Archive for death

Papelón

Posted in Deep Thoughts, True Stories with tags , , on July 30, 2015 by dissectingthefetalpig

309997_3784422283647_1146279901_nHe was an enigma among enigmas.  No one was sure about where he had come from or how he came to be. Rumors circled about him.  He was an American.  Or at least I presumed, as he never spoke Spanish and his English bore no accent.  Some had said he was a successful business man who snapped and evolved into this homeless mentally ill man who I had come to watch and study.  Others had mentioned that his family had moved there and that upon their deaths he was left alone to wander.  I’ve even been told that his name may have been Arturo and that at one point his mental illness hadn’t been so bad.  Whatever the truth may be, I’ll never be certain.  What I am certain of is that his mental faculties had been frayed beyond repair.  He showed signs of schizophrenia and perhaps had multiple personalities.  It wasn’t uncommon to see him have a conversation with himself, sometimes shuffling from one side of where he was perched to another as if he was doing a one man play.  Nor was it completely unusual to see him bang on walls with all of his might and scream his lungs off in the middle of the night.

Papelón was interesting in his own right.  He would take pieces of metal or rocks that he found and rub them on the street till they were shiny and looked like some sort of raw metal nugget.  He’d trade his currency for cigarettes and other goods.  So it is not to say he didn’t have a little pride. It also wasn’t unusual to catch him masturbating in the street or drinking rusty waters from the gutters during a heavy rainfall.  He also had a thing for drinking hot sauce. I at first had only heard about his peculiar taste and thought it to be absolute bullshit.  That is until the day I actually had to stand next to him on-line at the grocery store as he purchased a small bottle with some spare change he had scraped up and proceeded to open and drink it as he sauntered out of SuperMax.  The dealers in La Perla would even give him some free weed time and again too.  As much as he was harsh on the senses, he was in fact part of the neighborhood.

Almost every morning I’d see him in front of Senzala, where I worked.  He had a thing for sleeping in front of the shop.  I would shoo him away to the next stoop with very little hassle.  Rarely did he cause any problems.  And, if he did, it was usually during like what seemed to be a bad mood swing.  Occasionally he’d leave a bodily function as a present.  After a while he’d see me coming from the end of the block and move.  It was fairly civil for what it was.

There was one incident that always haunted me with him.  I was stumbling home drunk and coked out of my mind, which was my own horrible way of self-medicating my own mental illness at the time, and he was sitting under the doorway of an old abandoned building towards the end of Calle San Sebastian where he would also sleep occasionally, grinning and laughing to himself.  As I got closer, his laughing was louder and he looked dead at me and said “You’re gonna be like me” or something to that effect in his usual multi-pitched and comical sounding snarl.  It chilled me for some reason and still leaves me feeling rather perplexed.  What did he mean?  Was he studying me too?  Perhaps.  He was, after all, a man with nothing but time on his hands.

When I left back for The States, I would think about him and the other motley characters I’d see on the island and wonder how they were holding up.  Recently on a visit back to PR I ventured throughout the old city and saw no trail of him.  The Cat Lady that wore too much make-up was still around as were The Junkie Sisters (one of whom I thought had died long ago). The Little Brown Submarine, The Cougar, The bum I had mentally named Clancy and even The Iguana Man were still easily to spot, but Papelón was nowhere to be seen.  I had felt cheated.  Sadly, as I was collecting my girlfriend’s suitcase back in JFK, I got the news.  He had died.  Part of me was saddened to never see him again.  He was pretty humorous in the sense that he was homeless and lived his life like a very twisted permanent vacation.  I’ll never see him wearing clothes left by tourists or his paper hats anymore, nor will I ever get to learn his mystery and that, in its own right, is a tragedy.

Sleep well, Papelón, may your new shelter be more cozy and luxurious than your former.

Better Luck Next Time

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Rants with tags , , , , on November 10, 2012 by dissectingthefetalpig

They say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” as an uplifting statement when you’ve had a brush with death or when you’ve had an accident. Maybe even when you’ve just gone through a raw ordeal. It makes perfect sense. The more incidents that occur, the keener you get (hopefully) and you try not to repeat any mistakes.

I, on the other hand, say “Better luck next time”. I figure the Grim Reaper is getting pretty fed up with my wily antics and last minute get-a-ways, so I encourage him to try a little harder. I’d hate for him to get mad at me and take it personal. When I take shit personally I have a tendency to hurt the other person more. It’s a normal human reaction. So it makes perfect sense to show some encouragement and hope that your retirement package is something lavish and glorious rather than something slow and painful.

It’s simple math really:

Dying in bed banging a beautiful woman >; Dying from dysentery in the middle of a desert.

Or…

Having a mediocre life, heavy in debt due to lack of insurance, the wife stopped loving you years ago and your kids want to cash in on insurance as cancer ravages your body and you pray for death to come quickly <; Going down in a hail of bullets after a heroic battle that changed the course of history because, although you are about to die, you somehow managed to save the world and people are going to name their babies after your amazing ass.

What would be even worse is if death got frustrated and gave up on you. You outfox him and live forever. That would seem ideal at first. But you get to watch everything and everyone you love die. Your body may betray you or you sustain a serious injury that you may have to live with for an eternity. Imagine being in an accident that cuts you in half and you have to spend forever with no legs. Or the world blows up and you float in space forever like a lost meteor. These are terrible scenarios I never want to experience. Which is more reason to encourage death to practice and put me in a first class coffin.

The Cost Of Living

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2011 by dissectingthefetalpig

Life is cheap

It doesn’t cost a dime

You are just the byproduct of two people fucking

Possibly strangers

Strangers wrapped up in the heat of the moment

Acting like two animals in heat

Then you are born…

Even then all you have known and accumulated

can simply cease.

A lifetime of work decimated within seconds

Moments

When you die, people reflect on your worth

They mourn their loss

Posthumously you’ve become an asset

Even though you were worth something all along

and you probably never knew it


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