Saturday, March 24, 2012

Excerpt from Legendes, a new memoir by Charles Paradise

Early November night, 1990 Thoughts from a crashed X-Wing

I sit alone in my four cornered room staren at candles. Oh that shit is on? Yo, let drop some shit like this.


A couple nights later I was lying in bed on my back looking at my ceiling with a smile on my face. I was getting by barely and the stakes as well as devious thoughts were only becoming grander in my mind. In good times or bad even quasi ordinary I always fell asleep at night pulling the covers over my head pretending I’d crashed my X-wing fighter over a distant planet in a major galactic battle. My scanner was busted and no one could find me, nothing but the heat worked and of course my trusty R-2 unit. In this contrived setting however phantasmagorical was how I made a clear transmission to Jesus. Jesus always helped get me to sleep lying in bed filled with a surface tension of brimming thoughts.

In the back of my mind I thought happily, it’s so legal. The quickest way to become a legend was win a state title and your done. One will never hold the world in their own grasp but it was interesting the powers granted to you if others around you held this perception especially in Astori. And I could never really figure out what it truly meant.

And it was the legends perpetual analeptic arousal that could forever satisfy my gargantuan strand of ADHD and the constant attention required to bear it relatively tame

. I know what a legend is

In order to understand you must first believe in the untouchable art of playing off smoothly the fact that you don’t give a fuck. Analogous to being “made” it was like Harvard, the toughest part was getting in. The question facing a legend was how much shit could you get away with in high school and this would be measured through the years by what you accomplished later. There’s nothing legendary about jail. And legend, it became cliché like the word classic for an ESPN generation but in Astori, back then as a kid you had to have a pellucid understanding if you ever hoped to be mentioned by one to another, that conversation. It was the melding of two polar points centering opposite worlds. And it’s what we lived to chase. And it was an art. It was our genesis to get away now and pay taxes later.

What was your understanding of the thin line that separated you vs. them, the real from the fake truth from the illusion, curtain to legend? And your early teenage years ignorance was at a premium. All’s we knew was we had to be one. Mike had a more precocious handle on all that it encompassed. Being a legend was my Harvard, Hayden was my cabstand and we were determined to honor tradition.

The common folk or fringe players of the time will coddle the tales twenty years later. It’ll be a frosty Christmas Eve and the chap’s only friend from high school he still really keeps in touch with has come over. Their families have since retired for the evening amidst warm associations due to coming events. The two buds who spent a lot of time not drinking buds and studying together in high school sit awake enjoying cold Samuel Adam’s out of tall chilled one pour mugs. Recollecting another time in the tight security of saved money, successful careers, fresh cut lawns and content lives these two are witnessing the facilitation of dialogue that such soothing circumstances promote (after a fresh gulp).

“Ow Tom, jeez you know, that kid really was a fucking legend.”

More than anything in the world a legend is all I ever prayed to be. For it was the legend, the chosen few that could within their realm carry an entire army to the greenest sky or dark basement of needles lost. It could go either way and it was the legend for the most part that decided. That it could go either way captivated stale audiences even in the general dryness of the early nineties. That it was this person that would decide history corroborated his standing in the halls of Astori. He was marked. When it goes the right way it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. All the takes are perfect as you couldn’t film it any better than what you’re currently so blessed to be around. The opposite was also true. A legend in Astori was a living Jedi Knight. Good looking and witty a legend has truly been blessed with all the curses and the gifts and it came down to managing the two for that coveted title which was all any of us ever wanted to be. Basketball would get us there. Being a legend was something inherent that floated the wind at your back, something that made your strength genetic regardless of slight. I always stayed up watching Arsenio Hall until my eye-lid became that thousand pound weight. I understood the goal. I never slept intentionally. One of the perks of being in trouble was having my own TV. And right before the crash. No I lay me down to sleep I pray the lord my sole to keep, if I die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take. God bless my motha, father, sister and all the other family in the world and all the other people in the world even those bad bad people so they can become good people.

(Lights out) I’d been saying the exact same prayer as much as I could remember to do it since I was five, before the lawnmower accident.

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