They Have A Curse. They Say “May You Live In Interesting Times.”

I didn’t have a Playstation as a kid. Video rentals were a rare and precious thing, and sports were something I treated with a veiled contempt, an unfortunate necessity of dealing with break times in a small country school of thirty students. What I did have was books. I owned hundreds, read thousands. People in bookshops in Tralee would turn corners and be confronted by the sight of a small boy sitting cross legged on the ground so he could hide behind the kids’ short bookshelves and not be caught by staff as he devoured another book he couldn’t pay for. The town library was a second home. I made the little library in the corner of our primary school my bitch. Books like The Firm and The Godfather led me astray on sex as much as whispered conversations with other children in corners of the bike sheds. When I was ten I read Animal Farm and thought it was a fun story about animals. At eleven I read the Prince and decided Machiavelli was a bastard, but a smart bastard. I wondered why Cervantes didn’t end Don Quixote hundreds of pages earlier. I read The Lliad and The Odyssey and thought they were lucky the bible existed to make them look interesting by comparison. I spent my childhood consumed in the words of others, thinking, laughing, even occasionally crying. And of all those authors who managed to make me smile and laugh out loud before it was lolling, the best was Pratchett. I have never smiled more reading a book than between the covers of any Discworld novel. Pratchett created something unique, at least in my experience, a fantasy world driven by the desire to parody and make people laugh rather than create a consistent lore. He had a sharp eye for satire, but was never afraid to frame a joke around a character’s basest desires, always delivered in a unique way of course. Rincewind, Twoflower and the luggage stand in my mind like statues, permanent fixtures by dint of all the happiness they inspired. I still sometimes randomly think of “Can I have them mashed?” and chuckle. Losing Terry Pratchett fucking burns. He wasn’t just a writer. To me he was a precious childhood friend and the fact that he has dropped off the edge of the disc is cruel. There will be no music with this post. No piece of music is adequate to commemorate the impact Terry Pratchett made. Even if I never did learn how to use paragraphs, his books taught me a lot about happiness. Death’s an asshole. Fuck that guy.

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