You all know about the Mutiny on the Bounty. But what you probably don't know is that Captain William Bligh discovered several islands, on his way back home to England. They are a group of islands - an atoll - situated in the South Pacific, not far from Pitcairn Island. They are named after Captain Bligh's daughter, Norah Bligh. They seem like such a wonderful, relaxed, tropical place - I got it in my head to maybe go there one day. So, I wrote to the consulate of the islands...
But I got Norah Bligh Atoll.
I am wondering how long I can keep up this England theme going on in my posts...
Breadfruit plants? Seriously? It was all over breadfruit plants? I don't even know what they are. ("Maybe the Mutiny is why, ever thought of that?")
Anyway, as a wee lad, I went to a horrible Catholic school run by South Pacificers, and almost everyone was black except for me. I think the reason for such tortuous chambers is this: Once you finally get out, the rest of life is just like one big yummy bowl of bread pudding in comparison, and so you just kinda relax and enjoy it all, and keep making babies for the Pope.
Well, it was during this term of imprisonment that I delved deeper into the catechism that the holy teachers were waging upon my innocence. I went beyond questioning why Adam and Eve one day ran into a whole crowd of people, even though they were supposedly the first and only people on Earth. Or: where did Noah get all the wood, anyway? Or: what was the point of God killing his son to show us how much he loves us, and all that?
I went deeper into things like this: If God is everywhere, as I am being told, then that means God is in you and me and everyone else - as well as in the birds and fishes and the damn mosquitoes. And plants, and so on. So, if we want to know God, then why are we reading books? Why don't we study God within ourselves? Why don't we study people, and find what is divine and good there? And why are we using this word, "God," anyway? It's like calling gravity Uncle Ned.
Thus began the mission of my life, which would eventually deliver to me an unanticipated hell-on-Earth. One of my first projects was to study the life swarming around a nice fun beach in the summertime, instead of going to Mass, as my mother yelled me to do.
There hadn't been any point in me going to mass in years - even though I had been the head alter-boy, a reader at mass, and all that. In fact, I was thought to have been so holy that the nuns slated me to play Mary in the school xmas play. It was fun to see my father put an end to that notion. I didn't want to play a virgin - I would much rather have played Mary Magdalen, oh yeah.
So, I was forced to come out of the closet and state that their religion was no longer my religion. And the only way they could understand my own beliefs, or search, was by calling myself an atheist. Because, that's what it is, right? No theology: No holy Top Dog involved. Calling myself an atheist was a sensational thing to do, but it didn't help my life much. It was like if you lived in some Arab country, surrounded by no one like yourself, and declared that you were a gay Christian comic book character who farts in Mecca's general direction.
"Yoo wahpeurs of uh-thor pea-ples bot-toms!"
"What? You're a WHAT?!"
I got my glorious day at the lake, which was Day One of a subsequent Oscar Wilde life of decadence and debauchery, from which I have learnt far more than any monk in his belfry - although, that is what I have become. Oh, sweet irony.
Eventually, things settled down. I stopped going to church, I think - pretty sure. Maybe this is why my dad turned into an alcoholic - it was all my fault. But it is more likely the other way around - pretty sure. Other historians will tell you otherwise - pretty sure.
Let me tell you, first, that I have the South Pacific sun in my blood. I was born on a big island down under, where everyone's toilets flush in the opposite direction, and Santa Claus is always upside down. Because I was forcibly removed to the USA at a tender age, the magnetic fields in my brain are in discord with the ones spinning around up here. I have ever been the outsider. The alien. L’Étranger.
Thus, the mutiny.
It wasn't until many years later, while I was looking through some papers, I discovered a correspondence between my mother, and some official in the Virgin Islands. My mother was enquiring as to the possibilities for summer work there. For her son. Me, of course. She had felt so badly about me being in love with the summer sun at the lake, she started this little project to get me on a little tropical vacation.
Vaguely, I thought back, and actually remembered her mentioning this once, rather cryptically, rather sideways. I don't think she ever said she had actually contacted anyone - but, more like, "Would you like being in the Virgin Islands," or something like that...
And I was like, WHAT is my mother talking about now! Virgins? Why is she even saying that word?! OMG let me out of here!
Life is so sad.