Episode I – Retrospectus

My life wasn’t always extraordinary. In fact, like most people’s lives, it started as a paradigm of normalcy. There was no traumatic moment, no mark of destiny to foretell that at some point my otherwise normal life would leave the standard path. I’m not sure when the experiences began to take over my personality and shape my life. Perhaps it was when the experiences were told and became stories; once told in oral form, they gained different aspects, reaching out into different parts of my psyche and obscuring my common sense from the rationality of the age. The stories changed me – as I sit here, old but yet young, the physical changes they wrought are easily apparent in the rough healed perforations of old wounds.

As for changes in my mental state, that is a quandary that is best left for late nights. When I look back on the stories, it is as if my life is represented as a bunch of slides in a box, each moment representing a fragment of my identity. Each slide has a story and each slide is me. I can remember a time without stories; and yet I cannot, as they have become so firmly rooted. It might have all began when I was a small child. I lived on books and my imagination in a Don Quixote mindset. These beginnings would easily explain why I would tilt at windmills as I grew.

It is entertaining to look back at that boy and smile at what he became. However, time changes all easily; now, I find myself as a throwback to an earlier time. My credos are simple, yet numerous. I believe in coming to grips with my enemies, one on one tangible action. I believe in Machiavelli and sublime philosophical musings that make my head spin. I try to exemplify the classical virtues of wit and charm, and use my education at etiquette school to be as chivalrous as possible. Music enthralls me; fine art can send my neurons into flights of fancy. Discovery lurks around every corner, from science, to random alleyway exploration. Adventure is a fact of life, not some black and white word that was printed on a page – just as life was meant to be lived, not watched. Invariably, no matter the odds, a risk is always worth taking.

With such lofty ideals, it should come as no surprise that I’ve undertaken many diverse activities with assorted equipment. In such, I’ve tried to abide most of all by what would be considered an existential mantra – that I could take any action as long as I could bear the consequences fully and completely. While practical, this mantra does not track exactly with the laws of many – or all jurisdictions. Moreover, it is a mantra that may not be effectively applied by all. After all, taking full responsibility is a concept that staggers the mind. While I am not the sort who regrets my life, I do sometimes realize that my choices at times could have been more judicious. Suffice to say, that one should not seek to emulate my actions as they were most likely quite foolish.

With background and warnings in hand, this then brings us to the central theme of this discussion: the stories. There are tales that require imagination. There are tales that require calculation. There are tales that require a dry wit. There are tales that require disbelief and acceptance. And there are many more tales and many more categories. I will not categorize my stories, but leave you to judge where they fall. To some, they may be righteous truth; to others, utter balderdash and rubbish; and to others still, some description in between the two. I think my friend; Oso Blanco summed it up best after talking with me one day. In short, he stated, “With your stories, I’m not sure if you’re a man – or you’re setting yourself up to be a legend. But in the end, I don’t think it matters.” But that is all conjecture – and I will leave conjecture and venture forth, where the fog of memory covers all in a distant past, where the last adventure is the story.