Parting Glances: Getting your what off?

Charles Alexander
By | 2018-01-15T15:58:50-04:00 July 21st, 2005|Opinions|

I apologize to BTL readers who read Parting Glances online rather than here. Google click-ons are likely to be about stones, nose bleeds, and bouncing balls.
If any of these items strikes your fancy, do investigate. It helps pay bills. (BTL has no control over what Google chooses to highlight, based on random words from my sterling prose.)
STERLING OPINION: If you haven’t seen the new Pride website, do! It’s a knockout. E-mail your elected reps to say so. Begin praise with, “Charles Alexander, America’s beloved LGBTQA(etc.) curmudgeon, asked me to contact you about BTL online.” If reps are Republican, substitute God for my name.
Having clued you in, let’s goose up an old cliche: truth is stranger than friction. And now a strange, centuries-old custom, herewith presented in the guise of another fable concocted for Sunday School . . . .
“In a land far across the bellowing ocean — near to a corner of the earth where the sun sets with tattered Day-glo ribbons — there live on separate sides of a river two contentious tribes of men, doomed by tradition to gather once a year to throw rocks at each other, breaking noses, gashing foreheads, shattering teeth, knocking each other senseless, and killing non-duckers in the name of competition.
“After this spirited melee, rockers return — if not maimed, nose-bled, unconscious, or dead — to their humdrum life as butcher, baker, dipstick maker — beloved and adored by family, friends, purring cats, barking dogs, and murmuring muckiewucks in high places.
“Once more the halo’d sun sinks dumbfounded in the West. Once more stunned night rubs her starry eyes at dumb-dumb day, and sighs wearily, Oy veh!”
But seriously, why would anyone in his right mind (a possible Google click-on, by the way) engage in such butthead behavior? Religion? Politics? Compassionate Conservatism? Culture war? Crack? All of the above?
Why would anyone grab a rock — hurl it 65.5 mph — hoping to bonk a neighbor on his noggin? (Obviously Southern Baptist missionaries haven’t gotten to such lumpheads. If anybody knows a thing or two about throwing first stones at people, it’s these gosh-darned, faith-based ROTC — Rockhead Old Testament Cornpone — Bible-belt slingshoters.)
But my sabbath fable is based on fact. Use it to supply your own moral, in any. My source is Fortean Times, a monthly devoted to the oddball (“Sleepwalking woman beds with several strangers”), the coincidental (“Reunited twins, separated at birth, have same-name wives”), and, closer to home, the occasional gayly curious (“P-P-Pink Penguins”).
June FT gets its rocks off in a big way. (Please don’t do likewise at block parties, family reunions, or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.) Nut-shell headline: “An annual day-long festival in Madhya Pradesh [India] where everybody gets stoned”. Subhead: “By nightfall around 600 were bleeding profusely.” Un-bandaged quote:
“Two teams, each of around 2000 people, gathered on opposite banks of the River Jaam and to drum accompaniment hurled stones, attempting to kill or injure as many of the opposing team as possible while trying to grab a flag attached to a tree.”
The competition dates to the 17th century, and draws on an elopement legend about Romeo & Juliet-like caste lovers. Says one annual-event nosebleeder, “It has been with us since Day One. We just cannot help ourselves.” Last year rubber balls were substituted for rocks, “but soon ran out.” [How shortsighted.]
Rumor has it getting stoned will be part of Motor City Pride 2006, if Triangle Foundation can find opponent knuckleheads with balls — rubber, blue, or basket — for the mind-blowing Jam Session.

About the Author:

Charles Alexander