Last week a legendary blues artist and guitarist died. And by his own account he had fathered 15 children with 15 different women (more or less) and had 50 grandchildren.
When my mum told me he had died and the fact that he had fathered 15 children with multiple women, I texted to four of my closest friends: “A famous man died last night leaving behind 15 children with multiple women and 50 grandchildren. What does this factoid say about the man?”
One friend (male) texted, “Typical.”
Another friend (also male) texted, “He had 15 children he could take care of! There are so many black men who have nearly as many and cannot support none. It’s not ideal…“
And someone (male) tweeted back, “He loved women and he gave 15 people the gift of life.”
My mum said, “Mm. He shared the “love.” 15 different women. How disgusting!”
And another friend (female) texted in response to the tweeter, “Well, that’s one way to put a positive spin on it” in response to “He loved women and he gave 15 people the gift of life.”
Here’s the thing.
Frankly, this man was free to make his choices and he did. But when I heard this factoid, any respect I could possibly have had for this man was lost at “he fathered 15 children with multiple women.”
However, when the man texted “He loved women and he gave 15 people the gift of life,” I got to thinking a little deeper about love, life, and character.
So I broke down and I Googled him, and I learned this from an article in the New York Times:
… his great love, his guitar. And he addressed his guitars — big Gibsons, curved like a woman’s hips — as Lucille.
So here’s what I think.
First, love is sublime and upscale, which is to say that it breathes profundity, discrimination, and elevation into what is beloved.
While I cannot speak to the content of all this man’s relationships with his women. The evidence of his choices would suggest that his associations lacked, generally, any great emotional profundity or depth or elevation.
And I feel very comfortable saying the following with a great degree of certainty: His behavior with women was not driven by love. It was driven by the other lust and the numerous opportunities he was given by women to f**k bare back.
Second, daddies are NOT optional! But a man does not “give” the gift of life. A man contributes to the process. It’s a woman that sustains life within her womb for nine months, and then she gives birth to life through hard labor.
Also, being part of the reason why another being is here is no small matter! This man’s approach definitely appeared to be slapdash, thank you ma’am, which is no way to attend the very important matter of the creation of human life.
Furthermore, whether life is a gift depends a great deal on the innate nature of each individual, as well as how they feel about and process their parents’ involvement in their lives and the quality of that involvement. It also depends on whether Life has smiled favorably upon them in all the ways we humans think are important.
Finally, I would agree that it is likely that some of those women, who gave birth to his 15 children, were opportunists.
P.S. I believe he did deeply love his Lucille. What he did with a Gibson guitar was sublime, profound and elevated. There is no doubt from his life’s work what he really loved.
Call to action: In the comments below, share what you think about how our choices tell on us?