The Rum Drinker

A long long time ago I read an article about a far far away land where elephants would ransack villages in order to steel and drink rum. Imagine a herd of those juggernauts crashing their way into your local bar... Wouldn't that be a story.
Anyway, not too long ago I found myself at a zoo and one of the elephants there caught my eye. We'll call him Sarabi. Sarabi was a big, mean looking fucker. Remembering the article and after a closer look, I realized he also had a bit of bitterness in his eyes; like a disgruntled drinker who's been barred from his local establishment. It must have been awhile since his last drink as zoos tend to have a no-alcohol policy. The thing is, elephants have good memory, so I'm pretty sure this sad bastard hasn't forgotten the bittersweet nectar that makes your problems go away, that gets your heart racing and that changes you from a shy introvert into a charmingly funny guy when talking to pretty elephant girls. No. Sarabi hasn't forgotten.
For a second he looks at me and I think to myself: I understand your pain my friend, but if it's a Saturday night and you try to put your paws on my rum and coke, you and me are going to have a problem, you over-sized steroid-doused peanut muncher. Buy your own fucking drinks, Sarabi.


The Unknown Girl

Meryl's grandmother has known her since she was nothing but stardust. She's known her since she was just an idea in her parent's dreams. She's known her since she was simply atoms connecting together to form the basic molecules of life. She's known her since she was but strands of DNA being torn apart. She's known her since mitoses created two halves. She's known her since an egg was fertilized and since a tiny heart first started to pump. She's known her since she was just a child with the smile of an angel.

Now Meryl is 19 and her grandmother doesn't know her anymore. Meryl went off to college to become a chemist and never thinks to call. When she visits, she barely speaks. Her clothes are different. Her hair is different. Even the way she talks is different. Maybe Meryl has a boyfriend now or maybe she's lonely and sad. She doesn't know. Even though she raised her, Meryl has become a stranger. People grow, people change. To her grandmother, Meryl has become the unknown girl.


Christopher McCandless

"Happiness only real when shared."

There are many lessons that can be learned from the adventurous life of Christopher McCandless (1968-1992) aka Alex Supertramp, but none of them scare the shit out of me like the one he wrote in his journal shortly before his death. Words for all lone wolves to chew on.


The Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty (Donald) sat on a wall (silver spoon)
Humpty Dumpty (Donald) had a great fall (was hit by a car)
All the King's (Donald's father) horses (doctors) and all the King's (Donald's father) men (therapists)
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty (Donald) back together again.

Donald's father is a wealthy medical doctor who owns a chain of clinics. When his son was in an accident he employed all his wealth and staff to make him good again. Unfortunately, not all the riches of the world could fix Donald. It's not easy to accept that things can be out of our hands. Especially when you control an empire of prevention and security as huge as Donald's father does. Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing you can do. A silver spoon is no guarantee of safety and no scepter of power can prevent you from falling.


The Argument Pooper

Once upon a time an ex-girlfriend and I were having an argument. We never fought more than some light showers that we quickly forgot and laughed about later, but this time it was different. We were both lost in a thunderstorm of angry words.
This was something that our cat had never seen before. Her mom and dad yelling at each other with rage in their hearts. Maybe it was fear or confusion or maybe this cat was just as incredible as I had always believed. Without any warning, the cat walks to the middle of us two fighters and with a couple of angry meows, poops on the floor! She then disdainfully walks away barely looking at us like a disgruntled teenager who hates her arguing parents. To that day she had never pooped anywhere except in her litter box. The ex and I looked in disbelief at her and than at the poop and finally at each other. We both started laughing, uncontrollably. Needless to say the argument ended right there and that the stink of the steaming little turd brought us young lovers back into each other's arms.
Thank you, Mia.


The 100th Kid

Many years ago, my parents owned a grocery store where I worked Summers. Most of the costumers were simple people who to be honest, weren't very interesting. One of the exceptions however was Rosario. Rosario was a 98 year old woman who I eventually saw reach her 100th birthday. This also being the 100th Kintsugi Kid I'm posting, Rosario seemed like the ideal person to illustrate.
Rosario was a big fan of cheese and often joked how cheese was the cow's attempt to reach immortality. (Mooo!) Most importantly though, she taught me about Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using lacquer mixed with powdered gold. However, Kintsugi can also be understood as a philosophy of acceptance. Sometimes, Rosario would openly talk about her flaws or the mistakes she had made in life or even tell little stories of nothingness that molded her unique soul. They're like "cracks" I once suggested. She replied: "Indeed. The beauty of our personal history lies in these cracks. The uniqueness of our imperfections are what make us who we are."
Accepting my flaws hasn't always been easy on my ego. Time though has brought me to realize that failures matter as much as triumphs and that wisdom and beauty can be found in both. A lesson partially learned thanks to this 100th and 100 year old Kintsugi Kid.


The Smoke Spirals

Bad change is easy. A trip to the casino with the wrong woman can change you from a millionaire to a penniless bum. A fun night of drinking can lead you from a functional human being to a rotting vegetable. Even a simple walk in the park and you stop being a living story to become a forgotten corpse.
Good change however, is hard. Unlike in fiction, you can't wake up one morning and suddenly be a better person. There's no overnight revolution, no frontal assault with muskets, no personal coup d'état. Guerrilla tactics are the way to go. Ambush yourself. Sabotage yourself. Hit and run. Also, instead of closed life cycles like school, relationships, jobs, you should look at them as spirals where you ascend a little bit each time. With every new love, with every new challenge, with every new art work. Just little improvements on the spirals of life. The smoke spirals. Hopefully, taking us up to the stars.


The Elderly Gangsters

Both my grandmas are total sweethearts. That being said, I used to think that every grandma in the world was a sweetheart too. The kind that bakes cookies when you spend the weekend. That knits you awful yet thoughtful Christmas scarfs. That always has your back when your parents are about to yell at you. In general, just a nice sweet person.
I lived in this fairy tale for years until I discoverd a whole other side to these "sweet" old grandpeople: Most of them are total assholes! Seriously. When grandma couldn't live alone anymore and had to be placed in a home, I awakened to a whole new reality. Nursing homes are like fancy ghettos where old people behave like vicious gangsters. Petty bickering, greed, name calling, illegal gambling, bullying, mob mentality, physical assault, a show of total disgust for each other... I've seen it all. Strung out on sweets, abandonment, and ancient grudges, these old people will walk all over you with their walkers, beat you to a bloody pulp with their canes and fill up their diapers while they're at it. 
Alas, maybe when the time comes, we too, will become Elderly Gangsters.


The Runner

Harris is a lot older than me, but inside, his spirit is still young. For good and for bad, his inner youth fuels him to be a runner, a special kind of runner. Not the kind that runs social cause marathons with friends on the weekend. No. Instead, Harris runs from life. He runs from city to city, escaping his past. He runs from family and friends, escaping their judgement. He runs from jobs and leases, escaping responsibilities and debt. Most of all though, Harris runs from love. Like a shark that can't stop, he leaves his lovers to choke on the dust raised by his running heart. A charming vagabond or an utter asshole? Certainly both. Seemingly untreatable, there's nothing to do for Harris, but see him go and yell: 
Run Harris, run!


The Angel

In another era, the institution I was trying to get my shit together in would be called an Asylum. Now, washed of butcher quacks and the blood-thirsty lobotomies, it also lacked the anguished mad poets you see in movies and books. Instead, I mostly met sad sick people who weren't in there because they liked to recite Shakespeare in their underwear, but because something in their head was seriously wrong. Some drowned in their own drool, some deafened our ears with their nightmare screams, others had paranoia chase them down to exhaustion, and others still were captives in the clutches of depression.
Somehow among all the madness, there was a patient who stood out: A beautiful girl; too beautiful to be there, too beautiful to portray. Quiet as a mouse, graceful as a swan, and as gentle as an angel. With her rare smiles, she would spread beauty and peace like fairy dust on all of us losers. It was, in a way, a form a therapy.

We'll name her Kalani, the angel of the fallen.