Tuesday, June 21, 2005

By the Power of Three Times Three

Not that I'm usually one to walk around casting aspersions on those struck by Cupid's arrows, but could Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes get even one iota creepier? Yes, I know it's a Fox news report, but when it comes down to salacious gossip I find that the less reputable the news source, the better the slander. I don't hit up the Times for my celebrity news. I'd much rather hang around on page six of the Post, who, if newspapers were seventh graders, would be the girl at the back of the schoolbus writing things like "KYRA SMELLS LIKE FISH" on the seats in purple Sharpie.

Is Scientology the new Kabbalah? Is it the new yoga? Christ, is Scientology the new Oprah? I can't keep up with the celebrity spirituality trends anymore. I really pity the junior high girls who actively try. It was all so simple when I was in Mildred E. Strang Middle School. You are raised Catholic. You watch The Craft a few times. You pick up a Rider-Waite tarot card deck at your local Barnes & Noble.

You watch The Craft a few more times. You exercise your spiritual freedom by declaring yourself pagan in front of your grandparents.

Then, when your parents tell you if you don't get confirmed you'll never be allowed to get your learner's permit, you don your red robe, pick a name, and get oiled up by the bishop.

Religious fad cycle complete.

But these kids today, they've got it tough. One minute you're concentrating on trying to fit your leg behind your head, the next you're supposed to be able to cure schizophrenia with vitamin E. Can you use "thetan" as a new code word for the creepy kid who you've watched peel gum off the bottom of a desk and then sniff it? Should you change your name from Teresa to Ruth? Is it trendy to put the DARWIN Jesus fish with legs on your car, or does Scientology think evolution is a "Nazi science" too? Can a red Kabbalah string go on the same wrist as your LIVESTRONG bracelet?

It was so much simpler when you could just buy some Wet & Wild black lipstick and start celebrating the Solstice.

Which is, actually, today.

[Okay, side note. I just spent a good five minutes debating whether or not to tell my one and only Solstice-related story. I wasn't going to because it's so stupid it's embarassing. Then I decided I absolutely had to, because it's so stupid it's embarassing.]

I can remember exactly where I was on the summer solstice eight years ago, because I was almost arrested. My one and only near brush with the law came in the form of an irate suburban mom, confused as to why there were four figures huddled around a flame in her backyard in the middle of the night.

It was the summer after my freshman year in high school. Kai and I [names kept the same to incriminate the moronic] were friends even back then because we lived so close together. We hung around with a third girl from our neighborhood whom I'll call Tempeh [name changed to protect knife-enthusiasts turned organic farmers]. Given that we were young suburban teenagers in the mid-nineties, Kai, Tempeh and I spent most of our summer days walking around, complaining about how hot we were, watching The Craft, and searching for ways to convince the Universe that guys like Heartthrob McJnco [name changed to protect the terminally hot] should like us. And have a burning crush on us.

And specifically look for us at a dance, even though when we find out he wants to talk to us we just walk away and go hang out with that dorky guy, Kaileen Farrell [name kept the same to RUB IT IN].

So I don't remember how exactly the three of us met Roofie [name changed to protect my physical body, and to reference another incident with this particular nutbag] but we did, much to our detriment a few months down the line. But, at this point in time, Roofie seemed less like a psychopath and more like a quirky, fun, slightly off-the-wall girl to hang out with. Roofie, Tempeh, Kai and I became quite the foursome.

When it was discovered that our love for all things witchy was shared by our newest friend, we realized that we now had the perfect number for a coven. Our birthdays were ideally distributed to "call the corners." At the time this seemed like a really great, intense, magical thing to do, but in retrospect I believe this actually involved lots of eating ice cream and sitting on Roofie's couch, and little to no magic. Sure, we had some candles, and Kai had her tarot cards, and Roofie insisted on playing The Craft soundtrack every time we were in her house, but we gave pagan worship about as much attention as an episode of Sifl and Ollie--good for about ten minutes, but then you wanna see what else is on.

And then it was solstice. The problem with summer vacation is that there are so few holidays to celebrate. Yeah, there's the Fourth of July, but June and August are pretty barren. Solstice was our chance to have a real holiday, one that we could make even better than Christmas by magically forcing boys to like us. We were sleeping over at Roofie's house that night and somehow it was agreed upon that we, as a coven, would venture out into Nature, bringing with us our Magical Supplies, and conduct a Sacred Ceremony under the Moon.

In actuality, this meant that we would raid Roofie's mom's kitchen for candle stubs and matches, grab the witchcraft book we bought at the mall, then follow Roofie through some tick-infested bushes to a spot of lawn that looked pretty well cared for despite her promises that we were really in the middle of nowhere.

As the mosquitos began to chug our blood like a Wendy's Frosty, we sat in a circle and struggled to read the ceremony instructions in the book by the light of our crummy candles. I don't even think we'd uttered a single "so mote it be" before we heard someone crashing through the bushes.

"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!" screamed the voice in the shrub. We froze, hoping the Tyranosaurus couldn't see us if we didn't move.

A woman in a robe burst through the bushes.


Kai and I were more or less petrified. And pissed that Roofie had indeed parked us square in the middle of her neighbor's lawn to conduct our sacred rites.

"Are you kids doing DRUGS? I'm calling the cops RIGHT NOW!! WHY THE HELL ARE YOU KIDS DOING DRUGS IN MY BACKYARD?!"

We looked around desperately at each other, but remained in terrified silence. Until Tempeh opened her stupid hippie mouth and spewed forth a river of speech so dumb that its force knocked down our every attempt to shut her up.

"We're having a RELIGIOUS CEREMONY," Tempeh said. "Don't persecute our beliefs. We're just doing witchcraft."

Our senses on kid-about-to-get-busted red alert, Kai and I could've pummeled Tempeh into the ground. Somehow, in the depths of her unfathomable mind, she truly believed that mentioning the word "witchcraft" was the way to calm and reassure a woman who'd woken to find four shadowy figures hunched around a flame on her private property. Telling her we'd been cleaning our needles would've been a better idea. Or that we'd been having a lesbian orgy. Or that we'd been trying to take pictures of her sleeping children to trade to convicted sex offenders for crystal meth and Nazi paraphernalia.

While we fully processed the stupidity of Tempeh's declaration of witch's rights, the woman's shrieking grew shriller and nearly unintelligible. She sputtered out a string of threatening syllables joined by the word "cops," and we grabbed our belongings and ran like hell back to Roofie's house.

Back in the quiet of the basement, Tempeh mourned the lack of religious tolerance in the United States. Kai and I contemplated escape routes. We knew if we could get to the 7-11 in town, we could call my parents and they could rescue us. "We've been kidnapped by a coven!" we'd explain. "They almost got us killed!"

We celebrated the rest of Solstice in a decidedly unmagical fashion, eating Carvel and driving around in some senior's car, which was strange and also exceedingly cool. We managed to keep Tempeh from ranting about witchcraft while he was around, at least.

From that point on, the coven began to grow apart. Kai and I began to have "Earth Sign Bonding Days." We convinced half of our coven to keep their crazy asses away from us by insisting that earth and water "corners" needed spend magical time alone--which meant baking cookies in my kitchen and watching MTV. Kai points out, "We justified everything with astrology instead of sanity."

Eventually, Tempeh moved to California, Roofie nearly killed Kai and I, and the coven was effectively dissolved. It was too bad, because I think we were really on the brink of Skater McHotpants asking me out.

Dude, so mote it be.


Anonymous Rebecca said...

You'll remember me when you're famous, right?

1:55 AM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

The Craft! The Tarot cards! I think we've led uncannily parallel lives Kathy!

5:40 AM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

I think The Craft sent a whole generation of kids over to the dark side. (Of lipstick.) (And hair dye.)

9:51 AM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

It sent me to my all boys Catholic school in mascara.

4:45 AM  

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