Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Forward Defense

Now here's a thought: You walk out of the mall tomorrow, weave through the crowd, trip over something invisible, do most of a cartwheel, swallow your car keys, and die of embarrassment in a loading zone.

So what? So eventually somebody is going to go through all your stuff. Most of it will be siphoned off to the folks in your photo album. The ugly things will attempt to be sold. The rest will be stored or passed around the family like a virus, or like the world's five fruitcakes that have been shuttled from family to family for generations now. 

But what of the embarrassing stuff? Someday they're gonna find your much-used Big Bird toothbrush behind the Q-tips; they'll find all those dead 'D' batteries under the bed; they'll eventually watch that Ninja/Slasher/Cop/Buddy/Roadtrip VHS of yours and find out that its really a well-worn copy of "Its a Wonderful Life". Face it: YOU know that inside that plain garment bag in the closet is a frilly pink cocktail dress, and one day IT WILL BE FOUND.

Now I choose to believe in an afterlife where I won't give a flying fire truck WHAT they find after I'm gone. But for now, while I am still here disentangling my mortal coil, the idea bugs me. Especially in the bookcase. So, as a pre-emptive strike, the last testament of the embarrassed, the final blush, here are some explanations:
  • The Boy Scout Handbook. There is no greater text on midwestern values. Curious about sex? See your church leader. Going camping? Don't forget a big American flag, your pajamas, and your hymnal. No wonder it took me two years to work up - UP - to Tenderfoot.
  • Ironwood, Anonymous. Shocking, I say, shocking smut from Victorian times. Before "Anything Goes" a glimpse of stocking really WAS shocking. Fun for the whole family.
  • I am the Gate, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Remember him? Back in the 80's, Headed up his own camp of personality in Oregon? Preaching austerity, meditation, and owning 47 gold Rolls-Royces? This is a surprisingly wise book and well worth what I paid for it when I found it in a Free Box. Inamongst the 'follow the flowers' directions there are periodic tirades and lots of unknowable trivia spread throughout. Example: It was an esoteric circle of zen masters, paving the way for Buddha II who organized and directed Hitler and the Third Reich. Aaah, its all so clear now! Oliver Stone, call your office.
  • Sex For Christians, L.B. Smedes. Here's a plot summary: NO.
  • The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Edgar Allen Poe. Not too odd, granted, except that I own four copies. The reason I do is that each edition was published in a different decade and each ends differently. Most annoying to discover, but now it is a plus: Re-read an old favorite and still be surprised at the ending. Before that though Eddie serves up pirates, ghosts, mass murder, ship wrecks, starvation, two entombments, a heroic dog, arctic exploring, mountain climbing, secret codes, cannibalism, not a single female anywhere, and a cameo by God his own bad self. And all in about 120 pages.  Stephen King would've taken 800 pages. George R.R. Martin would need a 15 book series. Terry Brooks would need 15 trilogies. And Robert Jordan would never actually finish the story.
  • The Web of Subversion, James Burnham. From the God-fearing days of 1954 we have the intriguing idea that the Peaceniks, Civil-rights types, the Media, the Commies, book publishers, the Super-rich and almost everyone else are involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the good 'ol U.S. of A. You, yes you, are a spy until you can prove otherwise. Pretty much the Boy Scout Handbook, part two.
  • The Kama Sutra, Vatsyayana. Hands down the most entertaining sacred text ever. This is the unabridged mass market edition, with the full 7 chapters in the middle on proper biting procedures. Are you a hare? A deer? A mare? Learn how to rub a boar, how to press an elephant, and how to have Congress be a lot more entertaining than C-Span. Bought at a garage sale from a smiling little old lady for a quarter.
  • Storming Hell's Brazen Gates, Dick Bernal. One of those tracts that seems to be distributed solely through leaving them on bus seats. The thrust here is that Satan's Vice-Presidents have taken up shop in the skies above our great cities. Uh-huh. To counteract this threat and clear our sacred airspace we must purge ourselves of our evil possessions (Dick kindly supplies an address to send them to) and head for the high ground to pray. And by 'pray' we do not mean individuals practicing quiet reflection. Oh no. Dickie boy, with the fine Evangelical hair helmet, the tailored Italian suit and the Rolex peeking out from beneath a diamond cuff link, wants us to uncloud Pitch's VPs through "Militant, Violent Prayer!!" (As it is described on the back cover.) Now if you can visualize how to pray violently, then this is the book for you. Includes a handy gallery of Pagan dieties (God's most wanted), so you know who you are meditationally tearing asunder.
All of these books fall into either the 'entertainment'  or 'know thy enemy' categories. Actually all of the latter are part of the former. Aaaah.....clear conscience now. Thanks for letting me qualify all of that. I can head for the mall guilt-free now.

Oh, and all of those dead 'D' batteries under the bed? Those were for my Kermit the Frog flashlight. What was the flashlight for? Oops! Out of space!

Angus McMahan

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