Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Power of Agnosticisation

A woman I know once asked me...

So what did you do to get thrown out of the Norse Pantheon?

I wasn't sure where she'd gotten her information; obviously someone had talked and I was guessing that someone's name starts with an L and ends with an I and is four letters long and equates to "asshat" (in case you like crossword puzzles), but it doesn't matter really because she had gotten the facts wrong.

I wasn't exactly thrown out. You see...

I was in a little pub in Ragnarök called "The Old Goat", bouncing an idea I had off Oghma, Celtic god of knowledge and patron of the bards who happened to have been in "country" visiting his old friend Bragi, son of Odin (no matter what anyone tells you).

"I thought I'd create a character who is a latter day bard and call him Oghma" I said. "You guys don't get much press anymore and if you want people to believe, you gotta get out there amongst the sheep!"

Oghma was flattered but thought himself too old and wizened to use as a model for a modernish day singing hero, so he suggested 'How about Bragi? He's a handsome lad, bulky, fine six pack, good teeth and a voice that'll break glass by volume alone!"

I turned to Bragi and raised my eyebrows, and he smiled. "Sure" he said, "but if you write anything untoward using my name, I'll have to send the Fenris after you!"

By then the other patrons had gathered around, and the moment I shook Bragi's hand sealing the deal, they began to complain.

Frey wanted the character to be an elf of course, and when I explained I already had an elf named Erik the Melancholy, he "accidentally" spilled his beer in my lap. Then Heimdall said "Hey, I have a rainbow, you should write about me! All your rainbow friends will be delighted!" He stomped off when I explained my rainbow friends liked my characters just the way they were. Thor waggled his hammer at me and raised one very large eyebrow, but his wife Sif whacked the back of his head and explained if I were to make him famous once again chances were great that they'd be followed around by paparazzi and eventually she would be photographed topless and... well that was as far as she had to go before Thor turned his back on me. Even Yggdrasil got into the act, as much as a tree can act at all mind you; but once I explained how hard it would be for my potential audience to pronounce his name meaning I would need to rename him so how'd he feel about Chuck, or maybe Artie, or Balderdash (actually he was a little fond of that one) he relented and wished Bragi treespeed.

Then things got out of hand. Frigga didn't want her son to be out late or drinking too much so she made me promise to follow those tenets, Freya demanded that Bragi never have a girlfriend unless her name was Freya... or Cheyenne cuz she kinda liked that name too, Loki tried to light my shoes on fire using wooden matches, etc. etc.

Finally I'd had enough and shouted "If you all don't calm down, I'll have to disbelieve in you, and then you'll be sorry."

Well, try telling a gaggle of gods anything. They just started arguing that it wouldn't work, that I was bluffing and on and on. I should have simply Atheisted them, but I thought maybe I'd want to visit again one day and I didn't really want to eliminate Bragi's imaginary mentor and namesake all together... so I Agnosticized instead, and they vanished.

I haven't been back since. Bragi has. He says they're still arguing.

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