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It's True - I'm a Weirdo (and Fuck Keith Richards Anyway!) - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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It's True - I'm a Weirdo (and Fuck Keith Richards Anyway!) [Apr. 4th, 2007|10:56 pm]
Young Geoffrey
More years decades ago than I care to remember, a couple of gorgeous southern European girls I knew returned from a summer in their ancestral homeland and allowed me to hold a momento they had stowed in their luggage - a human skull, taken from the ancestral village crypt.

Like Hamlet, I held this orb in my hand and regarded it feeling at once uncomfortable and a little thrilled. The lines where the bones of the skull had grown together looked to me as if they had been sutured, and I marvelled to think that that skull had once housed a brain, had at one time in the distant past been a person not so different from the 16 year-old boy I was then.

Dina said, "For all I know, that's my grand-mother you have in your hand."

* * *


Looking back from the age of 42 at one's youth leaves the fine distinctions of adolescence vague and so hard to specify. When I was roughly the same age, I suggested to my friends that we spend March break at my family's empty house in the bush on the outskirts of Sudbury.

About 10 of us decided to make the trip and so, by twos, we thumbed our way from fading Winter into a world yet to slip the grasp of that icy master.

Needless to say, being 16, 17, 18, we drank a lot (among other mind-altering diversions). And at one point, someone suggested we try a seance.

Already a cynical atheist, I rolled my eyes. "Why don't we call up Satan?" I asked.

All atheists at that time, I was shocked (and yes, appalled) that no one would take me up on it. And I realized: They're scared!

"Well," Ian said, "what if we're wrong? What if Satan is real?"

"Yeah, I don't wanna take that chance," someone else chimed in.

I grew pissed, disappointed in my friends and my realization that they didn't (quite, not really) believe what they said they did - or did believe what they said they didn't. Whatever.

I was pissed.

"Come on you guys! You want a seance, let's have a fucking seance! Let's call up Satan!"

But they weren't having any, and so I began to pace up and down the room, and to chant.

"SayTUN! SayTUN!" That didn't work, so I took a more direct approach.

"Satan!" I shouted while shaking my fist (non-sensically) at the roof, "I challenge you! Appear before me and fight me!"

And meanwhile, my friends (or many of them at least) are cowering on the couch begging me to stop, "just in case".

But I kept at it, until suddenly a basso rumble shook the house and everyone fell silent but me. I grew up outside of Sudbury, and knew the feel of blasting (it's a major mining centre for those of you, Gentle Readers, who are unfamiliar with Sudbury, Ontario).

Long story short, when I was 15 or so, I already had no fear of Satan (because I didn't believe in him) and felt no terror in holding the casing of what had once been a human being in my hand.

* * *


Which brings me to Keith Richards and why I am pissed off with him.

The other day, I came across an article that said he had told an interviewer that the strangest thing he had snorted was his father. He said he had mixed his father's ashes (his father died in 2002, by the way) with cocaine and snorted the lot.

In fact, it was one of you, Gentle Readers, who spread the news, saying something like, "Eww". But when I read the piece, I said, "Ha ha ha ha!"

But when I read it to my colleague at the office, she too said, "Ewww."

To me, it's just ashes; to most of the rest of the world, it's "magical thinking".

And I'm pissed off with Keither because he is denying it now.

* * *


In this month's issue of The Skeptic, James Randi discusses an experiment presented to the British Association for the Advancement of Science by a Dr. Bruce Hood.

He presented to his class a sweater and offered his students 10 pounds to wear it. "Most agreed to wear it, until Hood told them that it had belonged to an infamous UK serial killer...convicted of murdeing a dozen persons and had hanged himself in 1995."

Long story short, most of those students wouldn't even wear the damned thing for a couple of moments. Presumably, on some level, those students felt/thought that the sweater would somehow infect them with the evil of the killer.

My favourite sweater was a gift from an ex-girlfriend, the one I put onto the street and who jumped off a bridge a few years back. It remains a very nice sweater and I wear it without the slightest qualm.

There's no such thing as Satan folks, and wearing a cotton garment that once belonged to an alcoholic suicide means only that you have a very comfortable momento from an unhappy woman you once loved deeply.

Nothing more, nothing less.



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Comments:
[User Picture]From: miyyu
2007-04-05 11:15 am (UTC)
I LOVED this piece. This is my favorite thing that you've written yet! It's so perfectly connected within itself. And it really makes me see you.

(When I say piece, I mean piece of writing; teacherly habit.)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 12:52 am (UTC)

Le Purr, Le Purr ...

"Piece" I understand. And thank you, I was going for connections with that one.
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[User Picture]From: easyalchemy
2007-04-05 12:27 pm (UTC)
See, one of the reasons I have no patience with atheists is that they're so smug and self-righteous, and (it appears) so unsure of themselves about it that if everyone isn't doing it, they rant and rave and try to bully other people into joining them.

It's as annoying as hose people who come to your door to try to convince of God's love. More so, for me, because I find religion quite interesting and those people are usually quite polite about the whole thing.

And whether Keith snorted his father or not, it's awfully lame. If it's just ashes, after all, then there's no purpose served by snorting them, except to dilute what I presume was a bit of very good cocaine. And if you do something like that, you do not tell the story yourself. It's like highschool kids bragging about getting high as tho it were unusual or made them somehow specially cool. You let one of your indiscreet friends tell the story to reporters.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 01:06 am (UTC)

Defending the Past, Defending the Indefensible

See, one of the reasons I have no patience with atheists is that they're so smug and self-righteous, and (it appears) so unsure of themselves about it that if everyone isn't doing it, they rant and rave and try to bully other people into joining them.

Bah. As best as I can remember (and we are talking a quarter of a century or so, so take my protestations with a grain of salt), I was "smug and self-righteous" (though I'd prefer the term, "irritated") because (a) people wanted to hold a seance when we could have been talking literature or music or politics or philosophy and because (b) they were mostly self-avowed atheists themselves.

"Atheists" being frightened of "Satan" is not only self-contradictory, but embarassing, you know?

I feel fairly confident in saying that, had my friends been self-proclaimed Theosophists or something, I wouldn't have made fun of them - because they wouldn't have been behaving hypocritcally.

And whether Keith snorted his father or not, it's awfully lame. If it's just ashes, after all, then there's no purpose served by snorting them...

It's not lame, precisely because people have this magical idea that ashes are somehow still Father and not just, well, ashes.

In other words, I enjoyed the idea of the Importal Keif still shocking people with his antics. Precisely because he sounds like such a doddering reprobate (and that's why - even he was joking, I wish he'd kept his mouth shut).
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[User Picture]From: stolen_identity
2007-04-05 12:51 pm (UTC)
wow that was intense!
great piece of writing :)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 01:08 am (UTC)

Intensity in One City

Thanks KT - I had fun writing it.
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[User Picture]From: serpentrose
2007-04-05 06:03 pm (UTC)
My reason for being Eeewwww! about the ashes is that they're ashes going up the nose- not that they came from a corpse. (Then again I'm a weirdo who wonders if human flesh really does taste like pork when properly cooked.)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 01:09 am (UTC)

I'm Surprised

For some reason I would have thought you'd have dabbled in such forms of self-abuse.
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[User Picture]From: serpentrose
2007-04-06 10:13 pm (UTC)

Re: I'm Surprised

heh, I like being surprising.

The only thing I willingly snort is water, and that's because it's about the only way to effectively remove the snot.

And if you suspect I'm the sort to dabble in drugs the only illegal one I've ever tried is weed. Not out of any sense of morality but because I'm not curious enough to go to the trouble of getting them and dealing with the sorts of people who sell them.
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[User Picture]From: beable
2007-04-05 09:20 pm (UTC)

My ewww about the ashes isn't because they are ashes from a dead person, but because they are ashes. I'd be just as ewww about someone snorting the remains of a campfire or an ashtray.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 01:11 am (UTC)

Ewww

I was presuming that he did a more or less symbolic amount - at least at anyone snort.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2007-04-05 09:45 pm (UTC)
Dahm.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 01:12 am (UTC)

Say what?

I don't know what part you're reacting to.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2007-04-10 08:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Say what?

Two parts. The woman jumping off the bridge and the part about you shouting Satan. Because that's just asking to get dahmed. (I'm not saying that I believe in anything. I'm agnositc)
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[User Picture]From: ssurprize
2007-04-06 08:48 pm (UTC)
Well, I really don't know what to say here. I enjoyed reading this. I agree with most of it.
I am an atheist, no, not an atheist, more of an agnostic I'd say, but I don't think I'd call up Satan. Not because of "just in case" but "what would the fun be of calling up something that doesn't exist?", hehe. Now, a seanse, maybe universes do collide. And I would wear a serial killer's sweater, as long as it was washed clean!

And I'm touched that you "once loved deeply" "an unhappy woman" ...
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[User Picture]From: ssurprize
2007-04-06 08:49 pm (UTC)
oh, and thanks for the link to the Skeptic, it seems like a very interesting place.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2007-04-06 09:24 pm (UTC)

Invoking the Non-Existent

...but I don't think I'd call up Satan. Not because of "just in case" but "what would the fun be of calling up something that doesn't exist?", hehe.

Thinking about it again, I may have over-emphasized my interest in seances. Since I don't (and didn't) believe in ghosts either, I may have been trying to put an end to the whole process by taking the damned thing to its logical extreme.

And I'm touched that you "once loved deeply" "an unhappy woman" ...

The aftermath of that relationship was probably the worst year of my. Makes my post-Laura period seem like a vacation at a luxurious spa.

As for the Skeptic, I blow hot-and-cold on it. Possibly because it's American and so most of the contributors feel the fetid breath of religious extremism more than we do here in Canada, it sometimes seems (even to me!) kind of, well, shrill, or even dogmatic. But it's a noble venture and sometimes quite interesting indeed.
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