Dealing In Realities
by Jake Block
In the early days of “the web” and it’s dark side, you would occasionally run up against someone who would threaten you with, “I am a powerful RED MAGE, and I will curse you with my Mighty Wand of Mystic Power.” It was a holdover from those who got their “real power” in life from making it as a Dungeon Master in their basement world of Dungeons and Dragons. After being ignored for a day or twelve, they moved on to some other chat room to try their luck anew. No loss. It wouldn’t take long before someone else would come in, waving his “rod of power,” “staff of Satan” or some other mystical weapon.
That kind of thing pretty much died out as the internet came of age, but a new crop of fantasy minded types these days feel the need to impress others with tales of vampires, dark witchcraft spells and rituals that they can wield against you. I can’t begin to tell you the number of people who have “cursed me” over the years. And unless their curse was that I should become an old man with bad knees and cats, most of them have disappeared from view. My personal best curse in a beef with someone else is a hard right cross to the jaw, as I tend to deal with realities.
We had a woman who claimed to be channeling the disembodied spirit of Anton LaVey from Hell, and she alone could compel him to answer her. My response was to tell her that IF that was the truth, she should ask LaVey five easily verifiable questions, but questions that only he, or someone who had known him closely would be able to answer. I told her it was put up or shut up. My questions were:
1. In the kitchen of the Black House there was a painting to the left of the stove. What was the artist’s name? (Hugo Zorilla, which was one of Anton LaVey’s aliases.)
2. What was LaVey’s bull terrier Typhon’s favorite treat? (A Pierogi.)
3. What was the nickname of the “smiling skeleton” encased in the Purple Room? (Reuben)
4. What was my gift to LaVey on Walpurgisnacht 1984? (A custom dagger with his name engraved on the case.)
5. What was the meaning of “Nov Schmozz Ka Pop” at the end of each Cloven Hoof newsletter? (It was an inside joke, and a wink from LaVey to those who “got it.”)
She declined the challenge and disappeared to pester others elsewhere on the web.
I am sometimes dismayed when people cling to superstitions rather than just dealing with the realities of life. Fantasy has its place, for certain, but one doesn’t have to pretend that they possess great powers, when the greatest of powers lies in the ability to take what one has in life and parlay it into something better. Still, we see grandiose claims at every turn, with people trying to convince us that they can summon demons and the devil into existence in reality while chanting the ancient chants and standing inside a protected circle. “Yeah, man, I painted this wicked pentagram circle in my bedroom on the carpet, and I had to move my bed to cover it, because if dad ever finds out, he’ll kill me! But last night I raised the demon Azatorothadimoogas, and he told me that he was bound to do my bidding because… well…” Ok. It’s put up or shut up time, son.
Then there are those who swear that they are 2000 year old undead vampires. They’re immortal. They’re powerful. One woman told me, “I can change into a bat, a wolf, and mist. I live at night and…” You know the schtick, coffins, native soil, black candles, etc. “I’m the real deal, man!”
This kind of tripe is what caused me to come up with Jake’s $10,000 challenge. It’s basically along the same lines as The Amazing Randi’s Psychic Challenge, but with bite. OK… so you can raise a demon or the devil in real time, I’ll bite. All you have to do is accomplish that feat with me present, allowing me to investigate and document it. Now, we’re talking a REAL demon or THE devil, and not some “feeling you got,” or even your second cousin Vinny, who people say “LOOKS LIKE HELL.”
You do it. I will pay you $10,000. Yes, I have $10,000.
YOU will sign a legal document indemnifying me against any harm you will incur in paying off your side of the bargain, up to and including your death. Because if you CAN’T raise a demon or the devil, you will be required to bare your chest and stand still in front of me while I empty a full clip (8 bullets) into your unprotected chest. Seems fair to me.
Same thing goes for that immortal “vampire” out there. You stand in front of me, chest bared, for a full clip and you get $10,000. Yes, I have $10,000.
So far, I’ve had no takers. Imagine that.
The point is that these people are wasting their time… and yours… with their fantasy games. Time is the one thing we can never replace, once it’s gone. I deal in reality, and the time I might waste in such self-aggrandizing activities can be much better spent in making life better for me and mine. When you’re in the first and second quarters of life, we see the long road ahead and think “there’s always time.” Once we reach that third quarter of our lives we suddenly realize “there’s not enough time,” and we redouble our efforts to become self-sufficient and hope that it’s good enough to enable us to provide for ourselves and our families until the end of that dreaded fourth quarter of life… retirement, old age and the end, as it comes for us all, death. If we are successful, we’ve milked reality’s bounty and it’s a comfortable time. If not, we simply run out the clock and at once realize that, the fourth quarter clock runs on its own time. Time’s up.