A Call From The Garrigue.

That Poor Unsung Bastard Sleeping Rough.

That Poor Unsung Bastard Sleeping Rough.

In my entire life, I have only ever been honoured, with a word of admiration and thanks for my behaviour, on one occasion. That one occasion is worthy of a whole post on this blog.

I hesitate to write this tale, for fear of implying that I have in some way or other, deserved rather more gratitude than I have received.

This is not the case. I have in fact been blessed and surrounded by uniquely wonderful, carefree, loving people, leaving me asking the old, old, question, ‘Why me Lord, what have I ever done to deserve even one of my wonderful friends.’

That said, I am on the other hand, like many other men, a total bastard. What is more I have come to love my place in life and I am determined to retain my position in the glorious ranks of bastard-hood.

When I was a lad at school, a little Irish kid turned up one day. He was ridiculed for his accent, and he received probably more than his fair share of bullying.

I watched a couple of lads having a go at him one day and I walked up and boxed their ears and sent them packing and I told the little Irish boy to let me know if it happened again. After that he was never too far away from me at playtime.

One day I found him in a state of near panic. He explained that he had broken something or other and ‘sir’ was bound to ask who had broken it and cane the guilty. ‘Sir’ an ex army man, was cruel and caned hard.

Sure enough ‘sir’ did ask the guilty to raise their hand. I nonchalantly raised my hand and said, ‘It was me sir, I broke it.’I was ordered to the the front of the assembly, where ‘sir’ stood holding the cane.

At this point I should explain something. Even while at school, I was considered to be a dangerous bastard. As a result of my status, the headmaster proudly explained his adherence to the view of the headmaster of Rugby school, that by reason of the fact that I was a boy, I was either, doing wrong, had just done wrong or I was thinking about doing wrong, and in order to discourage my evil aims, every morning, for an extended period of time, I was given two strokes of the cane on each hand, as a deterrent. The fact that there were indeed other boys in the school, was ignored by ‘sir’ making me the schools undisputed, top bastard.

On the morning of the unusual reason for my caning, I asked the headmaster, if he had the intention of giving me a double dose of cane, in view of my dastardly crime. He hesitated and agreed that the usual four strokes would suffice. So my gallant act cost me nothing at all.

The rest of this tale is very odd. Having left school, I never saw that youngster again for many years until one evening I was drinking a beer in a bar and somebody touched me on the arm and asked me how I was.

I looked around and instantly recognised him, he was bigger, of course but his features were exactly as they had been when as a little boy, at school, I had taken care of him.

He told me that ever since those days, he had such admiration for my attitudes and behaviour, that he had spent his life, trying hard to be like me. It was the nicest thing, that anyone had ever said to me.

I laughed, telling him to be careful for what he wished, as I was still a bastard, who still needed the cane every morning. He laughed.

We had that drink together and parted and a short time later, I heard that he had died. I have never been sure, if he had purposely sought me out to thank me and to say a few nice words, knowing he was dying, or whether it was by sheer accident that our paths had crossed.

Some years later I went to London, with a friend to see a Bob Dylan concert. My friend had a friend, where we were welcome to spend the night, before the concert. We walked into the friends flat and a little boy ran up to us to say hello. I looked at this little chap and it would be fair to say that he did not simply resemble my friend from my school-days, he was my friend. I played with that little chap all afternoon and during the following morning before we left for the Dylan concert.

On the way to the concert I said to my friend, What a shame it was about his father’s death. I was assured that his father was still very much alive and came to visit him every two weeks. I asked who his father was. I was told a name and to my surprise I also knew the ‘father.’

I suppose if I had looked very hard at the features of the ‘father,’ I could possibly detect a slight semblance, but I was sure that should both men, my friend from school and my friend from my adult life, stand together with the child, the identity of the real father would be evident.

I said to my friend that the child was the double of a youngster whom had attended the same school as me, from the time he was about the same age as her friends child and he bore a strong resemblance to my friend.

I was asked my friend’s name. The response, to his name, was a chuckle and an explanation that the child’s mother did indeed have a flirtation with my friend, which was brought to an end by the intervention of the ‘wronged’ wife and that the child’s mother had remained with her husband, until the child was born. They then separated and the mother had moved to London.

I can report that the child’s ‘father’ had been a friend of mine and he was indeed a thoroughly decent man and I have no doubt he treated his boy very well.

That little tale of tangled love and deception is indicative of the duplicitous nature of women and lends weight to the prudent interdiction, which was placed on the discussion of dominant genes, in biology lessons, in inner London school-rooms, with regards to eye colour and other details of the genetic make-up of children, after it was found that thirty percent of ‘fathers’ were paying for other men’s children, believing them to be their own child. The figure of thirty percent, did not include illicit sex with a partner with similar genes to the mothers. It was felt best to keep the children in ignorance of their origins.

I knew my school-friends parents and his sister, in fact I knew all of his family, because we often met on Sundays after Mass. I was staggered that the little chap in London would be denied contact with his, Grandmother, Grandfather and Aunty and his Irish origins but what could I do?

That little boy had no idea, that he had just spent an afternoon with somebody, who had looked after his father, when his father was a frightened little boy. What a shame it is,  that women’s duplicity denies their own children of their heritage.

My original point, in this tale, being that life as a bastard, is not that easy to maintain, as with the tale of my school-friend, one can, without even noticing, slip into a position, which could quite possibly, give the completely wrong impression of your ‘real’ nature and achievements and genuine right to your place, amongst the worlds bastards.

You need to be on the alert all the time, because there are many genuinely nice, decent folk, depending on your acceptance of your complicity in your own guilt and damnation, in order to maintain their own belief in their good and genuine stainless character.

Without your gracious acceptance of their explicit hatred of bastards, they could well find themselves having to face up to their own short-comings, which many really nice folk are far too humble and proud to stoop to such a low-level as to suggest that they could be guilty of anything.

Who indeed could ask for more from life, than that of the role of the eternal bastard, bearing the burden of the complaints of the good on their broad shoulders? Let’s hear it for life’s unsung bastards, we are legion and proud.

The next time you come across some poor bastard, drunk and sleeping rough in the cold, give him a dime and thank him for his courage in suffering for your good feelings about yourself.

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