Some people are thought of as "Old souls." That's bullshit. They aren't old souls; they are just bitter pragmatists.
Me? I'm old. Shoot ... I've been on this fucking rock, excuse me- "wondrous planet" for nigh on one thousand six hundred and thirty something years. I'm not certain because in my village they didn't have higher math. By higher math I mean we didn't have anyone who could count to more than 20 (21 if you were a male). They counted on their appendages and anything over that was called "many."
Before you call bullshit or "shenanigans" or "sionnachuighm" just hear me out. I'm no vampire, werewolf, druid, wizard, elf, angel, demon or whatever the hell else people are calling those things these days. I don't have a long sword and I don't run around cutting people's heads off. To be brutally honest (hah! What else is there?) I don't know what the hell is going on. All I know is that I haven't died and I haven't been successful in my suicide attempts so I just keep on living. And, I shit you not, it is the biggest hassle you can imagine. I can still get hungry, horny, confused, and need a place to live. And the mechanics of some of those things these days are just a royal pain in the ass. Life was certainly easier when you just dug a hole and crapped in the woods. Dirtier? Yeah, but much easier, too.
I was born in Gaul, which is part of current day France. At the time we spoke Gaulish, though that's not what we called it. We were Celts and spent all of our free time fighting the Romans. Once they pretty much won everyone started speaking Latin and things got all the way fucked up. I hated latin. I hated the fucking Romans, too. Nobody was happier than I was when Attila scared the shit out of them by trying to sack the place. That it fell 30 years after he died was no accident. He broke what was left of the last of its will. It was a dark day when he died. He had balls. Fucking Romans. I shit on their graves...
To keep things simple and moving along quickly I'll use words you can understand. Not only would it kill the narrative flow to keep on switching back and forth between "English" and whatever language I was speaking at the time you wouldn't appreciate how much effort it takes for me to remember those details. So fuck it: English it is.
Where was I? Oh yeah ... Gaul.
Wait wait wait. One more thing before I get back to Gaul. I'm planning on dying soon. Praying for it, more likely. I'm tired of being here and I'm optimistic that I'll figure out a way to do it. I'm tired of seeing the same stupid shit done again and again and again. Tired of the testosterone running through the veins of today's "rulers." And I figure that I'm probably the oldest dude around and that if I am ever successful in knocking myself off that someone may have an interest in knowing my story. Not because my ego is so huge that I think that I have something to say ... but because history needs a metaphorical counterweight. You've heard the statement "Winners write the history books?" Well, that is one of the top seven truest things I've ever heard. Through this story I aim to be that counterweight.
And I want to set the record straight as best I can. I lived it. I was there so all y'all can ignore my story at your peril.
This is sort of my Reddit "Ask me anything" even though nobody's asked me shit in at least 75 years. And thank god for that, too.
Gaul. A shitty place by anyone's standards. Literally. We didn't have indoor plumbing. We fought with iron age tools, got our asses kicked by the rest of the Celts, worshipped Sucellus (he was THE MAN!) and were basically nomads in what is today's wine region. Our wine was for shit, too. We knew what it was and what it did to people. Hell, my family worked the vineyards that were owned by the Romans. But we really didn't know shit about the stuff compared to today.
You see- it's not that people were stupid. I make it look that way because of plumbing, weapons, mathematics and the like. The truth is that we were ignorant and uneducated. There were no schools. Writing was something done by VERY few people. It wasn't like we were the hillbillies back in Appalachia today who are scared of outsiders. EVERYBODY was like us. If you wanted to count to more than twenty (or twenty one) you got another guy to stand next to the first guy and kept on counting appendages. I am surprised that we didn't have a base 20 number system.
You think that the divide today between the 1% and the 99% is a big deal? Shit. We'd have literally KILLED for that allocation of resources. Try 99.99% vs the 0.01%. That's what, 9,999 to one? Sounds about right to me. Even the Roman centurions that were there to keep us in line were treated like dogs. And they fucking LOVED the idea because being treated like a dog was a shitload better than being treated like the rest of us.
Gaul. I lived there. It sucked. What else can I say? We were poor by everybody else's standards. My family weren't the political elite; we ended up being farmers. We weren't even land owners; we were tenant farmers. What was it like? The historians have it mostly right. People were born and if they were lucky they lived past age two. If they were really lucky they got married (not a big production like the Christian ones and definitely not as good a party). If they were even luckier they died by the time they were 35. After that you were pretty much toothless and useless. In a world without a social safety net meant you were hungry, cold, tired, and a wolf's dinner.
Me? I lost my virginity when I was 13 to our neighbor's daughter. We got caught fucking after she turned up pregnant and it was either marry her or take the Gaulish equivalent of a shillelagh to my head and balls. It wasn't that I brought shame on their family so much as the life expectancy of a single mother in those times was even lower than it was for married mothers. Celtic dads being what they were (they all loved their daughters just like today), they tried to make sure that their daughters had half a chance at making it to 35. Marriage wasn't a big deal like it is today. A druid came by and whacked us on the head with a branch and we were married. It's been so long that I have a hard time remembering her name. Let's call her Jenny. Compared to the rest of the women I've had over the last sixteen hundred and thirty some odd years she wasn't anything special in bed. Maybe it was because it was new to her. Maybe it was because I had no idea what I was doing in bed. Either way the sex was just "OK" when compared to some of the other women I've been with.
Celtic married life was pretty good considering we didn't own any land and we got kicked out of our homes every so often (see below). Jenny and I fucked wherever and whenever we could. It wasn't like there was anything else to do at night. Or in the morning. Or while the wine was growing. Work, eat, sleep, shit, fuck. Yessireebob, that was pretty much what we did. Jenny and I eventually got pretty good at inserting peg A into slot B. We didn't do anything crazy when we were screwing. Sure, the Kama Sutra had been written by then but it hadn't made it over the various mountain ranges to central Gaul by then. So we were pretty vanilla. We tried anal sex once, but that was only because I missed. She damn near took my head off. So the operative word in that sentence is "Once."
Since neither of our families had anything of value it wasn't what we would now call an arranged marriage. We just built a hut further down the valley. We didn't really have many possessions.
We fought some, too. Jenny and I didn't fight. I mean us, the Celtic Gauls. Or Gallic Celts. I never could figure that one out.
So we fought. Again- other than farming and fucking there ain't much to do. I'd call it the three "F"s but we didn't speak English at the time and in the Gallic tongue those three words together sound like a cat clearing its throat while constipated. The fighting was mostly intramural stuff; we didn't win a lot when we went up against the varsity of other tribes. Winning meant having to take over other people's lands. And that just meant the bigger motherfucker down the river a ways noticed you and came up to take all your shit because there was NO fucking way that you'd win against them. And losing against them meant losing all your shit, your women, and anything else they wanted.
First rule I ever learned: There's always someone bigger and meaner out there. Fight them or not; it's your choice.
So we (as a family and village) chose not to fight them. We could fight and lose some women and be slaves or we could say "fuck it; go ahead and take the vineyards- we don't even own them", move downstream on the river a few miles and start again. Fewer casualties that way, too. There weren't a lot of people like there are today and there was a shitload of land around that was just forest.
What about kings and government to maintain law and order, you ask? Hah! We were Celts. The Romans were starting their decline and didn't mess with us much so we didn't mess with them, other than the fighting. They were there, yeah, and we had to pay taxes but when you don't have a pot to piss in the idea of giving up half the pot was an abstract one. The only group we didn't fuck with was the druids. Well, them and the Picts, but I learned that later. The druids? Those motherfuckers were mean. I can't say that I was all that sad when they died out. It's like being sorry that the guys who bullied you in high school got brain cancer in their mid twenties. Nope; not sorry at all. Am I petty? You bet. But after they've taken a few of your kids for human sacrifice you stop worrying about things like being petty or holding grudges.
Oh, it wasn't all THAT bad. Kids got born every fall, it seems. They'd pop out right around harvest time year after year. Like rocks coming up in a farmer's field in New England (Where do you think they got the rocks to make all of the stone walls?). We knew how and why it occurred. And, to be honest, childbirth has gotten SO much better for the women over the years. Biting a stick while a druid thwacks mistletoe on your forehead as the contractions come isn't much fun, apparently. But we kept fucking during the winter and the kids kept coming out during the harvest. Most of them didn't live anyway so it's not like there were a lot of mouths to feed.
That reminds me that all of you people today are just plain softies when it comes to human life. I blame Jesus, to be honest. All that crap about "every life is sacred. Every child is a joy." Scrooge had it right when he said "Bah! Humbug!"
I'm setting that story straight right here, right now. Human life is just like every other life whether it is a rhinoceros, elephant, frog, bobcat, or mouse. We are born, we eat, we shit, we fuck, and we die. I like having kids around but I am not a slave to them. My parents weren't my slave so why should I be my kids' slave? Y'all are just stupid like that. You've got one short life on this piece of dirt and you are wasting it at your kid's soccer games? In 20 years they'll remember that you went to a few of them but they won't remember all of the time you gave up so that they could kick a ball into a net. Give me 3rd century parenting any day: "Here's what you need to do to live. Don't fuck up or make me look bad."
Oh, yeah. How is it that I didn't die like EVERYBODY FUCKING ELSE? I really don't know. No clue. I was just like every other normal poorer than poor peasant until I got to about age twenty five (best guess). My teeth didn't fall out while other people's did. I would get hurt but I always got better. If you stabbed me I got a scar but I never really 'got hurt.'
And I stopped aging. When Jenny died and I still looked like a relative spring chicken people started looking at me funny. Being the best preserved oldest guy in a village doesn't win you many popularity points when everyone is pagan and sees devils and unnatural spirits behind every holy tree.
Let's just say that I became a nomad and got used to not spending more than about five or ten years in one place.
I stopped wondering about it shortly after Charlemagne became the first Carolingian Emperor. I was actually there on Christmas day in 800 when he got the crown. Well, I wasn't in the church, per se. But he was a kind of a neighbor and everybody not only knew of him but heard lots of stories about him. I'd call myself a primary source. After all, I'm the only one who will tell you how it was without an axe to grind. All of the historians and scribes of the time had wicked internal politics to deal with so they always slanted stories to make someone look good and someone else to look bad. They talk about the beautiful weather and the sun shining on his head as he put the crown on himself.
Here's how it went down: It was raining. The pope tripped in the mud. Charlemagne grabbed the crown to keep it clean. Fucking historians...
How did I get to Rome when I was from Gaul? I kind of did a big circle (counterclockwise, as it turns out) around western Europe.
I started out hitting Britain. I never made it to Ireland. The Picts were in full force up in today's Scotland. Those were some bad mama jama's let me tell you. They had this one king, Cruithne, he supposedly ended up with seven sons that lived to adulthood. That's not quite the way I remember it. As I recall he sired half the kids in his home village / tribe/ clan. The naked bastard caused an epidemic of inbreeding without even knowing it. No wonder the Scots are all nuts, now that I think about it. Scotland is actually a pretty small place when you think about how small the population is. Everybody seemed to know somebody so it wasn't a great place to hang out too long. I played the tourist game, pretended to be a Christian monk and kept on moving. You see- if you are a man of God you don't really have to DO anything. Just talk Latin a bunch and people give you food. It was awesome.
Having to move around got in the way of my poon hunting. A lot, actually. Maybe not quantity but definitely the quality. Let me say that I would wake up in the morning regretting who and what I had done the night before. Often.
There weren't really roads, as such, so when you moved from hither to yon you had to worry about bandits and shit. Being immortal helped but getting stabbed really fucking hurts. I can't tell you how many times I was left for dead. New guys in the towns, especially ones with bandages weren't exactly chick magnets. Add to that the fact that all the girls got married in their early teens and if you showed up at age 25 looking for a fresh young piece on the side you looked even creepier than a middle aged unmarried male school crossing guard does today.
There was some pretty easy poon out there, too, though. These were the desperate women looking for a ticket out. Women whose husbands got killed fighting other villages were the easiest pickings. They were a burden to their families and treated like shit by their in-laws so they were the dark ages example of aging divorcees in the single bars. They always talked a good game about being successful and independent but if you gave them a bit of attention they'd polish your knob orally, vaginally, and anally before you could finish pulling the mites out of your beard.
And you know how there is no such thing as a free lunch? Tear off just one little piece of them and they thought you were either their soul mate or their knight in shining armor who had arrived to save them from the misery of living with the in-laws who treated them like shit. Where do you think the story of Cinderella came from? They cleaned it up so that she had an evil step mother and step sisters. The truth is that they were evil in-laws. Those single mom widow chicks were needy with a capital NEEDY. They realized that they had nothing to offer a man other than their lady parts and the chores they could do around the house so they wanted to show their wares and get the fuck out of dodge.
Face it: she had almost nothing to offer a man who didn't want ready made kids. Education was for the religious orders and druids. Not many people were into that group. Was she a small business owner? Not likely. She didn't have standing in the community so she couldn't hold office. She didn't have any indirect influence with the leaders; the wives had that (because the only way to have that power was through the power of the pussy). And if a single woman was caught fucking some other woman's man she (the single woman) would be dead. Not only killed slowly by the wife but also ostracized in her community (vengeful scorned women are fucking mean) and her kids would starve, too.
So here I would be, the new guy in town. I have all of my teeth, am in good shape, and look like I know how to take care of myself. I am a catch to these desperate women.
But, again, after a roll in the hay they think that you two are hitched and they start talking about their kids and moving out of their in-laws' place.
Being old wasn't the only reason I moved around a lot.
Anyway, I decided to head east (well, technically east north east) after the Moors kicked me out of present day Spain.
There I was, minding my own business, trying to look young and keep my head down and away from the crazy single mom widows and these darkies came across the strait of Gibraltar and started kicking everyone's ass. I'd played this game before so I did what I'd already done: I packed up, gave my shit away and moved out of town. All the way to Rome, as a matter of fact. I mentioned loving to shit on their graves, didn't I? It's a LOT easier to do when you are on their turf.
Rome was a big enough town that I could move every few years and keep my anonymity but still know the area. Add to that the fact that hygiene and life expectancies were higher there than in the wastelands of my relative youth and it was a pretty good place to spend a few centuries. And don't forget I also got to shit on Roman graves when the urge hit me. That was a definite win.
I had an accent so nobody ever accepted me as a local but the facts that I could speak the language well enough and that it was a major trading center were enough to convince people that I belonged there.
Oh, and by the way- Italian mothers coddled their adult sons thirteen hundred years ago, too. Those guys turned into the biggest pussies when their moms showed up, I swear.
And that's how I ended up learning about my main man, Charlemagne.
Charlemagne was one smart dude, let me tell you. Much smarter than that pissant kid of his ... Louis the Pious. The less said about him the better but since I brought him up I might as well talk about him. You know how they say that wealth in most families evaporates in three generations? Louis managed to do it in two.
The first generation works really fucking hard and makes something of themselves. The second generation was kids when the first was doing the work so they fucking SEE what it takes to get shit done and to accumulate wealth. They respect it. They don't work nearly as hard but they do respect it. So they shepherd it for their kids and preserve what their parents worked hard for. They like to think that it is their legacy to provide for their kids. It is the third generation of little entitled shits that waste it all. They grew up with wealth and think that they are entitled to it like it is some fucking birthright.
If I had a nickel for every little ungrateful self important buggernut I've had to deal with in life ... well, I'd have a shitload of bags of nickels.
But it didn't even take that long in Charles the Great's family. He had a bunch of sons- eighteen I think it was. Too bad that only four were legitimate. That meant they were legal in the eyes of the church or some such shit. I say it's too bad because some of the illegitimate ones were better than his "real" sons. They grew up to be high ranking members of the church or chancellors or shit like that.
Anyway- Louis (2nd generation of empire) became emperor when daddy went gently to his good night. The fucker obviously paid no attention to his daddy's lessons on how to be a man. He spent all of his time with his armies in godforsaken places like Barcelona and the Pyrenees. He even got his ass deposed at one point. Ever read King Lear or see the movie "Ran" by Akiro Kurosawa? Same shit happened here: He coddled his kids, they went to war against each other, he tried to keep his second wife happy by bringing her rugrat into the succession plan and, well, to paraphrase Chinua Achebe: "Things fell apart."
George Santayana's comment "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" applies. Although, I guess Louis was the original fuck up and everyone else should have taken note. This is why primogeniture works, people. Being nice to your kids ends up fucking EVERYTHING up and makes them just hate you more. Trust me; I've seen this. Lots. (sigh)
Where was I? Oh, yeah ... No idea why I'm not dead. No blue lights in a field in the middle of the night. No strange illnesses that gave me mumps or smallpox or Ebola and then I miraculously got healthy. No herb diet; I'm a carnivore.
Now, before I get too far into this homage to me let me say right now that a LOT of shit has gone down in the last sixteen hundred and thirty something years. I haven't seen much of it at all so don't go thinking I'm going to write a history book. I can't speak to much of it but I bet I've done enough to curl some toes and frizz the hair of even the most outgoing manly man. And that was when I ran away from the sounds of battle. I'd have some really good stories if I had gone the other way.