This being Halloween season, I decided that I'd emulate the cool kids and do a little skull blogging.
I make no bones about describing myself as a descendent of headhunters. Yes, the forebears of my mirthful, moon-faced saint of a paternal grandmother used to chop off the heads of their enemies, and display them:
A magnificent, brown-purple buckler he bore, with five wheels of gold on it, with a rim of pure white silver around it. A gold-hilted hammered sword at his left side. A long grey-edged spear together with a trenchant bye-spear for defence, with thongs for throwing and with rivets of whitened bronze, alongside him in the chariot. Nine heads he bore in one of his hands and ten in the other, and these he brandished before the hosts in token of his prowess and cunning. Medb hid her face beneath a shelter of shields lest Cuchulain should cast at her that day.
Yeah, the prevailing attitude in those days could be summed up as "two heads are better than none, a hundred heads are so much better than one" (I love that video- it seems like it could be the inspiration for Stonehenge).
Being the descendent of headhunters, the best way to honor this proud tradition is to engage in it. Simply put, I've collected skulls since I was a child. Most of my collection is now in the family camp in Maine in the cabinet of curiosities (my apartment is too small for a large collection of crania). I could not bear to part with one particular skull, though, a gorgeous raccoon skull I found while hiking with my maternal grandmother in a park near my house:
I leave it on the bookshelf, next to Kinsella's retelling of The Táin. Unfortunately, I never saved the brain of the raccoon, in order to fashion it into a weapon for home defense.
If you have some free time, and want to read one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature, The Táin is available online, in all its ultra-violent, scatalogical glory.
POSTSCRIPT: It's a shame that people of Irish descent have given up headhunting- what ancient Celt wouldn't have given his eye teeth to be able to display this giant-sized baby-head as a trophy?