how to know when you’re too immersed in medieval history


T’other day, whilst driving home, a white minivan passed me on the highway. Emblazoned across the back in huge letters was the question: “GOT LASHES?”

Reading this, what springs to mind? Lashes—as in forty lashes, as in blows from a whip or scourge, naturally! Right?


Well, that’s what sprang to my mind. Which fact called for deeper examination: what kind of lashes was this van offering? It was a white minivan, which seemed to eliminate the alluring possibility of Athens, GA, having its own rolling S&M dungeon. Not to wallow in cliché, but a van like that would surely be black, or at least blood red. So go ahead and scratch those hopes of getting your sadomaso on. Scratch hard. Harder! Make it bleed!

If this van wasn’t a vessel of blissful, agonizing release, though, what was it? I’ve been reading up on some 14th century history, the Black Plague . . . yes! Flagellants—flagellants went about lashing themselves. The van was a motorized agent of penitence! I pictured the back filled with zealots naked but for hair shirts, whaling on themselves with rawhide whips. Forgive us, Lawd!

Or—or!—maybe it was a justice-dispensing minivan. Back in the day, you could be lashed for just about any crime that wasn’t deemed serious enough for you to lose a limb over. Look at the lord’s daughter too long? You were lucky if your transgression only resulted in a lashing. You might come away with some unseemly racing stripes up your back, but at least you’d still have your hands, nose, and ears.

. . . Then I read the rest of this mystery van’s message—which revealed that this van belonged to the “Eye Diva” (that’s, an address that take you nowhere).

Oh. That’s right. Eyelashes! Silly me. Perhaps I should’ve been tipped off by the curlicue-cursive of the lettering.

Or maybe not. Consider this next line of signage: “Specializing in eyelash extension, eyebrow arching, and facial makeovers.” . . . Those kinda sound like medieval methods of torture, right? I envision a pair of pliers taken to one’s eyelashes to “extend” them . . . white-hot pokers being jammed in the eyeballs to make one’s brows “arch” . . . a mallet being taken to one’s face to “make” it “over.”

Whoa. Okay, maybe I should lay off the medieval history for a bit. It seems to be warping my perceptions.


One thought on “how to know when you’re too immersed in medieval history”

  1. Now, that’s a great commentary on (or is it by?) the National Evil, or merely, as Smokey and the Miracles might croon, “just your imagination … running away with you…”

    Flagellants, eh?

    Twenty lashes with a wet noodle, thar’ laddie. Hardy, har

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