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2002-01-27

Grace Kelly
B. 11.12.29 Philadelphia / D. 9.14.82 Monte Carlo
Car Accident

Mustering lava flows of chthonic will-power, the beast Capriati drives my beloved Hingis back into the sea of sighs at Melbourne Park, Australia. I take my sadness to the local museum for a drying-out session under Eternal Egypt’s ten-buck sun. (Where five millennia of royal household portraiture eventually expire in a roomful of period wigs sported by parvenus grinning for the carver.) I stand before the stone face of a Middle Kingdom girl so beautiful that scholarly opinion, according to the signage, shatters into factions at the sight—grown men and women sit around arguing whether she’s goddess or queen. And the Book of the Dead has some interesting touches—as where an underworld monster crouches ready to eat hearts found too heavy by Thoth, keeping an ibis eye on the scales for Osiris.

But where are the athletic statistics of ancient Egypt? For a race which possessed substances suitable for balling up and striking with precision on grass, hard sand, or polished obsidian, 5,000 years is too long to go without producing a single women’s tennis champion of note. Backhand errors, service breaks, rankings, earnings, clubhouse spats and family pedigrees: Goddesses or Monsters? Don’t tell me an advanced civilization wouldn’t waste the papyrus. Somewhere, someplace buried and lost, precious names and records are lying in heaps around sarcophagi; sealed inside, fragrant mummified remains still clutch their gilded statuettes.

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