I have one of the sickest, blackest, darkest senses of humor.
Ask my wife.
I laugh in the face of death, make horrible crude jokes, and just generally find some measure of joy in situations where others might cry or wail. I’m the kind of guy that finds shit like this hilarious:
It’s always been this way.
Because the world has always been this way.
Back when you’re a young boy with no food in his belly, hoping your mother’s boyfriend doesn’t tear down the front door because this time he’s REALLY pissed you look for any measure of escape. When I ended up living with my Dad, an alcoholic at the time(he’s since stopped) we had no money, I would be screamed at all night, and some things went down that I refuse to talk about to this day.
Not what one would describe as a bright and sunny childhood.
But whose is?
Life is not a never-ending amusement park and in my eyes that’s fine. I accept that. Like a prison term or a tour of duty in some forgotten hell-hole you look backward with pride in your heart on what you survived, what you overcome. I’m lucky. Plenty of people lie broken behind me, some of them dead. One girl I knew flew through a windshield at 80 miles per hour, hitting the pavement face first on a night of drunken revelry. A gentlemen I knew, actually a really cool guy, ended up OD’ing on fake heroin sold as “bath salts.” His girlfriend, worried about being arrested, made sure to flush every possible drug in the house down the toilet before she called 911. By the time they got there he was dead.
Broken pieces, shattered lives. Tears and anguish, the gnashing of teeth. In my eye I never forget those moments.
But I laugh. As shitty as everything’s been those moments were necessary to build who I am. I do not look on the horrible past with tears or cloaks of amnesia. I accept it as what life really is. Rather then compare it to some theoretical life, some immaterial “human nature” that some how has been perverted, it becomes a bad acid trip worthy of song, a story I hold on to and relish re-telling.
It isn’t a surprise when some people refer to me and my writing as rude, vitriolic, hateful, horrible, or mean.
Maybe I am.
Being a Conjurer has exposed me to all manners of the human condition, a swirling vortex of stories. Loves lost, won, gained. Opportunities snagged, competitors bested. Sadness, rage, and familial love so strong it makes you weep with joy. I’ve also done readings for a woman locked in a loveless marriage, literally watching her type the night away as she was torn between her own happiness and providing a stable life for her daughter.
So much of revolutionary politics has forgotten these nitty-gritty details of human existence, newly minted Lenin’s meeting on campus grounds to discuss the downfall of the bourgeoisie as mommy and daddy pump thousands of dollars into their bank accounts. These wise teachers are caution us to be calm, to be resolute, to remain…indifferent to the Grand Struggle we “all” fight in. The protest ethic of the 60’s infects every corner like cancer cells on coke, “revolutionaries” ensuring me that if we just all Ohm hard enough the pentagon will literally evaporate out of existence and all those dead Iraqi kids will come back to life.
Tell me again how that works for the black folks being hunted by off-duty cops in Milwaukee. Or literally any of the thousands of innocent people being gunned down by servants of the state with no hope for justice.
I’ve seen the same thing in paganism. Everything is fluffy bunnies, sunshine, and rainbows for the mostly white, middle-class practitioners. “Blessed be” rings out across the distance as young kids boiling in rage are told to “bind” the camp counselor that continually molests them. Gods that once demanded human hearts be ripped out of chest cavities are now placated with Hershey’s kisses and offerings of non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
I do not understand that kind of magic. I do not come from that world. That’s not my tradition. That’s not Hoodoo.
I love Hoodoo because it’s for the strong, powerful black woman keeping her man locked down at home and refusing to allow him to stray. I love Hoodoo because it helps a ne’er-do-well that carries the right roots in his pocket to get fucked every night by a different woman. I love Hoodoo because it taught people how to keep the cops away, how to win a court case with an unfriendly jury, how to move a troublesome neighbor, and how to draw business to a whorehouse.
I fell in love with Hoodoo because it was real, because it drank deeply from the well of human experience. It was there for the downtrodden, the dispossessed, the broken, and the hungry.