01 January 2006

Beavers The Size Of Beavers

Castor canadensis in his natural habitat: the Web browser. Posted by Picasa


I have found the most compelling sign that 2006 is going to be an extraordinarily fortuitous year for everyone: there is a beaver on the Google logo! A BEAVER! Or perhaps it is an attempt by one of the part-timers in the art department to recreate the canine form for the Year of the Dog (which is what we will be in as of the last weekend in January - "we" meaning we Mahayana-types at the Gunn residence). In which case, it's a dog with buck teeth and a really fucked-up tail. I choose to believe that it is a beaver, clutch the inherent auspiciousness of this sign to my bosom, and adopt it as my totem for 2006.

In my next NEA grant-award-winning essay, titled "Beavers: What's So Great About 'Em?", I will expound at length upon Mister Castor canadensis, his cunning, savagery, and industry. However, let me set my beaver down for a moment, and move on to matters more pressing on this New Year's Day. Namely, my New Year's resolution.

In 2005, global warming was huge. Icebergs the size of false patriotism broke loose from Antarctica. Polar bears the size of polar bears drowned. I got a sunburn the size of my body. And a hurricane larger than influenza attacked New Orleans with a fury the size of something really big. All of this left me feeling pretty small and weak, until I listened to my own advice from a few blogs back, which is to realize the actual extent of my sphere of influence. That will keep me from feeling like a failure over things I could in no way have an effect on.

I don't want to spend time that I could be using to clean up my own back yard to criticize the actions of others. So let's use my own actions as an example. I do not support the war. But will I have greater influence on ending abusive violence in the world by going down to the corner and waving a "No More War" flag and marching and putting my fist in the air and whatnot - or by going deep within my own psyche to uproot the origin of that violence that we all share, and work with all my might to end violence in my interactions with myself and those closest to me? Why should I insist on That Guy Over There disarming when I haven't disarmed myself? It smacks of US foreign policy: I'll keep building my arms stockpile, but if you try to build yours, I'll be justified in blowing you up. Whether it's on a national scale or a personal scale, I think the principle of Personal Disarmament should apply. I must disarm myself before I can talk about disarmament. I realize that most people would become concerned about disarming themselves when they have no guarantee that the other guy is going to disarm. Here's some heartening news. It only takes one individual disarming themselves to have a widespread effect on general disarmament. Think of the first few activists who took a seat at a whites-only lunch counter. Think Ghandi. Think King. Of course you don't have to be Ghandi or King, but you get my drift.

So you might say, "But Thaddeus, them last two bruthuhs got they asses shot, yo!" Well I can guarantee you this: you're going to die. Whether you march on Tienamen Square or sit at home eating Fritos out of a dog dish, you're going to die of something some day. Whether it's coronary thrombosis or bullet interruptus, rest assured that you will cack. So...in the meantime...whatcha wanna do?

Which brings me back - albeit briefly - to beavers. (The author grabs his beaver and raises it up for all to see.) Undertaking Personal Disarmament, specifically because it isn't easy, has to be pursued with the kind of focus and industry these lil' feisty peckerwoods come by naturally. (The author jabs his right index finger at the upraised beaver for added emphasis.) Inasmuch as I am as neurotic as a pack of neurotic little pack animals - say, Welsh Corgis - there has to be a way that I can bend my neuroses to achieve this end. So here's my resolution, complete with ultimatum:

I resolve to practice Personal Disarmament with the tenacity and obsessiveness of a beaver hereforward. And if I do not, a most horrible thing will happen: nothing.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.