I'm sorry I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth these last few weeks, Coffee Lovers. I've just been really busy. But here I am - alive still, I think.
It's been a long time since I listened to the song "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance. It is a song that had a lot of meaning for me when I was younger, but has sort of faded out of sight and mind in the last four-or-so years. I just heard it again. The song, originally titled "The Five of Us Dying," has one of the most lyrically brilliant intros I have ever heard. It reads:
When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
Son when you grow up,
Would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten, and the damned.
Will you defeat them,
Your demons, and all the non-believers - the plans that they have made.
Because one day, I'll leave you
A phantom to lead you in the summer
To join the Black Parade.
It is an inherently hopeless message. A father brings his young son to the city for a histronic moment of festivity, a parade, which is - at its essence - a farcicle celebration of whim, to ask him to rescue the outcasts, the oppressed masses, those that ride the fringe of society to avoid the judgment inherent in the eye of the cataclysmic storm of western culture. And then he tells him that his only reward is death.
As an awkward twelve year old, I always wondered what had happened to the father. You see, it seemed obvious to me that any father begging his son to save the pariahs of society must, himself, be such an individual. And the father's message of hopelessness, of an empty promise - of death - used to make me very quiet.
What is it worth? I would ask that to the world at large, and it would stay silent.
But now I think I know. You see, whether they know it or not, My Chemical Romance is right. There is no reward for being the messiah of a lost culture of division. No one is going to pat you on the back for it; no medal of honor will come your way. Rather, you'll be detested and distained. You'll be called things you'd prefer to forget. No one will forgive you your transgression of honest denial of the system.
But you will be right.
And even if your only reward is a phantom that leads you in the summer to join those that are already eternally walking, mourning their own martyrdom - you'll be right.
You see, there is no inherent moral obligation to do anything. There is only you & the pariahs, each one calling out - in cracked voices - reaching out - with crumbling hands, their stone foundations already dust - believing in the all-pervading aroma of possibility, if only someone else would wake up and smell the coffee, damn it!
Yes, My Chemical Romance was right. It is a hopeless thing, maybe, or maybe it is simply the hope of believing when everyone else is unable.
Maybe the black parade, ghosts and phantoms though they are, enjoy a tangibility the human race - so steadfastly slumbering - lacks.
May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.