Today I became a man.
Leif Ericson (son of Eric The Red AKA Eric the lying git) of Greenland set forth in the early 11century for pastures new. First he found the stony lands of Helluland (Baffin Island) then Markland (Labrador) and finally Vinland (Newfoundland).
The people of Markland during their short time as a community developed their own culture and traditions which differed slightly from those of the other Viking peoples. These are expertly captured by the Greenland Sagas.
A Marklander was not seen as a man until he had completed the ceremony known as The Sledgehammer. Taking their mighty hammer, dedicated secretly to Thor (as Leif Ericson had converted to Christianity in Norway), the Marklanders would smash a prized object that had betrayed them. For to these primative souls all objects and living things contained a spirit.
Today I observed this rite. Like my distant relatives I went to a cheap hardware store called Hard Off (A spin off of the Second-hand bookshop known as Book Off, sadly not Book On) and purchased a shiny new sledgehammer. My beauty, known as Thorsbro, cost a sleek 1,784 yen (8 quid). Its long haft was polished cedar and its head a meaty lump of iron. To heft it in my hands felt good, real good.
So came to the ritual itself. Winter winds rippled around my topless form as my muscles strained the hammer above my head, around and behind my back so Thorsbro’s head rested in the nook of my spine. And it was cold. My hands gripped the haft tightly so the knuckles turned white. Then the it lifted up into the arc of death and smashed down with all the brute force I could muster.
The metallic object crumpled and splintered with the force. The head bit deep as plastic shreds spurted out. Glass smashed. Laptop goodbye.
Being a superstitious pagan I have one more thing to say. Gods, spirits, this is the second computer that you have wiped clean and the second back up disks you’ve corrupted this decade. 4 novels, dozens of short stories and a hundred poems have been destroyed. But they live on, in fragments, online and all of them are in my being, my very fibre. Such bad luck will not stop me writing them again. I remember them all.