Sunday, November 27, 2011

Puck on... Thanksgiving

Tell me we’re not going to do the very cliché holiday-themed post.  Oh, we are?  How very creative of you.  Surely, no one has had the innovative mind to have their blog post reflect the holiday of the moment.  Bravo.

Well, we might as well get it over with.  Thanksgiving.  Or as your generation knows it: Pre-Christmas.  I expect you think I have something to say on that, but really that is too easy.  And since I’m sure your going to have another themed post for the next holiday, I will save my thoughts for that one.

So, what are your thoughts on Thanksgiving?

Socially-accepted gluttony followed my mindless fanaticism to pointless athletic competitions, with a sprinkling of family angst and general seasonal disappointment.  What’s not to love?

Hmm?  Do I paint an inaccurate picture?  Everyone knows it.  The tragic, tragic beauty is that you set up every year as if it’s going to be different.  As if this holiday, this time, this Thanksgiving, it will be… better.  The food will be wonderful.  Your team will win.  And your family will be civil.  But come now, however the food tastes, you will eat far too much far too quickly for it to matter.  And your family will never be civil, because nothing has changed in the eleven months separating the last time you were together; everyone has simply had a year to reload.  All of it makes for a wonderful ballet of disappointment.

The big game, for instance.  I could talk an hour about how absolutely pointless the whole endeavor is.  And don’t believe that tripe about camaraderie and sportsmanship.  The simple fact it’s televised defeats that.  Between the cheerleaders, the ravenous fans and the commercials for cars, beer and pills, what is sportsmanlike about any of it?  And don’t you see that it’s quite impossible for everyone to walk away happy.  For your team to win, (and yes, your use of the possessive is so inane as to be hilarious), the other must lose.  Therefore, while all may be well and happy in your home, somewhere else, possibly many somewheres, it is not.  And you encourage this.  You want it.  Schadenfreude.  You want misery at the misfortune of others.

Disappointment.  That’s the name of the game.  And it’s a tough game.  Depression is one thing.  A general, continuous sadness can do a lot of harm.  But disappointment, real, bitter disappointment is so much more powerful, and infinitely more entertaining.  You see sadness keeps you down in the dumps.  But to be disappointed, you first have to be encouraged.  You must have the courage to lift your head, to bring yourself up just enough, to dare to hope.  It is the rise.  And then comes the fall.  You’ve cleared the clouds and fog just enough to glimpse the Sun, and then CRASH!  It all comes apart.  You rise only to be smashed down again.  And it is the fall, the crash that is so powerful.  It is quite true, you can only fall so far before you hit rock bottom, but if you are raised a little, then you can fall again.  And again and again and again.  It’s glorious.  You might have learned, but no.  You keep coming back.  Insanity, performing the same actions, expecting different results.  Over and over.  You raise your hopes, only to see them dashed.  You set yourselves up, every year, every day, only to be disappointed.

Oh, it is so fun, watching you ride that rollercoaster.  If you’re good, maybe I’ll tell you why you’re always disappointed.  Perhaps next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Puck on... Names

So, what shall we discuss first?  Sex?  Drugs?  Rock and Roll?

I thought I’d let you pick.

Oh, that’s dangerous.  You don’t want me to lead.  I’ll take you places you don’t want to go.

When you were talking before, about names-

Ah, yes, names.  Humans love names, don’t they?  Why do you think that is?  Go on, I’m very curious.

I guess, we want to be able to distinguish things.

Perhaps.  A good start, but it’s not the whole truth.  Really, you want to quantify things.  Oh, there’s quality as well, but it mostly exists as a means to an end.  To what end?  Why to put everything in little boxes, of course.  To divide and subdivide until you get to the real central nugget of everything, and then you can take that and pigeonhole it somewhere, with a neat label, so that everyone can know, so that you can progress your conquest of nature by every inch.

And you pridefully tout your knowledge.  You claim to know so much, but how much do you really know?  You haven’t begun to understand a fraction.  Even what you think you understand represents but the barest comprehension.  You are such ignorant things.  But still you make laws and state fact, or what you call "fact."  How quickly you forget that not long ago you thought, without a doubt, that the world was flat and maggots sprang miraculously from rotting meat.  Why should what you call now “science” or "knowledge" possess any more permanence than that?

And names.  Oh, you should not have gotten me started on names.  Everything must have its proper title, what is and isn’t such and such.  Oh, and only you can be the judge.  You prattle on incessantly: this is this and that is that and this is a rock and this is a planet and this is a tree and this is a bird and this is a completely different bird.  “Why?  Because I say so.”  Things are what they are, and they will continue to be so after you have changed your mind or stopped caring.  You make these “laws” and then rage when nature refuses to follow them.  It’s almost comical.

And it wouldn’t be nearly so bad if you restricted that kind of thing to just the observational sciences.  But, no!  Unsatisfied, you must get your fingers in everything.  You seek even to quantify what has only quality.  Beauty and Art and… ahem…  love.  You murder to dissect, you know.

But that is a speech for another post, I think.  You must be careful what you get me started on, my boy, I will talk your ear off.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

To Begin With...

We should make a point of clarification before we begin.  This is “Conversations with A Devil”, not "the".  Though, I’m flattered that you would mistake me for HIM.  Or is it yourself that you think too highly of?  Trust me, the Man Downstairs has much more important things to do than talk to you.

And you don’t?

Well, zing!  That was quite the witty riposte.  Bravo.  That’s the sort of thing I would say, so I would watch that mouth, if I were you.  Then again, when have you ever watched it, really?  All the millennia of human history and that one lesson you’ve never learned.  Oh, how many troubles you could save yourselves, if you would only shut up.

Sometimes, to say nothing is the wrong thing.

True.  But it’s a pale excuse to never stop talking for fear you might miss the opportunity to say the right thing at the right moment.  Contemplate silence, then maybe you’ll understand.

Oh, but look at us.  Two minutes in and we’ve already traded insults, this does not bode well for our continued dialogue, and I would like it to continue.  I would.

That does beg the question as to why you’re here?

Ooh, that’s a doozy.  Not sure we have time to cover that.  Why are any of us here?

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind a good existentialist debate, but we have so many other, more pressing matters to discuss.

I meant-

Of course, I know what you meant.  But you must learn to be specific if we are to get anywhere.

So, why?

Why?  “Why?”, is a question you don’t get to ask.  Suffice it to say I have my reasons, as do we all.  Of course, you will no doubt draw your own conclusions.  I won’t stop you.  Maybe we can even discuss them; that should be mildly entertaining.

So, where shall we start?  “In the beginning…”?

What are you?

You know what I am.  But for your “readers”, (assuming they exist, let’s not let that head get too big, my boy), I’ll explain.

I’m a demon.  Unholy fiend of the underworld.  Hell spawn.  The fallen.  Citizen of Pandemonium.  Absolute evil.  Et cetera.  Et cetera.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.  Your “readers” will no doubt paint some ghastly picture of me: horns, tail, or maybe they’ll be creative and render something vaguely Halloween.  You’ve always had such poor imaginations when it comes to real evil.  Is it fear, I wonder?  Like a child, afraid of what might actually be there, if you peeked under the bed.

How surprised they might be if they actually saw me.

Probably.  So, who are you?

I just told you.  Ah, but that was what, you want who.  Well, that's where it gets difficult.  See, you don’t want who.  Not really.  You say you do, but you don’t.  What you want is a name.  Just a name.  Something to call me.  That’s your problem.  Well, one of them.  You don’t really want to know things, to know people.  To know who they are, really, as a person, as a being, their hopes, dreams, personality.  Their naked soul.  No, you want the simplest tag to hang on them.  And so you give things names, to make it simpler.  To dumb everything down to the barest codifier.  To make it easy for you.  That’s what you’re always doing.  A whole universe of wonders beyond words and all you can think to do is label it.

I wonder sometimes if you realize everything already has a name.  A perfect title that describes it so flawlessly that to add anything else would be mockery.  Everything.  Even angels.  I had a name once.  It was light and music and beauty.

But I fear I’ve wandered from your original question.  Pardon me.  You want a name.  And in this I shall oblige you.  But that presents something of a problem.  As I said, I had a name once.  You wouldn’t understand it, of course; it’s in a language not meant for human ears.  I doubt you could even pronounce it.  And in any case, it doesn’t exactly apply anymore.  Hell changes you.  We are not what we once were.

But don’t worry, I may have lost that name, but I found a new one.  Several actually.  I’ve built up quite the collection over the years.  You see, though I may, at times, belittle human culture, there are a few aspects that fascinate me.  Over the millennia, I’ve developed a taste for mythology.  I must say you really are very creative when it comes to paganism.  I played my part in shaping it, of course.  I’ve had many incarnations.  They called me a “trickster” god, which I’ve never felt really captures my essence.  There’s so much more to me than mere mischief.  But these things do tend to be very one-dimensional.  Archetypal, you know.  They did always like to make me more palatable, more manageable.  More funny than frightening.  But who could blame them?  People tend to shun the truly horrifying.    Oh, the stories they told.  Anyway.

Let’s see.  To the Greeks, I was Hermes; Mercury, to the Romans.  The Norse called me Loki, god of fire; they may have been the nearest to the mark.  To some I’m the Fox.  To others, Coyote, Anansi, the list goes on.  But there is one that stands out.  I picked it up some centuries back.  I rather like it.


I know what you’re thinking: me, a fairy?  Still, I think it suits.

Yes.  Puck.  That is what you may call me.