On October 14, 2000, Wymsey announced its intent to nominate me, Irene de Mandible, to the post of Ambassador to "the area from the Mexican border with the USA to Cape Horn in Chile and all off-earth territories." I received my Diplomatic Badge on October 21, 2000. I still have yet to be officially introduced to representives of the countries my Ambassadorship will serve but remain very excited about my post, aware that the new microstate of Wymsey has not previously had official diplomatic relations with the areas I serve and comprehend well the gravity of my mission as a good will representative for a new microstate, as well as one who serves as link to home for those Wymsonians traveling or living in the area from the Mexican border with the USA to Cape Horn in Chile and all off-earth territories. And Easter Island, of course. And the Falklands.
Today, November 24, 2000, is the day after Thanksgiving Day in the USA. I hear Canada has some kind of Thanksgiving as well, but I'm not certain when it is. Wymsey, I believe, has yet to announce its calendar of official Wymsey State Holidays, but I would hope that when Wymsey gets around to determining which days it shall give celebrity status, that they include some form of a Thanksgiving on the next to last Thursday in November. It's not essential, but it would be nice, particularly if Thanksgiving for what wasn't mandated and left up to the individual as to for what they were determined to be thankful. In the meanwhile I suppose I would like to clear up whether I am a citizen of Wymsey because I don't know if as an Ambassador of Wymsey I am an ambassador for myriad areas to Wymsey or if I'm a Wymsey citizen who somehow serves as an ambassador to myriad areas. Whichever it is, I remain excited as to the possibilities. I am supposing that if I am a Wymsey citizen now, that I retain citizenship in the USA? Not that Irene de Mandible might be found numbered among citizens of the US, but her host body is. And even if I am now only a citizen of Wymsey, I assume my host body retains its USA citizenship. So in a way the point is moot since that host will retain its US citizenship. I can be therefore a citizen of whatever microstate I might like. Still, it's a point I'd like to clear up because it helped create some confusion here yesterday, Thanksgiving Day in the US, which is a day that's already confused enough for us as it is.
We at the embassy weren't sure if we officially should be celebrating anything.
We had turkey and dressing and cranberries and sweet potatoes and green beans, but we were unclear as to why, except that relatives seem to expect it of us. When we say something about the misuse of American Indians at the hands of some settlers of the Americas, it isn't a subject given much weight. The fact that there is a degree of American Indian in the family strikes most as having to do with some other family, which is the case in my family line but I am referring here to my Significant Other's familial line and still the concept is, for those concerned, a matter in which little concern is invested, and investment of interest would be considered perhaps heretical if it came to swaying political or spiritual attitudes. That trace American Indian gene can consider its blessed inheritance to be that of Salvation by reason of its relative genes, if Thanksgiving has to do with the God of U.S. Christian citizenry guiding their Old World ancestry to the brave New India (latecomers and individuals of other faiths participate in Thanksgiving by default), giving them a home in the promised land of free enterprise, and on one of those early days everyone seems to recall being told that Thanksgiving was given for this and had something to do also with American Indians helping the Puritans out with some food resources--after which the American Indian got a little hostile and divorced from Thanksgiving festivities by reason of not applying for church membership.
I myself remember being in grade school and drawing Puritans in browns and blacks, with white baroque collars and shoes with big silver buckles, and on a picnic table there would be sketched some pumpkin pies and squashes. A lively though tame turkey was in the background looking very colorful and happy despite its destination. A few feathered American Indians completed the theme of good will and sharing. To further establish a physiological connection with the story, we traced the outlines of our hands on construction paper, cut out those hand shapes, and dressed four fingers up to look like feathers while the thumb got to be the turkey head. Which is how tradition is developed and engrained. "I laid my hand upon the construction paper of history and thus appreciated the architecture of tradition." (You may quote me.)
Whether or not there happened to be American Indian ancestry in the family, I would remain a disenfranchised Thanksgiving giver because of historical, ethical and philosophical issues, despite the fact that rearrangement of land management has often been solved by forced displacement and/or physical and/or cultural genocide. Thanksgiving for having what another possessed not too long ago is nothing new. But I'm not sure if baptizing it with the spirit of Divine Right in order to give it an acceptable, social face is a cause for celebration. The making of "hand turkeys" isn't sufficient excuse either.
At our table yesterday there were represented disparate views of what Thanksgiving might concern; for what Thanks was to be had.
Irene de Mandible, not being certain as to her citizenship status anywhere was even further confused. Not to mention the fact that whereas ancient man used to fashion fetishes of that beast which he hoped to bring to the fire, Irene could be so confused as to reverse the process and craft the fetish even while the bird roasted in its own juices. My effort to contribute something of the festive to a decidedly non-festive day, I did indeed make some hand turkeys for the entertainment of my son, which I figured was OK as long as I was not making Puritans and Native Americans. Except that my son would in a couple of hours be given to eat a turkey that I had just, as a genus, introduced to him as a friend-at-hand, and would he balk at the hypocrisy or could the logical revulsion be short-circuited by transforming the turkey hand into a conscious, respectful act toward that which has given itself up (succumbed) to the food chain of life, which, in order to more fully flesh out the evolution of ashes to ashes, would also necessitate the explanation of, "You see, we are all part of that food chain, dear..."
There was no reason to worry. He instead played with Play Doh. He is two.
The new Microstate of Wymsey is rather like a child of no more than one or two months of age. But a human child would just be convincing its elders that those were not burps, they were instead knowing smiles. So, it is less like a human child than like, perhaps, a bird which is just old enough to wing its way from the nest of the Overstate, without having to actually fly off and find someone else's tree to make its home. "Freedom," Wymsey said, "may be found right here, where we are at, today, right now." It is ever a new and radical concept based upon an old dream, that we may each be the arbiter of each our personal liberty, as far as our next door neighbors are capable of permitting us the freedom to express ourselves...uh, wait a minute...this isn't beginning to sound like an argument for state's rights, is it? Because if it is, I have a problem with a bunch of little Neighborhood Associations running around telling you just what you can put in your libraries and what you can't put on your front lawn...it'd be better if someone said definitively once and for all, "You idiots, of course we're not going to let you take either Harry Potter or Catcher in the Rye off the shelves..." Except what if that someone turned around and then definitively said once and for all to all, "We're not going to let you (whatever)..."
Except that there are some whatevers that shouldn't be permitted regardless of an individual's certainty in the righteousness of their beliefs or cultural code...though some would say that cultural code is the law of a time and place, having nothing to do with ethics or wrong or right and that history can't be judged because it was another time and therefore virtually another place and...
And now my train of thought is broken. Where I was going with it all, I no longer know because--boom--and it comes crashing down. Why? Because I thought a little too much about it all, and like the majority of individuals I don't have the mind to grasp truly intricate concepts which is why it's better if I stick to the basics and let someone else sort out the details. Not that I was any happier when I was seven years old, making turkey hands; not that I was blissfully unaware, entirely confident in the what is and what seems and without question marks. But when my mother told me she was twenty-one and I believed her, then found out it wasn't true, well, I may have not trusted her much beforehand but then I realized the extent to which she lied and I had believed her?! Of course she wasn't twenty-one. I was eight years old. How in the world could I have not questioned that until the neighborhood women asked me how old she was then laughed and said it wasn't true, she couldn't be twenty-one. I mean, I might not have trusted my mother and what she told me, but beyond the distrust I had for her was the us and them, the us of me and my mom and the them of those neighborhood gossips against which my mom and I had formed this unified force of "we're family, whatever that may mean, but it has something to do with keeping what's wrong about us to ourselves, and everyone else is wrong and nosey and has no business in our business..."
When I was a child, for Thanksgiving we had plain canned ham and frozen peas, which is probably why I was never fully indoctrinated into the fullest trust in and religious acceptance of the traditional Thanksgiving. But the fact I was Thanksgiving-deficient could have also worked the other way and made me determined to have all the trimmings laid out on my own chiseled fabrication of Plymouth Rock.
I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. And now, supposedly, here I am an ambassador. For what? To what? Representing Wymsey? Yes, I suppose I must be representing Wymsey. Wymsey cerrtainly wouldn't have the power to just tell whomever that I am supposed to represent them TO Wymsey. So I must be representing Wymsey.
But do I want to? Why am I doing this? Why was I so quick to leap forward and say, "Yeah! I'll be an ambassador for Wymsey!" Why am I the only ambassador thus far listed on their open government website? Where's quality control? Shouldn't they be editing me or something? And what happens if they do start editing me, telling me what my speeches can and can't be about?
Does my being an ambassador for Wymsey help further my quest for meaning? When everything is said and done, what will this matter? What will this have contributed? To what? When everything's ashes to ashes and we're all food chain mulch then why even bother? If it's all one big circle then why bother? Even my dog knew not to bother about circles. Through the living room, into the middle room and into the hall then into the living room I used to run with her ball and she'd chase me. She chased me until the day she realized that it was all a circle and eventually I would run into her if she just plain stopped, or she would eventually stop playing and return in circularity to that state of "not playing" so why bother with playing in the first place. One day, she stopped chasing me in that circle and sat down. She never chased me in that circle again. She'd figured it out. If she stopped, I would come to her in my course around the circle. And if she just stopped playing chase at all that was fine too because it would have happened eventually anyway, intermittently at first and then permanently.
Where's everybody going? Let me remind you, there's leftover turkey and dressing after the speech. It's not like I asked you to sing hymns for a meal. All I asked you to do was listen to one lousy speech. Just because we're an embassy doesn't mean you can just walk in here and take whatever food you want and not give anything in return, does it? Does it?