Monday, April 24, 2017

My Own Private Pooka

Pictured above are Jimmy Stewart in his capacity as Elwood, and his pooka friend, Harvey, in his capacity as a very tall rabbit.  The image is of course from the film Harvey.  It appears during my favorite scene.  It actually made me laugh out loud--no mean feat, I fear.  Elwood replace a painting above the fireplace with this portrait. 

Harvey had otherwise been a creature we were required to imagine.  We knew him to be a pooka as he was described as such earlier in the film.  A "pooka" is, as Google will tell you, a Celtic fairy, or goblin, or spirit variously referred to as mischievous or benevolent or malignant, also referred to as a shape shifter, or a horse, or a bull.  It's somewhat confusing, and the character of a pooka presumably varies with the legend being retold.  Even the name is variously spelled.  Harvey, happily, though something of a joker was kind and friendly, particularly to Elwood who had a fondness for drink and was thought of as eccentric if not harmlessly insane.

Friends are surprisingly hard to find in these times when we all purport to have so many.  Facebook friends, and I would think all kinds of other friends.  Are there Twitter friends?  In any case, friends who are identified as "friends" who exist, primarily if not entirely, in cyberspace.  I'll confess to being on Facebook, though not as Ciceronianus.  My Facebook friends are all members of my family or old friends, and so are relatively few.  But I know that others have hundreds, and for all I know thousands, of friends.  Facebook is constantly advising me of people I or others of my friends know, and asks if I'd like to make them my friends.  Thus far, I do not.

In all honesty, I don't know why I would want them for my friends.  Already my Facebook page is crowded with dogs and babies, those being it appears among the fascinations of those who have access to it by virtue of the fact I've granted that access.  God only knows what else would show up, unsolicited, were I to allow access to others.

But just what are friends, anyway, now?  Friends are like a second self according to Cicero.  If that's true, I have very few friends indeed.  Cicero may have had high standards of friendship, but I think of friends as being something different from the "friends" that are all too available to us all.  Friends are those we can share intimacies with, enjoy conversation, activities, food and drink with; rely on, trust, consult, without fear of being harmed.  We must know our friends and know them well, in order for them to be friends.

And so I wish for a pooka for my very own.  Well, perhaps not for myself alone; the pooka, being magical, could no doubt patronize others and still seem more than adequately present to me.  The pooka would have to be benign, however.  Mischief I have no problem with, so that it could indulge in as much as it likes.  And if pookas are especially fond of drinkers, I drink, though not with the frequency it seems Elwood did.  I would hope to drink enough for the pooka.

The pooka would have to be fairly well read, fond of irony, fond of history.  I'm not sure just what shape I would prefer.  I've always liked the Cheshire Cat; liked most cats, in fact, so that would likely be best.  An enormous rabbit would do in a pinch. 

Imaginary friends are not all that different from those friends we have so many of these days, who pop in and out whenever we wish to see them or their pictures or read their little comments.  I suspect they would even be better.

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