By Gary Singh
DESPITE the maneuverings of developers to slaughter everything original in this town, there still exist local occult centers of primal activity that continue to radiate their hidden powers. So for this week's sermon, allow me to proselytize about yet one more: A hallowed area that I will now christen as "The Saratoga/Kiely/Stevens Creek Trapezoid." Strip mall aficionados have always worshipped the seven deadly sins that emanate from this locale.
You see, even a casual glance at a road map shows that the area bounded by Saratoga Avenue, Stevens Creek Boulevard, Kiely Boulevard and Northlake Drive forms a trapezoid, and those schooled in the occult arts and sciences know that trapezoidal symbology pops up in many hidden philosophies. We'll get back to that in a second. But for now we shall begin by summoning the occult powers of the legendary San Jose establishments that inhabit this trapezoid.
First there's Harry's Hofbrau, one of S.J.'s great meccas for cheapskate carnivore fundamentalists. Harry's has graced Saratoga Avenue with Gluttony for years now. This particular branch is one of four left in the Bay Area, and together they supposedly go through a combined 1 million pounds of turkeys each year. You cannot enter this trapezoid without conjuring the gods of Harry's Hofbrau, nor can you ignore another San Jose institution right across the parking lot, the Garden City Casino, that beautiful bastion of Greed and Envy. The history of Garden City is way beyond the scope of this column, but it's safe to say that, from the outside, the building looks like a combo of a chateau and a church, probably contributing to its overall holiness.
Also in that parking lot sits an empty space that used to be the Cabaret, an infamous '80s rock club that encouraged all the sins you'd expect from the devil's music, including Sloth and Wrath. In case you're counting, that's now five of the Seven Deadly Sins, and if you throw in the Tinker's Damn gay bar and Hot Stuff adult toy place, which are kitty-corner across the intersection, those would appropriately constitute Lust, leaving us with just one more sin: Pride.
Across the street the other way, one finds Saratoga Plaza, a classic suburban strip mall with signs going back decades. We must make sure that it remains off the redevelopment radar enough so that it won't get remodeled and defaced with the standardized faux-Southwestern color scheme of rustic brown, bile-colored olive green, beige and faded canary that you see on almost every other post-2000 strip mall around here. Since the developers really are the self-proclaimed deities of this town, I'm left with no other choice in my reactionary paranoid rage but to give the devil his due here and prevent them from destroying the wonderful seven sins of this sacred territory.
In "The Law of the Trapezoid," Church of Satan founder Anton La Vey explains that contrary to pyramids—which are seen as "pleasing" objects, as finished symmetrical forms that are godlike to the eye—trapezoids can represent deliberate aberration and misdirection. They can provoke anxiety and disturbances. He then extends this to explore how subtle aberrations in topographical symmetry can elicit unconscious revulsions in even the most tranquil of individuals.
Such metaphors are common in magical rituals, so we should expand on this by using the trapezoid of Saratoga, Kiely, Stevens Creek and Northlake to instill emotional imbalance, hardship and tragedy in the spirits of those godlike developers who are secretly meditating on prayer beads to baptize it anew with their next phase of hideous uniform abodes. Long live the trapezoid!