Wednesday, 7 November 2012

eenie meanie or ένας μια ενα

Some time ago, I recall reading a broad overview (not disjointed but just non-sequitur and sparse explanation, like a freak-show of strange foreign customs) on Christmas traditions. According to the article, some Greek households leave a colander out on the doorstep (unlike stockings hung over a heath or a boot on Sankt Nikolas Tag in Germany for gifts) to confound mischievous spirits and keep them from entering the home.

Like our friend from Sesame Street, Count von Count (Graf Zahl), imps and demons have a condition called arithmomania, the irresistible compulsion to count things and would be drawn to counting out the holes on the strainer. Incidentally, vampires in general tend to be distracted by disarray and would stop to fully account for a tossed handful of rice grains or something similar, should one need a second to escape from one. Did the Count’s character, I wonder, come from his mild version of the disorder or vice-versâ? Because of the demon’s infernal nature, however, it would only manage to count one, two before being cast back on the number three—three being the holy trinity. The spirit could rematerialize and try again but never make it past three. It’s a bit early (and maybe a bit too exotic) for Christmas but I think it might be a nice and maybe more effective gesture of solidarity for the Greek people to help them through these trying times (after all, the people of Iceland ousted their corrupt politicians by banging pots and pans), which none of us may be so charmed as to avoid.