This is the story of a ridiculous man in a ridiculous life that wanted something preposterously ridiculous – freedom. Yes I did say freedom for I am the ridiculous man that keeps being told he is ridiculous to want to ask to think about freedom.
How can you gain freedom he asked me?
This is my friend who may not stay my friend but is my friend all the same if we not only disagree but also really disagree on freedom itself. So I told my friend it really depends on how you define freedom of course. I told him that while drinking free trade coffee from the now free and very small country in a continent I could barely pronounce. If this coffee and the state the coffee was born can gain freedom what is stopping me from my own freedom I asked him. I asked but frankly his opinion was something I no longer wanted to hear and I really don’t think I wanted to hear his opinion in the first place.
Freedom to me is ‘the impossible’ I told him. He said that’s impossible and you are ridiculous. I know you think I am ridiculous but ridiculous by itself has the notion of being negative after all who really wants to be seen as ridiculous? Yet if everyone is talking about me as the ridiculous man with ridiculous views on freedom well maybe the fact that they are having the conversation about me – this man – is actually positive and I am not quite as ridiculous as you suggest.
There was once a cat, a really big cat in fact the really big cat was a cat called a lion. The lion had a woman’s name which is a ridiculous thing in itself I mean why give a lion the name of a woman it makes no real sense. So the man who’s name fails me right now decided that despite the lion called after a woman should actually become a free lion. Now that’s ridiculous and more preposterous than my own venture for freedom – or so the media thought. You see how can a wild animal that is no longer wild yet not tame like a house cat have its freedom once more. Well not really back to freedom as the cat with the name of a woman really never had a life with freedom like a wild lion that eats zebras in the long grass has freedom in the first place.
The man was asked,
‘Sir if you put the lion into the wild will the lion be attacked and possibly killed in the wild with real wild animals after all this lion has a name like a woman and has its meals prepared and brought to it? Wild it is not.’
The sir replied in a very English accent,
‘Sir may I make a reply and it may not be the kind of reply you hold back from calling ridiculous. However I shall take the animal into the wild, I shall become its father and mentor and guide and friend until the lion no longer wants me’
But sir replied the foolish reporter. I call him foolish because anyone that calls himself a reporter and reports on nothing in particular can hardly be name after a profession of any high value. If the reporter goes for lunch and tells his guests or host he reports as a career and they ask report on what and he replies I report on lions that are named after women well it’s hardly a profession to call a career. I should really say that is another story for another day of course.
So the reporter – don’t laugh at his choice of career please – replied … ‘Sir this sounds like a foolish option because surely the big cat once out in the wild will make a bid for freedom?’
Well sir replied the English man who was wearing a ridiculous khaki jungle suit like a 1920s hunter without the big gun of course replied to the man who called himself a reporter, ‘sir if the lion made a dash for freedom would the lion be running to its freedom or running to its death? If the lion were to run to its death surely lion would not be running to freedom? Is freedom death or is freedom life? For the lion to be free it has to understand certain things in life. It has to know when to stay in one place and to leave for wetter places. It has to know that for a lion to survive and continue its line it has to have young. Yet for this lion to run away into what you call freedom it would run away actually in a prison existence and be bound by invisible chains that will lead it to death.
Freedom can only come through reinvention. Reinvention can only arrive through greater understanding. Greater understanding can only be possible by a thirst for knowledge. The thirst for knowledge for my lion is driven through its curiosity for life and once that is on place the lion eventually becomes a lion and gains its freedom’ The man with the fools job sat in silence, scribbled his cheap notepad and left the room where at least another half dozen or so men with no freedom scribbled furiously at the genius of the Englishman. So my friend I am on a quest for freedom and I know you think I am a ridiculous soul for taking this quest. Yet I know the man I am today if went out into the world – and the world is a big place full of good, bad and the ugly that would want to eat me alive. Of course I don’t mean eat me like we would eat our foods but I do mean leave me devoured and hopeless. I don’t like hopeless and I don’t like devoured. My friend spoke – he did now and then and I allowed him to despite his insistence of always being right and my insistence that he was always wrong. Despite that we remain friends. ‘My friend – you are still my friend of course I shall say this to you as you sound like a ridiculous preposterous freedom seeker that knows a little and understands even less.
I have to say I felt offended at that point but not to the level where I wanted to silence him. How can you find freedom? This is a quest of men of old, men of new and men of millenniums. The dedicated adventures, the lovers of life and the travellers of this lonely planet all seek freedom yet they all come home to their lives, settle in, remove their wildness and change into the domestic man that all men become.
You’re ridiculous; you’re possibly a nincompoop! Well there’s a word I hadn’t heard for a lifetime of more and I was a little surprised to hear such and educated whilst old fashioned word come from my friend of old. A ridiculous preposterous nincompoop you are.
Freedom is a place of dreams that only dreamers will visit in their dreams. Aha I replied, now you might just have my attention at last. I mean I was listening to him but at the same time I was thinking about my own rush for freedom. So here it is my friend and my friend you shall remain whilst trapped within the confines of life itself I shall reveal the route to freedom for myself after all its such a ridiculous notion to have freedom and I am a ridiculous preposterous incredulous superfluous man by the accounts of others yet this is an account, a label I shall wear proudly on my chest.
My freedom like the Lion – who was named after a woman and the woman’s name was Elsa – My tired mind has just remembered – My freedom shall come through reinvention of this man, I am this man of course. My life from a retrospective view is a life of conditioning. The conditioning has been good to me and shown me the ways of many yet at the same time it has shown me the trappings of the masses. I shall take the road of reinvention. My own reinvention shall arrive to me through discovery, my discoveries shall be my guides and my guides will be allowed to lead me into adventure and my own adventure shall be allowed the freedom to give me more choices.
Once I have the choices on a plate in front of me – not an actual plate of course – I shall have enough information to be able to make choices, which I am sure you will once again think, is preposterous and ridiculous. Yet for me, for this man that lives a simple life but a life of a restraint that is itself imposed from a life of conditioning I shall embrace the freedom that arrives through the choices I now have.
Education shall be my friend; I shall read with it, play with it, love and cry with it yet ultimately it will give me the freedom to make choices. Now of course I can be a fool – my mother renamed me ‘damned fool’ despite the years of naming me a real mans name so maybe – maybe a fool I am. Yet I know this. Freedom is a thought, it’s a feeling it’s a knowing and a knowing that I know myself I know my decisions I know my choices and I walk the line of what most will call a ridiculous preposterous foolish nincompoop. You’re ridiculous really ridiculous I mean maybe the most ridiculous friend I have ever had and will probably ever know. I know I said with my huge smile, long hair and out of control beard. I am living proof of a man named ridiculous in search of freedom that has finally found his … Freedom.
By Alan Forrest Smith Wednesday, February 6, 2013 A Man Named Ridiculous A short story on freedom from Alan Forrest Smith