Thursday, March 05, 2009

Weapon of Choice

Okay, one more weird post before I go to bed.

I've had a fascination with weaponry since just before I started writing. I'm not sure where it came from (because you obviously don't see kids with this kind of interest, oh no), but I know that I've had one for a while. I'm not so obsessed that I've taken to collecting the stuff and stalking the streets at night with various implements strapped to my back... but I figure that I'm engaged enough to know some strange things.

I can, for example, judge the purpose of a knife with a few glances at its blade. I read heavily on the technology of war throughout human history, and sit up to watch television programs about the effectivity of these tools. I can explain the physics behind guns and cannons, and probably know a hundred synonyms that correspond to the names of various weapons scattered across the world.

Ironically, I don't use the knowledge very often, beyond the occasional literary reference. I haven't had any special training in any of the things I read about, and I haven't even held a lot of them in my hands. It's a lot like being a janitor who knows the basics of calculus: the information is utterly useless beyond mere curiosity. It's a weird quirk.

The stranger quirk, however, lies in the fact that I occasionally use this pseudo-martial knowledge as a form of association. Put simply, I will sometimes bring the image of a person to mind, and immediately associate a single weapon with that person. I can imagine weapons into peoples' hands, if you like to think of it that way. Don't ask me why, because I don't know why I do it. Maybe it's incomprehensibly Freudian.

Let's take a convenient example: Dean Alfar. Dean, for those who don't know him, is a multiple-Palanca-Award winner, and is the driving force behind the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (which has just released its fourth issue). He's a regular member of quite a few contemporary panels on Philippine Fiction, he runs a publishing studio and a pet store, and he plays patriarch to a wife and two kids.

I imagine Dean Alfar with a sawed-off shotgun in his right hand. Now, I already mentioned that I don't know if that has any psychological significance... I just imagine him holding a sawed-off shotgun in this right hand. It's one of those one-barrel specialties, too, the kind with an ungodly roar that will turn paper into confetti at point-blank range. The image of him firing it into empty air, pulling it back with one hand, reloading, and then firing again just seems... appropriate. Somehow.

Dean isn't even the only victi... er, example who I hold in this context. If you must know, I imagine quite a few people with quite a few instruments:

Kenneth Yu: The proprietor of Philippine Genre Stories holds a lance, the kind used by medieval knights for jousting. It's blunted at the tip, but that's probably because I keep wondering whose job it is to sharpen the lance.

Dominique Cimafranca: I can imagine him with a starter's pistol in hand, that weapon-that's-not-a-weapon which gets used to start races. I don't know if it fires blanks or not; I just have a starter's pistol in mind.

Sacha Chua: The image of Sacha firing a missile launcher amuses me. In fact, I have a tendency to gift tiny young women with massive implements of destruction, probably for the mere fact that the concept amuses me.

Bill Gates: And now we move on to some more well-known public figures. Bill Gates actually doesn't get a weapon – for some reason, I keep placing a stainless steel guitar pick in his hands, although it's sharp enough to cut a few throats.

Bobby Fischer: The late chess eccentric holds a fireplace poker in his right hand. The image is strangely clear in my mind – it's polished brass, somewhat new but showing signs of wear, with both a straight and a curved blade at the tip. It glows against the light of the fire.

Jac Ting Lim: The blogger / artist / model / cosplayer / gamer wields a pair of shuko – claw-like weapons used by ninja.

Charles Tan: The reader's reader holds a morning star – a fantastic medieval weapon that's basically a spiked or studded iron ball attached to a chain. No word on what he uses it for, though.

Joseph Estrada: A broken beer bottle.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: A dagger. Not just any dagger, mind you... I'm thinking a dagger with a slim blade and a slight wave to the edge near the hilt. It would be perfect for stabbing people in the back... although that's more a clinical observation than a critical opinion of her personality.

Manuel L. Quezon III: This man is one of the few people who I can imagine holding a sword. Weirdly enough, that sword happens to be a heavy Scottish claymore in this case. I'm not even sure if I know what a claymore looks like, which doesn't speak much as to the authenticity of this image.

Britney Spears: Heh. I can imagine her firing a Beretta handgun... just your plain old Beretta. Nothing fancy, and she doesn't seem too skilled at the firing range.

Sean Uy: I wield an umbrella. It's not even a special, steel-tipped umbrella with secret compartments and a concealed blade; it's just a regular umbrella that one buys in the local convenience stores. The irony is that I do bring one with me every day... and in a pinch, it would actually be my weapon of choice.



Dean said...

Haha! Actually, I carry a bullhorn - though the shotgun appeals tremendously ;)

pgenrestories said...

Hey! I like the phallic symbolism of one of those long, blunt, medieval lances. Works for me! Hwe hwe hwe. :D

Dominique said...

Because I'm mostly harmless?

Sean said...

Dean: Interestingly enough, I attribute a bullhorn to one of my college theology teachers. That said... why do you carry a bullhorn? And more importantly, where can I get one? :)

pgenrestories: I never said anything about the lance being a phallic symbol, but if that's how you'd like to see it... :)

Dominique: No, because I associate you with a starter's pistol. While there might be some estranged psychological explanation somewhere, I have no idea what it is. You can load real bullets into it, if you'd like. :)

pgenrestories said...

but if that's how you'd like to see it

I do! I do!

pgenrestories said...

Hehe. I speak softly, but I carry a big stick!