It was a very long time ago, even for me, when my parents gave me my first universe kit. I was only four or five millenia at the time so naturally not yet possessed of all the skills or maturity I have today. It really was a wonderful present for a developing deity; it came semi-assembled with 'gravity spray' already on all the matter, a vial of anti-matter labeled 'use with care', (an envelope of star seeds -just add neutrons) a fully stocked "bag o' planets" and two big jars of creation clay. That clay was the best part; you just molded it into any creature you thought up, blew into it and voila! You had a living breathing thing, dashing and leaping about, - and ready to be stomped on.
Of course to a 4 mil old it was more fun to chase and stomp on them right after animation (then remold, blow life back in...), but mother put a quick stop to that and warned me that she'd take the whole thing away if she caught me being cruel. I was too young to recognize foreshadowing when I saw it, but in retrospect it seems things had to work out the way they did.
Believing (or pretending to believe, who can remember?) "no stomping" to be the only rule, I settled on other ways to smite things that displeased me; simple things I could handle at the time like fire or lightning. I still had the desire to stomp, but fear of the rule's consequences prevented me. Inevitably fear led to fascination. And what began as a juvenile fascination with rules and consequences gradually progressed to obsession. I opened the second jar of creation clay and started on a higher level creature than the reptiles and early mammals I had started with. None of those had had the capacity to understand rules. This new line would be smart enough to understand rules, make decisions, and most importantly be responsible. Or more to the point, I could hold them responsible.
It was remarkably easy once I got the hang of it. The first pair I made, who lived in the first garden I made, broke the first rule I made. And so it came to pass, I handed down my first punishment and it felt good. I can remember wanting badly to stomp them both for breaking the rule I held over them, but felt restrained by the rule held over me. I was less confident as to whether or not fire or lightning counted as a form of stomping. But I wasn't about to draw attention to it by asking or just firing away -not after so much work. I settled on eviction. They had to tough it out in an area I hadn't developed much and without any extra help from me.
They survived anyway and eventually prospered. They were fruitful, as I originally asked them to be, and they did multiply. But I was keen to make them prove themselves. I started making rule after rule with the spirited creative whimsy of a child; don't eat this, don't dress like that, cover your head outside, don't say this, don't work on this day, worship me...only me...a whole day for me -no working on my day either! I got very into the worship aspect for whatever reason. At some point I started making different rules for different groups and they really took it to heart. It was remarkable how they leaped at any chance to polarize themselves and exaggerate even minor differences. Whole nations arose out of being different from the neighboring group, and each vied to be my favorite. It really was a lot of fun for me, appearing in different forms here and there, demanding this or that and watching them scramble to please me.
But a bubble was building, and as is the way with bubbles a bursting was inevitable. Too many arbitrary rules led to a lot of shirking, and too many shirkers made individual punishing a chore. It wasn't long before I began to suffer from a stiffness and swelling in my index digit later diagnosed as "lightning finger". The forced hiatus from smiting only emboldened the shirkers, which only enraged me even more. I warned them and sent signs, but they acted with an impunity and autonomy even I didn't enjoy. That was infuriating. Infuriating and intolerable. I remember thinking "Stomping may have been banned, but nobody said anything about drowning."
I laid a flood on them gradually, over a period of days. At the time I told myself it was to give them time to think about what they've done so I could watch them squirm, but it was really so I could try to pass it off as a natural occurrence if mother took notice. Well, mother was of course omniscient. She not only took notice -she took me to the therapist.
"But I deserve to be worshiped! I made them! They won't listen!" I pleaded my case "If I want them wearing funny hats and whittling pieces off the tips of their-"
"YES, but why would you even want that?" Dr Sidemigoge had a way of freezing you in place just long enough to hold a metaphysical mirror up so you could see yourself "Little God, at your age you should be orchestrating your first galaxies, not punishing primates on a mail-order planet." I will always remember him for his patience and his preference for informality. He let me call him Sid.
When Sid pointed out that my studying people so closely, and caring so much how they acted to the point that I took individual and destructive action on them was akin to one of them spending all day pulling boogers from their nose so they can chastise and then eat them -one at a time- It became obvious and effortless to give it all up.
In truth, it was a relief to let it all go. Mother took the kit away anyhow, and donated it to a local school if I recall. In any event I never bothered with it again after that. I thought the whole episode was behind me, but I didn't know that Sid had decided to write a paper. Apparently all one has to do to get published is call something a 'complex' and name it after the poor child whose parents over trusted in the assumed privacy of therapy.
I've long outgrown that need for worship and obedience. I became a performance artist. These days I coordinate intricate patterns of sequentially timed supernova explosions across dozens of galaxies as a form of art (commonly referred to as 'echo sculpting' but usually called 'echo orchastration' in formal reviews). Each exploding supernova sends a pulse which echoes across the length of the universe in every direction like a ripple in a pond. These echoes eventually cross each other in the center of the universe for a brief instant, and if the sources are timed and selected correctly the intersecting echoes can form a coherent image for an instant before continuing on through each other. A really good supernova echo sculpture is breathtaking to behold. I've recently taken to having mine move; an eagle landing or dolphin jumping. They are of course insanely popular. Mine have been called 'a stately maturation from the neo-angular puberty that had been dragging down the form' by more than one appreciative critic.
The several prestigious awards I've won for them are common knowledge, of course. And yet that old complex from my childhood is still named for me, a lingering embarrassment. And if it comes up at a showing or dinner party, brought up by let's say a non-award winning rival "Didn't they name the God complex after you?", I usually resist the urge to just shrug and say something like "Yes, that was me, but c'mon I was only like five at the time. And I did make living things in balanced self-sustaining ecosystems. Didn't I hear you just ate the clay straight from the jar at that age?" It's beneath me, so I don't. Usually.
This tale of an age gone by was first published in January 2011.
It is brought to you today as part of the 30 days of creation, er, creative writing.