Saturday, May 31, 2014

The saga of Gilgimarsh (all in one piece)

And my good buddy said unto me "Why don't you put that silly story about Gilgimarsh all in one blog post so I can read it without spending forty days and forty nights jumping around and getting all mixed up."  So my friend, here you go.
 
Silly stories are like silly dreams. We think there might be some meaning to them but we can't quite figure it out. Please try though, I'd like some insight.










The saga of Gilgimarsh

To describe Gilgimarsh in the words of Saint Josh the renowned spy and epic gallivantier, “It is a murky bright land overflowing with lasagna made with the ripest mozzarella your nose could imagine.” Why he and his cohorts would relish this place may lie in the inherent instability of the human equation. As Justin the Bieber has noted in his great viral classic on Crime and Punishment, “There was no hot cars or pavement in Gilgimarsh so why did they go?” But good old Saint Josh with no clothespin on his nose, embarked on an undertaking which would leave no cheese unturned. His bright eyes and laughter and unwavering love of lasagna heralded forth a new land overflowing with fat cows and garlic into which he led his beleaguered tribe of brightly dressed and slightly olfacticly confused shepherds and cow herders.

And God created the toucan. And God said, 'Let us make the toucan in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild animals and all the creatures that creep along the ground, and all the lazy humans who love lasagna.' And into this land crept Saint Josh with offerings of fresh fermented strawberries to placate the toucan overlords to leave them so inebriated that they could not regurgitate on the pathways thus making them impossible for navigation.

Life became rich for the transient tribe. Saint Josh would beam from ear to ear. They became hewers of durum with dairy maids curdling mozzarella in cottage-side vats, and with vines bursting out red ripe tomatoes on every window box as far as the eye could see. And strawberries, fields and fields of strawberries, for that ransom offering to the mighty overlord, sweet strawberry wine for the almighty toucan. It became a thriving cottage industry, the manufacture of wineskin baskets to hang in Gilgimarsh's rainy forests filled with juicy red ripe strawberries in sweet strawberry wine sauce. The toucans never left the trees and the paths all remained navigable. And the lasagna with that richly aged mozzarella became prized over the whole earth and Gilgimarsh went down in Justin the Bieber's great works as the best place for a 4 a.m. snack in the whole of the known world.

Saint Josh well renowned as the epic gallivantier and sneaky spy had been off in distant Greechen Land consulting with oracle Belle Von Delphi and partaking of pungent mozzarella flavoured gases emanating her chamber. They had been soberly in discussion on philosophical theories as those proposed by Martin the Buber (not to be confused with Justin the Bieber) and whether the toucans, who believed they were gods, could theoretically be part of a binational solution to the strawberry wine sacrifices Gilgimarsh was forced to make. They had reached a conclusion that gods could be given a vote but only if they were sober, and this may be the biggest challenge; however it would be easier than the present form of apartheid, and if the gods had to buy their wine it could be taxed too.

On returning home Saint Josh encountered a problem and it wasn't from Von Delphi's gases either. Gilgimarsh had become mired in toucan regurgitation almost reaching his arm pits. Now cows loved this stuff, they thrived on it. But people, you needed a boat. Saint Josh waded for days to reach the village, and had to resort to a tinfoil hat because the gods seemed to have it out especially for him with their keen olfactory abilities droning about for bombardment victims. When he finally reached the village he found his epic tribe turned dairy maids and durum hewers gallivanting on the roof tops totally soused on sweet strawberry wine. Now Saint Josh loved his lasagna more than life itself, however his pessimism on the convictions of his cohorts to remain faithful to this passion allowed him to take in the scene with a grain of compassion. The wine skins were almost empty so he joined right in with the frolicking becoming the life of the party with his bright eyes and tinfoil hat, and when the wine was gone that was that.

After everyone had added their own mix to the god's regurgitation they all settled down and had a ceremonial feast of scavenged charbroiled lasagna after which a discussion was held on how to appease the gods in a manner less prone to human vulnerabilities. It was concluded that a binational approach heralded by Saint Josh would be best suited to the problem at hand, but only if the gods were convinced that they would have a majority in the new democratic state. Much brainstorming hatched a plan to deceive the gods into believing they had a majority by creating thousands of false gods on long poles and planting them all over Gilgimarsh. It took several months but eventually the whole land was covered with colourful large beaks which the residing overlords took as their own. Saint Josh then led a delegation into the forests to offer appeasement to the gods in the form of a democracy in which the majority would rule a country which constitutionally embedded the right for regurgitation, but only within forested areas.

Now the toucans viewed themselves as gods and lived by the motto 'one for all and all for one' so their initial response to the delegation was a deluge of regurgitation so overwhelming that a tower had to be constructed reaching to the heavens, or at least the tree tops. So Saint Josh, now closer to heaven and on an equal footing with the toucans, patiently began to explain to them the concept of democracy and how with a few simple rules and a constitution, the majority of the inhabitants of Gilgimarsh would have the right to pass laws which would be to the liking of the majority. This, he told the toucans, would be far easier than using regurgitation as the sole means of godliness. All they had to do was choose a candidate from amongst themselves to run in an election, and whoever the majority of Gilgimarsh voted for would be the great leader honoured by all.

Unbeknown to the toucans, Martin the Buber's creative analysis was being fully implemented in the 'I – Thou' relationship the gods had with one another, although it may remain unclear on whether he meant it to be applied to a pantheon of gods, unless of course Justin the Bieber has a believe on the issue. But the 'I – It' relationship the gods had with their regurgitation tactics being relinquished to democracy would weigh heavy on a pantheon because very few great leaders ascend to an 'I – Thou' relationship with their subjects, especially amongst the gods. As the concept of democracy began to possess the egos of the gods and infighting and bribery became commonplace a monotheistic mindset took hold and a grand old toucan named Perky Pete was heralded as god of gods and king of kings.

It was decided to hold the election down by Twisty Creek with everyone lining up on one side and when they had voted they would cross the creek and John, who quickly became known as John the Asperser, would make sure they were soaking wet so they could not sneak back and vote twice. They would use a pile of stones and to vote you would simply drop a stone into the basket beside the candidate of your choice. The candidates were Saint Josh and Perky Pete, and much to everyone's amusement the cows got Betsy to let her basket stand also.

Voting day was drawing near and it was a good season for mushrooms in the dung which the cows dispersed freely over the dunes. These mushrooms were used to season the lasagna and when they were available people were generally in a good state of mind, attributed to the wonderful flavour. The toucan gods loved these special mushrooms too and a rather symbiotic relationship had developed between the cows and the gods in which the gods provided the much loved regurgitates for cows and cows provided dung for mushrooms. A huge feast was held on election day with much lasagna for the tribe and mushrooms for the gods, and when the vote was over, Betsy the cows basket was buried in a mountain of stones and the other two baskets were near empty. It was said even the false gods on poles were dropping stones on Betsy's pile. As Justin the Bieber has discoursed in his Crime and Punishment, “All's well that ends well.”

When Betsy realized she had been elected supreme leader she was dumbfounded. She was, as were all the other cattle, a devoted follower of Mahatma the Gandhi, and believed in a nonviolent, vegetarian lifestyle. The cattle believed themselves sacred and loved Gandhi for his mind and his writings. He had said: "I worship the cow and I shall defend its worship against the whole world." This binational enterprise that Saint Josh and Perky Pete were conniving on had become at least trinational if you didn't include all the other critters that roamed throughout Gilgimarsh, and she had no intentions of battling with this conflict over regurgitation. So Betsy, after a quiet gathering with the herd, called a meeting with Saint Josh and Perky Pete and using all the diplomacy she could muster, delved into the concept of a leaderless society in which cows would be sacred, toucans would regurgitate only where fertilizer was needed and a few treats for the cows (and could be gods if so inclined), and humans would give up all ownership rights and be simply treated as honoured guests of Gilgimarsh and make all the mozzarella and lasagna they wanted.

Perky Pete was tired of being god and all the insults he was getting and thought it possible that an 'I – Thou' relationship could be reestablished amongst the the disenfranchised pantheon as well as with regurgitation. But for Saint Josh it was not so simple. His love of lasagna was all consuming and his faith in it's qualities and that the pungency of ripe mozzarella had the ability to invoke the divine in most humans was beyond questioning. He had been appointed guardian of the tribe by his predecessor and had no faith whatsoever in their ability to remain committed to the pungency and passion of his great calling. In order to live up to the honour which future writers would bestow on him and live up to the motto that "Whoso keepes the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof" he decided to forgo war at the present time and keep his cohorts faithful to their calling in their new land by causing no waves. And thus the cows became sacred and the gods resumed their pantheon and Justin the Bieber had lasagna for his 4 a.m. munchies for the foreseeable future.

Rachab was a cute goddess and a flirt and she loved lasagna. Saint Josh had a sweet eye for her and in the middle of the night when the other gods were sleeping he would bring her a basket of lasagna which he would tie to a red cord she would lower from her branch. This 'I – Thou' relationship they both had with the pungency of lasagna was sweet to behold and endeared Saint Josh in the hearts of his fellow tribesmen. A compulsive spy and master of camouflage, he always wore his tinfoil hat on his nightly forays in case the gods were insomniacish. It was just that he was a little shy and the gods can get carried away when they tease. And Justin the Bieber could get pretty obnoxious with his silly girly songs.

It was on these forays that Saint Josh became aware of a discussion within the pantheon on whether a binational solution turned into a leaderless and thus quasi equal society was giving the gods their just due. Gods were supposed to be powerful and awed for their if not magical at least intimidating powers, and by agreeing to implement Betsy the cow's nonviolent proposition they had given up their rights to omnipotent power through regurgitation. After all, gods lived in the heavenly treetops and mortals lived on earth and that was a two state arrangement, Martin the Buber or not. They had been suckered twice already by these olfactory deranged sneaks, once with the strawberry wine and then with those false pole gods, how could they trust these lasagna crazed infatuates?

So Saint Josh decided upon a preemptive strategy to avert a possible airstrike by the missile dropping drones. He got his tribe to simply walk around the outside of the forest without ever saying a word. They did this for seven days and seven nights. He had no idea whatsoever the outcome would be, that was left to fate, he just smiled from ear to ear. At the end of the seven days they gave a loud shout and went home to their cottages. The toucan gods were mightily impressed by this show of stamina and came to the conclusion that the nutrient value of lasagna must pretty powerful. They henceforth tactfully avoided antagonizing the tribesmen and remained content to multiply in their heavenly tree tops.

Saint Josh made one last foray into the woods wearing his tinfoil hat. When he reached Rachab's branch she slid down the red cord onto Saint Josh's shoulder were she would remain as his constant companion for the rest of their days, in total unity with their pungent lasagna. All the tribespeople and even Justin the Bieber had a tear in their eye.

Generations came and went in the murky bright land of Gilgimarsh. The cattle remained sacred and fertilized the mushrooms which flavoured the pungent lasagna and left the toucan gods in an omnipresent state of mind. The tribe held its own over the millenniums, with kings and invasions and priestly type classes who kept the recipes and veneration for the worlds best lasagna up to date. They even built a road so Justin the Bieber could come by for his 4 a.m. cruises and snacks. But there always remained a sense of longing for the legendary days when Saint Josh had established an 'I – Thou' relationship with the land and inhabitants of Gilgimarsh. And so it came to pass that Saint Josh with his heart of gold and wide smile reincarnated in a manger full of fresh durum straw in the presence of the descendants of the very sacred and much revered Betsy. Now whether it was Saint Josh's sense of humour or the great sages thought it would be uplifting for humanity, Saint Josh came back as a little girl. And they named her Midge.

Midge grew up in a good home. She learned how milk the sacred cows, to curdle mozzarella, grow the juiciest tomatoes and garlic, and to roll out the durum dough just as the many generations before her had done. But she was infatuated with Justin the Bieber. She and her friends would hum his girly tunes while they worked and swoon every time they heard his hot car roar by at 4 a.m. And at the age of twelve she simply vanished. There would be many rumours in the years to come about Justin the Bieber's hot car and a chase through the desert with lights flashing and sirens blaring and the Bieber being hauled off to face charges of grand tom foolery. And there were hints here and there of another person with a rather mystical view on the creation and purpose of lasagna who had jumped from the car and had wandered for forty days and forty nights in the hot desert and had ended up in a strange land. But none of these rumours were ever totally verified although many different versions have been written in the scrolls of history.

A decade later the cattle brought home rumours of a woman they called 'pearl of the earth' who lived in a cave way down Twisty Creek on the edge of Gilgimarsh. She wore a rather rough tunic held by a red cord and ate mostly vegetables and grasshoppers and wild honey. She had a caring heart and people with health problems would come to her and she would advise them not to eat so much lasagna and to try her simpler diet, and then she would take them down to Twisty Creek and wash them in it's purifying waters. And if she heard Justin the Bieber's car at 4 a.m. she would always go out and give him a big wave.

Now Midge had had lots of time to think in all those years wandering the desert and living in strange lands. Perhaps the time had come to make Gilgimarsh into a true binational type of place where the gods and the people were truly equal. This is what Saint Josh had dreamt about, inspired by Martin the Buber. She had studied these ideas in far off places. Cows in most lands were considered as 'the mother of all civilization' and seemed quite content to freely roam the land and live long and peaceful lives. But gods, they were a restless sort and every so often some upstart would get the pantheon all riled up and they would bury the land in regurgitation till a new truce was forthcoming. Why not bring the gods down to earth or go up and join them in their treetop heaven, there must be more in common than love of cow pie mushrooms. People needed love, gods needed love, 'I – Thou'.

So Midge had a few visitors one day and she asked them a riddle, “If a god has a mushroom and a man has a mushroom, which mushroom is worth more?” And another riddle, “If a man drops a mushroom and a god picks it up and drops it also, whose mushroom is it?” Some people thought that this lady who lived in a cave was just plain nuts, but others were amazed at her wisdom and called her 'pearl of the earth' and asked her what the answers were. And Midge said to them, “If you don't know the answer don't worry about it, because if the riddle has an answer the answer is there whether you know it or not”. And they were truly amazed. And Midge had a grin from ear to ear.

Midge continued to help the sick folk who would come to see her and they really felt better when they changed their diet. These people would go out in the fields where the sacred cattle grazed and catch grasshoppers, and into the forests where the gods resided and collect wild honey. The gods were rather curious about this new development, with people climbing up to the heavenly treetops where the bees had their nests but the people seemed to mean no harm, so slowly the gods got to know them and they would joke around and got along rather well.

Back in the villages the priestly types, whose life work was the preservation and veneration of the beloved lasagna, where becoming slightly annoyed at this diverging food culture. People had thrived on lasagna since the ancient times of Saint Josh, everyone got a bit of indigestion once in a while. This business of climbing into the trees with the gods was also unnerving. The major deterrence to keep the gods in heaven over the millenniums had been to keep them fearful of people and this disregard for the lessons of history would lead to nothing but a major drone invasion. It was definitely time to consult with Justin the Bieber on his next 4 a.m. visit.

Justin the Bieber was an emanation from the great meadow of Folkvangr. He existed as an apparition, a reconciliation of life, death, hot cars, and girly tunes. His viral classic on Crime and Punishment remained unwritten due to a lack of pens in the yonder world, although it was oft quoted from in the scrolls beyond time. The peoples of Gilgimarsh, whose gods were pretty much palpable critters, where not much aware of what forms apparitions could connive of and because he had been cruising the earth for millenniums they took him for a man beyond his years and wisdom. So when the Biebers next visited and the priestly types asked him what he thought they should do about the new food culture trendies, it was a question far beyond any savvy he had gained in his future mortal days. The question so profoundly confused him that he disintegrated to a wisp and he drifted up to meld with the clouds in the sky. This ascension was viewed with great joy by the trendies as it left the priestly types scratching their heads, and when Midge heard what had happened she laughed and laughed and laughed.

Midge, not unlike Saint Josh, was not a great planner and left earthly matters in the hands of fate. She believed in being herself, helping out where possible, and if her ideas were appropriate they would blossom of their own accord. She continued helping the sick and lots of weird things occurred when she was around. Sometimes Justin the Bieber would drive by in his hot car and she would give him a big wave and then he would be gone. And if she was out catching grasshoppers she just put her basket on the ground and grasshoppers from every direction would jump into it till it was overflowing. Many people were truly amazed.

The priestly types heard many rumours about her so they sent a delegation out to check her out. She seemed to be the instigator behind the trendies foolish ways. They had a good talk and she told them her view on the 'I – Thou' relationship which Saint Josh, thanks to Martin the Buber, had dreamed of establishing with the gods, and that this might be worth their consideration. She looked them over and teased them for being a little overweight and asked if they might consider a little less lasagna, tempting them with a steaming hot bowl of stir fried veggies and grasshoppers flavoured with honey. They were all rather amused at this cave lady and really thought she was totally nuts and when they reported back to the priestly types it was concluded that she was the sole inspiration behind the trendies radical culture. And being set in their ways and not quite sure how Martin the Buber could be applied to gods, when gods were gods and men were men and never the twain shall meet, they started scheming on ways to destabilize the situation. And Justin the Bieber still came by for his 4 a.m. lasagna.

So the Priesties started a rumour and it was hinted about to the little children and they purposely left it rather vague so it could have that rascally truth to it which rumours pretend to have. The rumour involved wild honey and the gods and feathery wings sprouting on the backs of people who dared to taste the nectar of the bees who soon became known to be really evil cousins of the regurgitating gods. And little children had bad dreams of becoming godly regurgitating toucans and became sore afraid of going anywhere near the forests.

Of course this put a real chill on the trendies and the cave lady down Twisty Creek and when Midge came anywhere near the villages the children would all run out and from a safe distance point at her and laugh and jump in the air and flap their arms as if they were trying to fly. Midge just grinned from ear to ear. And one day she went home to her cave and sewed a beautiful toucany gown, and with toucan feathers gathered from the grasshopper fields she made a set of showy black toucan wings which were attached to the back of the shoulders.

Well, little kids are pretty curious and next time Midge came by she wore her winged dress and the children, not being that afraid because Midge was a gentle person, could not resist running to her and asking if they could feel her wings. Soon Midge had all the village kids coming to visit her cave and she treated them with wild honey and they gathered toucan feathers and made wings for themselves. The priestly types were once again left scratching their heads and the food trendies came by again and Midge told them of a new age which was coming when men would be gods and gods would be men and they were really amazed. And Midge just smiled and when they asked her if the children bothered her she just laughed and said “Let the children come to me.”

When the priestlies heard about the new age concepts they became overtly annoyed. They assembled a group of volunteers to go out to Midges cave and be bothersome day and night in hopes they could drive her away. The volunteers set up a camp close to Midge's cave and kept a party going day and night. Midge went over to try and join in on the fun but they all started heckling her and throwing cow pies at her and the sacred cows had to come and stand between them. When the toucan gods who really liked Midge got wind of the ongoings they flew over in mass and buried the whole volunteer camp in regurgitation so deep that belongings were being dug out for days.

Justin the Bieber has a brief note in 'Crime and Punishment' on there being an animosity towards any foreign views or personages for the next while and a good 4 a.m. lasagna was hard to come by.

Midge was out in the fields on a little hill with the cattle one day catching grasshoppers and crowd of many people approached her and asked her about this new age which was coming, and how could men be gods and gods be men? So Midge began by telling them of her sojourns to other lands and the many things she had learned. And she said to them, “This is my understanding of an idea, and ideas are beyond time, which a great thinker named Martin the Buber will bring to the earth in the distant future. All things become one with each other when they have an 'I – Thou' relationship, gods and people become one.”

And the crowd grew very interested and drew closer so Midge continued, “We cannot seek the 'I - Thou' encounter with the gods to become one with them, because all encounters are fleeting; it is only a matter of time before any 'Thou' dissolves into an 'It' again and as soon as we begin to reflect on the 'Thou' it becomes an 'It'. We can only ready ourselves for it by concentrating both aspects of our self, the oscillation between encounter and the 'I – It' of experience, in our hearts. If we ready ourselves for encounter it will definitely occur, and the proof that it has taken place will be in the transformation that we undergo, after absolute encounter we come to see every other being (nature, animals, people, gods) as a 'Thou'. We come to feel affection for everyone and everything, and to have a sense of loving responsibility for the whole course of the world.”

Now some weren't catching quite the whole drift of what she was saying but Midge went on anyhow, “Filled with loving responsibility, given the ability to say 'Thou' to the world, man is no longer alienated, and does not worry about the meaninglessness of lasagna. He is one with the whole world, and will help others to reach this goal as well. He will help to build an ideal society, a real community, which must be made up of people who have also gone through absolute relation, and are therefore willing to say 'Thou' to the entire world. Thus in the coming new age gods and men will be able to live in a binational community wherein there is much respect for each others views.”

Some in the crowd were very curious and asked her when this new age would come. Midge smiled and said “For some it is here now, for others it will come in this generation, and for yet others it will come in the distant future after many earthquakes and global coolings and warmings have occurred.” By this time the crowd was getting a mite hungry from all this heavy thinking so they all sat down on the hillside and had a picnic of grasshoppers and honey which some had brought with them. And everyone was amazed that there was enough to feed everyone with even some leftovers.

It came to be known, this afternoon get together, in Justin the Bieber's Crime and Punishment, as 'the discourse on the hill.' And everyone, whatever their take on it, was truly amazed.

The priesties were really scratching their heads about this Midge now. They had gotten nowhere with their rumours and confrontations, so in hopes that on their own turf they could better ration with her, they invited her to a meeting in the village. Midge being Midge considered this a turning point in her career and gladly agreed. She wore her toucan dress with wings and red cord and even brushed her hair for the occasion.

To get things started the priesties asked, “Who are you? The cattle call you 'pearl of the earth' and others say you are Saint Josh returned, who do you say you are?” Midge gave them a wink and answered, “I am the apple of your eye and I'll try to trick you oh so sly, I have wings so I can fly with the toucans in the sky, having fun we circle high, just a Midge from grotto nigh, I am the apple of your eye.” The priesties, never having dealt with Midge face to face, thought this was rather cute, and Midge being a gentle person, they actually took a liking to her. So when Midge opened a large basket filled with lasagna and offered them each a taste they took her up on it. And it was the best lasagna they had ever, ever tasted.

Being really, really intrigued, they they just had to find out what this recipe was. So Midge offered them this deal. “If you allow the toucan gods to come and visit the village trees and be part of your community while respecting your paths and homes with their regurgitation, I'll tell you my lasagna recipe.” The priesties hummed and hawed but they were so taken by Midge's lasagna, it had the most scrumptious flavour they had ever experienced. So they asked “And what about the trendies who are questioning our laws and upsetting our ways?” But cute and tricky Midge had an answer, “I believe if the trendies tasted my lasagna they might just like it so much that they would cook it all the time.” The priesties knew Midge held sway on the trendies ways so maybe they could solve their biggest problem with this fabulous lasagna. But to live with the gods, was it worth it? They hummed and hawed some more but that taste-blowing lasagna. What a pickle.

Societal change takes time, but in the years to come a new industry developed in Gilgimarsh. The nurturing of grasshoppers and the gathering of wild honey became a fine science for the priesties and their recipe for tomato, grasshopper, and wild honey lasagna sauce was sought after by the whole earth. The villagers were much healthier and began to appreciate the companionship of the gods, and many 'I – Thou' relationships occurred and the gods and people developed a loving responsibility for each other. Justin the Bieber writes that Martin the Buber actually had half a grin on his face although statements such as this are pretty ethereal.

Midge lived to a ripe old age and the toucan gods brought her many pearls they found in their travels, mostly because they were indigestible. After her passing it was said that Justin the Bieber always had a passenger on his 4 a.m. lasagna runs, and she always had a red cord around her waist.
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