Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mr E Mann

So here it is, early Saturday morning when only the extremely dedicated of the bunch are rising to meet the challenges of the day or are still awake after "keeping watch" through the night. We hadn't spent any of these together over the past few years, but there was a time, in another life that the passage of Friday into Saturday could not be marked without doing some "hanging out" with one Eric Mann.

We would mostly inebriate away our insecurities and fears, celebrate our favorite literary, television, movie, and musical obsessions, and ponder what it meant to be alive. A real life philosophical discussion about the meaning of life, a political rant of epic proportions, a declaration of the unreality of everything beyond our immediate perception, nothing was off limits, we fed our demons with reckless abandon. We were the worst of influences on one another, and that is what made it as inevitable as the sunrise that we would be friends.

My heart is heavy that we hadn't been as close as we were as young men, I think we both knew that life works that way, we meet, we mingle, we befriend, we migrate, we drift, intersections become fewer between us all until they are as infrequent and random as strangers.

To say that I am having a hard time accepting that you are gone would be an understatement. I find myself longing to hear just once more how we are "getting fucked, fucked right in the asshole" by some government, corporate or personal demon, to laugh at the sheeple blindly following the rules that will turn them into cannon fodder for the war machine, to pass between us the understanding that this moment is all that we have. I want to see a sunrise one more time, to awkwardly and stiffly hug to mark the end of our journey together.

Thank you for staring into the darkness with me and being my friend, thank you for understanding those broken parts of me that will never be fixed, thank you for the adventures and for the encouragement to rebelliously believe differently as a matter of principle.

Travel well my friend, know that you are loved and missed and that I am "crying like a little bitch." ;)

Monday, June 9, 2014

(In The Event of My Untimely Demise) How the Dragon Got His Name

Happy Half Birthday Jiraiya Dragon Johnson! Today I want to share with you the story of your name, I hope to be able to tell you the story over and over, but, I thought it would be nice for you to have it in writing.

Your first name, Jiraiya (児雷也 meaning "Young Thunder" or 我来也 meaning "I came") came from my favorite cartoon, Naruto, where Jiraiya is a teacher and father figure to the main character. He is sometimes a bit of a deviant and is frequently up to trouble, this coupled with his hope for a better future made him my favorite personality in the series. The character in the Naruto series was inspired by another Jiraiya, which was the starring character in a Japanese folk tale "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya" in which he is a scoundrel of a ninja who becomes reformed after an encounter with a magical toad who teaches him toad magic in exchange for a promise that he will no longer target anyone who does not deserve punishment. My hope in giving you this name is that it will serve as a reminder to be fair, to be loyal, to never give up and to always have time for a laugh.

You can read more about the inspirations for your first name here and here. You can watch episodes of Naruto here, or watch episodes of Naruto Shippuden here.

Your middle name, Dragon, was largely due to the fact that when you were conceived in New Zealand, I took to calling you Smaug, the dragon from J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. I called you this because like the dragon in the story you swept in from out of nowhere (your mother and I believed that becoming pregnant again was impossible) and burned up all of our preconceived notions of living in a far away land and paved the way for a much different story than what we were anticipating when we traveled to New Zealand. It also serves as a reminder of our time in New Zealand, because there was a movie made telling the story of The Hobbit and that movie was made in New Zealand. We also happened to see this film while camping at the Cable Bay Holiday Park in Nelson, NZ. I find it important to note that although Smaug is a villain in The Hobbit, that without him, none of the rest of the story of The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings series would have been possible, and they comprise another of my very favorite stories. Your mother did not much care for the name Smaug, and instead took to calling you Dragon and effectively got others to start referring to you as Dragon as well. Since dragons in general are just plain cool, and because I got to choose your first name, we agreed that Dragon would make a wonderful middle name. My hope in giving you this name is that it will remind you that your very existence is magical, the story of how you came to be is a series of impossible events that came together perfectly in a far away land where a new adventure was bound to be started.

You can read more about Smaug here.

I hope that you always remember that your names mean something and that you take inspiration in your adventures from the stories that gave them to you.

I love you,
Your Dad