Thursday, December 29, 2005

The experience of being in a shopping mall during the post-Christmas melees is, above most others, a situation that demands violence. All the jostling and commotion for the useless crap that although it was not worthy of a Christmas present the day before, now merits the crowds and confusion because of a ten percent discount. All that stress for what is ultimately pointless conjures thoughts of random macings. The sour look of an old woman as she rudely pushes past you to grab a discounted red pump to force upon her mangled and bunion studded foot almost audibly cries for a blast of pepper spray. Try to imagine hearing the shouts against the refusal to take the return of some unwanted gift not actually bought at the store toward the petite shop assistant from a lumbering mass of a scarlet-faced woman. I refuse to believe even a priest would deny the pleasure of filling that yelling cavity with a squirt or two of cayenne in a can. On the best of days, I don’t like crowds. Yet, they are, at times, a necessary burden when one is surrounded by half a million other humans with the same needs and desires. Post-Christmas crowds are senseless beyond belief, an unnecessary grief that requires a dramatic solution. If only there was the threat of random macings, it may help people think twice about that automatic card shuffler regardless of that seductive red lettered discount sticker.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Conversation Averted

"You a foreigner?"
"Depends what country I am in."
"No. I mean, you aren't British. You're a foreigner."
"Funny. I don't feel foreign." He looks the other way, and starts talking to the old lady across from him.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Despite my recent comments and being robbed on my recent trip to Brussels, I am not anti-Belgian. The truth is it was the Belgians themselves that were the only saving grace from my disastrous visit to the EU capital, and with regards to the Belgian pick pocket, I was assure that the thief of my wallet was either an Arab or a Nigerian.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

He truly glided onto the bus. I have heard that expression before to describe the movements of a person, but always thought it was hyperbole. It takes a huge amount of grace to still appear natty when dropping pence into the change collector of a public bus. He snapped away his receipt with a sharp but eloquent motion. He sat across the bus and greeted me as if we knew each other.

Through out the conversation, my admiration for this man grew. The greatest of war heroes never describe themselves as brave. They just acted according to their nature. I think it was the same for him; either that or he was a glutton for grief. I couldn’t imagine the difficulty he faced having lived most of his life in another country whose native tongue was not his own, the skin colour of the locals didn’t match his, nor was the orientation of his sexuality viewed positively.

He had lived in Edinburgh for thirty years. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else.” he said. I doubt that Scotland thirty years ago was very progressive when it came to the acceptance of a black Brazilian homosexual. If that wasn’t enough to discriminate against, he also had a stutter. His fluid motions juxtaposed starkly to his staccato speech. He still garnered sideways glances from other passengers. “Darling, I have seen it all. These fools are nothing.” He said with a smile when noticing my glares that attempted to answer theirs.

We indeed talked like we knew each other. There were no uncomfortable silences as one or the other groped for the next topic. Our conversation ended abruptly when we arrived at his stop, but I am sure I’ll meet that man, one of the blessed, again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

You know what really irks me about bigots besides them being closed minded and nasty. They’re so predicable. They lack imagination. They always seem to figure out that their race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or sexual preference is the best. There are Belgian Walloons that think Walloonity is the pinnacle of the human race and non-walloons are somehow lacking that certain special wallooness that makes them so great. I can’t decide if that is sadder than it is funny or vice versa.

I’d be much more impressed with Eugenics, if a lab coated Aryan called a press conference and announced, “Well, we were sure that Caucasians were more evolved, but we were wrong. Doctor Ernie rightly pointed out how hairy and monkey-like we are. That got us thinking and it turns out that an Asian ethnic tribe in southwest china is the most evolved. I mean these guys are sleek.” The doctor then whistles and winks at the bewildered press, “Thank you. I will now take questions.”

Or, conversations that begin “I’m not racist but . . .” finished with a comment like “but the problem with us is . . .”

But, alas no. It is always the other that has it wrong. Let the Walloons be our example of an other that clearly has it wrong about us.

Monday, December 05, 2005

my pancreas and the holy whatever

My soul resides in my pancreas. My belief in God and my scepticism of man’s religions are all based in the contemplation of my pancreas. It used to be in my gall bladder but God saw it fit to have that organ of mine deflated and pulled out of my belly button1. After all irony is his speciality.

Why the pancreas? Look at it. It’s ridiculous. It looks like an infected comma. Yet, this little ridiculously shaped unimportant organ shoved up each unimportant one of us upon this unimportant planet, etc. has an intense complexity. We aren’t talking about the heart, which is an organ easy to appreciate.

I am not saying this complexity implies design. I would think a designer could do an organ with 57’ Chevy fins or something cool. It’s certainly not designed2. Ascetics aside, all that effort to come up with such a boring and ugly thing as a pancreas staggers my imagination to consider the purpose, reasons that such a thing exists. When I start to consider things like Platypuses, Weak nuclear forces, or just the digestive system in total, my mind reels. It is for this I have faith in some force or some idea that so far man has only come up with the word ‘God’ to describe. It is a terrible word with more baggage than my credulity weight limit can accept. I am sorry sir you’ll have to pay extra if you what to bring that terminology with you. It implies too much and misses too much. The Taoists had the right idea with respect to that. Before I am sprout a ponytail, Birkenstocks, and tie-dyes I’ll step away from rubbing on the Eastern mysticism. As my pancreas is also why I am not the follower of any religion.

The force or being or whatever that we have attached the “Hello my name is GOD” sticker to its chest has put all that subtly and complexity into that little unimportant organ never mind the truly staggering things that exist in this universe, and you are going to tell me that whatever is responsible for the shoddy workmanship of the world’s religions.

The rules and myths of our religions have the dirty smudges of man’s fingerprints all over them. They point to man’s insecurities not those of an omnipotent. I find it hard to believe that the almighty really has a hang up about pork and shellfish, or what I get up to on Sundays.

Sure. All religions have within them a moral philosophy, but I don’t need the Wizard of Oz routine to know that charity is a good thing and murder is bad. The God we have drawn for ourselves is too comic book for me. The lines too bold. The shading too stark. I understand the attraction. A benevolent personal superman that grants favours if you’re in the fan club is an attractive idea, but given the complexity of our own dull innards or even the simple things our scientists can explain, I doubt the whatever running the show and keeping those scientists guessing is going to be as simple as we’ve described them. Evolution points to something much more miraculous than some beardy bashing out prefabbed universes in less than a week.

Me and my pancreas’ plan is to keep doing good things because they are good, and if I have some moral failing, I’ll try to address it. Then, if upon my demise, God is that enrobed bearded super hero shooting out his creations like lemurs and comets from one hand and smoting and smiting them with the other. Well, if I am damned just because his PR campaign on earth failed, then so be it.

1) The profile of a typical person requiring their gall bladder removed is a post-menopausal and over weight female. So of course, you can see why I had to lose mine.
2) Yes. My criterion for intelligent design is ‘coolness’.