Tuesday, June 13, 2006

06-13-2006 – The nonsmell of unburnt pallets, the silence of unshattered glass

Can you feel the magic in the air? Not the kind of corporate Magic! that sells cruise vacations and vapid “family” movies, and certainly not the kind of magic that fills a town when the home team is winning against all odds… I mean literally magic – spells and shit. As I write this, game four of the Stanlley Cup final has come and gone and left the Oilers down two games, and every cubic inch of normal space -- and every trans-cubic whatsit of theoretical extradimensional space – is saturated with crisscrossing fields of desperate fan sorcery: the astral tides of dueling playoff beards in varying states of mojo trim; brilliant third-eye beams from uncountable enchanted hats, the mystical aroma wafting up to the angels from thousands of lucky garments unwashed since Detroit; all set against a crackling supernatural background radiation of ubiquitous hedge wizardry, folk voodoo, wild ritual, superstition, prayer and good old-fashioned wishing.

I wonder how it all went down? Reading this maybe a week away from me, perhaps you know. From the perspective of last night at the Sidetrack, things didn’t look so good; a central requirement of effective magic is Belief, and the sullen, silent corps of cold-vibrating fandom gawking blank-eyed at each other across the Track’s archaic marble slabs didn’t look like they Believed the sun would rise tomorrow, let alone that the Oilers would find a way to win tomorrow night. All this random, personal magic… so wasteful of psychic resources, so often acting at cross-purposes. What happens when the power from a rabbit’s foot consecrated to airtight defense gets tangled up in the field of a puckhat dedicated to aggressive offense? Anything the goddamn Bad Bounce Gremlins don’t pick up and fuck with dissipates into the ether, and the Oil are left in the uncaring hands of physics, of mere causality. Not a situation they want to be in, most nights.

I must admit, I might have been one of the tens of thousands of culpable Edmontonians whose disregard for even the basics of superstitious hygiene – for example, knocking furiously on the nearest available piece of wood immediately after making any expression of confidence or prediction of success – may have jammed up the Copper n’ Blue hocus-pocus: I thought kind thoughts about the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl.

I couldn’t help it! Riding down the City Centre escalator, I caught a glimpse of it down by the food court, surrounded by fetching red rope and a mini-phalanx of wary rentacops, and before I could stop myself I was thinking, “Damn me, but that’s a nice-looking piece of hardware.” Well, it is! It’s much more pleasantly ornate than the rather plain Stanley Cup, and its wooden base with those gilt-edged winners’ plaques has an old-world charm the Stanley’s cold, mechanical, form-follows-function barrel of rings can’t match. It really is a very attractive trophy… you’d think we’d have learned to love it more than we have. Then again, back in elementary school, my favorite – my only -- hockey cards were the trophy foils, so maybe it's me that has the problem...

So, we get to ladle mescal-spiked sangria from the Campbell Bowl for another year. What other blessings can we now count, in the event the Oilers have… um… not unlost the Anley-stay Up-cay Inal-fay [knock knock knock]? Well, we’ve certainly scored a victory against unlicensed street demonstrations! Two hundred arrests to lay seven charges… that’s what I call taking back the fucking streets, broad-spectrum style. The word is “proactive justice”; it’s very unlikely that a potential troublemaker is going to break any laws while zipcuffed on the floor of a paddywagon. And if these booze bozos – these bad apples, nobody’s brothers and sisters and sons and friends, none of whom are Real Hockey Fans – do manage to somehow commit crimes in custody (ie. first-degree backtalk), well… that’s what tasers are for.

Zing! Ah, I’m just funning you, EPS; we all know the whole damn city could use a night in the klink to sleep it off – to just fucking sleep, period. We’re going to take one last crack at casting the magic spell that’ll get us the (uglier, cheaper-looking, but…) Cup -- many of us have already promised our Dark Masters to sacrifice, in fire and blood, the first-built streets of Edmonton and Strathcona should we blessed with victory – and retire from the field of magickal combat, exhausted win or lose. And lo, we shall bide our time, and we shall charge our Jerseys of Power with fan energy, and cast our lots into the darkness of the Draft Pools, and consult queer (not the gay kind of queer) almanacs, and lay mighty blessings and curses against the day when once again we cry: OILERS!


Allan said...

The photo above reminded me that at my old cubicle at work there's a copy of Marvel Essentials Dr. Strange on the shelf. I have no idea how it got there but for some reason I've always assumed it was yours (you lent it to Wangler or something like that). If it is do you want it back? If it isn't do you want it anyway?

Anonymous said...

Shit! Is that where thhat went? I actually had another copy in my hands at Wizards the other day, and I was like "I already own this... right?"

By the Crimson bands of Cytorrak!

Those comix rule.

Allan said...

I can definitely confirm that it is now sitting on my desk at work.

Do you dare come in to pick it up?

Cue dramatic music.