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On Meeting A Singular, Cynical Gentleman
On Meeting A Singular, Cynical Gentleman

© Jay Walker


10 Minutes   10.8K    391

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To AK - May your shoelaces always be tied so you never have to bend.

      My eyesight began to grow cloudy without providing a rationale for such actions. The salty discharging waters proved too much for my feeble eyes as enlightenment finally dawned on me: I had forgotten to take off my bifocals while showering. One of the many incidents where and when my senses took off on a journey to the unknown, only to return decades later with no sense of shame or familiarity. No sense of shame reminds me of a particular individual. Not any individual but one of those rare kinds who are a cross between an Angel and the Devil himself. He's more of an Angel of Melancholy, to be perfectly fair to him.

       His finest morals were made out of the highest degree of cynicism and the only virtues he had were related to cuisine and pabulum-the latter, on occasions, of the intellectual kind. Often times he came across as an intellectually astute highbrow man with no regards for human sensitivities. But in truth, he just had no regards for human sensitivities. Familial ties and relations disinterested him  and he is a firm believer that for the sake of one's progress, one must leave their household and the nagging questions about their education and marriage behind.  Of course the fact that he still lives with his parents has to be overlooked as guidance and forewarnings are best given out to other people and avoided closer to home.

      Meanwhile all is thrown together and mixed in the blender producing in front of us a man who's a cynical pessimist with a touch of sadistic nihilism. Prayers were sent to heaven and songs were sung in the glory of God when this individual retained his sense of humour when everything else left. His mere arrival in a room had the efficacy to bring down the spirits of the liveliest people and even someone of the magnitude and capability of Jay Gatsby would struggle to show him a good time, old sport. Although we hardly see eye to eye on matters of utmost importance, it does well to have him around, even if it is to see him belittle issues of tremendous seriousness and high truth. This man (and self-proclaimed  Übermensch) was a lot of things. What he could never be accused of was being artificial. Or of hard labour or giving his one hundred percent but that's beside the point. He was well and truly vile and horrific at times but what kept most of us engaged and a part of his company was his unwavering belief in legitimacy and honestly.

     He was a man of excellent classical education and a literati of the supreme kind. Some people were led to believe by such facts that he would know how and when to be tactful and on what occasions to take refuge under diplomacy. Time for artificiality, he had not. For instance, once we had to take sanctuary inside a café due to some heavy downpour and on our way in, we encountered a family huddled closely together and conversing over a cup of hot cocoa. Of course, my friend has a penchant for eavesdropping and passing down his unwanted opinion whenever he saw fit. The woman asked her child how the school had been on this fine day and what new things did he learn while there. My friend turned to me and loudly proclaimed, "Nothing is ever new in your life. You just gain a developed and a much more recent perspective with an unfamiliar mindset to go. Otherwise most of us are doomed to rot with our old stagnant selves. Nothing new will ever truly come up and smack you in the face unless you vehemently shake the tree of wisdom and let the all powerful fruit fall on your head, bringing with itself glories unknown and unheard of. Sadly, most children these days are engrossed in shaking a different kind of tree which only leads to the development of the serpent, not the child."

Shock and horror are not the words that do justice to the silence and the looks that followed. I had to pretend to be overcome by a bout of sever cough to suppress my laughter. The family tried their best to ignore my good friend and continued the talk with their son and how he needed to hang in there, study harder, play a little less in order to up the grades. But they underestimated my friend for he never went down without a proper fight. He kept needling them with little comments every now and then, without taking the slightest notice of what they were actually up to till they finally turned to us in a flash of anger. Just the kind of entertainment my friend was looking for. The best time to undress a human being's intellect is when they are conquered by rage and wrath and are hardly in control of their wit, just needing a little push over the edge to fall to their final misery. The husband of the woman who spoke earlier, stood up and uttered to us with his feigned, snake-like politeness. " Do you two gentlemen mind? We're trying to have a genuine, intellectual conversation here with our son, who I believe possesses more brains and acumen in his little toe than you two do in your bodies. Combined." With this he sat down, I'm sure with a feeling of someone who had just made their mark, and thought nothing but handshakes and pats on the back were in order now. My friend did not pay an ounce of attention to this little outburst and took this as the opportunity to sip his untouched glass of water and pretend he had been thirsty since his ancestors arrived via the Mayflower. After what seemed decades, he put his glass down and continued to me in the calm yet loud manner. " There is absolutely nothing worse in this world than pseudo-intellectuals who believe they can spout any crass view just because they have an opinion. What's even worse than that is teaching their kids about life and its precious lessons while sitting inside a café. Such kids grow up to have dead-end jobs or become one of those fat Physical Education teachers who are the bane of every kid who actually wants to achieve something instead of sitting indoors and claiming to posses intelligence in a body part they don't even need. Parenting used to be about making your little one someone. Now it's about making your child anyone and anything as long as they can exist as a mere particle in this unholy mess, no matter how insignificant that may be." The curses and tears that came next do not need to be mentioned. Our work here was done. My friend had probably wrecked another household. Did he mind? Not in the slightest. Or he might have made a child see sense. Opinions and perspective, nothing new here.

    When he's not indirectly parting wisdom, my good friend tends to fill his time by being the epitome of pessimism. The bouts of cynicism and pessimism is naturaliter. A close associate of ours who we did not talk about much passed away recently when an ambulance hit him while he was on his way to offer his prayers to the almighty. We decided that a visit to his house on the funeral day was a must as people tend to get juicer with the details when a soul has perished and the one talking is intoxicated-not with emotions. My friend arrived at the house of the departed and declared that humanity had suffered a great loss as our friend had always been a brilliant source of buffoonery and the butt of many a wisecracks. He proceeded to console the wife of the deceased by convincing her how a man's days are numbered anyway and especially of someone like her husband who only got stability once during his lifetime- when he was comatose due to slipping and falling head first on the marble while watering his plants. "It's a dark pit this life, my good woman" My friend assuaged the widow. "Although ideally your husband should have expired a long time back and it was slightly short-sighted of him to cling onto what was left of his life even though he knew there was only one way out and we all had to embrace it sooner rather than later. But all this triviality aside, for death is an old and routine phenomena, this combination of dips with extra cheese is incredibly ingenious and cannot be imitated by a hand which is inferior. I must congratulate you on this. As for you husband, his time had come, like yours will after a week or a year, or maybe less." The lady tried to hide her blush from the compliment by feigning a dry sob and shaking her head. My friend continued, "Even though your husband was not a man of either great importance or personality, no one can fill the void left by him, especially after his elephantiasis spread to the legs. But worry not, mourn not, my good lady, for you shall join him soon, maybe the next wink. I detest the mortals who pity the dead and weep for them. They are now free from the contrived ties and the forceful conversations. No more pretending to be elated for someone who secured a position for the foreseeable future without ever knowing the true substance of failure. For failure and death greet but everyone. Embraces him a place now where one never has to conform to meet either acceptance or justification; and no more staring into the deep abyss of expectations that pierces one so deep that those dent tend to linger in the very core of their existence. The question of the utmost importance now is that do you happen to have a nectar to wash the dip down and complete my presence?" Surely when the lady turned away with a nod she went to look for Hemlock. We moved on and away from all the celebration of the death and my friend heaved a great sigh. Something was amiss. Something still bothered him. It was the dip with cheese. He blamed all the pointless weeping that made him forget to pack some for home. But nevertheless, he congratulated the inanimate and his wife for arranging a top-notch caterer for the funeral.


   His insensitivity and straight-forwardness was always food for thought. In a world where peasants piled misery upon their miserable selves in order to impress a person of menial relevance, it was refreshing to see a man born out of his time, breathing the same air as every other mortal but producing thoughts that were politically incorrect yet something that was similar to enlightenment if you shun the unnatural deceit humanity covered itself with. Beyond a desire for superior company and the need for perpetual recognition stands a man, very alone in his pessimistically cynical self, purifying the intellect of those who cared enough to look past all the singularity and eccentricity. Still, he stands all alone, unattended, unattached, unaware, unaided, unassisted-and we mere mortals conform and adjust . Each one of us, each one of us fights a losing battle to stand out. So much so that we all end up standing at the same place. However, not him. Not my dear friend. Alas, we're with the majority and he's but one human being. But a human being who has risen above the social norms and expectations that tie an average citizen. Yet, we're the majority and he's but one man, a lonesome, man. A man living by his own set of rules, although detached. The majority always prevails and we, you and me, we're the majority. The question that pricks the senses now- who is insane? The accommodating and adjusting society, or a man roused beyond desires and expectations. I have a feeling it's not my friend. 

Cynicism Conformity Pretentiousness Meaninglessness Societal norms

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