Friday, December 02, 2005

Every time a bell rings

One of the things that has always puzzled me is why angels have wings. Stuff like harps I understand - angels need harps the same way that consultants need laptops. You need something to play music on on those long boring trips, plus once you get to client site, you just flip the harp on its side and you've got a readymade abacus to figure out this whole saving souls thing. And I can see how halos could make great reading lights. But wings? I mean, okay, so angels need to be mobile and all, but why couldn't God have got them little air-scooters or something? Why put some forty pounds of feathers on their backs? It's not just they're unwieldy and inconvenient, it's also the indignity of it - imagine coming down to rescue someone with your hair all dissheveled from all this flapping you've been doing and sweat breaking out all over you. I mean, look, even the damn witches managed to figure out about broomsticks - surely the angels could have done a little better. (At this point you're probably thinking - wait, do normal laws of gravity apply to angels? My point is that if they don't it's even more stupid to give them wings, innit?)

Also, how exactly do these wings work? Do you have to go to the gym to exercise them otherwise they sag and go limp? Do they bloat if you eat too much? Are they special wing-crunchers sold on TV? Can you get silicon implants for wings? Do angels check each other's wings out ("Hey Bob! Will you look at the size of that pair she's carrying around on her!")? Do devils suffer from wing envy?

Or maybe I'm getting this all wrong and the wings are detachable and you buy and sell them just like cars. Does that mean you need to worry about mileage? If you take your wings into the shop do you have to wait for three eternities and then get charged your soul? Does this mean all used wing salesmen don't go to hell? Do middle-aged angels buy themselves flashy red sports wings and look like complete morons? Are there Japanese wings and American wings and do the American wings weigh twice as much and break down thrice as often?

Or are the wings more like clothes? Do you get designer wings - the kind with a little label tucked into the seam with some obscure name you've never heard of but must be trendy because it sounds vaguely Italian? Do angels feel about wings the way most sensible humans feel about ties, i.e. can they not wait to get off work before they tear them off? Do angel wives stop their husbands at the door and straighten their wings as a sign of affection. Do teenage angels spend hours in front of a mirror trying to learn from their myopic grandfather how to tie a wing, then give up and decide to get clip-ons? Do wings come with pockets? Every time you call your guardian angel, does he start up shame-facedly from the movie he's watching and start fumbling around in his wings for his ringing cell phone? Are there special wings for golf? For basketball?

Or maybe wings are like hair. Do angels have bad wing days? Do they sit for hours in wingdressers shops catching up on all the latest gossip about how gay Michael is and how all those rumours about the length of his sword are totally exaggerated? Can you braid wings? Or dye them? Do some angels have curly wings and others straight? Is there such a things as wing gel? Do South Indian angels insist on putting coconut oil on their wings?

My personal theory is that the only real function of wings is contraceptive. Think about it - you've got all the beautiful people wandering about with not that many clothes on - sooner or later, err, accidents are going to happen. And it's not like you can just put in free condom dispensers in the men's room, this is Heaven, for crying out loud, the place is supposed to have a certain tone. So instead, you go stick these ugly, bristly monstrosities on everyone's back so that any chance they have of making it totally dies. Think about it. To begin with, it's hard enough to fit the damn things into a bed. And say you manage that and you get your partner all hot and excited and next thing you know you've got her wings beating and she's floated off somewhere. Of course, you could technically do it in the air, wings beating to keep you aloft, but that may be just one rhythm too many to synchronise, plus what happens if at the critical moment one partner forgets about the wings. It would give a whole new dimension to the phrase fallen angel, wouldn't it?

Update: My mom writes in to accuse me of trying to forsake my Indian roots:

"Have you ever wondered how tough handling the Sudarshan chakra must have been for Krishna? Imagine him raising his hand to scratch his head......... permanent parting, dig into his nose.......... harelip! What about Ganesh trying to balance his bulk on a mouse? Durga using up a can of deodorant every day! Shiva's permanent 'bad-hair' days! Sort out our Indian mythological problems before worrying about phirangi angels!"

11 comments:

ozymandiaz said...

Wings are a design of aesthetics. It has nothing to do with function. Kinda like the tailbone in humans. Intelligent design, baby. There were engineers involved and you now how it works. The more bells and whistles padding the project kicks up the price. Than you probably had some "art in public places" grant...

Mrudula said...

I don't agree with this:

'Do South Indian angels insist on putting coconut oil on their wings?'

Of course they don't!!!

Jabberwock said...

You're frighteningly jobless - but very entertaining as always. Thanks for the laugh.
(Do you suppose they buy their wings from a chemist store? Are there pharmacies in heaven? Questions, questions)

Falstaff said...

Oz: Right. That would explain a lot - including the whole trial through suffering bit - a concept only a true bureaucrat could think up.

Jabberwock: I suspect that depends on where they're from. Indian angels get their wings from a chemist. American angels get halfway through their medicare applications and then decide they may as well go to hell.

MIKE DA HAT said...

What I want to know is do these wings have a lightweight bird type bone structure or are they made of regular bone which is dense. If it's the dense bone then they'd be to heavy. If it's light bone then surely the rest of the angel would be made of light weight bone too. Is there any documented evidence of Angels being lighter than regular people (or more fragile)?

Cheshire Cat said...

You're totally off the mark, I'm afraid. Angels are not macroscopic creatures, they're microscopic. Or else why would the famous question regarding angels and the head of a pin be interesting?

Indeed, it widely conjectured that the angel is a new kind of fundamental particle. What we call their "wings", then, is merely a field of vibration.

The exact nature of this fundamental particle remains mysterious, but it is believed to be closely related to the God particle. Some physicists believe that the properties of the angel particle will never be discovered experimentally, that in fact
they correspond to a kind of parallel reality known as "spirituality". This reality is only accessible through a sophisticated but nebulous cognitive mechanism known simply as "vision".

The angelologists have noble ambitions. They hope some day to find (not that the have not already founded) a theory reconciling science and religion, rationality and intuition, the empirical and the esoteric. Such a "theory of everything" cannot be described
satisfactorily either by the narrow formalisms of mathematics or by the disjunctive ecstasies of poetry. A third, deeper, realm of understanding is posited of which the previous two are but shadows: such a conjecture is only natural since the law of the excluded middle is known to fail in the logic of angelology.

The emrgence of angelology has
energized virtually ever significant scholarly discipline, not just physics and divinity. Historians theorize breathlessly about how angelology will "close the loop": uniting contemporary science with medieval scholastisicm. Philosophy has been shaken to its very foundations, Cartesianism has made a triumphant comeback. The central equations of angelology have begun appearing mysteriously in the papers of the most reputed (i.e., the most fashionable) literary theorists. Cultural commentators are divided about which mystery will be solved first: the fundamental mystery at the heart of angelology, or the fundamental mystery of how the minds of literary theorists work...

Not that everyone has positive feelings about the new theory: there are doubters, naysayers (bless them for they keep academia alive!).
Predictably enough, mainstream physicists (otherwise known as string theorists) are disdainful of the claim that angelology will lead to enlightenment. They do not believe that any theory taking the empirical into account could possibly satisfy the aesthetic standards mandated of a "theory of everything".

Cheshire Cat said...

Falstaff, you forgot to ask the most blasphemous question:

Are angel wings the supreme delicacy?

Accidental Fame Junkie said...

Hahaahha! I really enjoyed reading this post!

Anonymous said...

Very cool design! Useful information. Go on!
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