My Lord, I Offer Thee…Twisted Humor

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.

Mabuhay Genetic Damage FlyerLater, 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).

lol-hemogoblinIn 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.

Randy Rainbow’s videos.

The Gallery of Regrettable Food.

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):

c98

Puddles singing “Royals.”

Wilkinson’s Family Restaurant and anything else done by Liam Lynch.

Prisencolinensinainciusol.

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.

“I am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep’s Death Cult.”

Literature’s Great Couples on Tindr

[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!

####

Loki, a God of Pleasure, Poisoned

Loki,_by_Mårten_Eskil_Winge_1890
Loki (1890), Mårten Eskil Winge. Public domain.

This. The snake drips perpetual poison on captive Loki (a  complex “trickster” deity of the Norse tradition). One of his wives, Sigyn, holds the bowl to keep the poison away, but the bowl eventually fills and Sigyn must empty it. The poison that falls on Loki during that time causes terrible suffering–people even believed that earthquakes resulted from his writhing agony. And it never stops.

For me this is the most apt depiction of the constant suffering of the growing number of people who are chemically injured and environmentally ill. (Download PDF of  2018 study.) Industrial, agricultural, and consumer toxins are ubiquitous in our world, supposedly produced by people dedicated to “civilized” progress. All the world and all its creatures are at risk now, from the entwined catastrophes of climate change and pollution. The exposures never stop and neither do the consequences.

Those who are suffering now, and who will suffer in the future, are inevitably made outcast. They are rejected by loved ones who prefer to continue their use of designer fragrances or smelly hand lotions to that of recognizing a mild request for breathable air and unscented companionship. Marriages die, friendships wane, children grow up and start using products that make visiting difficult or impossible. Jobs are lost, employment prospects are slim to none, and activities of daily living inevitably involve toxic encounters: aisles in the supermarket (cat food is always across from the toxic cleaning products!), air fresheners in the clinic restrooms, that heavily perfumed customer behind you in line, or at the next table over, causing headaches and asthma and actually preventing you from tasting the food you ordered.

The poison drips. The agony persists. Suicide beckons. Loneliness is pervasive. You are alone in a cave (or a foil-lined studio apartment) that no one else will enter. If you’re lucky, someone is with you, doing what they can to forstall or prevent toxic exposures and letting you know you’re worth loving even when you’re spoonless. For those with chemical injuries, Sigyn’s dedication is all too rare outside the world of myth and sacred literature.

Okay. So what? This is a blog about esoteric and spiritual stuff, right?

Right.

So I’m outing myself as a Lokean as of this moment, though this metamorphosis has been going on for awhile. For me that’s super big spiritual news even if it doesn’t mean much to anyone else. This spiritual journey grew from an experimental approach to Norse paganism, with a devotional practice initially dedicated to Frey, Freya, and Gerda (Frey’s Etin wife). Because of their associations with sex, fertility, reproduction, and magic, Frey and Freya (who are Vanir not Aesir) are particularly apt deities for me to cultivate. But a giant chunk of something was missing from my spiritual practice and deep down I knew what it was. Or rather, I knew who it was, but I was reluctant to “go there.” I’ve already got several social deficits: the environmental illness disability; aging; and a tendency to go batshit over “special interests.” Declaring myself a dedicated follower of Loki is just not going to win me a goodie bag at the next senior center ice cream social (not that I’ve ever been to one–a lot of older women wear perfume).

But there have been few developments in my life as inwardly gleeful, rich, and pleasurable as finally saying, “Okay, I’m in. I’m in all the way. You’ve been there all along and I finally acknowledge it.” Yes, this is a personal relationship I’m talking about. I sense interaction and exchanges–seldom in words, most often in a sense of presence and intuitive tugs at my gut. At the moment I consider myself a neophyte devotee and a sort of “plucky comic relief.”

Even so, it wasn’t until yesterday, when I considered this story of Loki’s torment, that I realized how completely perfect this is. I mean, wow, I’m hanging out with a deity who actually understands my condition (though I cannot possibly comprehend all of his).

Loki: hailed as the god of tricksters, outcasts, deviants, and more, I now hail you as the god of all who are damaged by toxic chemicals, who are made outcast by their illnesses. This probably won’t make me popular among Lokeans either, but it’s my gnosis, not theirs. And knowing what I know now will probably keep me alive a little longer. Loki is within earshot, if not actually holding a bowl.

Are you a fellow traveller? Make yourself known.

Loki's_flight_to_Jötunheim

####