Friday, December 05, 2008

Of Caesar and Smoking

As I casually take out the packet from the inside pocket of my coat, I reach to open it and just as casually supply my lips with a cigarette. Closing the packet, I suddenly notice the big, black letters glaring at me with the forceful imposition of one of those 'TOXIC' warning signs you get on jars containing harmful substances. I have noticed it before, yet never had I shed a penny of thought concerning it. Indeed, as I keep staring at it for an unusual amount of time, I am suddenly bombarded with images inside my head - most humorous ones in fact. I picture Julius Caesar on the banks of the river Rubicon with his 13th legion behind him. His gaze is somewhat subdued - pensive, with a tinge of sadness. His conscience is weighing upon him. Does it crush his determination though? Does it have the potential to subvert his lofty ambitions? Indeed, no. His conscience is more like a strongly constructed chariot proving feeble still as it slowly and clumsily sinks into the quicksand of his determination, disappearing from view - no glory, no regrets! Nothing but ambition! He looks up and sees the still waters of this frontier, beckoning him to march over it and immerse himself in a bloody affair - a path beset with peril! He breathes in the air, with all the freshness of daybreak, holds this fresh, pleasant air hostage momentarily in his lungs, and for an instant looks up at the grey, wintry sky - the heavens obscured by smoky cloudiness! He holds this posture for a second or two, and abruptly though still with imperious dignity, he bows his head and closes his eyes with the intensity of a child playing hide-and-seek, and he sighs in resoluteness and determination! Behold this resoluteness! do not think one of its various nuances does not represent the tempting, tasty, creamy colour of submission! But Caesar - equally a Cicero and a dirty shepherd - as any human would traverse far and wide, overturn the earth if needs be to find his Mount Sinai! Oh, escapism - the most indomitable whim, a force of raw brutality! Immanent to even great Caesar!

Caesar still stands there - determined and brave. Sober-faced as a Roman bust, he eyes the horizon, and contemplates the lands beyond the river. His decision is now set in stone: he is to cross the Rubicon - a most certain war at stake! It'll be a journey, a formidable challenge!
He appropriates a trumpet and hails the men with a piercing blast - Advance!
He sets out to cross the river when suddenly, as though struck by Jove he stops and stands dead still. Right on the bank of the river, a sign is placed, on which big, black letters are warning the ambitious:

Deep Water
Competent Swimmers Only!

Caesar, dumbfounded, staggers about - a frown clearly visible on his face, exposing his bewilderment and inadequacy. Slowly - the stupid expression not once departing from his face -he looks back at his men, who are all staring at him - their faces stony and cold.
'Is this a joke?' Caesar asks, still terribly confused.

I light up the cigarette clutched between my lips. One last look at the packet and the writing in big, black letters.
Ah Caesar, I know how it feels! Alea iacta est!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Recalling Halloween

As I recall Halloween this year, I cannot help but laugh quietly to myself. The party that I went to required a fancy dress appropriate for the occasion. Since lately I have been gradually more and more convinced that Life imitates Art rather than vice versa, I decided to opt out for this new chic conviction of mine by eschewing any sort of particularly fancy dress for the sake of natural charm. I simply jumped into an accommodating, dark suit with an ink-blue shirt, and used some black face paint to highlight the area around my eyes, giving me a 'darker' look. All that I was left with was the hope that if not scary, I would at least be...eye-catching in a way...

Well the party hall was too dark anyway - I should have anticipated that prior to my sudden, sharp, stinging disappointment. Either way, what I want to briefly point to here is a rather humorous (in relative terms) exchange between me and this girl. When she first saw me in this suit, dark and smart, she was unsurprisingly puzzled and thus inquired as to why I had chosen this particular form of dress. Well, actually it was a straightforward, crass 'what's this got to do with Halloween?', to which I most sharply replied that I am actually meant to be Satan.
A look of incredulity swam across her face.
'I am Al Pacino from The Devil's Advocate,' I duly added, before fate had the oportunity to situate my being in-between hopelesness and boredom.
'Oh, right', was her casual reply, accompanied by a laugh of recognition. 'But how is that meant to be scary, I mean you just look too...sophisticated for the Devil', she inquired further.
'Too sophisticated?', I retorted.
'Yeah', she said, 'you shouldn't be that sophisticated'.
'But then I would be God...merely,' I added, sharpening my eyebrows and smiling a sinister smile. In the end I laughed considerably more than her, but whose fault was that, I would leave in the hands of the reader to master the gist of - I cannot myself decide in favour of anything concrete. Ultimately, perhaps my adulterous wit swiftly supplied me with a pair of horns which I was hitherto short of. Come to think about it - who cuckolded the Devil himself and gave him a pair horns to wear for an eternity? It wasn't his Wit, for he is the Red-Bull, the Lucozade of wit itself in fact.
I'll tell you who it was: his legion of imitators who write at night, and of night, and reinvent him constantly.

P.S. That includes Myself et Al.