June 13, 2005

When I was eleven or twelve, I wandered into a Walden Books and picked up a copy of The Necronomicon, a book ostensibly written by the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, a character from the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The Necronomicon purported to contain instructions on opening a gateway to other dimensions, other worlds populated by the Elder Gods, Old Ones with names like Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth who, if begged with the proper humility and terror, might deign to show up suddenly and eat us all.

Naturally, I began making the necessary preparations immediately.

Unfortunately, the instructions were somewhat vague, consisting in large part of lines like, “I have smelled the vapors of that Ancient One, Queen of the Outside, whose name is writ in the terrible MAGAN text, the testament of some dead civilization whose priests, seeking power, swing open the dread, evil Gate for an hour past the time, and were consumed.” This was very exciting to me–minus the confusing shift in tense, of course–but somewhat lacking in specifics. Was the “cruel gibbering” that needed to “pour forth like vomitous bile from my mouth” supposed to be in English? If not, could I do it in grammatically correct but unidiomatic French, or did it have to be Arabic? Or something else? I was happy to put forth the effort to study any language necessary, but the opportunities, in South Carolina in 1985, were doubtless few and far between.

In the end my efforts were stymied by my inability to gather the appropriate materials. Coal was no problem; neither was a stick of yew wood two cubits long and as big around as my thumb. But when I actually sat down with the newspaper and looked at the price of gold, I realized that buying enough to beat out a thin sheet as big as my palm would take months and months of my allowance, and that was money I simply had to have to buy stickers for my sticker books.

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12 Responses to When I was ten or

  1. anapestic says:

    I suppose that it would be presumptuous of me to hope that you write a Mikadoesque operetta with an “I’ve Got Them on the List” of particularly odious celebrities who all get devoured by Cthulhu at the end. Still, I think the idea has merit. I reckon that Cthulhu would be a bass baritone.

  2. campbell says:

    In going for the stickers you made a wise choice – Lovecraft is the most abominable guff.

  3. Brian says:

    My favorites were the puffy ones with googley eyes and the plastic ones that had rainbow spectrum-colored oil under the surface you could squish around.

    Not that I ever had a sticker collection.

  4. David says:

    My high school locker was wall-papered by stickers of every possible creature, object or cartoon character. I would hit the mall every weekend to find new and unique stickers. God, I was such a fag.

  5. Mushlette says:

    I begin to suspect you were more than just a precocious child. You might have been the biggest geek ever. Imagine the trouble the world was spared when you were diverted by stickers.

    All hail the sticker section at the mall, from whence all blessings flow!

  6. Scott says:

    I am impressed that the man who brought us Gay Haikus could know, and properly spell, Cthulhu. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read something like this, “Vote for Cthulhu. Why settle for the lesser evil?”

  7. AC says:

    There was a guy in my college dorm who had “Campus Crusade for Cthulhu” on his door. Just sharing.

  8. xiaolongnu says:

    Cthulhu vs. the sticker collection! Doesn’t that just sum up the aesthetic dilemmas of all of us who were baby nerds in the early 80s? I second the call for a musical, by the way.

  9. Jay says:

    It seems like yesterday I was meddling with dark powers for first time. Good times.

  10. Hanuman says:


  11. Alan says:

    I’m just like every modern woman trying to have it all. A loving husband, a family. I only wish I had more time to see out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade. — Morticia Addams.

  12. Sin says:

    I feel your pain. When I picked up a copy of the Necronomicon at the age of seven, I was utterly convinced that my knowing Arabic and Persian would TOTALLY give me an edge over anyone else attempting to summon the Elder Gods.

    But the directions really were too vague. It wasn’t even the gold that got to me, it was the creation of an altar and all sorts of blacksmithing tasks that would be required in order to invoke an Old One who’d let me fly. It just became more of a hassle than it was worth.


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