Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Toughs and Prettys


That morning, we divided into Toughs and Prettys.

(Such things happen at pagan festivals.)

I wanted to be a Tough; I figured I'd earned it. Little sissy boys don't grow up to be happy, sane adults, after all, if they aren't the toughest of the tough.

(I have to imagine that, in the current cultural environment, I would now be experiencing all manner of social pressure to Transition. Gods help me, it would have been the ruin of me.)

Boss Witch had other ideas, though.

“No, you're a Pretty,” she told me.

“I want to be a Tough!” I insisted.

“No, you're a Pretty,” she said.

Well, there's no gainsaying Boss Witch. If she says you're a Pretty, you're a Pretty.

“Fine!” I finally concede, but add, pouting: “But if I'm gonna be a Pretty, then I'm gonna be the best goddam Pretty ever!”

And I was.

As everyone knows, Tough guys make the best Prettys.



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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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