Who’s Your Mummy?
Posted on Sep 15, 2011
By Mr. Fish
Then there would just be me and the faint chirping of dying frogs from the far end of the alley where the sidewalk came to a dead end at a green wall of crumbling slate shingles.
It happened at the close of every summer, this huge migratory die-off of frogs. Beginning sometime in late August, just as the great majority of the frogs living in a nearby lagoon reached maturity, they would hop through the weeds in the middle of the night and flush out the massive indigenous cricket population and drive it into the shopping center, past the drugstore and past the hobby shop and past the pizza place and past the dance studio, and slaughter it against the green wall. Then, once all the crickets had been chewed into tapioca, the frogs would gorge themselves on disoriented mosquito hawks and palsied moths and black beetles driven mad and rendered flightless by the caged floodlight bolted to the wall above. Glutted with the spoils of their conquest, the frogs would notice the approaching dawn and begin wearily throwing themselves forward into the crumbling slate shingles of the dead end, over and over again, as if the real world had absolutely no precedence over the self-edifying folly of their wills.
After several weeks of this, the lagoon would eventually be empty of anything larger than a water strider, the forest would be shimmering with the exalted symphony of happy crickets and the alley would be fetid with the dehydrated bodies of frogs, many of them little more than flattened patties of amphibious scrotal jerky wrapped stiffly around tiny skeletons frozen in spirited jazz poses of exultation.
What captivated me most about the mummy model wasn’t its wicked cool ugliness, nor was it the exquisite paint job and the ghoulish enthusiasm with which the artist applied blood to the monster’s hands and closed right eye, but rather it was my own moral sense of fairness and the affinity for anti-establishmentarianism that seemed to come so naturally to me. After all, whether one was considering the unique circumstances of the Mummy or Frankenstein’s Monster or the Creature from the Black Lagoon or the Phantom of the Opera or the Hunchback of Notre Dame or King Kong, there was no getting around the fact that these poor souls, many of them merely starved for love and companionship, were innocent victims of either intolerance or blatant discrimination from the dominant culture. Simply put, those monsters who weren’t trying to gain acceptance from the status quo were merely trying to exclude themselves from society’s thuggish judgment and demand for acquiescence, both positions reflecting, I would find out later, the completely coherent and morally cogent opinions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
And Jack Kerouac and Mario Savio. And Kate Millett and Geronimo. And Bugs Bunny and Noam Chomsky.
In fact, what made monsters menacing to the world was either their inability—or their ballsy refusal!—to conform to stringently myopic doctrines of behavior and belief, their hair-raising spookiness coming from the wretched fight that they usually put up before being violently killed by, essentially, popular opinion.
In the end, my stepfather bought me the mummy model, believing it to be the perfect antidote against my turning gay one fiendish relevé at a time.
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