Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Has the Poe Toaster called it quits?


Baltimore, Maryland--I think the Poe Toaster--whoever they were over the years--made the right choice in calling it quits. Why? It keeps the memory and the mystery intact and ends things on a good foot. There was good reason to. With the problems of nitwits trying to unmask the shadowy figure who each year made a toast of cognac to Poe, his aunt, and his wife, and left roses to their memory, or senile old men claiming they were that person, it was time to close the curtain. Why make any changes with a legend? Why let someone finally ruin it?

Just three years ago, a self-proclaimed "Poe scholar" named Sam Popora claimed that he was the Poe Toaster stating that he began in 1967, but forgetting that back issues of Baltimore papers record it as having begun around 1949. That's an incredibly bad lie, yet the press swallowed it, sending-out dozens of journalists and video crews to speak with him. A brief search of the Internet would have told them all they needed to know, that Popora was full of shit! Hit on the Poe-labels for more, I was thanked by the director of the Poe house at the time in my comments section during the Popora mishap.

The mystery is
very much intact and I hope that the individual who began this journey in 1949 and his family take the facts to the grave. One of the points to life is that there should be mystery to it or it's boring. We need these symbols to feed our souls. Our souls will remain fed on this count, at least for the foreseeable future. I don't expect everyone who reads this to understand why all of this is important, but let sleeping dogs lie, and let the dead finally have their rest.

Mr. Poe's life was a troubled one, and fighting over his remains and trying to attach oneself to his legacy as his literary executors in the 19th century did; Popora in this one attempted to do and also failed; as well as Philadelphia and Boston have during this decade; is undignified. The great American writer is never leaving his resting place in Baltimore, it's never going to happen. Poe died in that city and belongs buried there. Richmond--perhaps--has some claim to him, but Poe lived in Baltimore and has been interred there for well over a century without contest. He is our national treasure, and the man who introduced many of us to mystery. Fitting then that this mystery related to him should remain one, hopefully for all time.