Tuesday, September 3, 2013

APA Cringe 1.1 : Name Calling and Paper Cuts - A Practical Guide to Rubbing Salt in Wounds

{Last Cringe Post} {First Cringe Post}

{Theme Song: Repetition, TV on the Radio}

Current Time
Location: Muchovan Camp, Effenta

Cringe.

That’s what people did when he spoke to them, walked by, made eye contact…sometimes at the mere mention of his name.  He’d seen it as if his name were a command.

Muchovans didn’t use birth names – your name should say something about you before you say a word – so said the tradition.  So while a baby is given a legal name, your so-called “paper name”, it’s the name earned through action that matters.  Unfortunately, more thought went into Muchovan name theory than the clich├ęd, obvious names given.  Well, in most instances.

Cringe was actually quite good.  It was both accurate and descriptive and, the best part, intended as an insult.

Muchovan men sought to be named after fierce animals, but some were named for plants and even a few after inanimate objects – there was a fellow called Woodblock in camp; as you might guess, he was practical, but an idiot.  None were named after a reaction.  This was a statement – he was not one of them.

What was intended as an insult, the man in question took as highest praise.  He had no desire to be Muchovan.  Even in his personal thoughts he spat the word with distaste.

He’d received the name after winning the trials – he wasn’t sure his paper name had even been requested – not that he’d have given it.  He’d been a despised outsider from the beginning, but after a chaotic year of deliberation, the Prime Counselor had finally endorsed a candidate to succeed the Great Jaguar – him.  And you did not ignore Asp.  Just like his name suggested, he was a venomous, mean, treacherous old viper.  Cringe personally detested the man, but at that moment the Muchovan people had probably hated Asp even more.

Cringe was neither what they’d expected nor wanted.  They were a straight forward people:  they respected strength and fearlessness – even when it was stupid and shortsighted.  Cringe had his own view on things.

While no one would dare say he lacked these sought after attributes, he had won their competition through cleverness rather than brute force – and to a man every single defeated opponent had cried foul at his method.  By the end upcoming opponents had cringed when they heard they’d have to face him.  The battle had been his before it’d even begun.

But of course the losers didn’t want this knee-jerk reaction to be attributed to fearing him.  That’d mark them as cowards and that wouldn’t do at all.  No, they cringed at his rudeness, his lack of respect for their customs and traditions, his outrageous dress and manners, his sarcasm and secretiveness, etc., etc., ad naseum… Yes, to sum up, everything about him was an affront to good and decent Muchovan people.

Yet he’d won it all and now they were irrevocably bound by their own short-sighted tradition.  By law, with no option of appeal, he commanded their army, and they hated him for it.

Then he’d continued to win the real battles and suddenly being named for a fierce attribute was a compliment.


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