember thinking, “Fuck, I wish I could do that.” Now I’m a vocalist too, and I can do that, and I wanted you to see.

I guess the most important question I wondered was, “What would you think of me?” I know exactly what I think of you; you are the most badass motherfucker I have ever met. That’s what I tell everybody; even though years have gone by and we haven’t spoken much, you are the person I enjoy arguing is the most badass motherfucker I have ever met.

I would argue this because when your honor was insulted, you did not let it slide—and when the honor of the people you cared for was offended, you would make the offender realize his mistake. The best part about arguing this were the specific stories illustrating your badassery, often involving a fist to some unlucky offender’s face. Violence wasn’t always the answer, but it was an option you weren’t afraid to take.

You weren’t without your vices, but you weren’t without your humility when brought to face them. When you did something wrong, you owned it and you apologized if an apology was called for. You were quick to listen to reason and always sought to cut through the bullshit of an argument—there was no point “getting mired in petty shit”, because you were above that. When things went wrong, your resolve rarely wavered, and if it was, you bounced back promptly, often meeting bad circumstances with good humor. That’s the sort of strength I admire in you.

When we were friends, you used to teach me a lot; more of a teacher by example than by instruction.

When I thought about you a few weeks ago I considered messaging you, but I figured we’d catch up eventually. That was a mistake. Nothing now can change my stupid decision then and, don’t worry, I’m not stressing that anything I could have reasonably done then would have changed how things are now: That’s the petty sort of shit that you warned me about.

You’ve taught me something recently though, not through instruction but again by example; you taught me not to ignore those opportunities to remind someone that you’re thinking of them and to touch base, even if it’s something small. One doesn’t always get that chance to catch up and when the opportunity arises one should seize it. I may not have told you directly about the impact you’ve made in my life, but I hope you knew about it.

You are a badass motherfucker. You are missed. I wish I could tell you.

Aphorisms I

No Regrets1. Beauty will fade and passions will diminish, but two things are forever; love and death.

2. Death is nothing to fear; what dies within us as we live is far more terrifying.

3. Live lovingly and you will love life; that is the secret to living a life of happiness.

4. Never be satisfied with where and what you are; that is the secret to living a life of accomplishment.

5. People look without seeing, hear without listening, and touch without feeling; if only they could see how pointless their lives are!

6. Life ticks by mercilessly and it is better to live recognizing that your life is short — there are only so many tomorrows; this is the secret to living a life without regrets.

7. Regret is an invalidation of one’s own life and experiences. It is the first step towards emotional suicide.

8. The solution to all problems in life is simple: don’t do anything you will regret.

(Originally written January 3, 2011)

Christopher Hitchens

What is lost when we die and what remains? Do we leave an impression behind? Will that impression simply wash away? All the rivers run into the sea and still the sea is not filled.

The wisest words I have read on death to were written by Marcus Aurelius.

If any god told you that you shall die tomorrow, or certainly on the day after to-morrow, you would not care much whether it was on the third day or on the next, unless you had a very degraded spirit for how small is the difference? So think it no great thing to die after as many years as you can count rather than tomorrow.

Think continually how many physicians are dead after often fretting over the sick; and how many astrologers after predicting with great pretensions the deaths of others; and how many philosophers after endless discourses on death or immortality; how many heroes after killing thousands; and how many tyrants who have used their power over men’s lives with terrible insolence as if they were immortal; and how many cities are entirely dead, so to speak, Helice and Pompeii and Herculaneum, and innumerable others. Add to the total all whom you have known, one after another. One man after burying another has been laid out dead, and another buries him: and all this in a short time. To conclude, always observe how ephemeral and worthless human things are, and what was yesterday a little mucus to-morrow will be a mummy or ashes. Pass then through this little space of time in the way of nature, and end your journey in contentment, just as an olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew.

Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break, but which stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.

In reading Christopher Hitchens’ last Vanity Fair article, before his death yesterday, you can read the thoughts of a man who lived as such a cliffstanding firm against turbulent waters. Battered by cancer and the radiation to combat it, he pressed on to a bitter end but left behind sweet memories to those, such as I, that regard him as the intellectual hero he was.

Christopher Hitchens will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.