It's easy to get wrapped up in one's daily
stresses, and spend so much time on micro-management that you lose sight
of what's really important in this life -- crushing your enemies, seeing
them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of the women.
I suppose every man has, at one time or another,
considered what would be the most-complete method of utterly destroying his
enemy. Men fantasize about this sort of thing in the same fashion, and certainly
with the same care, that young women daydream about their wedding day. The
perfect scenario is rarely if ever realized, but make no mistake -- there
IS a perfect scenario.
For me, the 'crushing my enemies' part of the
equation has never held a candle to the satisfaction that could potentially
be derived from seeing them driven before me. There is no lasting pleasure
in destroying an enemy -- there are practical benefits, of course, but if
you have the power to destroy them utterly then their threat level
really can't be all that much of a concern -- but watching them fleeing from
you in terror, well, that's something to nod happily to yourself about when
you're sitting by the fire on cold winter nights, swigging great flagons
of ale and pulling softball-sized chunks off of a whole leg of lamb with
Of course, I ran out of REAL enemies just about
the same time that I got out of high school, and you really do need real
enemies to make the scenarios work. There are generic, evergreen enemies
that one can mentally dispatch with some small amount of enjoyment -- your
muggers, bank robbers, dog-kickers, etc. -- but to do the fantasy justice,
you really need a personal relationship with your enemy. You can make your
enemy kneel before you, but if your enemy isn't Jor-El, and you aren't General
Zod, then what's the point? You want your victory to be as meaningful as
it is total.
Because, in the end, it's not about theatrics,
or cheap thrills -- it's about seeing the fear in your enemy's eyes as he
realizes that all of his sins have finally caught up with him, and that any
power he once had over you has long fled him, leaving him naught but a broken
shade. When you hold this wretched creature's life in your hands, when his
will has been crushed so that the only words that can now escape his lips
are, "Please, Norm, Warlord of the Wastes, take my money, my home, and my
woman -- but spare my life, I beg you. And I'll throw in my cat," well, that's
a level of satisfaction that can never be attained by simply setting a random
evil man on fire.
I hope you'll take these lessons to heart when
next you daydream, faithful readers. Until tomorrow, I'm Norm, and you will
all kneel before me.