THE PILL GRIM
RANGE: There is scarcely a human activity into which this prig-let does
not stick her (blue) nose, sniffling for smut. She can be found, an expression
of self-righteousness on her puss, snooping through your mail, your past,
your motives, your laundry, your files, your habits, and your keyhole.
Suspicious of any pleasure, however slight, the Pill Grim haunts the offices
of district attorneys up for re-election, antivice vigilante covens, and
gatherings of any group whose Majority assumes the title of Moral (the better
to suppress both sugar and spice).
HABITS: Infused with the Goblinoid equivalent of the Protestant work
ethic, the Pill Grim keeps busy sharpening the blue pencils and scissors of
censors, bleeping talk shows, and ripping open plain brown wrappers so that
the postman, at least, knows what kind of pervert you secretly are.
The name tells you all you need to know: “Pill: an objectionable person;
a bore” (OED). Grim: a venerable name among Goblins . . .” (Katharine
Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, page 205.) Hence, Pill Grim: a boring,
objectionable old Goblin.
One of this grim Grim’s nastier tricks is to knock that sensible creature,
Conscience, off her perch, and to usurp her place. Then the Pill Grim will fill
you with shame at the sight of sex and enable you to see sex everywhere.
Yet lust is not the Pill Grim’s only obsession. Wine, candy, music,
sleeping in, second helpings—even the circus is all looked down on, as is
anything else that looks suspiciously like fun.
Recently changes in public and private morality (the work of creatures
like The West Ghost and the Evil Neck-romancers) appeared to endanger the
Grim. People of all ages, nude except for the earphones of their Sony Walkmen,
were rumored to be leaping into hot tubs, swilling champagne,
shamelessly massaging themselves and each other, necking in or on parked or
moving automobiles, indulging in a wide variety of coed contact sports and
dancing. Fun or not, all these activities appear to be so to the Pill Grim.
But the crafty Pill Grim has turned this to her advantage. Across the
land, a generation of snappily-attired, sex-manual-reading would-be
hedonists now writhe, in an agony of guilt, because they aren’t getting
enough fun! Well done, Pill Grim!
HISTORY: Long before the decently clad figurehead of the Mayflower had
occasion to frown sternly at the New World’s wantonly naked cliffs and the
shockingly undisciplined surf off Plymouth, certain troll-black, no-nonsense
Fairy forerunners of the Puritans had preceded them thither.
These sourpuss Spirits, scandalized by the endless merry dancing, tunepiping,
teasing, tickling and giggling of their fellow English hobgoblins,
founded the famous Dull Jack (all work, no play) Colony, and were the
ancestors of the present day Pill Grim.
The Pill Grim found much to admire in the conduct of the Shakers, an
early American religious sect sworn to chastity and carpentry. The Shakers
pursued their ideals with such fervor that today there are plenty of hard,
straight-backed chairs and few Shakers. The Pill Grim has had to turn her
attention to the remainder of American society.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: You don’t spy on the Pill Grim—you counterspy. In fact,
the emotional state commonly diagnosed as paranoia is often simply an acute
awareness of a Pill Grim’s Progress