Saturday, April 10, 2021

Two Hundred Years and One Day in the Life of Charles Baudelaire

 When I fuck up, I really fuck up.

Yesterday was my birthday. Thank you to those who are connected to me IRL and sent me birthday wishes. It sucked. Not the wishes, the birthday. But that's not your fault.

But see, it wasn't just my birthday. It was the birthday of my nom de blog and muse, Charles Baudelaire.

Shown here looking typically joyful.

And it wasn't just CBau's birthday, it was his 200th birthday. The bicentennial. The big two-oh-oh. After sweet 16 and 42 (the year you finally realize it's not in fact the answer to life, the universe, and everything), probably the biggest milestone birthday any of us will see in our lifetimes. Or something.

And I missed it. Completely. Totally. Utterly.

I should have been celebrating it all year. I should have had a big buildup, a multi-post commemoration, stanzas of questionable style and taste written in his honor.

But I didn't. Because although he and I share a birthday, I have Charles Baudelaire squarely beaten in the being a horrible person department. Which is saying a lot, seeing as he was a drunk, a prodigal, and a pretentious git.

I have no excuse. After years of using heavy drinking to explain away egregious lapses of memory and propriety, I can't exactly point to five months of sobriety (as of yesterday) to excuse same now. I can't blame Covid, because like most people I've spent the last 14 months desperate for anything to take my mind off Covid for one damn minute. I briefly considered holding Tucker Carlson responsible, but that would require me to think about his stupid punchable face, and I don't need that aggravation in my life.

Owning the libs by looking like you're watching the end
of 2001: A Space Odyssey in your head at all times.

So it comes down to me just whiffing on the opportunity to celebrate the life of the poet who inspired this blog. No biggie. Maybe after another 53 years on this planet I'll do better.

But I want to try to make up for my existential breach by presenting a list of fascinating facts about Mr. Charles Baudelaire. These are all true and not made up by me on the spot in a continuation of my failure to honor the man in a manner befitting his legacy. If you read this blog you're likely to believe this.

Charles Baudelaire - 10 Fun Facts About a Super-Fun Guy

1. To make money as a struggling poet, young Charles would wrestle alligators that he dragged up from the sewers of Paris. 

2. Baudelaire was an admirer of Edgar Allan Poe and invented the po'boy sandwich in his honor.

3. He suffered from amaxophobia (fear of riding in a car), which went undiagnosed due to the automobile not being invented in his lifetime.

4. Baudelaire once wrote a 20,000-word poem about eye boogers. He was so crushed by the negative critical reception that he bought up all the published copies and fed them to stray cats in his neighborhood.

5. Speaking of cats, at one time he owned every cat in Luxembourg, although he allowed the citizens of the country to care for them when he wasn't there.

6. In 1840, Baudelaire changed his middle name from Pierre to Ono.

7. It is widely believed that Baudelaire turned into a werewolf when the moon was full, but only for about 20 minutes.

8. His first published book of poems, Les Fleurs du mal, was originally going to be titled There's a Wocket in My Pocket!, which was later used by Dr. Seuss in his honor.

9. Baudelaire became addicted to opium partly to dull the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome caused by excessive playing of the Japanese pinball game pachinko.

10. After his death, it was discovered that Charles Baudelaire was actually three exotic modernist poet dwarfs in a trench coat.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Baudelaire. I'll try to do better on your semiquincentennial. See you then. Love, Chuck

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