Maximum Bran

There is only one thing I do when I am feeling a need to ground myself, to bond with the earth. I go down to the basement of my house. It is quiet down there, and pleasantly cool. My family, my culture, we keep food down in the basement: you know, potatoes, onions, turnips, preserves. The freezers are down there: you know, even vegetarians know, that you can buy meat in bulk and freeze stuff. And my shop, where I keep my tools and can work on projects. It is really more a laboratory, at least that is what my friends say when they come over for a beer. And there is a rec room, a recreation room. The old sofa, the old rug, the old TV, a big table for maps, and shelves of books, relics, and trophies. I have a den with a desk and computer, well a few computers (the oscilloscope is in the laboratory); there is the furnace room where the hot water heater is, the washer, dryer, and the 2000 amp electrical service. Pretty much every man’s basement. Except for the electrical service. I bought some specialty equipment from Europe: it requires 600 volt three phase power. Go figure. But that is not what I am talking about, that bandit electrical contractor who over charged me, but the feeling of peace I feel when I descent below grade into my basement, the basement of Fenris Badwulf. Come join me down there for some quiet.

Do you keep little pieces of your past? I do. Boxes of documents. Old clothes of mine, too small to fit, out of style, missing too many buttons. Old clothes of other people, almost forgotten socks, and their shoes. Camping equipment that still is scented of the forest, places where I camped or traveled in the woods where people do not walk for years. Rarely used equipment, like shovels, lanterns, axes, and a pick. Still, filled with memories of holes dug and projects completed. A collection of grass seed, the type that grows in strong or dim light conditions. Maps of Ontario roads, to find those out of the way places. Yup. If only my shovels could talk. For that matter, my East German sausage grinder, I wonder what stories it could tell. But it won’t: I use Mister Clean.

Down in my peaceful basement I sit down in the rec room, on the comfortable sofa. The television I never watch is down there. The last time anyone really watched it was a burglar I found down here a few years ago. He was just staring at it, like he was hypnotized. He was not such a bad guy. He was fascinated, er, enthralled, by my collection of shrunken heads. I only had five in my collection then (now I have six). The burglar was a neighbor of mine, I recognized him. He was living in our midst, pretending friendship and community; then slinking off and stealing from his neighbors. I caught him. We talked for a while, while the CBC was telling people what a meanie Harper was. The burglar left his shoes behind. The sixth shrunken head in my collection has hair just like him. Nobody saw him after that. Memories, eh.

My nieces, when they were small, used to play with the shrunken heads. They would comb the hair; weave in beads and dreadlocks. Their mother did not approve. I gave them tarot cards and an Ouiji board for Holiday, that year. They call me every month, now, my nieces. Even when they are far away at University. Good kids. Unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Which shows what a good education can give a person: as far as the world goes they are wolves amongst sheep.

I have a fire place in the basement. It is so relaxing to watch things burn. Have a sip of whiskey or scotch or a martini and watch the crackling flames. You do not have to just burn wood. You can burn paper, for instance. The fire place is on one side of the room, on the other side are my aquariums. Nothing too exotic, just ants. People like my ants. They inevitably stare at them. They ask me what I feed them. Before I can answer they tell me (this always happens) that ants are vegetarians. I guess so. The ancient Greeks admired the social nature of ants. I would keep bees, but the neighbors might complain.

I have not got to my point about Maximum Bran, an exciting new product about to hit the market. Oh well. It is so peaceful down in the basement of Fenris Badwulf. Just relax, close your eyes, and you can be a peace down there, too.

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