Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it "creative observation." Creative viewing. -- William S. Burroughs
The appalling state of education in this country never
ceases to amaze me. Only recently in an informal office
poll did I learn that NO ONE has heard of the greatest of
rulers: Cletus Porcinus, the Slack-Jawed Emperor of Rome.
Noted primarily for the accident involving the misfiring of a Welsh longbow
into his own foot, Cletus the Slack-Jawed brought many technological
innovations to the empire including moonshine, grits, ringworm, moon pies, and
The populace took the better part of Cletus's astounding
four-week reign to grow accustomed to these advances in science. The extensive
sewer tunnels that had once carried away the great city of Rome's sewage and
detritus were used instead for "critter huntin'", and use of moonshine in the
vomitoria eventually became the norm.
The bane of Cletus's reign (and, many
say, the problem that drove him to his death) were a rowdy group of Gauls known
as the "Fratres Hazardi". These men were the finest charioteers on the entire
continent, and they often left Cletus's own imperial steed inverted in a ditch
as they blew past the border into the safety of their homeland.
death, which took place in a duck blind along the Tiber, is often disputed; but
it is widely believed that he died from a gangrene infection he received while
opening a tin of mustard sardines. Known across the land for regularly taking
the auspices with the companionship of his hound dog, Enos, Cletus could often
be found outside the palace walls.
Most of the cletian inventions were
subsequently purged by Cletus's successor, Plautus the Polymath. Cletus's many
barefoot and pregnant cousins were sent into a rigorous regime of "readin',
scribin', and hirin' arabs to do 'rithmetic", from which only a precious few
Plautus spent the majority of his treasury converting the coliseum
from a racetrack for dogs and cock fights back to more traditional roman
entertainment. The conversion process was so long and costly that
demolition derbies had to be staged in nearby farmland in order to keep the
masses occupied. The resulting debris was later harvested by the locals for
parts, and many a villa could be found with three or four half-built chariots
up on marble blocks.
To this day, the buck-toothed deathmask of Cletus has
not been found, though documents have proven that it remained as the lid of
Plautus's rennovated latrine for several decades.