feeling troubled by more news about plans to build accommodations with two thousand hotel rooms in tulum, i happened upon alan lightman's essay in npr's this i believe. to read the power of mysteries, click here. i'm not trying to beat a dead horse; i've been told we should repeat something to ourselves a hundred times in order to learn it, and this idea regarding the mysterious seems very important and worthwhile to me.
while speaking of the mysterious, the nebulous origins of our plastic lucha libre action figure duo may forever stay that way. and what's more, seeing them this morning sent patricio on a direct path of retrospect back to the stories and mysteries of his childhood.
"i destroyed a lot of those figurines when i was little," he said as he settled into the office chair.
"on purpose or from playing really rough?" i asked.
"yes," he clarified, "both."
i knew that patricio spent a lot of time playing by himself when he was a little boy. at the age of four, he was already taking care of his own small herd of cattle, so i imagine him sometimes as a wild little wolf, curious, creative and able to take care of himself like few urban kids can likely do these days. when he wasn't "on the job," he played. and this is where the action figures come in--and yet another mystery to me.
my brother developed expertise in the art of blowing up ant piles with firecrackers and frying holes in grasshoppers with a magnifying glass. it horrified me and fascinated me at the same time. but tim, your brother-in-law gets the biscuit. patricio admits that feeding a lizard a firecracker was pretty brutal, but still pretty fantastic. he also gets a twinkle in his eye when saying that he figured out how to inflate toads and frogs with the pump/hose combination of old-time pesticide sprayers. (he would put the dead frog bones back together, dinosaur style, after taking them apart, which kind of wins him some points back). i can't even remember all the examples he gave of torture techniques for insects and amphibians. he didn't, either, until mr. buttertights and maniacal clown arrived on the scene.
young patricio discovered that pools of water were great places to float little boats made of paper or leaves, and that they could be manned by flies with at least one--but preferably two--wings missing. the boats were actually battleships (of course), and eventually had to accept their wartime fate of sinking. how to sink a ship? with a bomb. how to make a great bomb? by setting plastic lucha libre action figures on fire and letting the liquefied extremities fall through the air, dropping with a sizzling, split-second splish into the doomed boat, sending it into the depths. sometimes a bomb would land right on top of a particularly unfortunate fly, preserving it in a cap of molten plastic for a moment before everything went under. um, wow.
patricio said that the common theme of what he watched on t.v. back then was war, so he naturally acted it out in the expanse of fields around his house. still, his stories are a kind of mystery to me. he and my brother are very humane people. i would even venture to say that my brother is one of the kindest people to ever walk the earth. but they both loved blowing up critters. i suppose childhood curiosity manifests itself in myriad ways. i suppose that in order to satisfy some kinds of curiosity, something must inevitably be destroyed.
i just hope the same does not go for tulum.