Archive for August, 2010

Family Friendly Bedtime Story

August 18, 2010

It was a perfectly clear night. The weather was so boring a bucket of gray paint had more nuances. A man carried his son to the son’s bed, intending for him to sleep early, as the father was going to spend the whole night watching Insert Creative Title Here, a soap opera he loved, and which was famous for how unashamedly it marketed itself towards the lowest common denominator.

“Aww, why do I have to go to bed so soon?” asked the son.

“You know what they say about sleep: Early to bed, catches breakfast at McDonald’s”, the father replied, referring to how he and his son obtained breakfast every morning, or at least the mornings they didn’t sleep in.

“You tell me bedtime story?” the son said.

The father said nothing at first, looking out across the window, as if lost in thought. And then he turned his eyes towards that of his son’s. With resignation, he finally replied: “OK, OK” and sat himself by the son’s bed. And so the father began.

( music theme )

There was once a young man. His skin was caucasian, he was slightly above average height, but not by much. He exuded heterosexuality, albeit in a metrosexual manner. He wasn’t just popular in the school he went to, he was perhaps the centre of social relations; he made himself not just a part of it, but the very fundament of it. He took up drinking, smoking and drugs, and was an (un)steady party-goer. At the end of his years at school, he had received worse grades than anyone had ever received before. Any teacher who had attempted to bring him on the right track had had talked to the hand.

The man was not distraught by his academic results, but woved to instead excel within music, carving out a career for himself. He went to a pawn shop and with the last of his money bought a musical instrument of indeterminate character. As he was high as a giant flying a kite in the Himalayas, he did not notice that the musical instrument he had bought was, to put it mildly, of undesireable quality. The intrument was once sold in the pawn shop by an old and senile man, and it was only sold because only an apprentice was tending the shop at that particular moment, and the old man wouldn’t stop rambling. The musical instrument had been collecting dust ever since. Now the owner of the pawn shop was all too glad to get it off his hands.

The young man thought the way he played was like the harp of angels and drums of the devil, and his voice was like the sweetest of nectars, and the most addictive of crack. What the average person thought of his music was more like a wounded crow making out with a Sneasel applying its nails on a blackboard. A rock contest in the town attracted every serious musician and the young man. In front of the mirror he practiced a speech for ending up first place, which he had no doubt he would. As the rock consert began, he thought his fellow contestants were lame and atrocious in their art. When it was his turn, he summoned every fiber in his soul and brang forth what he thought was the most groovy jam ever. He failed horribly. He ended up in 26th place, even though there were only 21 contestants.

Feeling in the dumps, and in a sense being so as well, he roamed the streets, trying to find something to sustain himself with. For a while he worked at the sperm bank, until they told him that they had all the sperm from him they could possibly need. Plus, he had gotten an erectile dysfunction. He turned to theft and loitering. The town council grew all the more wary of his behaviour, and put forth an ultimatum: He would have to prove himself worthy, or have to leave the town. When the young man heard of this he was less than sober, but he understood its grave importance. He inquired the council as to how he would prove himself. The council said he needed to go into the dungeon of no return and bring back the Gem of Plot. He asked how they knew the gem was in there if it was a dungeon of no return. Quite easy, the council said, they had seen how Bimbo the great rogue ran into the cave, and he had not returned yet. All those who had tried to pursue him hadn’t either.

( music theme )

As he stood in front of the cave, a great many townspeople stood, rifles in hand, and assured him that if he did return, which would not be possible anyway, they would shoot him at sight unless he had the gem. Gulping, he entered the dungeon. It was pitch black inside. Looking back at the entrance, he felt his way in. The way would bend this way and that way. After walking for quite a while, he finally saw light again. It was the strangest thing, lamps shining brightly inside the tunnel. The shine exposed three possible routes of travel. He decided to go into the middle one, as he was unimaginative.

Trembling, he moved slowly and deliberately. He thought he’d heard a sound. A wobbling sound. To his horror, he saw how a shadow materialized around the corner, and a giant gelatinous cube appeared. Shaking wildly, he lit the molotov cocktail he had prepared by reading an internet site. The gelatinous cube charged at him. Panicking, he threw the molotov cocktail. It hit, and put the cube on flame. After flailing around a bit, the cube became but a pool of sludge on the floor. Penetrating even deeper, he heard the most bone-chilling roar. It turned out to be a polar bear. He would have paused to wonder what a polar bear did in a dungeon like this, or a gelatinous cube for that matter, but this was not the time. He took the shotgun he had once received as a birthday present, and slayed the polar bear.

The father paused to look at his son. The son had a quite resigned look on his face, resigned in the sense he did not seem to know what was going on, or care. The father decided to elaborate a bit.

The polar bear and gelatinous cube had been going steady, but ever since the death of their friend the basilisk, they had slowly but surely been gliding away from each other. Usually they would stick with each other, but at the moment the young man had entered the dungeon they were in the middle of a quarrel, and had decided to be away from each other for a while. It was these fortuitious circumstances which allowed the young man to overcome them both. The polar bear had been devastated and mad with rage upon figuring out what exactly had happened with his dearest, but it had not been enough. With his last breath, the image of gelatinous cube had been in his mind.

With these two beasts dealt with, the young man pushed on forward. Finally, he entered a very large and spacious room, or rather a great hall of some sort. The floor was covered with coins, made out of the most lustruous of gold. Looking back, he saw there were two other openings both left and right of the one he came out of. Looking up, he saw the sky, with stars scattered throughout. Looking right ahead, he saw the most enormous dragon he had ever seen. Granted, it was the only dragon he had seen at all, but it was still pretty damn huge. The dragon appeared to be asleep. Behind the dragon, there appeared to be an altar of some sort. He did not dare even approaching the dragon, so he decided to retreat.

( music theme )

Picking up his cell phone and attempting to make a call, wanting to call upon reinforcements with bazookas, flamethrowers or something like that. There was sadly no reception. Flabbergasted, he felt like life and fate had punched him in the stomach and stolen his pocket money. Sitting down to rest for a bit, he decided to explore the other two parts of the dungeon. After a thorough search, all he had found was an ice box. Gently opening the ice box, he found what appeared to be fish or frog eggs inside.

And so he sat there in the cave. After a certain hesitation he had drunk some of the melted ice from the ice box. But he dared not touch the eggs. His hunger seemed to eat him from inside out. Finally, he steeled himself and decided to consume what seemed to be the only edible substance in the dungeon. He forced the eggs into his mouth, they slided down his throat. He felt an utter disgust. Fatigued, he passed out.

He spent the days mostly sleeping. He felt like he was getting fever. His stomach was in revolt, it bubbled and puttered inside. Digging at the bottom of the ice box for more water, by accident he found that there was a hidden stash below the bottom. Rows of chocolate bars lined up. He ate some, but he knew he had to save them for as long as possible. His stomach was appearing to expand in a manner not explainable by the chocolate bars.

One morning, or whatever the time was during the day as the young man had forgotten, he felt the most immense pain. It reminded of an episode during his childhood when he had managed to eat a whole brick. With liberal eating of plums, Californian chocolate and laxatives, he finally was able to get the brick out, in a most excruciating manner. What he experienced at this time was like the brick but much worse, but he was able to endure it.

Sprawled out on the floor was what appeared to be a parasite which had been living in the young man’s belly. Amphibian in appearance, it seemed grotesque. The young man was completely petrified in fear and pure terror, he could not make a move. The creature slowly got on its feet and looked on the young man. The young man dared nothing but look back. And so they stared at each other for a while. The creature slowly creeped closer to the young man. The young man, figuring he had nothing to lose, with stirring hands touched the creature. It seemed to show no fear, just calm. Wondering what the heck he was doing, he extended his last piece of chocolate to the creature. It ate the chocolate greedily. Now, the creature appeared to urge the young man to follow him. Astonished, the young man could do nothing but follow it.

Entering the great room once again, the young man stopped at the entrance and watched as the creature made its way towards the dragon. The creature was greeted with a roar by the huge dragon. Making croaking kind of sounds, the creature seemed to be communicating with the dragon. At least the dragon did nothing hostile. Suddenly the dragon roared again. The creature croaked a bit more, and then the dragon moved to the side of the room, and appeared to be nodding towards the young man who had been watching. Figuring he could not possibly be screwed any further, he very nervously walked towards to what seemed to be an altar. On it was a box made of cardboard. He took the box and walked in a jogging manner back to the entrance again, followed by the creature.

As he was finally out of sight of the dragon, he opened the box. He saw nothing but a piece of paper inside. On the paper he read the following:

The gem has already been taken. Sorry old chap.
Sincerily, Bimbo the Rogue

Cursing under his breath, he thought he might as well just leave the dungeon with letter in hand, to hopefully be spared. With heavy steps he walked towards the exit, the creature following him. After a long walk he finally saw the entrance again. It appeared to be dawn. Stepping outside the dungeon, finally catching some fresh air, he was not greeted with a shower of bullets. In fact, he was not greeted at all – there appeared to be no one in sight. He saw fire in the distance. What had happened was that the dragon had decided to visit the town, more due to its great hunger than any feelings for the young man and the creature. And so the young man decided left for greener pastures, but not before liberating a whole lot of gold from the dungeon. The dragon himself was contacted by a clever businessman who made him into a company mascot for a massive fast-food restaurant chain.

“That’s what I call a good ending”, concluded the father. “Try to catch some sleep now.” The father looked at the sleeping form of his son. Perhaps a bit different than his peers, he thought. But it was his very own son, and it made him happy. The father turned towards the exit.

“Um, dad”, said the son.

“Yes?” his father replied.

“What is the moral of this story?”

“Hmm… expand and improve the cell phone network.”


Generational Differences

August 8, 2010

Since I suspect I will not write a proper blog post in a while, this forum post will suffice for now (The rest of that that thread might be worth a look).

Hmm, my grandparents I think are relatively good as tolerance goes, though I think I know less about them than I’d like. My paternal grandfather was going to go to Finland as a volunteer in Winter War and fight the Soviets, but he ultimately didn’t because the war ended before he had the chance to go there. He later ended up working in the same factory as my father worked in his youth. He died an atheist, before I was born, in an accident involving a bridge.

My paternal grandmother started out a maid, became a waitress at some point before retiring at 60. I went to her 86th birthday last weekend. And I can honestly that while she might seem frail and senile now, she was strong like hell. I can honestly say she’s done more physical labour during her retirement than I have done my entire teens. She seems to have played football (soccer for you Americans) sometime in the past. She was pretty cool with immigrants until some gypsies asked her for directions and robbed her of her purse in the process. She once was on vacation in Italy, and because it was so hot she dressed only in a bra and was arrested for indecency.

My maternal grandmother was a jail guard. I’m thinking it’s pretty awesome that she as a woman had such an apparently masculine job back in those days. She was pretty skilled with the accordion, and was a member of an accordion club. I really liked visiting her when I was a child. She had lots of candy and a television, and would take me to see places. It made me happy. She later had lots of problems with her health, likely because she was a heavy smoker, and she died. And I knew death.

My maternal grandfather was a farmer, I think. After my mother and uncle were born, he and my grandmother divorced. After his retirement he started a horse club in J√§mtland, high up in the country. He seems to work as hard as ever, still keeping up farming for his horses. I actually seem to know the new SO (he and my grandmother never actually married each other) better than him. A pleasant gentleman who likes to refer himself as “herr Johansson” and who is good with children. Gets rowdy when he’s drunk, though.

I do not notice the different social mores as much as the socio-economic differences I’ve had compared to them growing up. Before the “People’s Home” which was constructed during the 40’s and 50’s, Sweden was one of the poorest countries in Europe. It’s especially noticeable in how much labour my grandparents had to do as well as the seemingly subpar education. On a car drive once, my mother pointed towards one of those stereotypical red cottages and said that my grandmother went to school there. In fact, I’m actually living in one those schools right now. We’ve had visitors who come to see the old building they went to as children.

This got me a bit nostalgic and sad…

As an aside, my paternal grandfather was born in 1915, before the Soviet Union, and I was born in 1992, after the Soviet Union. I’ve always found that pretty cool, somehow.