something smells fishy

I met an actual chick lit reader the other day. “I like light fare,” she said. “I avoid negative things.” Probably smart, though I’m a pretty positive person who dwells in my macabre imagination on a regular basis. Most people would not guess my themes by looking at me or talking to me. I’ve always written about the dark side of life... and death. My characters are demons, parents who betray their children’s trust, spies and the horrible things they must be do in the name of peace, soldiers and the horrible things they must do in the name of war, religion and all its bloody implications... You get the idea.

I wasn’t surprised to run across the chick lit reader because I was at a girly jewelry party, one of those where “fine silver jewelry” is laid out on a black cloth on the dining room table and the catalog mentions a career where you make your own hours and as much money as you want! and women ooh and ahh over pieces they will likely never wear. Much of it was ugly. Others had been taken a step too far for my taste. For example: a cross, one of my favorite kinds, squared off and chunky, one where all the arms were the same length. It’s an old style of cross and it’s always spoken to my sense of symmetry. Before the guys in my series had celtic knots they had crusader crosses. A good Jewish friend of mine informed me early on that these days it’s been adopted by the white supremists (she offered proof in the form of “American Chopper”). Good enough for me. The cross was out, the knot was in. The cross didn’t work as well theme-wise anyway, though I’ll adopt it as a symbol in a later book, no doubt. I just love the shape of the thing.

Anyway, back to the cross at the party and the jewelry... the cool silver cross had one of those fishies on it. Remember? Jesus and the forty loaves. Nowadays we see them on the backs of mini vans, and they don’t bug me too much. “I’m a Christian,” they seem to say, but softly, gently. “And I believe in miracles.” That’s my own personal interpretation. Miracles exist. I’m no Biblical scholar or theologist--I’ll have to run this by Maugham and Mac to find out how off I am.

But. But. Then you see the little fishy with feet on the backs of SUVs and Slo-berus. I’ve always thought that was a terribly clever little critter--way to go whoever thought up the thing, besides God, that is. (I don’t get into the whole I.D. vs evolution debate--I think God invented evolution and it’s a terribly intelligent design.) But. Since the “evolutionists” have adopted a warped fishy symbol, like the whities have adopted an old cross symbol, have they in turn warped the meaning of the original? Does the fishy now mean something else, something bigger, than a simple miracle? And more importantly, has the fish been usurped by the Christian Right? I wanted that cross, but I wasn’t sure I wanted the message that came along with it. We debated it over my friend’s kitchen island, accompanied by many beers, but we came to no conclusions. Any ideas out there?

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