Print Story On Enemies, Part I
By CheeseburgerBrown (Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:35:22 AM EST) test (all tags)
This is the first in a multi-part series on the subject of the various great and memorable enemies I have had the pleasure of knowing over the years, from the earnest gibbering of schoolyard bullies to the courtly dance of the merely ritualistic antagonist.

I have often found that identifying someone as an opponent can crystallize one's position in a muddy situation, or even inspire one to achievement in order to thwart their evil. The notion of the personified nemesis speaks to a deep part of the human tribal psyche. It is the basis of our stories, the stuff of nightmares, the archetype at the foundation of our understanding of conflict, righteousness and victory.

Our series begins when I am just four years old.

Jessica No Legs

On the first day of preschool I was introduced to three enchanted playthings: a child-proportioned wooden automobile in which one could sit and pretend to be driving around, a storey-high wooden castle with tiny rooms inside, and a girl named Jessica with curly hair who wanted to hold my hand.

She did not enjoy the wooden automobile as much as I did, which I could not fathom since pressing the pedals made little coloured lights on the dashboard illuminate -- a reward inarguably among the coolest cause and effect relationships available in the preschool's toy complement. Never the less, Jessica favoured the castle.

It was while we were racing up the down and tiers of the castle's tower that we were sandwiched in a child-jam: Jessica could climb no higher because the top of the castle was crowded, and I could not retreat because someone was pushing aggressively on my bum. Stuck in the companionway between tiers, my face was pushed up against one of Jessica's legs.

The leg was not flesh. It was made of skin-coloured plastic.

The smooth, inhuman texture of the thing gave me the willies. I was simultaneously repulsed and transfixed. It was like Jessica was not a real girl at all, but some kind of toy. At my Grampa's house I had seen part of a movie called Westworld in which robots who looked like people had become angry and tried to hurt everyone. It scared me, so Grampa turned it off.

I wasn't sure whether or not Jessica's toy leg scared me until the whining and crying in the castle became serious enough for the authorities to intervene. The north wall of the tower hinged open by adult hands and, in a mishandled effort to loosen the clot, I was yanked out of the companionway. Since I had been supporting Jessica who was in turn supporting the suddenly claustrophobic party at the top, this uncorking resulted in a violent landslide of children.

When the dust settled I saw one of Jessica's toy legs, and I saw Jessica. They had landed on opposite sides of the pile of human moraine. Jessica's thigh terminated in a slightly irregular bulb which waggled in the air like a giant nail-less thumb. Her other toy leg had come only partway uncoupled, and hinged off her knee at a sick, free-wheeling angle.

I suddenly felt the way I had felt when I had swallowed too much snot one day. (I recalled the term nosey-ated from my father's explanation.) I did not know exactly why, but I was now sure that Jessica's condition made me feel icky and strange.

So, from that day forward whenever I saw Jessica coming I ran the other way. And she gave relentless chase.

I tried tattling on Jessica, but none of the adults I knew supported eschewing the girl just because she was a cyborg. Once I mentioned her having "funny legs" I lost any sympathy the earlier part of my narrative may have earned. My mother thought it was quite adorable the way Jessica chased me and told me that Jessica might have a "crush on" me.

I was horrified. Could her bionic legs be possessed of the adult-scale strength required to actually crush me? I resolved never to let down my guard.

Whenever I came into the room or approached a toy I scoped things out so I could know where Jessica No Legs was. I kept her under stealthy observation, glancing over the heads of other kids as we mucked in the sandbox. I followed her movements, prepared at any moment to dash away should she spot me.

As the preschool year wore on I learned that there wasn't anything inherently icky about Jessica. I sat beside her in the singing circle and I didn't even mind playing with her at the crafts table. It was easy to forget that she was a cyborg when you were only dealing with her torso.

In all full-bodied contexts I continued to run away and she continued to chase me. Our confrontations had become ritual, our motions and feints rehearsed.

The following autumn kindergarten began. It was only when I learned that Jessica was in the morning class instead of the afternoon class with me that I realized how much I would miss having an adversary. Coming to school wasn't nearly as exciting when you didn't have to hide from and athletically dodge a semi-mechanical nemesis.

I guess I had a sort of crush on Jessica, too.

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On Enemies, Part I | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden)
YOU INSENSITIVE BASTARD. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:41:02 AM EST
I have no memories of childhood, 'cos my Dad beat me daily.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Insensitive Bastard-Phobe ! by Phage (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:52:09 AM EST
Actually funny, even though I don't have any childhood memories.

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What's The First Scene Of Your Life-Movie? by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:31:07 AM EST
Pretty much by Phage (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:22:40 AM EST
I have one vague memory of being upset because I was tired and wanted to be in the stroller and I wasn't allowed.

That's about it. A few hazy snapshots of places, and nothing else until I'm about 12 when I went to Boarding school.

The background for this is quite straightforward. I had no real consciousness before that time. You need to feed a mind experience in order for it to grow, and also to act as markers for memories. My upbringing didn't really offer that.

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memory markers by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #25 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:42:09 AM EST
i believe my first memory may be from when i was about 18 months old, when i got my burns. little kids remember things, if it's strong enough. i believe i also remember other things from around that time, but i'm not sure. if that's not my first, i remember our old farmhouse, and we moved just after i turned four...however, i don't remember much of the whole winter we spent living with my grandparents, later in my fourth year. my brain refuses to acknowledge that it was more than a week, though mom says it was months.

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I've heard about this! by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:51:10 AM EST
You're actually a brain-wiped victim of a neo-yakuza conspiracy!

I read it in a manga, so it must be true!

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Actually by Phage (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:25:10 AM EST
I more a lost artifact from an ancient war, who will BLOW THE FUCK UP just as soon as I remember that...

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w00t! by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 2) #15 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:57:11 AM EST
Can you fly?

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Apparently by Phage (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:17:22 AM EST
But the manual for the fusion boots seems to be in Sanskrit. I'll keep you posted.

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Too bad by theboz (4.00 / 2) #20 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:19:30 AM EST
You better figure it out fast, before I throw a dragonsoul fireball at you with my matsasuka sword of the ancients.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
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My Dad did the same by Herring (4.00 / 8) #3 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:03:38 AM EST
He used to beat you as well. Guess you were a really obnoxious kid.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

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Shennanagins! by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:29:34 AM EST
I have no memories of childhood, 'cos my Dad beat me daily.

How do you know that if you can't remember?

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
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I remember the day I grew bigger than him. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:17:15 AM EST
that is all.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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Gordamnit by Man (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:00:36 AM EST
I must remember to read all comments before make witty quips.

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I remember the beatings. by garlic (4.00 / 2) #8 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:41:08 AM EST
and the chokings (2) and the jar to the head (1) and the time my mother called the cops on him (1).

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Er by Man (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:46:40 AM EST
If you have no memories, how do you know he beat you?

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The severe scarring. [n/t] by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:20:53 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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How does she qualify as an enemy? by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:21:54 AM EST
Enemies are people that wish you harm, or that you wish harm to come to.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Why, I'll Tell You! by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:27:42 AM EST
An enemy is any member of what social scientists, psychologists and chat-show hosts call an out-group.

Defining all out-group members by their relationship to one's desires for harm is needlessly constrictive. You may also note the text in the intro copy which said the series would cover enemies both literal and figurative, "earnest" and "ritualistic."

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
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Too many people here know my real name by Rogerborg (4.00 / 2) #13 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:44:12 AM EST
for me to be able safely to admit that I found this diary to be pornographic.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Was it 'Face Pressed against Her Thigh'? by RandomAction (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 01:45:20 PM EST
I rather liked that bit also, and when she started waggling her stump around, well i can tell you, that was simply delicious.

I know that it wasn't necessarily her thigh, only a leg was mentioned, but calf is less interesting somehow. Oh but the waggling stumps, they are spoiling us.

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This diary contains Yul Brynner by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #14 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:44:43 AM EST
Automatic VSTFP.

Even if it is tangential.

Heh... by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:40:45 AM EST
Back in Kindergarden (I was ~5 years old) I actually had a crush on a girl who was a midget. Really. Course when we're 5 we're all midgets so it's not such a big deal, and she was as cute as a bug. We had to move the next year when dad went off to prison so I never saw her again. Broke my little heart but in hindsight it was probably a good thing.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

Insensitive comment by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:58:19 AM EST
"Little person" is the preferred term.

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I've very sorry by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 2) #23 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:09:04 AM EST
I believe "genetically predisposed little person" may be more accurate, as I mentioned we were, at that time, all little persons.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

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"Permanent Little People" by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:25:47 AM EST
When the girl's artificial leg came off . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 08:05:10 AM EST
. . . how did the other kids react? I imagine her life as a normal kid ended right there amongst the shock of her peers . . .

I Didn't Care, So I Don't Remember. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 11:04:00 AM EST
Narcissist. [nt] by debacle (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 04:37:02 PM EST


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On Enemies, Part I | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden)