I Like Living Large

The Delta Bohemian Living Large beside a Mississippi Delta cotton field being harvested.

The Delta Bohemian Living Large beside a Mississippi Delta cotton field being harvested.

By Poor William
(Clarksdale, Mississippi)

Living Large can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but it sure does drum up hazy visions of folks smiling, drinking, eating, and enjoying the good life. Poor William likes smiling, eating, and drinking and considers a life full of all three to be a fine example of Living Large.

Poor William loves some single-malt Scotch whiskey, a rib-eye as tender as God’s mercies, lemon butter dripping from artichoke hearts and crab legs the size of Karen Carpenter’s thighs. He never understood how Ally McBeal could live off a meal consisting of like seven green peas. Now, dehydrate the pea, roll it in Wasabi, and Poor William is on board.

Now, there are those who would consider living large to entail vacationing in the world’s hot spots, owning large condos in the city and on the beach, having beaucoup servants and jets and yachts.

And yes, that works, but Poor William doesn’t even think that large, because he knows the work it would take to be such a behemoth and the folks he would have to step on to get there, and that just ain’t an option for the lethargic Delta philosopher. He is rather a simple lad with a large appetite.

He is truly a paragon of Epicurean splendor; not to be confused with

sartorial splendor, as he too often shows up at dressy events sans a coat and tie, and all because he lives large and his neck ties and collars seem to shrink daily, as does his worsted wool jackets. How the hell do they diminish in size while hanging in the closet?

Living Large is likely antithetical to healthy living and Poor William knows that his more pious brother, Pontificus Minimus, believes living large to be against all biblical admonitions to live a simple, quiet life working with one’s hands and pursuing moderation in all things.

But, Poor William thinks his living large gives definition to moderation. If it weren’t for the Poor Williams living polar extremes, then moderation would have no meaning. The extremes allow for moderation to be defined, and living an extreme life ain’t always easy, but somebody has to do it.

Sadly, some examples of those who lived large are dead, and at an early age–John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley, and these were guys who were funny, commanded attention, and thankfully brought much laughter and joy to those they entertained.

However, their large living served as a catalyst for an early demise. Could those guys have still lived large and been around years later entertaining folks and bringing brief moments of reprieve to people in need of some comic relief from life’s daily grind?

Poor William hopes so! Maybe being a Delta Bohemian is the ticket. Live large, but not too large; laugh, drink, make merry, but set some limits.

I do believe I inherited a biological bent to live a large life. I have never known a Howell to shy away from a casserole or a Sister Shubert roll.

Poor William (I know this will likely embarrass my Dear Mother) learned a valuable lesson about living-too-damn-large a few years back. He was going through a difficult divorce and was in a bad spot on that Friday six years ago. He was moving into his new house in the hood that evening, his youngest daughter was missing–fell asleep under the bed, and he had been engaging in non-healthy behaviors.

At the local saloon in New Mexico, he inadvertently drank 21 gin and tonics, as the officer later showed him from the receipt located in the Poor one’s pocket. After spending a wee bit too long at said salon, he was driving home–a very foolish thing to do, and would have made it home, had he not been hungry at 1:30 and decided to run a red light with a peace officer right behind him.

The Taco Bell he was aiming for was closed, Poor William was detained, and Poor William spent a lot of money, time, and shame dealing with his poor decisions. His sister made a funny comment when he called to ask her for a bit-of-bail-money. It was indicative of the Howell propensity to live-a-bit-too-large.

She asked him, “Did you tell the policeman that your daddy’s name was ROUNDMAN?”

What was I thinking omitting that salient fact? Oh well, it was for the best, as Poor William chose to live a much smaller existence for quit some time after that.

Jump to the future–2010!

One of Poor William’s favorite things to do is to have a fine meal, often cooked by him, and then to enjoy fermented beverages in pseudo-moderation (likely an oxymoron) with close friends, while discussing a favorite read, items in the news, and of course, who the hottest chicks around are, his wife being at the top of the list–he ain’t stupid! Well…maybe a little.

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  1. Living large to me is being happy with oneself! Maybe happy is to little of a word delighted? content?, satisfied?,…maybe a mix of all.

  2. Morals of the story:
    1. That 21st gin is always the one that puts you over the top.
    2. Don’t eat at Taco Bell when there are cops in the area.

  3. Your way with words causes a big smile to splash across my face. A ribeye as tender as God’s mercies…priceless. Crab legs the size of Karen Carpenter’s thighs left me gasping for air. Great piece PW.

  4. Alex Lundy says:

    Karen Carpenter’s thighs later in her life of course would seem to this Delta Bohemian less appetizing than a steaming platter of crab legs. Perhaps though this is an earlier, subconscious revelation of Poor William’s angst, grief, and overall sense of time lost due to the sporadic and meddlesome interference of law enforcement? It does beg comment.

    • Ah, my fellow Delta Bohemian Alex speaks truth! Though given to extreme hyperbole, Poor William did not want to grossly exaggerate the size of the crab legs that he so craves but rarely gets to dine on. Karen’s thighs, though a tragic example of dissipation, seemed about the size of the legs that fit within his holiday budget. Regarding your poignant reference to law enforcement, that and what led up to that have likely affected my judgment! You do yourself honor and speak well Alex! 🙂

  5. I didn’t realize you North Delta guys were such pontificators. Maybe I need to move to Clarksdale and go Bohemian!

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