Thursday, February 22, 2007

Orcs in California

The rage for all things Tolkien has faded a good deal since the last movie hit the DVD remainder bins, but I still frequently pick up my tattered 1-volume copy of LOTR because it's so incredibly rich. Despite reading the whole thing through more times than I can remember, little passages continue to surprise me as if they hadn't ever been there before. This one's from one of the appendices:

But Orcs and Trolls spoke as they would, without love of words or things; and their language was actually more degraded and filthy than I have shown it. I do not suppose that any will wish for a closer rendering. Much of the same sort of talk can still be heard among the orc-minded; dreary and repetitive with hatred and contempt, too long removed from good to retain even verbal vigor, save in the ears of those to whom only the squalid sounds strong.

I thought of this one because, as my wife and I were stopped in traffic in Santa Rosa yesterday while driving home from a great couple of days on the Mendocino coast, I suddenly became aware of the driver in the PG&E truck next to me talking plenty loud enough to hear across the space between our vehicles. She was a perfectly normal looking young woman, having a friendly gab with her co-worker. All I caught was: "F***, really? Nah, you're s***in' me! If that mother-f***er thinks I'm gonna put with that s***... ". Then traffic started moving again.

Dreary and repetitive... check. Without love of words or things... check. To whom only the squalid sounds strong... check. Yep, confirmed Orc sighting. But nothing worth remarking on, really. You can hear the same thing on any California elementary-school playground, where the orc-tribes are constantly recruiting new members.