punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

On sickness and sexuality

Today was kind of weird. I can only say my life is never boring.

Last night, my friend Betty called, and said that our friend Bobbie was very sick, and she'd been taking care of her for three weeks. I have known Betty and her husband Jim since the 1980s. I first met them when I was on a panel with them at Evecon 4, and I got to know them when they ran the FanTek art show, the Family Circle, and they introduced me to Christine back in 1988 when she was Betty's assistant. About seven years ago, Bobbie came into their life and cohabited with them. I met Bobbie soon afterwards, and she's a very loving person. Christine, CR, and I would go to their house from time to time for circle or just to socialize.

Two years ago, Bobbie fell ill to cancer. She battled it for a year, got better, and they thought she was in remission, but a few months ago, they found it had spread. She's very sick. So Christine and I went to go see her, and we had been prepared as to what we'd see. Bobbie is very thin, and she looked far older than I ever remember seeing her. I was afraid I'd freak out and cry in front of her, but I was surprised to feel rather uplifted to see her alive, and still joking. She did have periods where she slightly drifted off, but that's understandable with all the chemo. I wasn't freaked out by the whole thing, but part of me is very depressed because I hate it when my friends suffer. She looked so tired, and the prognosis is not good. But we brought her flowers, some candy (she has to keep in calories), and some good cheer. I wish the best for Bobbie, because she's had a hard life, and only now does she seem to be surrounded with supportive people.

Betty and Jim were puttering about because Betty had to leave for some Atlantian "Learn the Mysteries" thing in Delaware, a learning week that Betty admitted she was skeptical of, but knew some other people that were going, and she wanted to see what she could learn from it, if anything.

Like me going to Fantasm. Heh.

It was good to see Betty and Jim again, because it had almost been a year since I had last seen them. We also picked up this tarot deck from them. Ah, the tarot deck saga...

Oh, "that" Tarot Deck saga
Scoot up your chairs, children. This one must be said in a hushed inside voice.

When I first met Betty and Jim, I knew them as artists. I knew Jim was working on a few pieces in a line he called his Tarot deck. They were very powerful and sexually graphic images relating to various pieces of the Major Arcana. A few years later, he announced he was doing his own tarot deck. It was hard for Jim to find a publisher to make a deck out of these images, since US Games Systems, which dolled up the Thoth deck as it was, could never find themselves liable for what would essentially be labeled as XXX smut. Then Jim's first publisher folded (ha ha, card pun), and he had to find a new one. Then he found a guy in Switzerland, but they changed their minds. He kept finding and losing publishers for various reasons until he found one a few years ago, who agreed to do the deck if Jim "cleaned it up a bit." Well, I have known the originals, and seen his changes, and he didn't have to make many. So it's still pretty... well, it's not for everyone. I mean, 90% of the cards are totally without anything offensive, but then there's the girl with the wolf... ahem, never mind.
It was finally done a few years ago. Now, back in 1990, we put a deposit on it, and back then the deck was selling, even though it wasn't done, for $75. A lot of us thought we'd never see it, but put in the $25 "holding deposit" anyway. Including us. I mean, at the time, I really didn't think it's ever get done, but I always want to support my friends in their endeavors, and I never really missed that $25. But when Jim got a new publisher, the cost had gone up considerably. Last I heard, a new deck went for $500. But he said, "If you had put down a deposit for the old price, you still get the old price." He didn't want the final payment until he had the deck of course, so this went on for YEARS. Jim grew in fame, mostly due to his work at the Renn Faire, and various big conventions. Soon, a LOT of people in the alternative fandom community wanted a deck, but Jim only planned to have 500 made. So when Jim told us it was really done, we owed the remaining $50 for the deck, as originally agreed. But it took TWO YEARS for us to get the deck, in a sort of comedy of missed opportunity and bad timing. Last year, we just gave him the check, and said bring the deck whenever. Then it got lost. Then found. Then lost again. Finally, Betty said, "I have the deck, it's in a very important place!" So today we finally got the deck.

It was finally in our hands. It comes in a handmade black wooden box, and comes with its own velvet bag. The tarot deck is really 1 in 500: we happen to have #133, personally inscribed to us. This deck is finally in our hands after a wait of almost 17 years. These large finely-crafted cards are... let's just say unusual, but not unknown to Uncle Punkie's world of influence. Crowley's Thoth deck has NOTHING on these cards. If you don't understand the nature of tarot and its imagery, you might find these cards very disturbing. And some of them are. Very much so. But they are supposed to be, because they explain the various aspects of the tarot in a sexually unique and primitive power format that Jim has been known for (it's a Pan thing). I don't think I could work with such a deck, because I can't imagine doing a reading with someone, and something like the Necrophiliac turns up.

"And your internal influences are the... oh, my... Necrophilia. You are are influenced by change, and a certain use of death figures into it. End of the old, birth of the new. Perhaps you feel you have been going over the same dead end over and over... no, that wasn't a pun. Yes, he is making love to the dead woman on the sarcophagus. Hmm? Oh, yes, I do have barf bags just for such a reading. Here you go. Yeah, I'll wait."

No really. Necrophilia is one of the cards. That was not a joke, there is a pan-like figure making love to a corpse in a mausoleum. A friend of mine who got her deck is trying to give it away because it disturbs her so much. I personally think it's totally funny I now have a copy.

To each his or her own.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000395.html
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