I love the sound of the word Vendetta!
Vendetta! Say it with me, Vendetta! It has such a lovely ring to it. It almost feels as if you’re in Italy, with a great big knife, pumping it in and out of your worst enemy’s chest. Vendetta! Vendetta! Vendetta!
But the word itself, dissected by dictionary is, “… a blood-feud between families or other parties…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendetta). Hmmm… I think the sound and the imagery of vendetta can be so much more. Let’s explore shall we…
Vendetta, I think, depends entirely upon your conviction to the task at hand.
For example, returning to my earlier story of Robin Hood: Robin’s deceptions, lies and conciliations with Nottingham have become a thing of legend, in fact, today, the Merry Men and the new Robin Hood uncover more and more underhanded tricks that he (the old Robin) and the old Nottingham left behind (our order, you see, is apostolic).
I openly opposed Robin when I returned from Europe. Our little jaunt nine or so years ago made Robin a hero in certain circles. Today he and I are enemies. And while he no longer holds the post of Robin Hood, he and I, the Merry Men say, have a vendetta.
Shortly after returning home from Europe I met one young impressionable man whose mouth dropped in awe when he realized that I actually knew this Robin Hood personally. This starry-eyed young man asked me what Robin was like in person. I told him, holding nothing back, exactly what I thought of Robin Hood! To my surprise the young man seemed more appalled with me than with the real truth about Robin Hood. Glorification of Robin Hood, at least in his mind, had not changed, and I made zero impact on his impression. If this is true for this one young man, then so it must be for others.
As the years have passed I have realized that my vendetta with this Robin Hood can only be complete with a clear and total victory being achieved. He must be crushed – and I will accept no less. How could I not? Do you know how many votive candles I lit, in the presence of the Saints, in hundreds of Churches across Europe, for Robin and his Lieutenants? I prayed for Robin. My best wishes were for Robin; Robin was my champion, and like Will Scarlet, he was also my friend, how could he betray, not just me, but all the Merry Men so completely?
So here is my plan, my vendetta:
Expose Robin for the selfish and silly man that he is – but only in the context of a far greater story. He will be but a byline, a footnote in a tomb of lyrical genius that the world has never before seen. Translated into all languages, and openly discussed by young men and women in the high established echelons of learning for centuries to come. Postulated by professors and championed by politicians. Chapters will become life-lessons and poets will use paragraphs as fodder for dreams of allegorical and mythological epics that we have not seen since the days of Homer, Spenser, MacDonald and Lewis. Yes. My vengeance will be sweet – I can taste it now as I write. Robin will become the Shylock to my Antonio; the Capulet to my Montague; and the Goliath to my David. LOL! Empty the great libraries of the world! All that space will be easily filled with the sweet and easy text of my single creation – my Vendetta! Yes! My sweet Vendetta – my chimerical beast! My pen is prepared for battle! LOL! What is this on that hidden, dusty and yonder library shelf? “The History of Cardenio” and “Love’s Labor’s Won.” To the trash heap with them both – why waste time with mere frivolity when we have the beautiful, spiritual and exquisite work of the “The Vendetta of Chowbok.” My desert isle is made complete! My dry, sandy and parched desert flowing with…
…before I explode forth with more and more passion I am sobered by the immortal words of exnzpat – “…imagination is only limited by the extent of madness…” or was it the other way around, “…madness is only limited by the extent of imagination …” I forget which, but either way, just for a moment, let’s put my daydreaming aside and come down to earth. Let us return to the man in question – the thorn in my side.
Robins Plan, his vendetta:
Does it matter? Does he even have one?
And here, I feel, we have the essence of true vendetta – the feud, the fight, the battle. Surely, there is an arrangement in place that a battle is to be waged? In fact, the very word “battle” implies an agreement, or at minimum, an arrangement of some sort to be at hand, otherwise what holds both parties to the field?
Without an agreement (that a vendetta is in play) we must conclude that no vendetta exists; and if it does exist then obviously it exists only with one party and not the other. Could this be a more accurate definition of vendetta – a one-sided argument? Are those engaged in vendetta simply bitter jealous persons with no-account personalities that dream of glory through the destruction of a person or persons they see as ruinous to their sad, unfortunate and miserable lives?
I am not suggesting that vendetta is not a valid form of argument, for it must be, for otherwise it would have no name, but rather it is the style; the form and grammar of assault upon ones enemy that is critical. To clarify: structure and underlying theme is essential. First, an agreement of dispute must be drawn-up. Second, the nuances and expression of said dispute must be laid bare and understood by both parties, and third, there must be witnesses – without witness — who decides the victor? Victory can take many forms – and somebody other than the feuding pair must decide when victory has been achieved, and awarded to whom. Without such arrangement you have nothing more than a….
What? Why, here I am, back at square one and none the wiser!
Perhaps my musings on vendetta have been focused only on the final outcome, i.e. Victory! And rightly so, for what is the point of a vendetta if there is no victory. Entering into any argument is pointless without a clear victory in mind. Can it be then that vendetta indirectly implies a zero-sum outcome? That to enter into a vendetta will involve a magnitude of infinity? Surely not! But, in truth, I think it does. Vendetta implies failure.
I don’t like to fail.
So maybe, what I’m really after is far crueler: Vengeance! Vengeance is similar in taste and sound as vendetta but without the cheery ring. Vengeance implies snakes and worms and things that crawl – am I so shallow? Am I so low? Am I a sneaky thing?
Is vengeance a thing that should be demanded? Its definition, “… infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person …” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vengeance). Injure, harm? Am I that person? One who hurts others? I know I am not passive, and yet, I don’t think I’m vindictive either. I know that I don’t really wish to hurt or injury another person, nor do I seek to humiliate another – what I want – what I really want — is for myself to be made whole for my damages. Inflicting pain and injury on another can never make me whole because what I want cannot be found without-me but must be found within-me. Vendetta, in light of this evidence, must therefore be the struggle between choosing to forgive my enemies and choosing not to forgive them.
Hugs and Coffee in the place of a swift nail-puller between the eyes?
“Hmmm… vendetta – sweet though you maybe, it appears that you are really only a product of my mind’s-eye — how I choose to deal with you must be of my own making.”
And so here we have it! My vendetta – it will be done! I will write, not Robins story but the story of the Merry Men. It will be story of young courageous men and women who, together, put-it-all-on-the-line and took on a Nottingham. My characterization of the cast will be human. There will be love, lust, greed, hate, bravery, foolery, friendship and camaraderie. You will laugh, clap and cry, for you will see yourself in Robin Hood – afraid, unsure and alone – a decision maker of unpopular decisions. And in Friar Tuck’s outrageous antics you will laugh out loud but also be appalled, and yet, inside, you will carry that secret smile – if only you so dared! And for the rest — a band of Merry Men all unique unto themselves – anxious, selfish, generous and caring; misfits in one way; heroes in another. For myself, I am just the story teller. Best I keep out of it and let the characters lead the way. And slowly, over time, as I write, I will learn to forgive – and to this — my sweet vendetta – I bid you goodnight and farewell.