Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Call To Celebrate Fountains

Does anyone today on the fish Internet remember hearing in Latin class about the Fontinalia? It’s a long-disused Roman holiday. The Romans ritually recognized the importance of the Nymphs that lived in fountains every October 13th, decking them out (the fountains, not the Nymphs) with flowers and such. Naturally, they portrayed those Nymphs in their artwork as being surpassingly lovely human girls. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER that these images are just as distorted as the ones passed down to us by sailors, concerning the appearance of Mermaids. Sailors, like the ancient Romans, are VERY heavy drinkers. And if you’re a shaved monkey, it’s very hard to convince your beer-hall buddies that you were overwhelmed, seduced and cast back up on shore by, well, a fish. To make the story believeable you’d better make her human, and you’d better make her pretty.

Here’s my thought: Labor Day is really just a stupid holiday about cooking meat, and there’s nothing else between that and Halloween. Why not reinstitute the Fontinalia? I want to start reviving the holiday this year, at the site nearest to me here in the Manoogian Mansion, the hideous Dodge Fountain pictured on this page. If any structure in modern history needed to be decorated, nay, disguised in wreaths of flowers, this would be the one. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING WHEN THEY APPROVED THIS DESIGN? I ASK YOU.

I was reminded of the Fontinalia while reading 13: The Story Of The World’s Most Popular Superstition, written by a human named Nathaniel Lachenmeyer. He mentions the holiday on page 75. This charming little book is published by the delightfully-named Thunder’s Mouth Press, an imprint of the Avalon Publishing Group, New York, copyright 2004. It gives an especially clear picture of the way this pitiful species likes to stitch things up into nice, neat, logical packages that seem to help their world make sense to them, while simultaneously making THE REST OF US laugh ourselves sick. If you need a laugh at human foibles, this is a great read.

In the middle of this examination, Lachenmeyer also drops a real grenade, on page 115, in the form of a description of an old Estonian "superstition" about secret underground waterways and the importance of not spending too much time near them. Of course, the Estonians have been extremely tough to recruit ever since they discovered our 'Underground Railroad.' They are unusually stubborn about believing that it’s a bad thing to turn into a fish. I figure it’s THEIR LOSS.

On the bright side, NOBODY BUT THE ESTONIANS are willing to believe that we lurk constantly beneath their feet.


Post a Comment

<< Home