incongruous (Adjective)

Lacking in harmony or compatibility or appropriateness: “a plan incongruous with reason”; “incongruous behavior”; “a joke that was incongruous with polite conversation”

Similar to:

  • (adj) discrepant, inconsistent (not in agreement)
  • (adj) inappropriate, incompatible, out or keeping, unfitting (not in keeping with what is correct or proper) “completely inappropriate behavior”
  • (adj) inharmonious (lacking in harmony of parts) “an inharmonious (or incongruous) mixture of architectural styles”
  • (adj) ironic, ironical (characterized by often poignant difference or incongruity between what is expected and what actually is) “madness, an ironic fate for such a clear thinker”;

A tale of two (or more (conflicting)) thoughts

In the dark days of the Internet, when email was still pronounced “facsimile”, there circulated the image of frazzled guy with the following homily:

Stress: The state of tension created when the mind overrides the body’s desire to choke the living shit out of some arsehole who desperately deserves it.
Of course, in my case the overriding factor is not my mind — in all honesty I would enjoy nothing more than kicking the varmint’s arse (repeatedly) — the overriding factor is geography. Well for the time being, at least.

A WOPR of a tale

During said dark times a movie played on circuit, one of the more accurate renditions of how one would go about breaking into a remote computer system.

They covered a few of the techniques, including “Dumpster Diving”, “Social Engineering”, “Backdoors” and “War Dialling” in order break into the remote system.

The movie, for any of the geeks who hadn’t picked it up from the title from this section was WarGames, and the computer in the tale was Joshua.

Now you might be wondering where in hell I’m going with this. Wait, and I’ll tell you.

In the movie the protagonist, David Lightman (Matthew Broderick), manages to dial into NORAD’s “War Operation Plan Response” computer. Thinking he’s dialled into a Computer Game company’s central server, he kicks off a “game” of “Global Thermonuclear War”.

If you have never seen the movie but you think you might want to, you might want to avoid the following couple of chapters or even get back to the post after you have seen it. Don’t worry, I won’t mind. I’ll wait.

After finally getting access to one of the main consoles to WOPR, David realises that “Joshua” is going to play the game all out, including unlocking real missiles and blowing up real cities.

In desperation he and the designer of the system, Professor Stephen Falken (John Wood), manages to get WOPR to play Naughts-and-Crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe for those benighted people with no idea what that is) against itself. After he realises that the game’s futile, a perfectly played game of Naughts-and-Crosses will always end in a draw, he tries the same with “Global Thermonuclear War”. Seeing the same result (including from the “South African Gambit” scenario, amusingly enough) he makes one of the more profound statements to be seen in movies:

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
I find it very sad that I can relate to that excruciatingly painful truth. I doing my damnedest to get past that, but it is difficult.

It was a Dark and Stormy Knight

I have always seen myself as a romantic. Not one of those improbably fake and overly sugary ones from “Mills & Boon” novels, though there might be a slight dusting of that in there as well, but more one who might have been a character in one of Byron or Shelley’s works. A proponent of the romance of chivalry — a man of loyalty, of generosity, of bearing, of courtesy, of love, of honour. Especially a man of honour.

One who might remember the flowers and might remember the date, but also one who will be there when needed as a protector, someone who will be there when needed as bulwark against the world. Someone who might not always be perfect, but will be perfect for the task at hand. Not a bully, a guardian.

What happens then when your shield is not required anymore? What does a knight do, when he gets cast aside? Now the easy answer is “Just find himself another Lady”, but life doesn’t really work like that, does it? Emotions get invested, time spent; plans made. Visions of a long life with plenty of opportunity to prove his worthiness and dedication, again and again. The same it’s been up until now.

But sometimes, it seems, Love just isn’t enough. Now granted it should be, I mean what else is it good for? And when you find it might not be is when the very foundations of your world get shaken, That is when you realise that not all the romantic heroes died happily. Not all of them found their soul-mates and managed to keep them. And that trying to be one of the good guys are going to get you hit where it hurts more often than it’ll ensure happiness.

Just because you attempt to approach the world with honour does not mean that those in the world will treat you with honour. Just because you try and do the just thing, does not mean others will. This could easily lead to treating others in kind, and the temptation is near overwhelming.

Maybe honour’s for the birds.

Maybe I should be using some of the skills I’ve acquired, using words (one of the last magics left to man, I believe, allowing us to create thoughts, images and emotions, allowing us to control and manipulate, if we’re so inclined, to great effect) skillfully and honourably, to my own advantage. Maybe I should be using words to gain what I want from others, the same way it’s been used against mine. I mean, after all, turnabout is considered fair play after all…

Unfortunately I find the whole idea abhorrent, completely incongruous with my self-image. At times I so wish that wasn’t so, so I could at the very least face the bandits in my life at armed equally.

So like that silly battered knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, I keep on shouting out the challenge! “No, I assure you, it’s nothing but a flesh-wound.”

Foolish, I’ll grant. But sometimes Love, like Honour, might seem foolish from the outside.

From in here, right now, it is still very much worth fighting for.

The End?

So will he or won’t he?

Will they or won’t they?

What will happen? Damnit!

Well, the story isn’t over yet, you see… Happily ever after takes a lot of work. “Every pound of happiness costs at least an ounce of pain” the cliché goes.

But as long as I can pay that cost I will.