Hail Loki, Breaker of Worlds, Master of Mischief, Shapeshifter Supreme–and, I venture to add–God of the Gleeful, Lover of Laughter!
Though I’m admittedly a newly-minted Lokean, and perhaps too eager to blog this to the rest of the world (which cares not), I have come to understand that the presence of the “trickster” has been with me at least since my teens. This was evident in my own love of semi-confrontational pranks (which usually contained some political or topical message). I was an intellectually precocious twelve-year old in 1967, and at some point became an ardent vegetarian (no longer one). An old friend recently reminded me of the time I drew tiny purple cows on big marshmellows and scattered them around La Jolla Cove Park, to let people know that marshmellows were conjured from animal flesh (or something like that).
Yeah, I know, obscure. But mirthful (at least to me).
My adolescence in the Sixties was a golden age for topical pranks. I remember when a bunch of us “protested” the Vietnam War by burning the tiny paper American flag on top of the “Mount Helix” giant ice-cream bowl for ten at the old Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor in San Diego. We thought we wuz so radical and clever, but we were really just stoned. But maybe the Yippies and Merry Pranksters would have approved. Nevertheless, mirth.
Of course, there were also really dumb pay telephone pranks, with no redeeming social content whatsoever. We’d call the payphone that was in the park across from my house, watch from the window to see who answered, and then say stupid stuff. I had a friend who used to call pet cemetaries and ask if they delivered… (I was never that bold.) Nevertheless, gales of laughter. Snickers. Mirth.
Later, in my San Francisco punk rock days, we had a “fashion protest” in Union Square. A bunch of us held signs like “Polyvinyl is Truth: Tweed is Madness” (my brother Patrick composed that one) and “We have proof the CIA killed the mini-skirt.” We marched around a few blocks and the oppressed workers in posh boutiques came out on the sidewalk to applaud. My first fashion show featured a man wearing a jock strap mask attacking a T.V. with a chainsaw. Those early days of punk were chock full o’ pranks.
A few years later, as a prank-starved new mother at home with my baby, I fed my deep desire for pranks and humor through mild crushes on Peewee Herman and Jambi.
As my first-born began to read from Kentucky Derby glasses at the dinner table, I once boasted I would write a short story that incorporated the names of all the winners of the Kentucky Derby from 1875 through 1999. A few years later my kid asked, “Hey mom, whatever happened to that story that started with ‘Sunny’s Halo slipped sideways as she took a genuine risk?'” Of course I had to make good my boast then, and so I did! I still feel tingles of unholy glee when I re-read it. (It’s called “The Strange Saga of Fonso Aristides” and it’s published in my “slim volume of poetry,” below).
In my first years as a sexologist, I was lucky enough to write a weekly column for a NSFW website called Carnal Nation (no longer published). Many of my columns were serious, like “Domestic Ultraviolence” and “Said to the Rose,” but others were flat out pranks. There was that column about infiltrating vampire chat rooms as “Dr. Hemogoblin” in order to explore the sexy vampire thing. Or that review I wrote of a semen cookbook…
I’m gonna be cremated so I’ll never have a tombstone, but if I did it would read “Not Insane”–a line from an old Firesign Theater routine. My slim volume of poetry is titled “I Was a Hybrid in a Black Brassiere” (kind of like “I was a Teenage Werewolf From Outer Space”). My youngest son wants to name my youngest cat, “No Country for Old Men.” One of my brothers used to play drums while wearing meat. You see, this stuff runs in the family.
And so my dear Lord Loki, my most trusted one, my beloved teacher and friend (see, I can’t stop gushing!), please accept these offerings from one who styles herself as your “plucky comic relief.” May they please you as they’ve pleased me.
May they provide thee with mirth.
Cards Against Humanity, including the 2018 Pride Pack. Especially the card that reads “whatever straight people do for fun.”
This meme (I don’t know the wag who created it, but I bow low to that person):
Wilkinson’s Family Restaurant and anything else done by Liam Lynch.
Any of the “butter bug” scenes from A Civil Campaign by Lois McMasters-Bujold.
Whoever wrote “this gum tastes like rubber” on a condom dispenser.
[This list is a work in progress. Come back for lots more.]
Are you a fellow traveller? Offering jokes and pranks to Loki too? Would love to hear about it! Please comment!