Sunday, October 03, 2004


The title is the Sanskrit term for impermanence (perhaps you know the more familiar transliteration from Pali, anicca). It's relevant today because of a personal tragedy, something I found out this morning.

My centipede is dead.

Death, that cloaked, scythe-wielding motherfucker, comes for us all, but I'd hoped that the centipede's high-carb diet would have sustained it longer than this. My previous centipede was doing just fine on such a diet. I wonder what went wrong.

I did a little detective work, and now know the following: the centipede took three large shits and then died. It was alive yesterday and dead this morning. The only thing in its container last night (aside from three piles of centipede shit) was the remains of a crumb I'd given it from an ice cream bar that had been covered in a chocolate-crumble coating. When I first put the crumb in, the centipede had attacked it with the fervor of the damned. This, I thought, was a true fighter. I was witnessing vicious centipede bushido-- the whirlwind attack that overwhelms all opponents. I imagined my centipede growing to full size and throttling Jeff's pussy of a lizard, but as it turns out, Jeff's lizard wins this round simply by sitting in its terrarium and doing jack shit. Perhaps this is fitting:

Not exalting the gifted prevents quarrelling.
Not collecting treasure prevents stealing.
Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.
The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
If people lack knowledge and desire, then intellectuals will not try to interfere.
If nothing is done, then all will be well.

--Tao Te Ching, Chapter 3

The world isn't just, if by justice we mean human forms of justice. Perhaps the world makes more sense from the point of view of the centipede's gods.

Let us take time to mourn my centipede today, to meditate on the impermanence of things, and to treasure every moment that's been given us. A sage of the Church of the Subgenius once wrote: "Don't just eat a hamburger, eat the hell out of it." Let us remember my centipede, who, though young and impulsive and perhaps a bit too shit-happy, followed that maxim with ultimate conviction.


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