Remember, Remember the 5th of November
Today I decided to create some festivities of my own. It all started this morning, when I was preparing.
Daniel: Heya Tommy. What's crackin'?
Me: Well, I am just preoccupying myself with the spirit of the season.
Daniel: What are you doing? Why are you building a big straw man? Halloween was like a week ago. Don't you think you're a bit late?
Me: This isn't for Hallow's eve. This is for my Guy Fawkes night celebration. It is my personal twist on the old tradition. I plan to take this straw man, which I have dressed up like King James the First, and burn it out in the open lot, in effigy. I have used the last bit of my money to purchase some apple cider and jam. I was going to invite Natalie and Ludwig to join us for the festivities, which we will conduct after it gets dark.
Daniel: Man, you are always bringing the obscure shit. You can't just burn a big straw doll at night and set it on fire. The neighbors will call the cops.
Me: I think you worry too much about what others say you should do. You should come with us, it will be much fun.
The festivities were underway, and so we met out with some folding lawn chairs (incredible design, I might add), and had some plenty of drink and food. It was just after dark.
Natalie: Wow, this is a bit like a picnic party at night.
Ludwig: So I am a bit confused, Thomas. From what I am familiar with on Guy Fawkes night, are you not supposed to burn Guy Fawkes in effigy, and not the King of England?
Me: Yes, but what is the fun of burning a fellow patriot? We always made the joke that if Guy Fawkes succeeded, King George the Third would not have been around. So, I am burning this doll of King James the First in effigy, in protest against the monarchy.
Ludwig: "We" used to joke? What do you mean? Were you in a history class, or something of that sort?
Me: Uh, you could say so. Speaking of which, remind me to talk to you later, I have something important I wish to discuss that I have been putting off for some time.
Daniel: Why did you drag me out here? Can we burn the thing or not? Halloween is such a better holiday, with all the candy, and the booze, and the girls dressed as Elvira, and the candy. This is just suckage.
Natalie: Stop complaining Dan, jeesh. This bonfire you set up is nice and warm, Thomas. We should do this every year.
Me: I have here some toffee apples, I made some bonfire toffee, and here is a few baked potatoes to cook in some foil over the flame.
Daniel: A baked potato? This shit is wack, dude.
Ludwig: I will have one of these, herr Thomas. Eating out around the campfire reminds me of the year I spent with my uncle in Austria. He was an economics professor, very wise man.
Me: I propose a short recital, before the festivities commence. I have changed some of the words to my liking. The original gunpowder plot was the Catholics attempting to overthrow the protestant kings, however the ingenious plan of Guy makes me remember it for its tenacity. I remember thinking several times over the course of my life how easy the American Revolution would have been had we blown up the houses of Parliament and the king along with it.
Natalie: It's nice to know that some people actually care about history these days.
Me: *ahem* Might I begin with the recitation...
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be...
Wait, what is that noise?
Natalie: Oh no, it's the cops.
Daniel: Haha, I knew someone would call the cops if we lit a huge-ass bonfire out here.
Natalie: Shut up, Dan.
Portland Police Officer: Hello folks. I was just doing some regular patrols and noticed this bonfire. What is going on here?
Me: We were just engaging in a bit of merriment and mirth on today's holiday occasion.
Portland Police Officer: Halloween was last week guys. Do you have a permit for this bonfire?
Me: A permit? Why would I need a permit? From the property owner? This open lot seems vacant but if its owner is offended by my activities I will gladly move elsewhere and compensate him... did he complain?
Portland Police Officer: No, I don't care who owns this big empty lot. You can't burn a bonfire in the city without a permit.
Me: Do you think Guy Fawkes had a permit to place his gunpowder in the houses of parliament when he tried to destroy the monarchy?
Portland Police Officer: Who the hell is Guy Fawkes? Put this fire out and go home. Or I'll have to write up a citation for all of you.
Natalie: Hey, that isn't fair. We were just having a celebration tonight.
Daniel: Thank you pig-man, for talking some reason into these losers. C'mon guys, lets go get some water and splash this sucka out, and go play some NBA 2K6. Ludwig, you can be the Pistons.
Ludwig: No thank you Daniel, I have to get going myself. Thank you for the wonderful evening, Thomas.
Me: Since when was it illegal to have a simple fire? Ludwig, please stay, I must talk to you.
Ludwig: No Thomas, I apologize, but it is I who am in a hurry. This meeting was merely a reprieve from my work. I am nearing a breakthrough, I will discuss this more with you later. Have a good evening.
Me: We have to talk soon! I have something to tell you!
Portland Police Officer: So are we putting this thing out or what? I gotta get back on patrol.
Natalie: Fine, since you had to ruin our nice evening. Thank you for the good time Thomas. Let's go get this fire out and go back inside.
Daniel: Damn rizzy fo shizzy. Wack cracker honkies and their wiggady-wack campfires. Gotta keep it real black like burnt marshmallows baby.
Natalie: Dan, you're not black and that makes no sense. Thanks for helping us stand up to the cop, asshole.
Daniel: Whatever biatch.
The evening was a bit cold anyways, so we put the fire out and headed on home. We did not get to burn the King James the First straw doll, I wound up throwing him the trash disposal. All in all, it was a fun night, but a bit disappointing.
your most obedient & most humble servant.
- TH. Jefferson
Guy Fawkes day is a British celebration to revere the powers of the British government, but in reality it stands for anti-Catholic rule. I don't particularly like either side of the old Protestant/Catholic struggle for power, but the plot of Guy Fawkes in 1605 showed contempt for government that makes him more than just a Catholic revolutionary. His plan, and the plan of his conspirators, was to blow up the House of Lords during the opening of the new session of parliament, killing the King and destroying the houses of Parliament. A powerful statement that would have been indeed, and it would have changed the course of history drastically. Guy was captured before it could be carried out and he and his conspirators were executed. The ultimate result was the crown was reinforced by catching these terrorists and now celebrates their capture and execution annually. I always felt it would be an interesting twist on the celebration if, instead of straw "Guys" being burned in effigy, it was straw King James the Firsts being burnt.
An interesting and powerful reinterpretation on the true-life story of Guy Fawkes is a fictional graphic novel written by comic author Alan Moore, titled V For Vendetta. The comic, set in a dystopian future England where fascists rule the state, opens with a vigilante - known only as "V" - succeeds where Guy Fawkes fails by destroying the houses of Parliament. He then wages a one-man war on the fascist tyrants, plunging the nation into a state of chaos in the name of freedom. There is a movie adaptation of V For Vendetta that was due out today, but unfortunately political correctness has delayed it until early 2006, as the film producers felt a movie blowing up the houses of Parliament only a few months after the London Bombings would be too controversial.
In the words of "V", "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
That includes stingy cops and pompous politicians.