Is it all really just a product of where, when, and who we were born to (or maybe even HOW we were born, in some cases)? And is our identity more WHO we are or more WHAT we are? Perhaps both? Neither? For instance, perhaps long ago, there was a person who was a talented weaver who had no name...so the townspeople simply called him "Weaver," and that became his name. Then, later on, maybe, he fell in love with a lovely dame who also liked to weave, then they married and became Mr. and Mrs. Weaver--or simply The Weavers. They could have even had some sons that had no interest in weaving at all whatsoever, so that they would eventually become The Weaversons. And eventually one of the Weaversons would find a passion for making shoes, and voila! The Shoemakers were born. And so on and so forth.
Now, I'm not sure why the Jacks ended up with all the trades, or why the Murphys got the law and the cool retractable beds. And the Joneses: they either got everything or were really fast runners, apparently. Maybe they obtained all of everything by BEING the fastest runners. Anyway, I'm certainly not going to catch up with them anytime soon. And that's just fine with me.
I bring all of this up because there is something I DO know of a certainty as pertains to identity: namely that my soulmate, Cousin Eddie the Raven, is no princess. Or is he?
We now rejoin the stories to find Cousin Eddie the Raven and Calliope inside the Tree House of the Holy, finishing up a Magnum, P.I. marathon on DVD:
"So Eddie," Calliope began, as she removed the disc from the machine and replaced it neatly in its proper place upon the shelf, "I want to go to the Sacred Pub now. You've been promising to take me there for a long time, and I've run out of patience."
"Trust me, Sweets, I'd love nothing more," Cousin Eddie replied, "but I'm not allowed there until Kev gets back from his journey."
"Oh that's right...the fence thing. How the hell does one knock down a fence with a remote control jeep, anyway?" Calliope continued.
"It's a mighty jeep," Cousin Eddie proudly responded, and added, "I tricked that baby out quite a bit. The fence thing was more the straw that broke the bartender fairy's back. Olga's sent me home plenty of times for different reasons...but, yeah, I really did it this time fer sure.
"Fer sure, indeed," Calliope sighed, and her lovely face twisted itself into a most pensive princess pose. [Mind Yoga, we'll call it] She paced the Tree House floor several times over before she finally spoke again, "I have an idea, Rude Boy Black. Here." The princess tossed Cousin Eddie a book from the bottom drawer of her vanity, and chugged down another can of beer.
Cousin Eddie glanced over the book's front and back covers while finishing off his OWN another can of beer. Finally he tossed his empty can aside and replied, "The 84 Articles of Social Decorum...Umm...this is a princess book, Sweets."
"Wrong!" Calliope exclaimed, "It's a princess MANUAL. And here is the workbook that goes along with it." She had by then, of course, removed the workbook from the bottom drawer of her vanity and tossed it at Cousin Eddie, who deftly ducked and fell off of the futon.
By the time Rude Boy Black had returned to his feet and dusted off his wings, Calliope had already vanished into the other room in search of something he was sure he wasn't going to like. "I'm not a princess, you know!" he shouted.
Calliope shouted back from the other room, "Not with THAT attitude, you're not!" Then she lowered her princess voice just slightly, still from the other room, and asked, "Bunny or Fox?"
Cousin Eddie refused to lower his voice even a little, "Umm...that would be neither, Sweets!" And he cracked open another another can of beer.
"Fine. Fox it IS," Calliope decided, as she reentered the main room and tossed a bundle of clothing onto the futon. She then rummaged through the bundle and held up a glittery bronze gown that was, eerily, just about the size of a typical, mischievous Raven. Cousin Eddie felt it unwise to say a single word about it, and his instincts served him well. Calliope continued, "Now if you'll pick up your princess manual, please, and turn to Article 17, section 8, 3rd paragraph. Read the first two sentences only," the princess commanded.
Rude Boy Black most wisely did so. "Okay, got it," the Raven assured her.
"Aloud, please," Calliope insisted.
"Fine," Cousin Eddie submitted, slightly terse, and he read aloud, "A good princess always achieves her wishes and desires by any means necessary, though gentleness is always preferred. When necessity dictates, an exceptional princess may--without guilt, regret, or apology--resort to cruel and unusual tactics."
"Good job, Eddie," Calliope nodded. "Now turn the page."
"It's just a bunch of numbered illustratio--WHOA, wait!" Cousin Eddie exclaimed. "Holy crap, Sweets, I didn't know princesses could be so violent! That's rough. But also very cool."
"Fer sure," Calliope acknowledged, then she tossed the glittery bronze, raven-sized gown to Cousin Eddie, who put it on promptly without comment. Calliope smiled, and held up a hand-held mirror in front of Eddie's eyes, so that he could admire himself.
And indeed, he did admire himself--but only a little. "You know, I don't look half bad in a dress." He turned and posed, and turned the other way and posed, and he posed both with and without another another another can of beer. Though he didn't go quite as far to admit it to Calliope, he actually enjoyed it when she fitted him with matching heels and gave him a makeover. Calliope enjoyed it too, along with her OWN another another another can of beer.
"And now for the final touch," Calliope finally spoke, as she pulled down a fox mask that had been hanging on the wall above the futon, and she slid it over Princess Eddie's face, and tied it loosely. Princess Eddie flapped his wings several times inexplicably. Calliope instructed the Raven to bring his princess manual and accompanying workbook with him...as it was all part of her plan.
As the two princesses stepped out through the in door, climbed down the Stairway to Heaven (a series of gold-painted boards nailed to the trunk of the large tree), and made their way across the Sacred Garden, Calliope filled Princess Eddie in on some of the details of the plan. "Now, it's very important you don't speak once we're inside the Sacred Pub...at least not until I instruct you to. It's also important you walk in behind me, and do your best curtsy as soon as Olga the bartender fairy acknowledges your presence. We'll practice a few curtsies on our way there."
"Got it," Princess Eddie confirmed, and he added, "I just wanna say, Sweets, you're a genius...this is a brilliant plan."
"Why, thank you, Princess Eddie," Calliope uttered kindly, and curtsied. He returned the curtsy, though his own was still a bit awkward. "It's okay, Eddie. You'll get it with a little more practice. It's harder in heels. You're off to a great start."
"Good good luck, most princessy princesses, and have most joyful fun!" Caw-Caw Carl the Stellers Jay shouted from his desk, Achilles' Last Stand, as Cousin Eddie and Calliope exited the Sacred Garden's gate. Edwin the Bee, atop his lotus flower, simply sighed and exhaled deeply.
About 7 practice curtsies later, the two princesses were inside the Sacred Pub. Olga the bartender fairy greeted Calliope most warmly, "Welcome to my Sacred Pub, lassie. who might you be?"
Calliope curtsied and spoke most properly, "I am Princess Calliope of the Tree House of the Holy, and this is Edie, my princess in training." Calliope winked and nodded at Cousin Eddie, and he adjusted his mask, and gave his best curtsy...which really wasn't so bad.
Olga waved her hand toward a pair of stools near the Minute Mead taps, near the center of the bar, and invited the two princesses to enjoy a seat. Calliope thanked her in English, then began speaking in a language that was completely foreign to Princess Edie. Olga the bartender fairy replied in the same mysterious language, and the conversation went on for quite some lack of time. Cousin Eddie placed his princess manual and accompanying workbook carefully upon the bar, and adjusted his fox mask nervously as he tried to imagine what they were saying...to no avail, of course.
Calliope's voice returned to English when she winked at someday Princess Edie, then spoke to the bartender fairy, "An extra tall flagon of Minute Mead for me, lovely Olga, if you don't mind...and a Second Soda for beautiful Edie, my understudy...also if you don't mind. And will you kindly direct me to the jukebox?" Olga the bartender fairy most graciously served them their drinks and pointed to the jukebox that was over in the corner, to the right of the bar. Cousin Eddie grimaced a bit as he curtsied upon the bar stool, and pretended he was grateful for the Second Soda. [Second Soda, for those unaware, is the ONLY non-alcoholic beverage served inside the Sacred Pub, which, of course, is something Cousin Eddie could never genuinely be grateful for] Olga finally fluttered off to tend to other customers, and Calliope placed her index finger over the fox mouth on Cousin Eddie's mask to make certain he wouldn't speak. She then removed a pen from her princess gown, and quickly wrote upon a bar napkin, "Don't speak! Bartender fairies hear everything, even when they pretend they're not listening. Just play along."
Someday Princess Edie winked and nodded at Calliope after reading the note, then immediately crumpled up the napkin and tossed it into the garbage can next to him. Despite despising the Second Soda he had to pretend to enjoy, my soulmate Raven WAS tremendously enjoying this little game of deception most genuinely. Ravens, of course, love few things more than being sneaky...especially when they're getting away with it. He was thinking of the Magnum P.I. episodes they had been watching earlier in the Tree House of the Holy, and imagining he was T.C., on a secret mission with T.M. This made him smile big beneath his mask, and even made the Second Soda seem less lame.
Princess Calliope finally spoke, "Now, my dear Edie, I'm going to mingle with the locals and load up the jukebox with lots of good songs...and dance fer sure, and maybe play some games with the critters. You enjoy your Second Soda, and order another one on me if you'd like." With that, she spun her bar stool round and slid off of it into a perfect landing without splashing a single drop of her extra tall flagon of Minute Mead. She concluded, "Be a most excellent princess in training, my love, and please complete Article 34. All sections. And answer all the questions in your accompanying workbook. "I'll be back to check on you in a bit." Calliope then gave Cousin Eddie a kiss upon the forehead of his fox mask (the first kiss she had ever given him, for the record--a fact my soulmate Raven was sure to never forget), and off she went toward the jukebox...extra tall flagon most perfectly balanced upon the palm of her hand. The princess was stunning indeed, and all eyes of the Sacred Pub were upon her. She bowed gracefully several times while passing and smiling kindly at several onlooking critters. Her extra tall flagon felt nary a tremble as it continued to rest comfortably upon her palm.
Someday Princess Edie finally directed his attention toward the Princess Manual, sipping on his Second Soda, and reading Article 34. All sections. It began:
"Aside from love, compassion, and grace, honesty and integrity are the most cherished traits of an excellent princess. Lies and deceit are always forbidden for a princess, except in the most extreme of instances..."
Cousin Eddie smiled behind his mask as he read on and discovered a lengthy and thorough list of the very best ways to lie and deceive people on the very next pages...but only should it become very necessary. "This is freaking brilliant!" he nearly shouted through his beak, but thankfully shouted only inside of his skull, while his beak silently mouthed the words. Olga the bartender suddenly appeared and slid him his second Second Soda, and someday Princess Edie curtsied almost perfectly proper. A live version of The Cult's "Edie (Ciao Baby)" blasted from the jukebox, and Eddie toasted himself and pretended to enjoy his Second Soda. Indeed, it was becoming less lame.
By the time Someday Princess Edie had completed Article 34, and answered the questions in the accompanying workbook, Princess Calliope had already danced and beaten Darbett Otterman at Backgammon...twice! The jukebox continued blasting out songs by KISS, Van Halen, Y & T, Led Zeppelin, and Triumph. Cousin Eddie was very happy now, and proudly chugged down his third Second Soda. He thrust his wing high into the air when "On Fire" played, and he decided that moment that he wanted more...more Princess Manual, that is.
He burned his way through Articles 7 and 11. All of them. And answered the questions in the accompanying workbook. And chugged down his fourth Second Soda.
By this time, Princess Calliope had beaten the fat squirrels from Walnut St. at both darts AND their shady shell game many times over. And she chugged down her fourth extra tall flagon of Minute Mead after beating the Lemmings at billiards once again. All eyes inside the Sacred Pub looked upon her in wonder and awe when she shouted and twirled her empty flagon high into the air, and they cheered most loudly as it landed perfectly upright on top of her head. Then she held her arms out above her hips, and shimmied her way to the bar while a Night Ranger song, "Eddie's Comin' Out Tonight" blared in the background. The extra tall flagon upon her head, of course, felt nary a tremble. Indeed, she brought the house down.
Olga the bartender fairy clapped and poured shots of Midnight Shimmer for she and the fabulous Princess Calliope, and they toasted and downed them. Then Olga gave Calliope a heartfelt finger hug, and they downed two more shots...Twilight Shimmer, this time. Finally, Olga landed on the princess's shoulder and whispered in her ear, "So should we tell the little troublemaker that he's been had?"
They both looked over at Someday Princess Edie and laughed, as he was still completely absorbed in his Princess Manual and the accompanying workbook. Princess Calliope finally replied to Olga, "Nah. I can't see any good reason we should. He's enjoying himself. Maybe just this once, though, I could buy him a shot of Midnight Shimmer?"
"Fer sure," Olga the bartender fairy smiled.
And so it was.
Life is beautiful beautiful fer sure. Semba.
Thank you for joining me on this crazy journey. I love you.