December 04, 2002

The Whole Gruesome Story

I was placed into the service of the Penguin People at the tender age of four. Those of you not familiar with the Catholic faith may think the Penguin a faithful servant of society, whose only purpose is to instill proper virtue in those entrusted to their care. Personally, I think the only reason they still survive is our parents had to suffer under these zealots, and by God, so will we. I in turn was destined to marry a Good Catholic Girl and continue the cycle ad nauseum. Catholic parents being of course good Catholics (and under the implied threat of eternal damnation if they resist), send their unsuspecting and innocent children to parochial grade school in the feeble hope that things have changed since they were forced to attend.

I have few memories of my years attending St Cecilia of the Blessed Wounds, and many years of therapy since have failed to unearth the whole gruesome story. I have occasional flashbacks of standing in front of my peers performing various degrading acts as punishment for being normal. These atrocities included having to stand in place for most of a day with candy canes up my nose and in my ears because I had the audacity to attempt to sneak a bite of Christmas candy during class. I still shudder when I see one of those once cheery symbols of holiday cheer, and have the overpowering urge to grab them from the mouths of babes in an attempt to save them from the lurking Penguins who live to traumatize the young. On a somewhat related note, it was only in 8th grade I found out that brass rulers were not only for rapping knuckles ( I still carry the scars) and in fact served a useful purpose in the real world.

GUARANTEED ETERNAL DAMNATION

As I said when I started this tale of woe, I've been guaranteed eternal damnation since I was seven years old. It all started one wintry day as the Penguins were duckwalking us down to the Church for mandatory morning services. The school was located on the top of a steep hill and the Church at the bottom (in what I would have thought to be total contradiction of all that is logical and/or holy). Connecting the two was a ramp large enough to accomodate the occassional hearses and limos for those whose total contributions allowed having their coffins brought in the front door in the event of their eventual demise. The classes were always arranged in formation with the smaller children in the front rows, and marched in reverse order, eighth grade to first, down the ramp and into the Church. The Penguins would follow each class and take notes on deportment for future discipline. Our penguin, Sister Mary Clarabelle, was a peculiar speciman, in that she was actually wider than she was tall. Due to the many ways in which she daily flaunted physics by simply walking, it was inevitable that she would one day need hip replacement surgery. I would dare not to this day assign her refusal to use a cane, thereby accusing her of the sin of Vanity, as the reason for the eventual curse of eternal damnation I now bear. It was her habit (as in common practice vice penguin suit) to grab the shoulder of the nearest child as support when she felt it necessary. I would normally march towards the front of the class, but had that year experienced a sudden growth spurt, which eventually placed me in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We were just beginning our daily descent to services. The ramp was icy and the sudden surprise of a large heavy Penguin hand landing on my shoulder set the stage for disaster. I swear to this day my reaction was simply a reflex and unintentional. I flinched and spun around to see just what had attached itself to me, and the next thing I saw (and can still see clearly if I only close my eyes) was Sister Clarabelle sliding past me and picking up speed. She bowled her way thru three grades, scattering unsuspecting children into the snowbanks as she went, letting out an Unholy Howling as she accelerated towards the grotto of the Blessed Virgin unfortunately located directly in her path. The splintering sounds as she hit heralded the breaking of both the Virgin's and Sister Mary Clarabelle's right arms, ensuring that virginity was not their only common virtue. The other Penguins gathered around her as she lay at the Mother's feet, and one abruptly left the group to approach me. I was dragged trembling into the presence of Sister Mary Clarabelle, only to hear the words, "You're going to rot in hell for this, kid!" uttered in deranged, sepulchur tones. Knowing the curse of the Penguin People follows you to and beyond the grave, I have reconciled myself to my Eventual Fate, and have lived my life accordingly.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:51 PM

June 10, 2002

Intelligent Design

A subtle twist of sub-neutonic forces, and the transport "pod" was "there". Technically it had been there all along, as technically, it was really nowhere, and everywhere. It's all really a matter of perspective, and the Grinn had spent much of their subjective temporal history struggling with a way to rationally explain all the intricate nuances of existence that allow this to be so. Even at their advanced level of evolution, the generally accepted "truth" was still mostly implied conjecture without solid verifiable facts to back it up. They had become comfortable if not satisfied with the fact that the answers at least now outnumbered the questions. What the People had discovered allowed them to proceed with the Grand Experiment, and that would have to do for now.

" God is a state of mind - I think, therefore he is ..."
Odin, Pastor of the People

" It's natural to assign blame elsewhere for things we can't control. A Supreme Being seems a natural target. After all, if such an entity can't fix the problem, how can we as mere mortals be expected to? "
Jehovah, Seeker of the People

" We cannot forget, but have somehow forgotten why ... "
Amaterasu, Philosopher of the People

~~~

The Grinn had evolved from the stuff of creation. Certain energy fields had (somehow) stabalized and formed coherent patterns capable of learning and building on what they had learned. Of all the questions left unanswered, the how and why of this still eluded the best of their philosophers and scientists. Ignoring that initial gap in their history, the evolution of what they were today was easily documentable, as the individual never really died. Their nuclear substance was constantly renewed, and memory was for all practical purposes infinite and absolute once an individual's experiences were reported to the collective mind. What one knew, all knew, and had known since (almost) the beginning. The big problem with apparent immortality was that it was impossible, or at least supremely impractical to forget a question once it had been asked. When one questioned, all could not help but wonder. Their inquisitive nature required that the question of their origin became THE QUESTION.

What bothered them most was their failure after constant exploration and endless wandering to discover kindred spirits to share their research and discoveries with. They had become resigned to the fact that they were alone in their universe. Resignation became tinged with boredom, boredom in turn led to apathy. How could it be that whatever freak set of circumstances that had allowed their existence was not repeated elsewhere? They reasoned that an infinite Universe should be capable of sustaining infinite coincidences. The Grinn had for the most part stopped trying, and in doing so, began to lose interest in life itself. They discovered too late that their continued presence required a certain spark of vitality that had been lost. Grinn didn't die, but whatever fundamental element that was their soul could one day disappear, and what once was an individual dissolved into the collective conscience. The individuality died, and a voice in the chorus was forever gone.

The few who refused to abandon hope pooled their efforts and created the Grand Experiment. They reasoned if the universe had, through whatever set of unique circumstances, allowed their creation, they in turn might be able to re-create and nurture the same environment with the end result being the discovery of their true nature and the salvation of their race. If they could breathe that certain indefinable something into the substance that had become Grinn, they could once again grow and diversify, thus ensuring their survival.
The premise had seemed simple - discovery by observation. They failed. Whatever it was that made them possible eluded their best thinkers. The combined resources of the People were unable to unlock the mysteries that allowed their existence. The only option remaining to the People was to concentrate their attention and efforts on alternate life forces that showed similar potential, in the feeble hope that one day their analysis would provide the key. Of all who tried, only Odin was able to claim measurable success. He had theorized that of all the alternative building blocks capable of sustaining life, carbon based elementals showed the most promise. Their potential had been mostly ignored and discarded, as whatever coherent processes that could be attributed to intelligent life were not sustainable in the Grinn universe. Odin's breakthru came when on a leap of faith, He attempted the same experiment in an alternate universe. Others had explored these avenues before, all shared the same knowledge, but it was the unique flavor Odin supplied that provided the final piece of that particular puzzle. It was a giant leap, and brought the Grinn infinitely closer to a solution.

~ ~ ~

Jehovah found himself spending more and more time with one particular group in a remote region of the laboratory. A certain "M" class planet in a remote corner of a little known and less interesting corner of his alternate universe had caught his eye. He had painstakingly developed ecosystems that covered the full spectrum of variations that had been found to be condusive to biological lifeform development. Jehovah proceeded to seed these environments and settle down to observe and record the results. Most of His efforts to create a viable bioform failed, but several had taken root and even flourished. Of all His successes, He was most pleased with Eden. It had a certain flair that appealed to him somehow, and he felt vindicated in seeing that his understanding of his creations had obviously not failed him. Seeing evolution proceed to it's current level and demonstrating rational and coherent thought served to sustain hope that he was on the right track.

Jehovah had decided to assume corporeal form once again to better understand what His creations were capable of feeling. All he surveyed had been alien to him before he had first assumed "human" characteristics. Even then, more times than not, he had not an inkling of what went on in the minds of those who he now considered his children. The Grand Experiment showed a certain qualifiable success in that the humans had developed the ability to think, and in doing so, had assumed limited control of their destiny. They continued to surprise and delight him with their unique ability to shape and mould their immediate universe by instinct without really knowing how or why. Jehovah could not allow himself such a haphazard approach to life, and was totally incapable of any action without a full analysis of all the alternatives and potentials of that action. Eons had passed while he decided to proceed with his tiny part in the Grand Experiment. He always was, and always had been, and could not imagine another way.

Humans had never ceased to amaze him. What had taken the People eons to accomplish, they seemingly did overnight. From the primordial ooze that Jehovah had sown, their predecessors had swam, crawled, and clawed their way up the evolutionary ladder until they became what stood before him today. Jehovah now knew in his heart that Adam was the final link in the chain. It all somehow felt right, all of the building blocks were in place, and he felt ready to report to the People his success in this tiny but significant part of the Grand Experiment. It was now time to leave and allow the humans who had inherited his creation to do with it as they would, undisturbed and uninfluenced by their Creator. The world was theirs to build or destroy. Only time would prove that Jehovah had been right, and that bioform life could provide the last clue needed to solve the riddle that was the Grinn by becoming their equals.

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at 06:49 PM