Fast Eddie

A somewhat recent transplant to San Francisco, I still frequently find myself in awe of the degree of unexpected and potent human interaction it facilitates.

My ironic status as an extroverted attention whoring single occupancy studio resident, coupled with my easy access to the 71L, has led me on regular solo adventures into the infamous Haight neighborhood. An unwavering exaggeration of this eccentric city at large, each of these adventures tends to produce its own unique flavor and, more often than not, the seeds of a meaningful connection.

A Canadian journalist interning in San Francisco and preparing for a harrowing move to New York to write for the Wall Street Journal. Intoxicating chats with “San Francisco thugs” ranging from Oakland inner city politics to the respective benefits of different “grill” styles. A pacifist liberal days from abandoning her comfortable city life to make new brothers and sisters of the armed forces as a U.S. Army medic stationed in Korea. Or perhaps the subject of today’s post: an alarmingly coherent, self-proclaimed prophet with sharp shoes and a recycled mink coat. This story is no more or less significant than any other, but its chronological prevalence makes it quick fodder for the idea it unwittingly inspired: this blog series.

I (along with an unusual addition to my Haightful adventures: a beautiful partner in crime) first encountered Fast Eddie following a brief stroll through Golden Gate park and a bit more time at one of its playground jungle gyms than “mature” adults should be allowed to enjoy. My overall constitution at the time rested somewhere between enlightenment and child like adoration for the world around me. The line between these two is likely blurrier than we’ve been led to believe 😉

This first encounter was little more than a graceful nod, a fleeting smile. We mused briefly over the surprising endurance of the sun on what was meant to be a particularly dreary day. Some time later, as my interest in exploration drew to a close and the parks exit loomed ever closer, Fast Eddie showed himself again. This time responding gingerly to a group of young, self-righteous drifters quipping obnoxiously about his out of place mink coat. He stopped for a moment to wave and wish them all a beautiful Sunday before carrying on with an unaffected bounce in his step.

Finding ourselves on the same fateful path, Eddie and I once again exchanged knowing smiles and nods, this time with undertones of recognition as he removed a glove to shake my hand. The street light’s timing paved the way for our ongoing exchange of courtesies. We continued past McDonald’s and its accompanying street toughs, Ronald himself catching a brief glimpse of our sidewalk waltz as the conversation meandered naturally from talk of our home towns to his days as a world traveler. He spoke briefly with conviction, but without judging or preaching, of the powerful company he kept as a man of god.

I’m miles removed from the shadow of even the world’s least adamant religious man. Yet even I mused for a moment, as the three of us walked together, that this must have been how Jesus happened upon his disciples: a generous smile, a positive demeanor, and a sincere interest in the people he came into contact with.

As we passed Amoeba Records, Eddie invited us to join him and, in a moment of mutual spontaneity, we accepted. He led us to the music listening stations with precision that gave him away as regular. The three of us danced together in a row and sang songs from the Doobie Brothers’ greatest hits before finally retiring to the inviting warmth of San Francisco’s urban landscape. As our time drew to a close, we chatted about his daughters, our studies, his new home, and even his dry cleaning woes before we parted ways.

In the simple things, and in the unexpected adventures it throws our way: Life is beautiful.

Ewige Blumenkraft!

I’ve created a new category for this blog titled “Adventures in Anarchy”. The name isn’t particularly important, but I plan to use this category as a placeholder for my philosophical, theological, technological, or just plain nonsensical links, rants, and drunken musings.

As most people close to me know, I’m a huge fan of the late anarchist, writer and occasional time traveler Robert Anton Wilson whose life and works are the true inspiration for today’s posting. I’m going to kick off this blog with a bit of musing over what I see as his most compelling philosophy.

Nothing “is”

RAW strongly believed that we can never know truth, but only our own perception of truth. He understood that all human comprehension is filtered through prejudice, fear, hate, love, and paranoia (“reality tunnels”) and that anything we experience will be naturally masked by those ancient primate emotions. RAW believed that the most dangerous concept is certainty, because it shuts minds off from alternate views, manufacturing ignorance which, in turn, commonly leads to war, misunderstanding and injustice.

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite RAW quotes:

“Nobody sees the obvious, nobody observes the ordinary. There are more miracles in a square yard of earth than in all the fables of the Church.”

“Belief is the death of intelligence.”

“It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.”

“Certitude is seized by some minds, not because there is any philosophical justification for it, but because such minds have an emotional need for certitude.”

“Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper.”

“The function of Theology? The recitation of the incomprehensible by the unspeakable to pick the pockets of the unthinking.”

“I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blow jobs. “Oh Random Chance! Oh Random Chance!” just doesn’t cut it!.”

“I just preach that we’d all think and act more sanely if we had to use “maybe” a lot more often. Can you imagine a world with Jerry Falwell hollering “Maybe Jesus ‘was’ the son of God and maybe he hates Gay people as much as I do” — or every tower in Islam resounding with “There ‘is’ no God except maybe Allah and maybe Mohammed is his prophet”?”

“Reversing a sentimental error of the ’60s, the new anti-war slogan should be MAKE ASSASSINATIONS, NOT WARS. And, best of all, if this idea catches on internationally we can expect at least 50 contracts on George Bush the first week.”

“The Snafu law holds that, the greater your power to punish, the less factual feedback you will receive. If you can fire people for telling you what you don’t want to hear, you will only hear what you want. This law seems to apply to all authoritarian contraptions, especially governments and corporations. Concretely, I suspect [Bush] knows factually less about the world than any dogcatcher in Biloxi.”

“You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you.”

“You know, I have found a new way to get high and stay spaced out for hours on end, and the government can’t stop me… It’s called senility.”

“I think I got off on the wrong planet. Beam me up Scotty, there’s no rational life here.”

Personal rants as well as book exerpts are available on his website. Additionally he authored portions of the Principia Discordia.

R.I.P.