ENG 200, Literature of Laughter
R. L. McC
September 16, 1994
A Nacireman Life Enhancement Ritual
In the nearly forty years since the publication of Horace Miner's enlightening essay concerning the peculiar body purification rituals of the Nacirema people of the central North American continent, much research has been done into the nature of their magic-centered culture. This research has revealed that the overwhelming pessimism of the Nacirema people goes well beyond their feelings of distaste towards their own bodies. Indeed, to the Nacirema, their very existences are by nature much more difficult than their minds and bodies could possibly endure for the span of an average lifetime. For this reason, the shamans of these people have developed many intriguing trinkets and magical devices to aid the helpless people in the supposed betterment of their lives.
Central to Nacirema culture is communication with others as a way of coping with one's tedious existence. In the time since Miner's research, however, the lifestyle of the average Nacirema adult has become increasingly specialized and soloistic. In order to cope with the resulting isolation, manipulation of traditional Nacirema talking can has grown exponentially over the past few decades. The talking can is a peculiar device composed of two interlocking fetishes resembling bent ivory cylinders or cans roughly ten inches in length joined by a stylized flexible spiral of cord or rope made to resemble a long vine. The entire apparatus is tethered by a similar cable to a wall, usually within a sitting room of the abode and often in the work dwelling. In order to relieve frustration from extended solitude, the Nacireman picks up the uppermost fetish and holds it to the side of his or her head. One at a time, in a mysterious magical sequence, s/he touches several polished stones set into one or the other of the talking cans. S/he waits a few seconds, then appears...