His face sits on my desk at work. The Magic 8 Ball, Akhenaten, Buddha, St. Jude, my Get Fuzzy Calendar and a little box of tea are the complete personal effects on my desk. Buddha and St. Jude get top billing in most of my stories because they reside right under my monitor. I turn to them when I need advice.
Akhenaten, however, is so old that I never turn to him for advice. He serves as a reminder to me. His thin and stretched face lifelessly stares back at me. He was the first man in documented history to believe in One God. Sure, the Bible thumpers out there will point to Abraham or even Adam, but show me a picture of those blokes.
He reformed the entire religious structure of Egypt. Everyone was worshipping the One God, Aten, during his reign. His reforms were short-lived and reverted back to polytheism soon after his death. I never ask him for advice. I want to make a change that lasts far after my death. Akhenaten had no credibility in that area.
Why do I keep him on my desk? I bought his likeness from a shop at the Luxor hotel in Vegas. It’s a reproduction of one of the desecrated monuments found in a garbage heap thousands of years after his death. What we know about him is so limited and everyone has a theory. His likeness is deformed because of Froehlich’s Syndrome, or is it Marfan’s Syndrome? He was murdered for his religious reforms, or did he die of these diseases? He was the first pharaoh to be depicted in art as he was, or was it an artistic stylization? I don’t care about that stuff.
I keep him on my desk because he reminds me of the happy times with Mike when we first started going to Las Vegas for the computer conventions. He reminds me of Comdex 1992. He reminds me of InterOp. He reminds me of Mike’s first book signing. He reminds me of a time when the computer industry felt like it was the answer to everything. It was our One God for a few shining years and I’m mourning the loss of it.
So, a 3500-year old pharaoh reminds me of the time in my life when I worshipped the One God, The Computer. Just like Egypt after Akhenaten’s death, I feel myself reverting back to my old ways. There is no God. All the gods are false and all we have is our intellect and bestiality to protect us from the elements and each other. He is a reminder of a time when I put my faith in something other than myself. He is a warning and I never turn to him for advice. The Magic 8 Ball gives me better answers anyway.