Barney’s Life

Bernard Henry Lupofski arrived from the old country with uncertain provenance. Though wanting for blood relatives he was never without family. His single aspiration was to experience an unremarkable life. His success was measured by complete and utter failure.

            Through Barney we saw a rose coloured world. He walked on quiet soles and touched with soft hands. What he noticed was worth reflecting. He gave without invitation and consumed nothing worth counting. Barney’s name did not appear in the newspaper. He passed through the cosmos without wake yet the stars he skirted became brighter for him.

            I met Barney in an odd circumstance. A busker pulled me from the crowd and proceeded to draw bright objects from my orifices. Children squealed with delight as did an odd little man with pince-nez. The entertainer reached slowly for Barney’s glasses, seeking acquiescence from the little man. Barney leaned forward to allow the gesture. The glasses passed through my head from one ear to the other to the immense pleasure of all. For a moment I saw the world anew. I can best describe the feeling as easy. I insisted that the busker repeat the trick. He did, and the feeling passed through me again. I shared coffee and cotton candy with Barney that day and we became…well, connected.

            But my encounter was not extraordinary. Each of you invited Barney into your life following a chance meeting at a crossroads. Appearing without expectation, Barney illuminated your perception in the most surprising of venue: A whale-watching boat. The public library. The street outside daycare. The civic gardens. Spanish class. None of us noticed Barney’s influence until much later. His disciples did not immediately follow in his footsteps. Instead we continued on our ways, ignorant of the new force leading us gently toward higher, more fulfilling roads.

            This morning has been enlightening. Before today I knew none of you. Before today I knew not our connection. Before today I thought my actions were for the most part independent of outside affect. I am humbled and quieted by the realization that my life has been a distinct and parallel version of each of yours’.

            In my mind’s eye I can see Barney standing in that crowd, his pudgy face framing the dimples his pince-nez impressed on his nose. But despite our long relationship, that image is the only one I can call up of the man. Strange. It originates from that moment, the moment that his glasses were in my head. Because of Barney, we all see more clearly.

            Charge and raise your cups: To Barney.

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