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An aspiring Dark Lordette writes:

An aspiring Dark Lordette writes: November 3, 2015

Dear Mark,
How can I become a Dark Lord like you . . . minus the beard and the bizarre distaste for cinnamon?
Your adoring sycophant.
Reader 1

Begin by making sartorial choices like this.

Reader 1: I’ll get right on that. I’m sure that Walmart has one!

Excellent. Then we need to talk about your Sinister Animal Companion. Slender cats are a popular choice for the ladies. But I think thousands and thousands of crowscan work, with a nice python just to add a dash of color.

Reader 2 I tried using a fish as my Companion, but it turns out fish are very relaxing, so I stopped trying to take over the world and now I own four fish tanks.

Poisonous fish, piranha, and octopuses are useful for when you need your enemies to talk, or to be disposed of. The custom is to name them, “My pretties” or some similar diminutive and to throw one nameless henchman in the tank just to show you aren’t screwing around.

Reader 2: But the rest of the time, they’re so relaxing to watch that after a while, you simply don’t have any enemies and you want to listen to classical music while researching salt water tanks.

Reader 1 No fish in tanks. Check.

Reader 2 I’m glad at least someone else can avoid my mistake.

Thank you for reminding me. A soundtrack is essential to the Dark Lord Life. If you can afford it, you should get your own composer to create theme music unique to you. But if you are operating on a restricted budget then you can always rely on something Germanic, stentorian and darkly romantic from Wagner or Beethoven. You’ll need it both for your long periods of brooding over the injury done you by your Nemesis, as well as for impressing guest and heroes tied to a chair. If you are musically inclined yourself, consider getting a grand piano and placing it in a large empty ballroom full of cobwebs in your Tower and playing it in the dead of night. Best of all, get a huge pipe organ and play at full blast at all hours.

Reader 1 and then there’s the whole moose eye roll thing. Oops, wrong conversation!

Moose are poor Sinister Animal Companions unless you can get them to stampede a pathetic victim you have abandoned to his fate in the Canadian Tundra outside your Hidden Northern Lair.

Reader 1 You speak with the voice of true wisdom, Master!

Experience is a Harsh Mistress, my young apprentice.

Reader 3 Moose bites are very painful though!

A Møøse once bit my sister… No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: “The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink”…

Reader 4 I really kissed a deer in Yosemite. Is that good enough to be a minion?

Reader 3 You kissed a deer. And did you like it?

Reader 4 YUS, (edit no wait) BECUZ THE PARK RANGER TOLD ME NOT TO.

Deer kissers are not really minion material.

Reader 3: Reader 1, May I suggest butterflies? As Bart Simpson wisely points out, “No one ever suspects the butterfly.”

Reader 5 Moths are just butterflies of the night.

Reader 6 I’m still trying to wrap my head around the “bizarre distaste for cinnamon.” Mark, I never knew! That is so sad!

Cinnamon hampers the powers I derive from earth’s yellow sun.

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