The Heh-Blammo balance is the mystical balance mantained by the Brothers of the Lantern. Or so folks say. It can be stated in many different terms, and is variously understood to be the balance between enjoyment and misery, or perhaps between pain and pleasure, or maybe, by the very devout, between good and evil.
The origins of the Brother's passion to maintain this balance is always traced to the statement of one of the senior brothers, often called the Proclamation of Heh-Blammo Balance. The story in The Brothers of the Lantern: Unauthorized, Unofficial, and Unapproved, published anonymously in -7 EC, is as follows.
The wise and aged elder, Brother, upon looking up from deep meditation, quoth thus:
"Where there is much heh, there shall surely follow much blammo."
One of his other Brothers, who was there at the time, responded by saying, "Brother, are you saying that there must therefore be maintained a balance between the two?"
Thereupon, the aged Brother responded, "Yes, Brother, it is even so."
Another, somewhat more believable story, told secretly by more than one eyewitness, under condition of anonymity, goes something like this.
One evening, the Brothers had a big party. There was a great deal of Adlorst, and rivers of fefferberry wine. Late in the evening, when everyone was pretty much four sheets to the wind, and many of the Brothers were slumped under the table, the afore-mentioned senior Brother looked at a colleague of his, and stated "Heh, heh. Dude, if you drink that, there's going to be plenty of blammo in the morning!"
His inebriate colleague looked at him blearily and said, "You mean, like, there's some kind of mystical balance between the two?"
To which the aged Brother responded, most gravely, "Whoa, look out, man, I think I'm going to hurl."
Upon awakening in the morning, the elder Brother was heard to moan, "Wow, my head is going blammo!" before crawling back under the sofa.
Whatever the truth is, in the years since this event, the maintenance of the heh-blammo balance has become something of a dogma, with varying degrees of belief both in the existence of the balance, and in the ability of mere mortals to effect it in any way.
Nevertheless, true zealots, both in and out of the brotherhood, can be observed muttering "blammo" under their breath whenever they observe someone laughing or otherwise exhibiting mirth. And the really devoted are known to bop people on the head for laughing in public, or to tickle anyone who appears to be in any kind of distress.
Given the presumed origins of the whole silly affair, there is general agreement that the idea of maintaining the balance is merely a drunken joke taken too far. Indeed, there are those that have this view of most religious dogmas. But that's a topic for another article.
Regardless of what they will or will not admit to, the Brothers are well known for conducting comedy festivals in the proximity of wars, and whingelism seminars in the proximity of comedy festivals. Apparently they don't take the long view.
Of particular interest to those who watch the balance is the hermit, and former Brother, Sarfl, who lives high atop Po Mountain, in the Sarfelogian Mountains. (He assured me, when I asked, that it's a coincidence, and that neither is he named after the mountain, or the mountain after him.) After loudly and publicly expressing his contempt for the doctrine of the balance, he retreated to his hermitage, stating that he would, a random number of times a day, exclaim "HEH" from high atop the mountain, just to see what the consequences would be. Unsurprisingly, the consequence was that the youngest and least popular novice Brother was assigned to live with him, so that he might, the same number of times per day, exclaim "BLAMMO" from the same mountain, to ensure the balance. This novice stays up there until another novice is unlucky enough to be sent to replace him. This arrangement strikes Sarfl as very amusing, and he tries to ensure that the novice is as comfortable as possible. It's even thought to be possible that a novice or two may have slept through at least one morning HEH, but I promised not to reveal my source on that one.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the episode of the Darkened Lantern. Some of the Brothers involved called it a schism in the brotherhood. Others called it a simple misunderstanding. Still others called it a practical joke. The real truth of what happened, or what the dispute was about, is not known to this author. However, what is know, with respect to the balance, is the widely publicized event when dozens of Brothers faced each other across the crowded main room of the 'Daver, and screamed "HEH" and "BLAMMO" at one another for six uninterrupted hours, only stopping when the Ball Lightning Liqueur ran out and they all went home.
--DrBacchus 19:27, 30 Oct 2004 (EDT)