A Blip on the Radar (Part 12) ‘No Man is an Island’
Posted on October 19, 2009
Photo by Francis Meyrick
Part 12: No Man is an Island
I have read stories and biographies that, in the final thrust, left me unable to identify, to connect, with the protagonist. It was as if the make-up team had been in. The dreaded publicist. Massaging the true writer away. With powder, and eye shadow, and a nip here, and a tuck there. Somehow, what was left, was no longer a flesh-and-blood creature. But a manicured, written-to-order, polished, perfect creature. An alabaster, porcelain, smoothly polished, soulless, bronze figure. Devoid of the one ingredient I was looking for. Humanity, warmth. And maybe failings, foibles, weaknesses. That which defines us as being alive, and thinking, and groping in the spirit. Luckily, I can’t afford a facelift, (physically, or in terms of my many literary warts and wrinkles) and, frankly, I couldn’t care less. It’s just a blog. I include this story, simply because it’s raw honest. No other attribute or merit. I was going through a rough, embittered patch, and struggling in my head. In a way, I wanted to reach out. And in another way, I sure as heck didn’t. Both the simple, but honest poems “Exile” and “I miss the Darkness of her Light” hail from that introspective, wandering time.
“NO MAN IS AN ISLAND”, they would say….
It was a fine theory. He knew the maxim, but he wasn’t sure if he believed the truth of it. He had spent countless thousands of hours… risking his neck flying alone in a small helicopter over the unlimited Pacific Ocean. Surveying wave after wave of infinity. Ostensibly searching for the elusive Tuna, but actually engaged on an inner quest of a different kind…
What did he care for Man? The less he had to do with Man, the quieter his life seemed to be. There were times when he felt an almost contemptuous dis-interest in his fellow Man.
They way they bickered and fought, and quarreled and lied. They way the arrogant and the brutish had no qualms in grabbing what they wanted, and then wrapping themselves in the mantle of self righteousness. The way Man’s heart was full of deceit, and his thoughts turned always to material possessions. The way Disguised Greed was their Mantra, and Envy their Mistress.
He, for his part, enjoyed the loneliness of the vast Pacific, the purity of the skies, and the comforting touch of the controls in his hands. He enjoyed the birds, and the whales. The dolphins, and the Marlin. He enjoyed being away from Man as much as he could, wrapped up in a silent contemplation of the vast Universe. He respected Time, and knew it was running out. Compared with his concept of Eternity and Human Mortality, the bulging bank accounts of the Rich and the Arrogant left him with nothing but a quiet distaste. The fools… how little they had learned...
The small atoll that came in to view, a thousand miles from the nearest land, had surprised him the first time when he had seen the neat rows of thatched houses. It seemed that every single portion of the atoll had been given over to human habitation. The tuna fleet had descended on the area, and over the next few weeks, he would fly over the small atoll many times. People would wave at him, as he flew over, and he would wave back. Often he debated landing there. It would be nice to have some human contact, to interrupt those long, lonely flights. Perhaps he could do some trading. Perhaps the girls would be pretty. Perhaps he could spend the occasional night there, and make some friends.
But… he was wary. Some instinct told him to stay away. Some gut feeling warned him against landing there.It was nothing he could put his finger on, just a vague premonition.
Yes, it seemed they were friendly. But were they?
Then he would feel guilty for being so suspicious. Perhaps if was just his paranoia. Perhaps it was just his alienation from his fellow man. Maybe he should learn to trust more. Maybe…
And then he would beat himself up, feeling guilty....
A few weeks later, one of his friends tried landing there, to trade some items for lobster perhaps. The locals locked him up, and impounded his helicopter, claiming that he had landed without “clearance”. The drama went on for weeks, with the ransom demands for the release of the helicopter steadily being reduced from three hundred thousand dollars to a mere fifty thousand bucks. The story went around like wildfire, and caused much bitterness amongst the tuna helicopter legionnaires.
He heard the story too, and snorted contemptuously. Just as he had thought.
Man and his Greed. Man…
and his Folly.
Last edited by Francis Meyrick on March 19, 2014, 2:03 pm