Thursday, February 16, 2012


     I wonder whether you noticed the ROMAN numerals in the title, because Lupercalia was a ROMAN holiday?  Sometimes my cleverness is just too much to bear.  So anyway, last night I told my son about Lupercal, including some new, choice details I had just learned yesterday through further research, like that the celebrants didn't just stroll through town thwacking people with the bloody goat hides, they RAN full tilt, and that while doing so they were either naked or clad only in goatskins, and that being swatted with the thongs ensured not only marriage, but fertility too, which is why at the beginning of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Caesar tells Antony to make sure and peg Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, on his run, so that she can then conceive and bear him lots of Little Caesars. And who can forget Antony's all-too-soon funeral oration: "You all did see that on the Lupercal, I thrice [III] did offer him the kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse?"  Yeah, THAT Lupercal.  Who knew about the goats?  All well and good, but then I had to break the sad news to my son that this excellent annual thong-thwacking frolic had come to an end by the fifth century A.D., thanks to some stupid antipagan killjoys.  At which point, Nathan got a very determined look on his face, and said, "That's it.  We have to bring it back."  I was all for the idea, of course, but I suggested we start small, by limiting our new venture at first just to the United States, and when he asked why, I had to gently tell him that it was just the two of us, after all, on this quest, and that America is a big place.  To which he replied with dismay, "Oh.  Didn't know that.  That changes everything."  And all the spirit just kind of went out of him, right then and there.
     It wouldn't be the first Mommy&Nathie enterprise we'd planned, but I have to admit that most of them seem to encounter serious obstacles fairly soon, and never quite make it off the ground.  Take, for example, Mommy&Nathie Practice Brain Surgery In The Garage.  Brilliant, right?  What better way to earn a little pocket money without even leaving home?  But then, pretty quickly, reality set in.  We realized that it would require quite a bit of capital outlay right up front.  Tools, for instance.  Oh, we have the hammers, the pliers, the what-have-you, but it started looking like we would actually need some more specialized equipment, and that's where you get into the big bucks.  Not to mention, of course, that we would have to invest in some serious training before we could even begin experimenting on friends and family.  And let me tell you, high-quality training manuals, with LOTS of illustrations, do not come cheap.  So that vision of ours, unfortunately, became a nonstarter.
     Perhaps our most promising plan was the one I like to call Mommy&Nathie Parachute-Drop Into Belize [a country which, as everyone knows or should know, has no standing army], Spend a Couple of Days Snorkeling, and Then Take Over the Country.  Such a great idea in so many ways, but then, sure enough - problems.  Like, where would we find a third partner who not only knew how to fly a helicopter (or, at least, would be willing to try), but could be completely trusted to not shoot off his/her mouth during the planning stages?  Because there was no way around it - our success did seem to hinge, at least in part, on the element of surprise.  But as soon as our plans had to start expanding beyond the tight-knit Mommy&Nathie circle of leadership, we knew that danger lurked.
     Bottom line: I can't make any promises at this juncture about restoring Lupercal to its rightful place in the calendar.  The jury remains out.  But I will absolutely keep you posted on future developments.
     And, by the way - my son and fellow idiot, Nathan, just got his first law school letter today, from a school he really likes, and it was an acceptance!  So, please don't tell anyone I'm doing this (I can trust you, right?), but - WOOOO HOOOO!!!!!

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