The Horrors We Can Contain

Arkham Horror!

Sometimes systems that look like unmitigated chaos from the outside are easier to navigate once you’re fully on the inside. Or they can consume you whole.

If now is not the time for a tortured metaphor involving a convoluted board game set in a fictional universe created by a flagrant racist, I don’t know when is.

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The Parable of the Little Reindeer Candle

Once upon a time, there was a cute little reindeer candle. I have no idea who gave him to us or on which Christmas, but we accepted him with open arms into our diverse family of Christmas decorations. Unlike other reindeer, he was white and chubby, but no one made cruel albino jokes or excluded him from reindeer games. If anything, he reminded me of me. Like many other candles, he was made of wax and topped with a fuse. Perhaps he was made to chase away the dark, but to us he was too cute and innocuous to light up.

When I retrieved our Christmas decorations from the attic last week, during the unpacking phase I discovered to my dismay that the attic’s complete lack of environmental controls had taken an unkind toll on the little reindeer candle. The summer heat had jump-started the melting process, no open flame required. His hooves and horns were now deformed. A homemade yarn-and-popsicle-stick from someone’s childhood had melded with his poor, softened, formerly rotund face. I yanked it off as delicately as I could, but several strands and dog hairs were stuck fast, leaving him with a scraggly, patchy, mountain-man countenance. He didn’t look very happy to be rescued.

Little Reindeer Candle

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