it’s Fat Tuesday! yay, time to suck down some sugar and lard in order to get ready for some serious self sacrifice!
the history of Fat Tuesday is shrouded in mystery: did it originate with the Polish, who made too many Panczis one day, and decided on a random Tuesday to have a blow out sale? was it initiated by the Pagan-cum-Christians, who were eager to fit into the church (so as not to be burned) but reluctant to set aside their partying ways? or did it all really begin in New Orleans, spear-headed by some crafty politician that knew shiny beads, alcohol and sugary treats meant debauchery, drunkenness and increased tourism capital.
any way you look at it, kafillions of people observe Fat Tuesday before buckling down for the more strenuous Lent. eat, drink and be merry today, for tomorrow we must not have chocolate. or soda. or smoking. whatever your vice is.
i don’t think this is a bad thing. i’m not against it in any way. i’m also not a Christian (any longer) so i can choose to observe or not observe this time of year. the thing that is interesting to me is the giving up of something for Lent. i’ve heard of people giving up red meat, sugar, junk food and alcohol. i’ve heard people say they are going to give up Facebook for Lent. how is this really honoring Christ’s sacrifice? i mean, if he goes for a month without food or water, he’s delusional and dehydrated, malnourished and exhausted, then crucified on a cross for not doing anything wrong, how does giving up french fries equate to that sacrifice? is it really on the same playing field? – hypothetical question, that.
instead of trying to make myself feel better for having indulgences and vices by ignoring them for a stretch of days, i’d rather try to incorporate new things in my life. if, as Christians proclaim, Jesus came to give us life, and free us from sin, why are we spending all this time sacrificing something that won’t help anyone? Jesus doesn’t need my soda. or my damn good Taco flavored Doritos. me offering them to him isn’t going to do him any good, or me. it would just make me super cranky to not have my caffeine. instead of focusing on what is bad in us and what should be expunged, what if we all embraced life? what if instead of focusing on my eating habits, i helped feed the poor? what if instead of giving up time on the internet, i worked with Habitat for Humanity to get someone a new home? what if i bought someone a cup of coffee instead of giving up my own?
it seems to me the world might be a brighter place if we spent more time helping one another – at ANY time of the year – rather than beating ourselves on the head for eating yummy foodstuffs.
Last night I’m doing my thing, hanging out with my sister, and we decide to watch a TV show we DVR’d, that is basically a horror series. This show is trying to be like that really good series “Harper’s Island”, only so far it’s not doing such a bang up job. And we’re watching along, la de da, and of course the axe scene comes along. Well, it is a horror show, axes are sort of mandatory stage props in any good horror movie or show, everyone knows that. And there are, like, twenty axes on this guy’s wall. *why? what do you need that many axes for? you trying to turn your office into your own personal Ace Hardware? one axe should suffice for any normal human being, or at least anyone not employed as a lumber jack or fireman*
So there are the many axes, and at one point the guy grabs an axe and proceeds to chop his own hand off. ‘Cause apparently when you have a plethora of axes, you should use the extras to dismember yourself.
Well for any horror fan, this might be really fun, a great first episode. For people like me, it’s not the best anything.
When I was twelve, my favorite uncle came at me with an axe. He was 6 foot 2 inches, and 375 pounds, give or take an ounce. Big man. Bad mood. Grabbed an axe out of my grandmother’s garage, hefted himself over toward me, and swung it at my belly. Trying to make me into a human piñata, I suppose. Horror movie people like to throw axes into their movies a lot. It’s very exciting. It tells you the antagonist is completely psycho. It makes you feel you got your money’s worth. We don’t, however, usually get to see the traumatized teenager later in life, after they’ve averted death and the instrument of torture, and tried to pick up the pieces of their brain and move forward with themselves.
Speaking as an axe-incident-survivor, I have to say this isn’t maybe the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Or, I don’t know, maybe it was. I’ve had a number of weird things happen, and I can’t say my life was completely safe. Thus the whole Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis, and the more exciting and colorful Multiple Personality Disorder. I sort of earned that last one, I didn’t just pick it out of a basket one day while I was trying on mental illnesses, looking to see which one fit the best. My nutty, unstable, scary life sort of chose my mental outfit for me. So whether this was the worst situation I’ve ever been in or not, let me state what should be obvious: this fucked me up pretty bad.
Now when I watch movies, any hint of an axe sends me into a tail spin. I can often spot it a mile away, even if the axe incident is one of usefulness – like busting open a tank of water to rescue someone who is pulling a Houdini type stunt – I still freak out completely. I can spot these things before hand. Usually before we even start a movie that involves an axe scene, I freak out during opening credits, or start having asthma attacks twenty minutes before the scene shows up. I get ramped up five chapters before an axe makes an entrance in a book, as well. I’m a little bit sensitive to the buggers now. Go figure.
So last night, after the show, I had a melt down. Minor. Didn’t last all night. And I only shifted personalities two or three times. I got little, and cried in a little person’s voice, because I was scared like a rabbit. I shifted into my angry person, because really she’s scared too, but also mad that she is STILL scared, and that there are so many little people in me that freak out and get scared shitless over fictional characters and made up boogey men.
It’s just that, these things aren’t all made up. I really knew these boogey men. I had to live with them. I had to eat dinner across the table from them, while they watched me through their scary, crazy, boogey men eyeballs. I stayed over at their houses, and played basketball with them, or rode on their motorcycles and let them take the splinters from my fingers. I lived in their shadows, and dreamed of their contorted faces in the middle of the night. And they seemed to want to kill me, and that was just the way it was.
So my sister and I talked that out, and eventually I felt better.
And then today on my walk, I encounter a man I met just recently. Educated. Good looking. But very intense. Very persuasive. Very coercive, and forceful, and sort of walking the line of “I’m about to fuck somebody up, and it could be you, little lady” kind of thing. Standing on the precipice of permanent insanity, and talking about how he’s going to be a lawyer. Help us Lord. And this guy was hitting on me a few weeks ago as I came out of a building, telling me how beautiful I am and how amazing my eyes are. So at least he’s intelligent. But then he’s causing trouble at my work, not because of me, but just because he likes to spread the wealth. Share the love. Give what he has most of, which I believe is trouble.
And he’s standing there talking to me in the park, where I’m working on a different blog, which is probably a whiny one about love, and desire, or belly fat and how I’m getting old. I’m predictable maybe. But I’m also by myself. And this guy’s intensity is … intense. And he reminds me of my father, which is mostly a bad thing. My dad has some interesting qualities. Not all of them are bad. But most of them. Most are pretty horrendously bad. And here’s this guy, talking to me with my dad’s language, looking at me with my dad’s intensity, threatening me with my dad’s type of non-verbal threatening body language. Not that he’s really threatening me. But he’s one of those Charles Manson type of guys, who can start off trying to sell you a prayer cloth, and end you up in jail for murdering a family. He’s one of those guys that will tell you he’s looking out for you, while he shoves bamboo shoots into your eyes and spends the money in your pocket on weed or beer.
And this guy wants to get with me. Go out with me. Knock his boots on my bedposts, all that. But in his eyes, I can see, he might like to hit me too. He might like a little rough sex, and then a good shiner on my right eye.
And I’m cool. I know how to play these guys. I know how to keep it low, and make them think they can trust me, or that I trust them. I know how to settle down the hostile ones, and make the demons in them forget they are demons, and begin to think they are just misunderstood emotional boys. But the truth is, they are crazy. They are crazy men, who make me crazy. I find I’ve gotten tired of this game, tired of these people that want to spread their insanity all over me like I’m an English muffin looking for butter. I have my own fucking crazy, thanks to these kind of men. I don’t need second doses of mental illness, or another helping of fucked in the head. I’ve got plenty of my own.
Still, I come home and have a time of it. Not sure what to do, how to do it, why I’m changing my clothes. I need to email a friend of mine, because he’s big, and strong, and makes me feel safe and sane and like I might be able to breathe in a minute or two. I fall on the stairs crying, I walk around the house in a daze, looking at things, but not registering what I’m seeing.
Because when you are the victim of true horror, when you are the kid in a real life horror movie, it doesn’t just go away after two hours of sitting in the dark and a bowl of awesomely fattening buttered popcorn. It doesn’t wash out with a hefty cup of Coke and a quick stop in the movie house bathroom, whose stalls never shut properly. The real horror stories live on and on, and continue to haunt you in your sleep, and on the streets, and when you are just trying to write a little blog about something trivial, because you tend to wax poetic. So no, I don’t like axes. Or men that are crazy, and think they are sane. But yes, of course I admit, they do make interesting plot twists.