I stumbled forwards for what I would estimate to be two miles; a fact which I lamented, as the day’s events did not resemble my daily horoscope in the slightest. I was extremely tired, and that, with the act of walking so great a distance, and the half glass of wine I indulged in just before the crash had lulled me into a lazy stupor. I lay down in the grass, which was very short and soft, and – despite this being the first time I sought respite outdoors in many a year – I felt completely at one with nature. Sleeping in the grass! What an experience. The pride of being a genuine outdoorsman led me into dreams, which were long and wonderful. I regret now losing my dream journal in the ship; it would have been wonderful to record these fantastical night visions in order to truly uncover something spectacular within myself on this great voyage into unknown territory.
When I awaked, it was just day-light. I attempted to rise, but was not able to stir: for, as I happened to lie on my back, I found my arms and legs were strongly fastened on each side of the ground; and my hair, which was long and thick from the natural botanicals found in my cruelty-free all-natural shampoo and conditioner, tied down in the same manner. I looked upwards, and the sun began to grow hot, and the light offended my eyes, all conditions which, when I draw on my vast knowledge of sleep and mental health gained from reading the headline of an article once, prevented me from adequately reaching proper REM sleep.
In a little time I felt something moving on my left leg, which advancing gently forward over my breast, came almost up to my chin; when bending downward to confront the creature that so garishly ventured to touch me without asking consent, I perceived it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands, and a quiver at his back. As I readied myself to deliver my well-rehearsed rant on ballistic rights and how common sense laws and background checks would drastically reduce the number of bow-and-arrow-related deaths in the country, I felt at least forty more of the same kind (as I conjectured) following the first.
One of them, who was brave enough to venture forward and catch a glimpse of my face, cried out in a shrill but distinct voice: “It is a man!” but then I understand not what they meant. Had they, a strange and tiny people I had never been acquainted with before, really assume my gender? Without even the vaguest inquiry as to my preferred pronouns! At length, struggling to get loose, I had the fortune of breaking the strings, and wrench out the pegs that fastened my left arm to the ground; phallic symbols of hate that alerted me to the ominous yet obvious presence of the patriarchy.
I managed to loosen the strings that held down my hair on the left side, so that I was just able to turn my head about two inches. But the creatures ran off a second time, before I could seize them; whereupon there was a great shout in a very shrill accent, and after it ceased I heard one of them cry aloud Tolgo phonac; when in an instant I felt above a hundred arrows discharged on my left hand, which, pricked me like so many needles. I was unhurt, but I screamed in agony.
Here I am parodying the first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels. I chose this specific section of the novel simply because I saw a great deal of parody potential within (arguably) one of literature’s most iconic scenes. I applied the many stereotypes and behaviors that I personally find irritating about my generation to Gulliver, in order to call attention to the many bad habits and flawed ways of thinking that I feel plague the modern world. Swift uses a great deal of subtlety in his writing, slyly suggesting to the reader details such as Gulliver being an incompetent nuisance, or that the society that he is depicting is flawed. I tried my best to imitate this genius use of subtle language (however, my skills are nowhere near those of Swift), but more so to enhance the humor of the piece while simultaneously suggesting to the reader the flawed nature of the protagonist’s thinking. I understand that this parody may come off as somewhat cynical or vitriolic towards my peers, and – admittedly – I guess it is inspired from a place akin to distaste. I would be lying if I claimed that this was not the first idea that came into my mind when I thought about a subject to mock, as, again, I find some of the behaviors and lines of reasoning that seem to be ever-present within the minds of young people today somewhat flawed at the least, and dangerously unreasonable at most. My aim here is not to offend, merely to poke fun at the many humorously youth-driven ways of thinking that pervade the modern world. However, if someone were to take offense to anything written above, that would – in my opinion – make this parody both funnier and more relevant.
- Shawn Pintor-Day