Sunday, October 28, 2012

Both Sides Now

2009:


Rick hated them, loathed them.  He was not a hypocrite, you see, because though he liked to get fucked up, he still sat in a cubicle playing World of Warcraft all day so he could afford the roof over his head and the pills in his gullet.  No, he was nothing like those boys, those scheming, gold-digging urchins who charmed their way into established gentlemen's beds, all the while devoid of any sense of obligation or gratitude.  How they preyed upon their hosts, who were merely being kind and hospitable!  Rick was offended by them, the opportunistic addict trash.  And if the target of Rick's Archie Bunker, Jr. umbrage was defenseless and unpopular, so much the better.

What a contrast, then, was the attitude of my late friend John.  In his mid-60s he was on his way out due to renal failure.  As the months of agony wore on, John took a moment to lament his less than benevolent role in the lives of those some might consider disposable.  With tears in his eyes, John repented of his "baggy daddy" ways.  It was a source of regret that he had fed at the trough of youth and beauty these hapless, stupid, lost boys would possess for so short a time.  I accepted John's deathbed contrition with my trademark equanimity, at once gently forgiving and sphinx-like, which is so often my wont when others spill their souls to me.

Looking back, I wish Rick and John could have met.  I'm pretty sure one of them would have taught, and one would have learned.  Oh, well.