In my opinion, the best saints are those who teach you how to act. They give you a model to live your life by – which is why Emperor Norton is so revered by Discordians . . . the man actually bent the reality around himself to fit his idea of the world. This seems, to me, to be the meaning behind Crowley’s “Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law”.
Because today is May 14th I have decided to talk about the Discordian saint which has guided how I live my life, his name is St.Ray, today is his birthday; I hereby name May 14th as St. Ray Day.
He is a fun loving, musical wild man, born in the mountains and never broken by modern civilization. Convention means nothing to him – if an idea pops into his head, no matter how nutty, he goes with it. To illustrate this, let me relate a story from his childhood in the mountains of Piccadilly . . . many children in the past have considered the roofs of buildings to be the ultimate tobogganing hills, if only they could get away with it. St. Ray asks nobody. As a child, he decided that the snow-covered roof of the family’s barn would be perfect for skiing down, he would just need to find some suitable substitution for skis. Some nearby planks of wood seemed about the right proportions, and some discarded twine would work for securing the planks to his boots. He climbed up onto the roof, tied on the makeshift skis, and plummeted down the side of the barn. Stories at this point differ on the results, some claim this is due to different fictions being interwoven into the narrative; I, however, prefer to refer to this as the Schrödinger syndrome. Some say he hit the gutter with the end of the planks and was catapulted airborne, some say he fell on his ass and rolled off the roof, some say he successfully cleared the roof and dropped into a pile of snow. I say he caught an upwind and flew all the way to Peggy’s Cove, where he made his living tap-dancing for quarters near the lighthouse. What really happened is beside the point, the point is he wanted to ski off the roof, and did.
St. Ray loves to laugh. When I was growing up, and we would drive by a group of girls, he would slow, roll down the window, and call out to the girls “HI BOYS!” – this invariably, no matter the age of the girls, elicited a strong reaction, ranging from the usual (we’re girls!) to the extreme (fuck off!), but the result was always raucous laughter from St. Ray. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea in the humour department, but I believe it’s the small points of life that bring the most joy.
I will close with the Horse Story, because it is the best example of living life for fun, no matter what the seemingly serious consequences are . . . sometime in the 1970s St.Ray’s wife and son were out of town and he was left in the apartment alone. One night when he and a friend were sitting around, drinking beer, they decided it would be a good idea to take a walk across the street to what was then a farm, and visit with the animals . . . another good idea would be to bring a single horse back across the street, to the apartment building. Yet another good idea would be to bring the horse upstairs in the elevator, and set it free in the halls, a floor above our apartment. And, the final good idea would be to then call up the much loathed superintendent and kindly let him know that someone was ‘horsing around on the fifth floor’. When his wife returned with the son St. Ray informed her that the building was a hole, and suggested they move. Right away.
It wasn’t until twenty years later that he admitted to his wife that they got booted out of the building over the horse incident.
St. Ray lives in the moment, and lives for fun. I try to live like him every single day of my life, and will continue to do so until I crumble to dust.
I am choosing to close with some lines from a Leonard Cohen poem/song which I think expresses how my father lives, and how I choose to live, as well:
like a bird on a wire / like a drunk in a midnight choir
i have tried / in my way / to be free
Hail St. Ray, and Hail Eris!