In honor of graduation season: A fable (with apologies to C.S.Lewis)

Michael Alcorn
Posted 5/31/22

This text has been smuggled, at great cost (many Bothams died…) from a graduation ceremony in Hell. It is the Valedictory Address to a recent class of new demons.

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In honor of graduation season: A fable (with apologies to C.S.Lewis)

Posted

This text has been smuggled, at great cost (many Bothams died…) from a graduation ceremony in Hell. It is the Valedictory Address to a recent class of new demons.

“Thank you. Thank you for that warm introduction, Slugbog.

“Fellow Demons, this is an exciting time for you. You were chosen from amongst the condemned to be sent back to wander the earth and bring from the ranks of the human vermin, more. Truth be told, not many of you will make it through your probationary period. Most of you will be recycled among the damned in short order.

“But those who survive will, undoubtedly, take to heart the greatest lesson we have learned about disrupting the Enemy’s plans for His little human pets: contrariness.

“One of the wise, annoyingly insightful vermin of the last century wrote to his human brethren, ‘the Devil always sends errors into the world in pairs.’ He was right. I don’t know how that irritating Englishman learned to recognize that stratagem — surely, some massive demonic failure — but, well, there you have it. That is, indeed, our strategy.

“Once upon a time, we had a compact, 7-item menu from which to draw to attempt to separate the little scum from the Enemy. But, some time ago, we recognized that we could accomplish a great deal more confusion and mayhem if we but directed them how to use their ubiquitous technology to simply addle them.

“‘Contrariness,’ therefore, is just the process by which we give each of them too much conflicting information for them to ever develop the sort of wisdom that the Enemy uses to draw them in. Why simply tempt them with Gluttony, when we can confuse them with insatiable tastes for food and drink and a desperate need for conforming to ever-shifting ideas of attractiveness, attention and fairness? We have so much control over their media now that, on the same page of their internet, are pictures of happy people indulging, and unreasonably attractive people who clearly haven’t indulged in months.

“This is especially effective in the sense of Wrath, and it is this sense which you will be expected to exploit. There is, thanks to long effort of your forebears, a group of humans who have almost no capacity for understanding the world, and a limitless capacity for overreacting to the world: the post-adolescent male. At the peak of his physical abilities, and lacking good role models, this human is so confused about the world that he is desperately waiting for us to speak to him. And they seem to be especially vulnerable in the last bastion of the Enemy’s influence.

“The contrariness is that we bombard this little rodent, through their media, with simultaneous, conflicting messages: your lifestyle is threatened by {insert problem here}, AND your world is about to melt. Both messages have elements of truth in them. And it is that contrariness that robs them of hope, and opens their minds to our attacks.

“At the same time — and this is the truly delicious part — we make the grown-ups (and I use that term advisedly) argue about diametric non-solutions: infringe on their sacred rights OR fix the massive unfixable thing. Any of them with a whit of sense would recognize that a middle ground would solve a lot. But we don’t let them see that.

“The result is the little pupae take their confused, hopeless, hyper-emotional, selves and explode in a bloody rage of destruction that exposes incompetence and cowardice at the highest levels. So now none of them can trust their betters. Mayhem, with an enormous ripple effect.

“So, I will leave you with this, graduates: if you wish to remain among the productive, destructive demons haunting the human world, you must familiarize yourself with, and embrace, and exploit, the most extreme, opposite arguments that the Public Relations Division can devise. Do that, and your infernal careers may be promising.

“Thank you, and good luck.”

Michael Alcorn is a former teacher and current writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at mjalcorn@comcast.net. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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