The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

this little life

The mighty Heelers strolling down Grafton Street.
Outside the Laura Ashley store he nearly walks into a man who is standing stock still at that location.
Heelers goes to apologise then stops.
The man's clothing and demeanour gives me pause.
He is somewhat strangely dressed.
Even for Grafton Street.
He is wearing shorts and lederhosen and a multi hued shirt.
It is a garb which Heelers' innate cultural expertise immediately identifies as being generally redolent of Mittel Europa, mountains and muesli and Alpine horns and fields and Heidi and goat Peter and all that sort of thing.
The man's hat has a little red feather in it.
He holds a hand drawn sign which reads: I am the Joke King of Grafton Street. If you pay me I will tell you a joke.
The noble Heelers pauses amid the hurley burley of a Dublin evening.
"How much for a joke?" sez I.
"Twenty cents," the man replies.
"I'll take one joke," I volunteer generously.
For I am nothing if not kind hearted.
I fold my arms as he begins.
The joke went something like the following...

This guy goes into a pub. There's a king wearing a crown and full regalia sitting at the bar. The king is surrounded by thousands of mice who are buying him drinks.
"What's going on?" the man asks the manager of the pub.
"Oh that guy is the king of the mice," explains the bar manager. "His father owned a cheese factory so the mice made him their king."
"But doesn't it upset you having him in here with all these mice?" wonders the guy.
"It could have been worse," answers the bar manager. "His father could have owned a peanut factory and the elephants might have made him king."

... The man told the joke better than I do. I've massacred it. I laughed out loud when he told it. He informed me it was one he had written today.
I asked him for permission to print the joke and his name on my website.
He readily concurred and told me his name.
It is Jens Stroing. There should be too little dots over the "o" in Stroing but I don't know how to make them on my computer.
He told me he had been born in Westphalia, kidnapped by Bavarians as a child, escaped the Bavarians, and now always wore Bavarian costume because it is the last thing the Bavarians looking for him would expect.
I have no way of being certain if this was the truth or a second joke he threw in for free after I paid him the twenty cents.
He asked me was I making money from my blog.
"It's a struggle," I said portentously preening and getting ready to launch into my much loved discourse on the life of the artist.
"There's an internet expert I could refer you to, who recommends loads of ways to make money blogging," he advised.
"It's not what I'm about," I proclaimed grandly.
"This expert has made a fortune on the internet and he thinks the secret is always providing something of added value in what you do," persisted he.
I drew a deep breath.
"Okay," I said. "But what's important to me is to be doing it. To be searching for art as I live. The money is fine if it happens. Really what I want is to speak the truth, or write a great poem, or say something genuinely beautiful. That's my struggle. As long as I can survive, as long as I'm not starving, the money isn't really an issue."
"But if you're not making money then you're just a sort of bum," asserted the Joke King of Grafton Street frankly.
My handsome preraphaelite features took on a poignant pallor.
"Well I'm not sure if that's true Jens," I murmured. "You know there are great artists who never made a penny. Van Gogh supposedly never sold a painting while he was alive. If I knew I was going to create a single poem and that people would read it for hundreds of years, then the other concerns wouldn't count for anything. And I don't even know. I don't have to know. All I need to know is that I am trying. I am living my art. It's all God asks. I love my life. I love the adventure of it. I love the boring bits. I love the struggle. I love when my life touches someone else's. I love knowing God is real."
"You're mad," intoned my new friend.
I shrugged.
He wasn't finished.
"Van Gogh is one example," he said. "But think. Wouldn't it be great to be an artist who made money and was successful? Then you could be an example, an inspiration, to all those other struggling artists out there."
I bid him a fond farewell at this point.
There was an answer to the point he had made.
Modesty prevented me from imparting it.


Blogger Genevieve said...

Well, I certainly wouldn't want to become rich and famous because of blogging. Thankfully, that hasn't been a problem, yet.

1:29 PM  
Blogger heelers said...

Gen I think I could learn to live with it!

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Writing James


12:00 PM  

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