Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: War of the Rings

You’ve got a magic ring. He’s got a magic ring. That you’d feud is natural. That he’d become your nemesis is a blessing. There’s nothing so great as a nemesis, as everything they do validates everything you want. You never have to bother with reason. A nemesis will invariably do something to justify your feelings, no matter how hypocritical, no matter how much you have to twist what he does to fit it. I cannot think of a better gift to give than getting someone to hate you that badly.

Hate doesn’t help the fights. Your ring responds to willpower, his to fear. Perhaps hatred is what lies between the two, or it’s the friction produced by will grinding against worry. I don’t know. But you need to understand why you can’t beat him. Again, I think it’s great that you can’t: the nemesis that doesn’t end is the gift that keeps on giving.

But it’s not because he’s got more experience with his ring. It’s not that his imagination is more powerful. How many times has he summoned giant crabs with that thing?

The problem is how your rings eat emotion.

Yours runs on your willpower. You worked your way through school and beat alcoholism. You’ve got will in spades.

His runs on fear. However worried you are plus however terrified be can make the city before you get there. That’s a lot of fuel, but you can match it. Routinely, you do.

Yours runs on your willpower. His eats the fear of others so you just assume it only eats their fear. That’s your mistake. His ring eats his insecurities, too. He’s riddled with them. He’s built up an artifice, the cool exterior. The terrorist villain who is unmoved. Every time he puts up that face, he’s pretending. He’s actually terrified you’ll finally kill him. Nobody attacks a city because they’re secure in themselves. Nobody summons giant crabs that many times because he’s steady in the head. What he’s done is build a bulwark of his fears, brace them against each other to prop up the appearance of being collected. All the while, the anticipation of your next move, the apprehension about his morality, the nerves about getting caught – all that is churning inside him, feeding his ring. That’s why he never runs out of magic even when you stop being afraid of him. That’s why you haven’t beaten him.

Surely there’s something you can do with that knowledge to ruin his day, right?


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