Saturday, April 27, 2013

Skeleton Bones

Let's try something different: I'll explore my idea for the day first, and issue absence-apologies after. That way, no one has to slog through the red tape mire to get to the crunchy brain-candy center.

Skeletons. I like 'em.

This only occurred to me as a solid, unavoidable thought in this last year or so. I'm not certain why it took so long for me to identify, but it is a fact. I have been intrigued by skeletons--mainly human ones, but all other sorts, too--since I was a kid. Halloween was one of my favorite holidays NOT because of free, possibly poisoned candy, not even because of the opportunity to dress up as a werewolf, or a Power Ranger, or a werewolf! but because that was when the skeletons came out. Decorations, toys, pictures, movies, it was the only time of year that they would come prancing out and rattle themselves and then sneak back away into the shadows.

I have always--seriously, always--included skeletons in my work. If there's a cartoon I'm drawing, there's usual some sort of fleshless frame hidden nearby. If there's a story I'm writing, you can bet your eye teeth that there is a skeleton involved--and it will probably be animated. Bonus points if it talks.

When I was determined to start up a podcast series, before I realized how much work it was for one person, I titled it Skeleton Key Mysteries. I still love that name, and plan on using it for something, someday. Skellingtons play a major role in Lorelei, Once. I won't say what that role is, but let me tell you, it is rad.

The other day, I went out with my wives and J Larkined myself up in preparation for the conference in July. Wifey showed excellent taste and good luckery in finding of thrift clothes. I look a bit badass, and as hawt as I ever have, because she is amazing at playing dress up. There was a look and an image in my head (vests, wing-tip shoes, sharp but sly) and, despite my ironically terrible descriptions (yes, it is really irony, because writers sort of have to rely on their descriptive skizills to make it in the bizizness) she managed to bring my insides out and deck me with them. On budget.

I'm so glad I wifed her.

First Wife got off of work a little later in the day, and met us at her favorite tattoo and piercing joint. I had never, in 25 years, altered my skin. No holes, no ink, just good old fashioned bleedy scars. I've never even dyed my hair. I'm not against any of these things, I was just content with the poetry of passing through the earth the same way I arrived on it.

Then Wifey mentioned that I could get elephant earrings. And then I would have ear elephants.

Puns move me powerfully enough that I will, with gleeful abandon, endure physical mutilation to carry them out ONCE.

So we're at the mutilation joint, Hot Tattoo Artist Man is scanning my ID to be sure my parents don't come scream-raging in later in the day, and Wifey, First Wife and I are examining some of the body enhancers in a glass case, considering what I will prevent Earlobes from healing with for six weeks.

Roses, meh.

Mushrooms, eh.

Kitty face, bleh.


Then we realized that the case was full of belly button piercerings (not sure about that term) and it was all for naught (I love that term), but by then I was small-child-distracted by something else that was randomly in the next case: a human jawbone.

Probably not a real one, but it was more interesting than the cool tentacle earrings and swirly-star things that were scattered around it.

We pop into the mutilation chamber (I asked Hot Tattoo Artist Man if I should tip before or after he stabbed me, and he asked how straight I wanted the stabbing) and the stabbing commences. First Wife and Wifey are recording this from both angles, and were a bit disappointed that I didn't so much as make an "URGH I'M BEING STABBED" face. Yeah, I'm tough. But it was less a matter of me being tough and more a matter of there was a super-cool pink skeleton dangling on the wall, and it had my attention more than the pokey-pain and more than* Hot Tattoo Artist Man.

It was during this mutilation that I had a quiet epiphany about my lightly macabre interest.

Some fascinations simply are. We like what we like, and it's silly to expect every mild stirring to have a deeper meaning. But some fascinations have roots that we do not uncover until we, for whatever reason, understand something more about ourselves--who we are, who we hope to be, who we have been.

I like skeletons because they symbolize a sort of universal honesty. There is no deception at that depth. And yet, despite the fact that we are literally always in the presence of those skeleton bones, they still represent a base fear. They are 'creepy.' They can be 'gross.' We will never, ever see a real skeleton that does not bear the shadow of the great equalizer--that only other constant besides 'taxes.'

And so we have a simple, elegant structure that is borne of that which frightens, excites, and mystifies all living things, which grants importance to the act of living. But skeletons are something beyond the shroud of death--freed from cares, trials, and expectations. No qualms. No airs. They simply are.

And the fact that something so pure, simple and natural can strike even a silly level of fear into the living is strangely delightful to me.

All of that struck me, in a single sweet blow, during the space of a begloved needle-jab. I should get mutilated more often.

*This may be a lie.


Sorry I went AWOL! My computer, Portia, was being a drama queen. Broseph fixed her, and then I was just kind of lazy. But no more. I am back. Daily brain candy sharing time may now recommence.

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