How to cast a shadow


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Do not emit light yourself. You can glow, but only with radiance borrowed from elsewhere.

Take corporeal form. Acquire inertial mass.

Become at least partially diurnal, or failing that, inhabit a city that never sleeps.

Occlude.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to have a soul in order to have a shadow.

Maintain proximity with another body or surface, e.g. the ground, if you want visual evidence of your shadow.

Do not subsist mainly or entirely on a diet of blood.

If your shadow becomes inky, or disappears into Stygian darkness, you may need to dispense with the fedora and trenchcoat.

If you’re new to shadow-casting, work on getting a crisp, dark umbra before advancing to a penumbra and—for advanced students only—an antumbra.

To make your shadow dance, dance. To make your shadow talk, stand on a streambank.

Learn from your shadow. Broken glass won’t cut it, barbed wire can’t stop it, mud doesn’t stick.

Whether or not you have a dark side, you can do your part to keep the world from becoming a desert, blasted by the implacable light of reason.

At noon on the equator, your shadow will stretch into the earth like a vein of pyrite.

If your shadow is crossed by the shadow of a black cat, throw pepper over your shoulder.

Keep your friends close and your shadow closer.

Do not attempt to make love to your shadow. That’s been shown to cause amnesia in laboratory rats.

Don’t share your shadow with strangers. Ideally, everyone should cast his or her own.

If you see nothing, say nothing. The shadow government appreciates your cooperation.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

9 Comments


    1. Gnomonic? Gnomic + moronic? That would make more sense than “of or pertaining to a gnomon,” wouldn’t it.

      Reply

  1. Inspiring.

    Anyway, I like these especially:

    Occlude.

    To make your shadow dance, dance. To make your shadow talk, stand on a streambank.

    Learn from your shadow. Broken glass won’t cut it, barbed wire can’t stop it, mud doesn’t stick.

    Reply

    1. Hmm. Those do steer dangerously close to being useful advice, don’t they? Oh well.

      Reply

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