“With heart and hand I pledge you while I load my gun again, you will never be forgotten or the enemy forgiven, my good comrade.”
As is usual this time of year most think of heading back to school, the coming of autumn and even some are contemplating the winter holidays. I am usually stuck betwixt the mental gymnastics of the proverbial Indian Summer and the Weather Channel fervently watching for the next storm barreling up the Carribean Corridor. True waterman know that one should never take your eye off the ocean or take your gaze off the skyline. The relationship a waterman has with the ocean is an extremely complicated Mars/Venus – Love/Hate – Yin/Yang existence especially for those that would love to see The Kracken, Leviathan or Neptune emerge from the deep. Secretly I believe we are ‘Oceanic misogynist’ as most watermen look at the ocean as a lady and actually dislike her yet at the same time are drawn to Her love and terror.
Yet as much as I truly love this time of the year when most start tweeting – “We will never forget!” – in honor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks my mind wanders to few days before 9/11 and the last time I talked to the waterman and my comrade: Steven Swenson (aka Sven).
Some of you know that I write this dedication every year. It is neither cathartic nor is it pining in squalid sorrow for my lost commrade. I cannot bring myself to such pitiful acts when I know the loss is much greater for his family. In some ways it reminds of the book by C.S. Lewis – A Grief Observed.
I do find it curious that such independent men could forge such a relationship as ours.
Even so, it is not, shall I say upstanding character in the truest sense in the manner that I sometimes react. My melancholy compassion or even sometimes, sheer anguish, lies in the mere fact that, The Sven was an Elite Performer and was a better person than most and honestly there are others who would have been better off going into the great sleep – than him. So maybe its anger yet I digress here is a succinct example of how Brutally Honest he was with people.
For example in discussion:
Person 1: Well here is my idea and blah blah blah blah… What do you think?
Sven: You know what i think? I think its fucking stupid. (laughs)
Person2: Hey man how are you today?
Sven: Like shit – how are you?
Person 2: no response just keeps walking.
(to me: see exactly as you said they dont even pay attention)
Most people dont have the cajones or they are caught up in their own pathetic, self referenced heads to say anything out of the ordinary, for fear of reprisal or what others might “think” of them.
Some of you know that I wear a Skeleton Head Ring on my right hand. I believe in the ethos: Life The Great Indulgence! I do not go the for the Gothic ‘I want to die” crap nor is it some Rock N Roll Hootchie Coo affect. So why do I wear it? It came from a discussion the Sven and I had years ago. We were talking about Schrodinger’s Cat. The Sven once said the Cat is dead because he destroyed the box.
So one day we were talking about the cat, women, boats and music, mixed in with a little software engineering, and he drew a skeleton face on a napkin and threw it over to me. He said, “It all comes for us.” I folded the napkin up and kept it and had a ring made out of it. Solid Silver. Of course the Silver Smith took some artistic freedoms and added some realism and ferocity. It is beautiful to me. It is a constant reminder that the Great Reaper is after us. It is also a reminder concerning the discussion he and I had that day.
It is also a reminder the feeling of immortality should be crystallized and adored.
A feeling of immortality was occurring the last day I talked to him.
Sven was sailing around the world and being a true waterman he was prepared. He owned a satellite phone for his sailing trip around the world. I never could stand that damn satellite phone he had and he loved that damn thing for whatever reason. Probably because it provided him total freedom. On numerous occasion I tried to call him and he tried calling me etc. I finally sent him a message via carrier pigeon to just wait and call me when he gets settled in the port of call we had decided to meet. As a note we had planned all of this years earlier to meet around the world whenever Sven bought his boat which in an of itself is a great story. So finally I suppose he was settled and one day…
Sven: Hey man!
Me: I hate that piece of shit phone of your’s where are you?
Sven: I have been hanging out at this cantina all day long and the guy is letting me use his phone to call you. You guys have your tickets?
Me: Not yet.
Sven: Man go get them! It is crazy they have been playing Latin music all day and when I just called you they started playing “Gimme Back My Bullets” its a sign!
Me: Well then it must be so. Yeah I will get them today. So tell me something man how is it?
Sven: Well it took me about 3 months just to realize that I didnt have a fucking schedule. It is so stupid running around like a squirrel.
Me: I hear ya man. So tell me somethin’ ya’ happy?
Sven: Yea man if I would have known how this was going to be I would have done it a long time ago. It really puts things in perspective. The responsiblity is all on you but it places different responsibilities that are more real than the rest of the stuff, ya know?
Me: Yeah man I know its the crap that is what they lead you to believe – the stuff that is all important. I just wanted to know that you are happy.
Sven: Yea man really. I am. Thanks.
Me: You dont have to thank me. Ok man we will see you soon! Go Big!
Sven: Ok man I’ll see you soon.
Never again did I get to tell him how stupid his phone was or that I believed he did destroy the cat in the box.
In the last months Steven experienced life that most dream about and yet are to scared to go after for fear of so called personal failure. Most cling to the fallacy of societies trappings and the “thou shalts” of our existence which most deem rules created by so called social norms. Living outside of those social norms brings great freedom and at the same instance great responsibilities that most are afraid to experience.
He died doing what he loved – free diving in the ocean he so loved.
“You Only Suffer As Long As You Want To
Men Like Us Do Not Let Each Other Drown
We Share The Sweetest Black Bread
That Delicate Grain Of Scorn
No God, No Master, No Master Slave.”
~ Rome- “We who fell in love with the sea (Jérôme Reuter)
“Our life passes like idle chatter.” ~ Karl Maria Willgut
Here is the infamous PC Destruction video:
This was one of the songs he liked off the Fight Club soundtrack. We used to listen to it everyday at Apple.
And if he was here I believe he would like this song or then again he would tell me it was fucking stupid and laugh.
Rome – We Who Fell In Love With The Sea
I miss him.