My dear friend Bryan, did you ever hear an espionage agent refer to a portable spying device as a “bug”? Also, did you notice that the act of affixing such a device to a noun is called “bugging”? Well I don’t understand why more people don’t bug their Christmas gifts. If you bug your gifts before giving them to your loved ones this holiday season, you can eavesdrop on their conversations after they have left your sight. The information that a person tells you to your face is often sugar-coated, for instance: “I am happy to see you.” But then you turn on the radio transmitter and listen to what they say about you in private—now the truth comes out. And the truth is important, so I recommend using bugs that have built-in cameras: this way, you can watch a video feed of the culprits.
This afternoon was cold: many degrees below the freezing point of water. I went for a walk at the local park, and it was pleasant because not many other people were there. I assume that they all stayed home because of the temperature. I like people in general, but sometimes it’s nice to have the whole park to yourself. I forgot how quiet the world could be. But another walker eventually did appear, when I was at the foot of Mont Blanc—first a dog ran past me, and then a man showed up; I assume he was the dog’s owner. I raised my hand, both as a greeting and to signify that I was unarmed; then the man stopped and said “I just saw two bucks over in that part of the woods—they must have been watching you, and they didn’t know that I was behind them, so I was able to get a good look at them!” And by bucks he meant male deer. Then, after bidding the fellow adieu, I continued walking and eventually spotted five doe standing in a clearing. The doe are the females. They stared at me peacefully as I praised them in a calm, clear voice.
People and animals enjoy my company, but I always find myself wishing that I were liked even more. I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until all living creatures know me by name and consider me a friend. One of the reasons I long for wealth is that extreme riches would allow me to help the multitudes. If anyone ever needed anything, I would simply purchase the item and offer it to them for free. Then they would thank me and we could have a brief conversation. My generosity would have broken the ice.
I love words, I love language: I’m proud of humankind for inventing many symbols. For one mind to be able to allure an alien mind, and to evoke in that mind images, sounds, and experiences, via scribbles of text—it’s thrilling: it’s a major breakthrough! If I were a lion, I’d cherish my speed and strength: I’d murder antelope by biting with my mouth, and I’d savor the blood; I’d share the meat with my pride. But since I am human, I hold communication—both written and oral—as our dignity, our prime achievement. Chimpanzees can go to war and win at war. Render unto chimps the warfare crown…
And I advise you to avoid checking your email, because I just checked mine and it displeased me. Plus, if you sculpt a statue out of marble, some people might urge you to market it. Know the genre in which you have decided to compete, so that you can make your artwork available to the widest audience. Love sells, and so does nuclear destruction—use them sparingly, however: you don’t want to upset your audience. …And if you grow old, people will value you because you are a living being, not because you have any particular talent. That is why nursing homes are so sought-after. Prepubescent teens often dress up and act like mature adults… and I was going to say they sneak into hospices like movie theaters, but I guess they don’t do that. Or if they do, we seldom hear from them after their infiltration, because they become too occupied with the life of their newfound universe to inform us outsiders about their experiences.
Now, at the risk of repeating many things that I’ve repeated before, I’ll try to write some words about the recent holiday. I hope that I can evade my chimpanzee nature. I fear that I’m becoming…
You’re unknown until you’re known. I apologize to myself for leaving the last paragraph unfinished; I had to set aside my laptop computer (I do not type these entries into a tablet or a pad or a palm-sized device like a phone: I only use an actual keyboard typewriter) and stand up and walk over to the kitchen counter and open a new container of asphodel.
Then I used a knife to spread the immortal flower-stuff on a pastry before continuing to [insert synonym for “compose the present blog post”]… and, by the time I returned to this here entry, which is private because my diary has a lock on its pink plastic cover, I had forgotten where I was going with the aforesaid statement. …I think I was worried that I’m becoming a predictable atheist, which is my nightmare—not my worst nightmare, which would be to find that I’ve become a mere deist; but a nightmare nevertheless. What I just wrote does not please me either, but let’s let it stand.
Yesterday my sister cooked a tasty pasta dish for our evening meal. I enjoyed the holiday because we all got to engage in a knock-down blowout argument about religion. That was my Christmas wish. As an experiment, I purposely neglected to pray and ask God to grant this wish, because I wanted to see if the wish could come true on its own—and it did! From this I conclude that either simply wishing is sufficient, or that God possesses a modicum of free-will. And when I wrote “we all engaged in a brutal dispute,” by all I meant my mom, my sister, and me. My brother and his wife who is my sister-in-law were absent from the festivities. They were celebrating at another house—we will see them tomorrow. And also my sweetheart was with us; but my sweetheart doesn’t engage in religious arguments: while the rest of the family does battle, she prefers to offer goodwill by silently smiling.
My sister believes in alternative medicine, healing energy, the continuation of personal identity over multiple lifetimes, and Chinese acupuncture. She believes that humans possess a soul or spirit—she uses those two terms synonymously—she says that humans are more than just their bodies.
My mom, on the other hand, believes in C.S. Lewis’s version of Mere Christianity: she thinks that all humans inherited a sinful nature from the wrongdoing of the very first heterosexuals. My mom believes that Saint Paul’s Christ had to die in order for God to forgive humans for this sinfulness. My mom believes in a literal Heaven and Hell: two places where dead humans will spend their afterlifetimes. My mom believes in the Christian Bible: its books are holy AND sacred AND true; and no other books are holy OR sacred OR true. When I asked my mom “Why won’t you at least allow Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’ to be included among God’s scriptures?” she answered by quoting from the book of Revelation:
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book… [22:18]
I myself claim no specific belief; I believe in nothing; I call myself an atheist (or at least an antichristian), but secretly I am devoutly faithful to my own sacred cult: I mean the one that I invented. In addition to all of the spiritual things that I’ve taught my readership in this private weblog diary, I also wrote my own bible, so I believe in that particular piece of literature. The True God speaks through me constantly, and he has an ironic relation to the world, which he expresses even by way of my sarcastic remarks. (God is neither male nor female—not quite, anyway; or, rather, God is both—but I often use words like “him” and “his” when referring to God, because I hold femininity as superior.) I believe that the world is almost pointless, and that this is a fine situation. The world’s only purpose is love—by which I mean desire. I often seriously consider converting to Christianity or Mormonism in order to get a lucrative job.
I hate angels: I will fistfight any angel who visits me. I don’t believe in death—I will never die; it is impossible. Humankind made a mistake when she switched from royal kings to elected presidents, because I should be the contemporary king, whereas now I have to rule in secret, using bugging devices to survey my dominion… I am the so-called Second Coming, yet the church refuses to recognize me again. I say “so-called” because it’s much more than just twice that I’ve tried to make contact here, but the orthodox memory is short.
So my mom says the same thing every time: she is genuinely aghast that I do not accept the church’s interpretation of their Bible. And I myself declare that I love their Bible—it’s one of my favorite books—but I don’t think that all of it is equally good, equally “sacred”; moreover, I hate Jehovah, because I love Jesus, and I do not trust one word that Saint Paul says.
(For the listeners who have just tuned in, I am speaking on the topic of the annual Christmastide Quarrel.)
Also my mom is worried about my sister, because my sister believes in a spirit world that is different from that of the biblical LORD of Armies, and my sister also heeds the advice of a professional “life coach” who traffics with ghouls and weird forces and whatnot. So my sister and I form an alliance against my mom, because we each have an interest in evading our church’s doctrines… However, at a certain point, my sister must turn against me, because truth is too nihilistic for her taste. So, in the end, I place my own flag on the mountain.… But it’s lonely at the top, so I return home and write to you here on this computer screen, and you reply: Well done, my faithful servant.
For the record, I judge that conclusion to be annoyingly pat. I give it three out of five stars. As an alternate, below is a section that I love from John Milton’s “Lycidas”—I had quoted it in my last confession, but then I cut and saved it as a file titled “unused blog entry ending.”
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky…