Let me tell you about my eccentric old uncle, Jeb Hova. He raised ants in the back yard. A

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From: Zhahai Stewart Let me tell you about my eccentric old uncle, Jeb Hova. He raised ants in the back yard. All he asked of them was that they worship him (he claimed the ability to listen in on their every thought, and thus to judge them perfectly). If they did, he would drop all manner of bread crumbs from above on them (sometimes). If not, he dumped water on their anthills, or sometimes gasoline, or in various other ways destroyed them wholesale. He got very angry and killed bigtime if he ever thought they were paying any attention to any other humans; he was to be their only deity, period. He dictated how they were to run their society, what they were permitted to think, how they must act. He loved them deeply if they did. He threatened them if not, and carried it out with a vengeance. He claimed to have invented a way to burn noncompli-ants in gasoline for all eternity if they blew the one chance he gave them (the others he would give wings and wonderful things to). Basically, if they didn't obey, his torture was claimed to be infinitely and eternally worse than any Hitler or anyone else ever imagined. Real loving chap, they say. There are some strange stories about his having an assistant antkeeper named Luke Sipher, who went bad according to uncle Jeb. Jeb said that Luke was trying to win his ants away from him, and fired Luke. They have been enemies ever since. And their conflict has done some strange jobs on the ants, like playing "loyalty games" where Luke torments an ant while Jeb stays quiet to see if the ant will switch over or not. Or Jeb may force his ants to kill their pupae (sometimes he says "hah, fooled you, I was just testing" at the last moment, sometimes not). Actually, there are a lot of strange stories about Jeb. Anyway, some of the neighbors think Jeb has some pretty obvious problems in the marbles department. His obsessions are not considered healthy. Me, I don't know - I never really met Jeb. All the stories I have heard have come indirectly through ants; not just any ants, either, but ants who really like the games Jeb plays with them. (Reminds me of dysfunctional families, but that is another story). These ants are the ones who praise Jeb for his love, and tsk tsk when they think Jeb has punished ants who weren't playing by Jeb's rules. In fact, ants are near sighted, so most of the ants can't really see Jeb. But it is an undisputed fact that different ants have afflictions or windfalls, and that some communities of ants are even wiped out from time to time - who's to say that Jeb isn't behind it? I don't know myself; tho I have to admit that the pattern of good and bad things that happen to different anthills, some that worship Jeb and some that don't, seem awfully similar, at least to a non-Jeb worshipper. I figure that since I haven't met Jeb myself, I have to wonder if he is as, um, eccentric as they say, or if the ants who are our only source of information might be making up some of it; unconsciously that is, just to fit their particular psychological needs. Maybe the stories about Jeb tell us more about the Jeb worshipping ants than they do about Jeb. (There are other Jeb worshippers quite different than the ones I describe here; don't judge all Jeb worship by this). In any case, I figure that if their belief in Jeb makes their lives more meaningful, more livable, or happier (and they all claim it does), then that is their business. I am sincerely and honestly glad for the ants for whom this is a blessing (I know several). I just don't take so well to their pushing uncle Jeb on the other ants, the way some of them do. For some reason, their own faith in Jeb seems a bit shaken unless every ant believes in Jeb; those who don't (or who also believe in Jeb but describe him differently) are at best pushed to convert, at worst killed, and many steps between. They claim Jeb's love makes them do it, but Jeb hasn't made it so clear to the recipients that he authorized it; you would think he could handle it himself if so. Anyway, both ants who worship Jeb, and those who do not, are welcome as long as they can show respect for others. But they mustn't insist that everyone else take their stories about Jeb as fact. And they have to be prepared when folks roll their eyes after hearing how the oh so loving Jeb has severely stomped any ants that cross him, and will again. One has to wonder how these ants define "love." In any case, they are welcome to get their kind of "love" from Jeb, just so they don't mess up the carpet or bother the other ants too much. And if you have any ideas on how to diagnose uncle Jeb, (or the ants who describe their loving uncle Jeb in this particular way), I am open to hearing them. Medical and psychiactic diagnoses welcome. Sincerely, ~z~ PS: Somebody is bound to accuse me of Christian bashing. Not so; I am only describing things about my uncle Jeb, as told me by his ants. If some subset of Christians, Moslems, Jews, Marcos followers, Nazis, or whatever find some echo of their own practices here, they can judge the level of similarity or difference for themselves. But I know very well that other Christians, Moslems, Jews, Marcos followers, Nazis and whatever have different beliefs, and this would not apply to them. Let it be self defined which are which. B*B ~z~


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