Do I look like a bit of a freak in these trousers, I wondered? Do I look like a freakish weirdo or abnormal misfit? The trousers in question were made of extra-thick synthetic walrus hide which hung in heavy folds all around me and from which sprouted numerous clusters of rather limp looking tentacles. The tentacles waved around listlessly, with no apparent aim in mind, and the overall effect was rather ridiculous – as it turned out. Glossy black/purple barnacles accrued to my walrus hide trousers in rich profusion – they were wonderful to look at but they made it difficult to sit down with any degree of comfort. These weren’t just trousers, they were a complete ecosystem.


Do I look like a bit of a freak though, I wondered? Will people think that I am an oddball? Live eels nested in the pockets, of which there were many, of which there were many. I wondered if I would have problems integrating into normal society, wearing trousers like this. And what other types of society are there, you might ask? There are only normal types, they are only normal types. Normal, normal, normal, I said to myself. I like to repeat words over and over again, to see what they end up sounding like. Normal, normal, normal, I said to myself again. Was my life a failure, I asked myself? Should I have taken a different route? Should I have tried harder? Should I have tried at least a little bit? My trousers itched like the devil but I couldn’t take them off. They were full of seawater. Colonies of live eels lived in them. Live eels, live eels, live eels…


I was happy but at the same time I was sad. I was good-humoured, but at the same time bitter. I was cheerful, but at the same time very negative in my thinking. So, so negative. No one was ever as negative in their thinking as me, I told myself. No one, no one, no one. I wore the crown, I was a top dog. I was the Champion of the World as far as negative thinking went and no one could ever take that away from me. Pride stirred within me then, grew arms and legs, and became an unholy monster. Dogs barked angrily at me wherever I went. Babies cried when they saw me. People measured me with their eyes and backed slowly away. They wanted nothing to do with me. I was a prisoner of my own hideously distorted ego.


I was sitting on my throne, surveying my kingdom. I am Lord of all I survey, I said to myself but I couldn’t see anything. I was all alone in a dank, airless cellar. Rats swarmed at my feet, giant chocolate-coloured centipedes crawled down the walls. Up was the same as down as far as they were concerned. Good was the same as bad. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins of course. Even God Himself hates prideful people, according to St Augustine. I can’t help wondering if St Augustine was right about that though. I know he was a saint, but even saints can get it wrong. Can’t they?


Does God hate sinners? That was the big question, of course. We all know that religious folk hate sinners, that’s a given really, but does God? Regular folk hate sinners because that’s exactly what they are – we all understand that. Who can blame people for this; it’s quite natural after all. It’s all very natural – we’d all prefer to blame the other guy! Can we really blame people for their terrible hypocrisy in religious matters? Can we blame religious folk for their appalling intolerance and frighteningly narrow judgementalism? Of course we can’t – that’s just the way they are. They can’t do anything about it. They have to be what they are, as do we all, as do we all…





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