Saturday, May 2, 2009


There's a skeleton in our closet. A very big and very old one.

It's plastic.

It's an old teaching aid that is trotted out dutifully for daily classes. It's fully articulated (which makes it a pain to move, all the joints flop about) and even markings for muscle and tendon attachments. Little yellow plastic strings stick out of the spine to illustrate the central nervous system. It's an old warrior who is fast approaching forty years of duty (thirty six, but who's counting?).

The poor fellow is slowly rotting and wearing away. Years of abuse at the hands of professors attempting to maintain the interest of their students by demonstrating just why the elbow does not bend that way have taken their toll and the screws holding all the joints are starting to give. Recently, an entire arm fell off at the shoulder. This thing does not have much longer to exist.

To be fair, despite its age and the image I have painted above, it still enjoys good health. The problem lies in the screws, they are getting stripped from their sockets. The epoxy resin is giving to the strain of the weight behind the screws. Or so it would seem. I suspect part of it is also attributable to the aforementioned professors who enjoy whipping the arms and legs around. This essentially turns the limbs into a giant screwdriver which if throw in the right direction will unscrew the limb from the rest of it.

So the arm fell off. We're set to receive a brand new one and here's to hoping it lasts as long as its predecessor. In the mean time, we're having fun playing with the detached arm in the usual and completely unoriginal ways. "Can you lend me a hand? chuckle". Shoving it up your sleeve to replace your actual arm. Using it as a pointer. And in general just playing around with it. We're childish that way. Somehow the bony arm holds a magical 'fun' property. Perhaps it harbors some power to keep one endlessly entertained.

Then, one day, something both surprising and terrible occurred. Someone replaced the arm to its rightful owner.

What's frightening and mysterious is that no one seems to have done it. We've asked everyone in the building and no one touched either arm or skeleton the day it magically reattached its own arm. Very few have access to the storage closet in the first place! Some entity came in the dead of night and reacquainted our old friend with his detached limb. Some entity with the power to evade security, gain access to the locked closet, and screw the arm back into place with some implement available to it as we don't keep tools in there either. It's quite a mystery, wouldn't you agree?





...I know who did it.

It was me.

But would I ever tell anyone? No. In fact, I'll never tell any of them.


Because what's life without a little mystery to it? Right now, there is unease around the building about who did it. Scientists, dedicated to finding the facts and determining explanations for the world around them, are looking over their shoulders as for once all methods have failed. There's no video surveillance (I have no idea why) and no witnesses. The skeleton could not have possibly reached out and screwed itself back together. It's a true unknown. And yet it's not a menacing unknown but something gentle and benign. It didn't go on a killing spree seeking revenge for those who have used it carelessly in the past. No, it was content with putting itself in proper order.

I think we need something we can't explain. In these days, at least for me, it helps break up our world. The supernatural, although I know it to be false, holds an allure. It doesn't need an explanation, its mere existence is sufficient and the fact that it is forever beyond any and all attempts to come to a reasonable explanation or verification is appealing to me. Today we're slowly working away at how our bodies work, how our universe works, and more. While all these mechanisms are wonderful in themselves, there's the feeling underneath that is a little disappointed at what we've lost by knowing. Some of that realm of endless possible explanations is lost forever. We can't hold onto our ignorance, for better or for worse.

Years ago, no one quite knew (and they still don't to a degree) what lay hidden underneath the ocean's waters. It was populated with all manner of creatures and environments. Dread and fear stood next to idle puzzlement and awe at what mysteries could be down there. With expeditions into the deepest trenches and the discovery of all the life around the deep sea vents (so unusual and proving the old saying that reality can be forever stranger than we can ever imagine) it killed all that mystery dead. We read novels written ages ago which pondered and explored and utilized this mystery and we chuckle to ourselves with some satisfaction at the inaccuracies and what we know now. I, too, do the same but I also feel a little loss that in such novels I can't partake in that wonder in which the author wrote with his or her general ignorance.

Most of my life I have lived almost always pursuing what was out there and why. I think my strange fixation on the supernatural might be due to my scorn for such things in the past (obviously fairies are not real!) and what I lost of that part of my childhood. I feel sometimes like a kid who desperately wants to believe in Santa even though I knew since forever that he is not real. I so desperately want to believe but I know the truth. I can't.

And so I read into such things with a sense of sadness over what I've lost and what I wish I could have experienced. No matter how hard I try, that brain will whisper to me about how bogus that UFO is or how silly the Loch Ness monster is.

And I enjoy sparking that feeling that I wish I could have in others.

Also, it was a fun prank.

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