Friday, January 25, 2013

Baron James A Harden-Hickey, King of Trinidad

by Jesse S. Mitchell

illustrated by penmarq studios

Under the huge open sunny sky that lays perfectly flat against the perfectly huge open sea, he took a small boat to the shore.

He had instructed his private ship’s captain to let him off his private ship and leave him for a time totally alone on a supposedly uninhabited island known as Tavolara.

He was the King of Sardinia. He was to go hunting and exploring. When he tired, and while he waited for the ship to return to sight so he could start rowing back to it, he found an empty beach and he sat down in the sand and, squinting his eyes from the sun, he gazed out at the perfectly blue ocean.

As he sat, a shadow, a huge shadow, fell across him. He turned and looked directly into a dark figure more than seven feet tall. He introduced himself as Giuseppe and said he lived all alone on the supposedly uninhabited island known as Tavolara.

Giuseppe sat down on the sand next to the King and gazed out into the ocean. They conversed. The King found him polite and extremely intelligent and refined. This was in the days before learning was made available to most people and peasants and laborers could barely speak or read and were never able to hold educated discussion with a king.

The King was flabbergasted. He immediately proclaimed Giuseppe king of the supposedly uninhabited island known as Tavolara…

There was once a man named Baron James Harden-Hickey. He claimed an island called Trinidad as his own and proclaimed himself ruler. He wasn’t actually a Baron and the island wasn’t even actually Trinidad, but some rocky nub of wasteland much further south off the coast of Brazil.

He wasn’t even South American. He was North American, and by North American I mean American. Anyway, to the deaf ears of the world this lunatic proclaimed himself king of a barren wilderness and waited to join the family of nations…

I grow tired of human proclamations. Wild claims about ourselves, our natures, our time here, purposes, Our children, our futures. Our futures indeed. If I am to understand the science correctly, and there is a very good chance that I do not, science is largely composed of lines and plus and minus symbols and parentheses and letters and unless Neil Degrasse Tyson or Brian Greene explains it to me in an hour on public television, I am completely lost.

But if I am to understand everything right, there isn’t even anything that we know or comprehend as time. All is abstraction. We don’t have a future. We don’t have a past. We don’t even have a right now. Everything, every second, every ticking minute is just some tiny sliver of ice already frozen in a huge, anamorphic chunk of crystal. There is no point to any of us worrying about any of it, laying claim to any of it, preparing for it.

What has happened will happen, what will happen has happened. A very real and sincere form of nothingness, and there is no way to proclaim anything over the power of genuine nothingness.

Still, that doesn’t sit well with me and anytime I sit and think about it, a deep sadness overtakes me. The idea that a great deal of future exists out there that I will never be able to see or experience, no matter what I do, chills me…but that doesn’t change whether it has happened yet or not.

Or what of our place in the world? We love to make insane proclamations about our status in the world, daily. How ridiculous is that? We believe we ARE the world. We claim to BE the world.

When I was a child there was even a song…for charitable purposes but… When in reality we are a tiny part of this world, an insignificant part except for one thing, our destruction of it. We are really only a noticeable or significant part of this world and its ecosystem in how we destroy and harm it. If we just lived and existed here, we would hardly be noticed. Sure, we build pyramids, temples and roads…out of trees, out of stones we gouge out of the soil.

We build cars and phones, out of steel and dead fossilized plants we dig up off the ocean floors, and with acrid toxic fumes. Most of our advancements cause things to explode or bleed from its eyes or otherwise die. That being said, I don’t think I could live without electricity, sorry animals.

We claim to be spiritual creatures only passing through this material world, confused intergalactic seraphs, temporarily embarrassed saintly beings of some sort of light. Really? Well, there is that old mystery solved. What can be sure is that we have evolved way past were we needed to have stopped. We would have been on top of the food chain some way back; why we came this far is unclear.

A waste of energy and a quandary. If there was some outside purpose or force, I do not discount it, but I do not understand it nor do I agree with it. Fact is, what has happened to make us humans as we understand it was most likely random and completely accidental, the result of the development of a particular amino acid or protein from some strange food we ingested or a DNA-changing mutation from some virus or bug we contracted.

Life kills us. And apparently it changes us. And more curious still is the many who make the odd proclamation that it is getting ever better and always has been. I equally doubt this, as we have not been able to adequately beat, bribe or generally cajole the stupid and evil out of the human race over these last one million-seven or seven thousand years (or however long it has been). The future isn’t looking good. If there even is a future.

But I digress.
Baron Harden-Hickey, King James I of Trinidad…A Trinidad…besides for proclaiming himself lord and Emperor of barren sea rock, printing beautiful paper money, designing his own flag and otherwise being a well-rounded loony of some prominence, also earlier in his life, wrote and published a how-to book on suicide. And when he was forty-four, in 1898, he offed himself. He wasn’t on the island. He was in Houston, TX…likely on state business.

I am not really sure what happened to Giuseppe, king of the supposedly uninhabited island known as Tavolara but most sources agree he went on to father several children on the surrounding islands.

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