Tuesday 9 January 2007

I was meant to be beaten up Charlie - if not by someone else, then by myself!

You know how your brain can drift off in strange directions. I was reading about how Archie Young, a 14 year-old chorister at Westminster Abbey, recently foiled a mugger on the streets of London. Having been told to hand over his iPod, the youngster just said
"I'd rather not!" and precipitated a conversation that ended up confusing the would-be thief, who eventually walked away.
Instead of delving deeper into the magazine interview, my mind settled upon a Saturday lunchtime a good few years back, when I met the Guru in the Quays.
Much to my horror, my friend's face was bearing the scars of a terrible beating. There was a fresh red bloody scabby wound on his chin, and across his forehead another fresh long gash that had only recently stopped bleeding.
Clearly the Guru had been in a punch-up, and inside me this triggered a deep hurt and a feeling of offence. Not offense, as in attacking, a desire to go out and rip to shreds the people who had done this to my mate, but offence, as if to say I felt offended by the world on the Guru's behalf.
I felt embarrassed to be part of a world that could do such a thing to a man like the Guru.
I have known him since I was nine years old, and as youths we broke plenty of rules, rebelled more than most, and since then have both made sure to live our own lives, and not those proscribed by others, or convention itself.
The Guru has for several decades been a student of Peace: a spiritual, vegetarian, non-violent human of the first order, neither cloying with hippy sweetness, nor burdened with annoying New Age Evangelical nonsensicals.
Sometimes he has been unable to enjoy within himself the calm he projects to others, but he looks at the world in a most balanced manner.
"Bloody hell mate! What happened to you? Who was it? Tell me their name!"
"I didn't get beaten up, Charlie. Somebody wanted to, but it never happened!"
"But but, so then but why did you that how...?"
"Okay, so last night I went out to Arus na Gael, and then decided to walk back home along the river. As I was going past the university residences, I saw this bloke having a go at his girlfriend. It didn't look pretty, so I sort of yelled out to him 'Oi!' "
"And then he came over and thwacked you?"
"Well no, but he stopped fighting with her, and they both turned on me, and I thought 'Oh blimey, why can't I keep my mouth shut!' "
"Then what?"
"Well then he was standing in front of me, telling me to mind my own fucking business, and he pulled his arm back to punch me in the face. Suddenly I spread my arms out wide, stretched out as far as they could go, and looked him in the eye, and smiled a huge smile at him, and stood there ready to take it. He hesitated and I was laughing, saying
'You're not really going to hit me are you? You don't really want to, do you?', and then we looked at each other for ages, while his girlfriend stood there telling him to do it."
"Gordhelpus Guru, you've got some nerve!" I offered, looking at my bloodied messed-up friend's face.
"Not really! You see, before I knew it, he had collapsed into my open arms and was weeping and hugging me, and saying over and over again that he didn't want to do it. We hugged for a while, and then he pulled away, nodded at me, grabbed his girlfriend's hand and walked away."
"Ayyy-mayyy-zing! Bloody hell! Only you mate! Only you! But if he didn't beat you up, how did you ...who did it?"
"I did it to myself Charlie!"
For a second I considered the possibility of the Guru self-flagellating, but instantly I knew he was as unlikely to harm himself as he was to attack another.
"But how?"
"Well, after they walked off I was filled with a powerful euphoria... I was so full of myself, burning with light and love, and oh aren't I great, and wasn't that wonderful, and all that stuff, that I didn't look where I was going. My foot must have hit a tree stump or something, because before I could take a single step, I fell flat on my face right onto the gravel, so suddenly and quickly that I had no chance to put a hand out or anything!'"
"..and that's how you...?"
"...yeh, that made this!" he said, pointing to his two bloodied wounds.
"So you managed to save yourself from a beating, but you ended up beating up yourself!"
"Well Charlie, the way I'm coming to see it is that I was meant to be beaten up last night, one way or another."
"Jeezus peezus Guru, sometimes your thinking goes a step too far for me!"
For a while I just couldn't stop laughing.
Then I looked at my friend's face, his poor innocent mashed-up face, and thought of how strange the other guy must have felt; how confused his girlfriend must have been; how amazing the Guru is, not only to try something like that, but also to pull it off, make it work, and quite possibly in the process change the other man's life for good.
Sometimes I just don't know what to say. At such moments as this, I find the following most helpful:
"Can I buy you a drink?"
"Oh, go on then!"
"Good. At least that makes sense to me!"
We raised glasses and looked each other in the eyes, laughed hearty head-thrown back manly guffaws at the wonder and madness of it all, and drank to life, l'Chaiim."
So messy is my desk that only today I found an item meant for the 2006 DV Awards.
Better late than never, the 'Freudian Slip When I Say Udders I Mean Mammy' DV for Meaning What You Said The First Time goes to the newsreader on Today FM, who reported that Taioseach Bertie Ahern had declared 2006 his 'Anus Horribilis'.
Possibly Bertie actually said it was his 'Annus Horribilis'; thereby admitting having had a terrible year, but I prefer to believe what the female journalist stated in her story: that Bertie really knows he's a dreadful arsehole.

1 comment:

Charlie Adley said...

I was sent this by email, but Angela wanted it posted to the blog, so here it is, all the way from the Bahamas!

Dear Charlie

Being a techno neophyte not to mention at that age where technology has already rapidly passed my ineptitude in the area of computers etc... I'm not sure if or how I'm supposed to reply to the blog on that site whatsit, so I'll just make a couple of comments here!

First of all, I wish we had a writer of your abilities on one of our 2 papers. I'm going to show your column to my freind John Marquis who is editor of The Nasau Guardian and has also written a book on the murder of Harry Oakes. And briefly on murders, I wonder if the death of Anna Nicole Smith's son here will become a similar unsolved crime as that of Sir harry with lots of juicy scandals and agendas.Unfortunately a 23 yr old boy I used to teach was found murdered on Paradise Island 3 weeks ago- lots of stories of rich kids, Columbian hookers, cocaine deals etc. I wonder if the truth will come out there, or if his wealthy father will pay off the appropriate officials if the truth proves to be unpalatable.

I understand completely how you felt driving along to Clifden through Connemara. In fact, I actually like Alf being away as it gives me a chance to enjoy more silence and reflection. As for the repugnant Xmas build up- enough said there.When Alf and I were driving in Cat Island, there were a couple of times that locals needed lifts and as there's no buses etc it wasnt a problem. One old chap, like many Cat Islanders with only few teeth in his head which were of yellow hue, had had quite a bit of rum in him and didnt much feel like chatting but smiled beatifically and announced that he was going to Thurston where he had a cow, one sweet-sweet cow!Another old lady called Emerald sent us "down the swamp road" to meet Diter and Sitella who made bush medicine. In fact they lived in the opposite direction, but we did buy the murky looking brew which is supposed to be a marvellous tonic and to which Sitella attributed her 23 pregnancies.

After about a week of ingesting the brew, bad tempered Alf declared that he was constipated and listless so it was dumped. However, we have also bought some bush medicine from Joyann, a taxi driver, who waited until the moon was right before sending it to me on Cat Island Air a couple of days ago. The box was addressed to Angelic Darville which I love and its contents are in the fridge till Alf comes back from the States on Friday.

I really enjoyed your story of the Guru which I read just before going to yoga. I have become good friends with the yoga teacher, Elaine, who is English via Boston and I am trying to get her a work permit so she can teach her legally as she is doing so at the moment illegally and if she's caught I doubt she'll be deported but it would scupper her plans for Permanent Residency.After yoga I went to my car mechanic who serviced my car, adjusted the brakes and fixed the lights for $60! When I thanked him for being helpful to Elaine [he rescued her after her wheel dropped off on the other side of town], he replied that being in his business gave him the opportunity to help people.Not too many people feel like that about their jobs or lives.

By the way, I have been here 27 years and as I still sound as if I just got off the plane I go through the same rigmarole as you do. Do I really sound like a tourist from London?

So if this ought to be on the blog put it there, if not I'll email you soon anyway

lots of love