So, then, toward the May (The Month which I presume Can, but Might choose not to— a time of possibility extreme and encompassing, but probability fickle.) I set my eye and mind to, perhaps, crafting a whole new sort of Month. Taking from scratch the system, uprooting her whole, and in her place laying down new foundations of rationality and utility which I might then humbly offer up to you, my Muddleheaded Readers, so that you might scoff upon it, little reflecting that upon my presidential ascension (Vote Squid!) it shall be the system globally mandated. Ha!
These, at any rate, were my intentions. And then, I mentioned of my intentions to my lab assistant Rob and, as ever, this proved to be a complicating factor. As I moved forward through my explanation— truly an explication much more the detailed then the broadstroked and hurried sketching I have offered above— I watched as his brow furrowed with confusion, smoothed with understanding, and then drew together with concern, his shoulders slumping. He sought to mask this concern, thinly, but I did wheedle and cajole from him an explanation most wrenching to my several hearts.
"It's great, Lord A. Don't get me wrong; it's a totally awesome plan. Get a little order up in here. Totally. But, like, my birthday is right in the middle of ole May, and it'd sorta be a bummer to, you know, lose it. I mean, it wouldn't be gone, right? I'd still have been born and all. But, shit, I mean having 'Nonesuch 10 Mark VIII' just isn't the same as having ole May 14, if you dig me. Right?"
I did indeed dig of the general sentiment, but found myself perplexed of the larger point.
"Birthday," Rob explained, "Here on Earth" (Nota Bene: Rob takes me to be an interstellar traveller from the far away planet of Tremulon-4, rather than your humble running-of-the-mill ageless, talking Giant Squid— GS) "Like, every year, you celebrate the day you were born with getting presents and shit. I mean, like, other stuff— not shit like shit. Cake and balloons, shit— I mean stuff, stuff— like that. Please don't gimmee, like, actual shit, OK, dude, Lord A? Don't be literal. OK?"
"Understood. You shall be gifted not of the booboo upon the anniversary of your nativity, dear Rob."
"Cool. See, I think your plan might sorta set folks off, on account birthdays are a big deal. Everyone's got one, and it's the same show with gifts and cake and shit. Little kids, old folks. If you're in a restaurant, they make all the waiters sing Happy Birthday, and kids in school bring in, like, cupcakes to share and get to skip to the head of the line all day and shit like that. It's pretty cool. Everyone's got it goin' on, their own special day, except for, like, Jehovah's Witnesses... you know, like Prince. You also celebrate the day Jesus was born, with gifts and trees and all that. And you celebrate the days presidents were born by not getting any mail.
"This is somewhat complicated."
"It makes more sense if . . . I dunno. You get used to it, is all."
"Indeed. I shall reflect upon this further."
And, as ever true to my word, I did see, meditating long upon these matters, of the annual celebrations of nativity, and the strange affection and sentimentality towards this imperfect mode of regularizing time against itself. Note well that this calender of iron-bound and stone-writ days is arbitrary. Note well that you distribute 365.242199 days of travel— that being the hypothetical number of hypothetical earth-spins completed during one hypothetically full and complete circuit around the brave and noble SunStar which hypothetically rests at the center of some systeme solaire— all hypothetical in that I have yet to observe these things myself, and know them only of Rob's admittedly historically inaccurate hear-and-say— across a span of 365 days (this demonstrated by flipping forward and back in my plastic laminated Badtz Maru calender book), that last quarter forcing Februarius intro strange expansions and contractions, himself thus not unlike the SootheMoon of nights illumination. In abstract, it would seem that the quaint notion of this intention is to celebrate your nativity annually, at the time that this strange watery globe hangs in the same moment of Greater Space it did upon your birth. But, owing to the disaccuracy in the system, this abstract aim is surely not met. The May 14 of this annum does not mark the Earth globe's presence in the same stretch of void space as the May 14 of annum past, or annum before that, or annum later. Perhaps there is a finite range of space that May 14 generally corresponds to, but the true moment in time and point in space, it is lost, not to be found, space being notable, it would seem, in lacking stable and unwandering navigational touchstones from which to calculate one's locale. And this only accepts the SolStar as the singular reference point. For are we not all rushing away from that singular point that was at the beginning and the center of all things? Do we not, each one of us, rush away from the other like the inky spots on a dog's belly as it inflates, road-kill-caused, in the heat of that selfsame sun?
Such, in any four year span, the occurence of May 14 does not always correspond to the same moment in the cycle, or the same placement in the heavens. Although this calendar has the seeming of stability, it is farcical and, worse yet, merely tautological: she is a claim which only confirms herself, is only self-stable. The patterns are patterns in nothing, the cogs and gears lack a larger machine of which they are part.
But this obsession with nativity anniversaries persists, a pattern in an ether that is itself a matter of shared and agreed upon delusion, and the more I looked upon it, the greater I did fill of dread. This May that Might, it is verily choked with a strange set of mines, anchored all about it's just-past-middle, the May 19. It was upon a May 19 that Anne Boleyn, six-fingered-of-a-single manipulator, comely, a worrisome thorn perpetually lodged— had the Poppish had their way— for all eternity into the side of Henry the Ate, was finally discapulated, which I understand to be generally fatal in humans. Likewise, on a certain warm, yet seasonable, May 19 in the year of 1,925 earth-round-the-sunstar cycles following the birth of the Jesus of the Winter Birthday Baby that on one side of the world was born Malcolm the Tenth, future liberator by any violent means necessary of the African-Americans and their delightful hipping and hopping, and upon the other globeside Pol the Pot Calling the Kettle Black, who would rise up finally to kill score upon score upon score of his own brown colored folk and kin, with the terribly fate of ultimately studying of the histories and dying of much ripened and elderly vintage in his own maison cambodgienne fantastique. Two terrors to white men of their age and time, themselves birthed in blood spilled from the neck of an eleven-digited beauty of rare space. And is not May the 19 also the anchor of one Gigantic Andre , born but to do no better or worse then feast upon the ground bone bread of an Englishman? And Albert Fish, an epic and villainous serial killer of the economically disenfranchised brown-colored children? All men of May 19, a day— arbitrary, in the extreme, a label only referring to itself— men unique in their place of origin, their range of action, their field of play, but all bound under this strange and singularly irrational rationalization of a but barely patterned pattern of nature. A day infamous.
Infamous— bloodstepped and injustice rich, a day of threat to you, in your stable homes on this rock-immovable Earth globe— and yet prior to this moment in time, in Earth globe's course across space void and dauntless— all but unknown to you. Infamous, yet not famous. Just an ordinary day.
Are they all like and unto this, your calender Maydays? Do they each and every, behind their blank white square and innocuous serif numerals, hide terrible secrets, mass graves, the butchered and fed-upon corpses of the young, the innocent, the idealistic, the abnormally large?
I might know not much, in a strict pan-galactic frame, but I certainly know more than you, Gentle Gruntchimp Reader, and let me tell you that which I have seen time and again upon the ocean's floor: when a terrible and destroying weight, a black and poisonous roughhewn slag of radiating waste, sinks down from some surface-skimming garbage barge, and descends poisonously down, down, down through the depths, finally settling to the muck and beginning its sink, it does not gentle burrow a cylindrically shaft down deep. That weight of horror rests on the surface, and as its own great mass pulls it further down, it does deform and depress the entire plane of the floor there, finally forming an unmistakable cone of awe-fullness about itself.
So it is with May: the horrors of the 19 do draw down the rest of the Month that Might, and to set foot there is to risk loosing yourself to the slippery slope, and descending down into the pitcherplant pit of headless ambidexterity, bombastic speech, guns in the night, jungle slaughter, and a tea-party of anglobread spread with the minced meat of melanin-rich children. Stay in your homes, Gentle Readers. Leave this Month that Might be to its own sinister and darknightmarish devices.
I have not the notion of how I shall communicate this sorrowful news to poor, dear Rob: There shall be no birthday for him this annum, or ever forth; the risks to his paltry human soul are simply too dear.
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson