Tag Archives: household gods

“Because plastic is a sad, strong material that is charming to rodents”

What are today’s household gods? A few days ago, the New York Slime published Gary Snyder’s paean to his Macintosh computer, titled “why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh.” There are several good lines in the poem, and here are two of them:

Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted and vanish in a flash at “delete,” so it teaches of impermanence and pain;

And because my computer and me are both brief in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates…

The Roman household gods, the Lares, were less brief and not made of plastic. Yet many of today’s households have small altars devoted to personal computers, we give them offerings of electricity and our attention, and many of us pay obeisance to them on a regular basis; so I’d say at the moment personal computers sometimes fill the role once filled by Lares.

Duties of the household gods

What is the responsibility of the household gods in this day and age? We lived in one house where bread rose better than in any other house we have lived, and when apple cider fermented it was always perfectly dry and fizzy; I credited the household gods for that. Since then, we bought a bread machine, and all the apple cider is pasteurized now so it won’t ferment properly. So what do the household gods do now?