I suppose the article reproduced below which was published in a very conservative and decorous magazine, and the mindset it represents are a testament to man's ingenuity.
This article presented below is without any changes save for the paragraph headers. In order to fully appreciate the message, please fill in the missing words to complete the sentence: "If I could not .......... .............. , my life would make no sense." Now read the article below and see how close you came to understanding the meaning of life. The True Prince of Spain Even within Spain, many people have never heard of the sleepy town of Haro. But today something is different. The legendary young matador El Juli is coming to fight. As the crowd gathers in the old bullfighting arena, they generally agree that he is a true prince of Spain, the brightest hope for bullfighting's future.
But He Must Win Over His Detractors But some older aficionados are not so sure. El Juli is too young, they say, too much of a show-off, not yet in total control of his emotions. "He is nothing but a boy, nothing but a little bonbon for the ladies," one old man scoffs, at which his wife laughs and calls him jealous. Enter The Prince. He Is Profoundly Intelligent - Otherwise Why Would He Be Fighting Bulls? The boy in question is small, fair-haired, attractive, profoundly intelligent and arguably the best living bullfighter on the planet. His name is Julian Lopez, but he is widely known as El Juli, akin to calling him "the Jim." Mozart in Spanish Means? The Spanish also call him the Mozart of bullfighting. He was only nine years old when he entered El Batan, the national bullfighting academy in Madrid, over the objections of his father - a failed matador who'd lost an eye in the ring years earlier. Born to Fight Bulls - What Else Might Be His Destiny? But the father soon realised that his son was born to fight bulls. And in 1998, just after his sixteenth birthday, El Juli faced his first bull in Spain as a professional, confirming in that ring - and in every ring since - that he is indeed the stuff of legend. At exactly seven, an hour that this most nocturnal of nations still refers to as afternoon, the trumpets sound, cheers ring out and El Juli steps into the small circle of sand. Dressed in the classic matador's "suit of lights," he positively shimmers in the sun. Equality The bull is met with the same welcoming response. But the contrast between its enormous bulk and the smallness of the 65-kilo matador is jarring. A Spanish fighting bull is a terrifying opponent - half a tonne of vengeance. With a head harder than bedrock and neck muscles thicker than radial tyres.
It Takes Great Skill to Kill a Bull A bull has only one point of vulnerability - a tiny soft spot just between the shoulder blades. With perfect composure, the 18 year-old El Juli draws the bull past him in one, two, three, four, five quick passes. He wraps the cape round his torso like a sari, pulling the animal in a tight spin, and soon leads the bull into the dance of its life. At one point they charge each other so fast - the ultimate game of chicken - that it seems they will collide in a ball of hair and bone and death. But El Juli dodges at the last instant. Outraged, the bull chases off after El Juli and nearly pins him against the wall, bellowing in frustration when he leaps over the one and a half-metre barricade. Tossing his body lightly back into the ring, El Juli receives a riotous ovation from the crowd. He grins and pumps his fist in the air, a cocky acknowledgment of his own audacity.
The Silent Stones Then he takes up his red fighting cape and calls to the bull, his voice high and echoing against the silent stones of the arena. "Venga, toro! " he shouts. “Come, bull!” Agitated from a picador already having lanced its hump, the bull charges; El Juli stands his ground, and the bull misses him by centimetres. "Venga, toro! " El Juli shouts again. The bull passes so close that its horn seems in danger of snagging a sequin from the matador's jacket. "Venga, tom!" El Juli repeats.
The Sensuous Caress of The Bullfighter This time he leans far into the bull's massive bulk, reaching out with one arm and caressing the bull's body as it passes, the way a man will let his arm linger across the body of a woman during a waltz. He is brushing so tightly against the animal that his torso is soon soaked with its blood. Beckoning the bull towards him, El Juli raises his arm like a traffic cop, as though to say stop. And the bull stops, a few centimetres away. They look at each other. El Juli seductively draws the tip of his sword down the bull's face, tracing the beautiful line from horn to horn. Then astonishingly - he turns his back and strolls off. The bull doesn't stir. The crowd roars in wonder.
True Bravery An elderly woman smiles in the warmest satisfaction. "You see?" she says to the dumbfounded American tourist beside her. "We Spaniards may never have stepped on the moon, but look how bravely we walk the earth."
Defending The Indefensible It is indefensible to state that humans have the right to kill another species for entertainment. All across Europe people are protesting bullfighting as inhumane. To such people, there is no difference between the killing of a bull in a ring and the torture of a stray dog in an alleyway.
Yeah. But Since They Can Kill Each Other That's OK But, of course, a Spanish fighting bull is far from defenceless; each one has the opportunity to eviscerate the matador. These bulls are warriors, descendants of the massive prehistoric bison of Europe. They were once worshipped as deities in Asia Minor and bred for fearsomeness by medieval feudal lords for just this purpose - to be killed in public by a man in a ring on a hot afternoon.
Gd Forbid, This Would NEVER be in The SPORTS Section The Spanish have never thought this was entertainment, or a sport. For the last seven centuries, bullfighting has hovered in a mystical dimension somewhere between art and religion. Articles about bullfights aren't even in the sports sections of Spanish newspapers; they appear in the cultural and arts pages, next to opera and ballet.
Yes; It Is A Religious Experience And there's the religious aspect of bullfighting, with all its codes and etiquette. One of a matador's most profound moves, for example, is to flutter the cape over the bull's face as it passes. This is called la veronica - named after St Veronica, who wiped Christ's face with a cloth as he passed on his journey towards death up Calvary. Just because bullfighting has a complicated cultural history, though, does not mean it cannot be inhumane. To see a clumsy bullfight is to witness an almost unwatchable violence. Instead, watch El Juli.
The Bull Says, “I Understand Please Proceed” After participating in each other's destinies for 20 minutes, El Juli moves slowly towards the bull. The matador's face is filled with tenderness as though approaching a child who has hidden under a table in tears: gentle, coaxing. Heaving for breath, the bull drops its head in a gesture that appears to say: I understand. Proceed. El Juli draws back his sword and calls one last time. The bull charges, and the matador strikes faster than a cobra -- there is a flash of gold, and then he spins away and opens his arms. His sword is buried in the back of the bull's neck down into its heart.
Respect, Graceful Death and Don’t Forget the Ears The young matador's face is respectful as the bull buckles to the sand, folding gracefully into death. There is awed silence. Then cheers, the waving of handkerchiefs (symbolising the audience's respect), the cascade of flowers (expressions of their love), the awarding of the bull's ears to the smiling matador (to honour the boy's excellence).
A Hero Finally El Juli is carried in triumph from the bullring on the shoulders of the strongest men of Haro, like a hero.
The Holy Spanish Temple The plaza de Toros e Las Ventas in Madrid is the holy temple of Spanish bullfighting. The fans accept nothing but the best. Either the bull will kill you in Madrid, it has been said, or the crowd will. El Juli has promised to deliver the fight of his life. Dressed in gold and silver, he glitters with promise. The bull, black and glossy, bellows, tosses its horns and paws the earth. It is June 2000, and the audience of 23,000 detonates into applause. Madrid approves of this bull. At first El Juli uses only his most elegant passes and smoothest swirls of the cape. But as the bull becomes more determined to murder him, he kicks up his strategy. Suddenly El Juli is all brio and challenge and you-want-a-piece-of-me fury. He stampedes at the bull, snarls at it, taunts it, smacks it.
That's When The Bull Catches Him The boy sticks out his chest that is spattered with the bull's blood, thrusts that cocky chin of his up even higher in the air, and plants his feet in the sand like a conquistador claiming his rightful ground. That's when the bull catches him. On a sweeping pass, the bull plunges a horn straight through the young matador's thigh. Time stops. Then the bull snatches El Juli by that impaled leg and jerks him into the air before dropping him. The boy makes one attempt to stir, but the bull catches him again, this time tossing him up onto its horns.
Just Heartbeats Earlier The matador's limbs, so graceful just heartbeats earlier, are now grotesquely rag-dolled as the bull whips its colossal neck. Then El Juli is down, and the bull is pulverising his body. The attack lasts no more than 30 seconds before El Juli's assistants lure the bull away. A miracle! He pulls himself up and actually stands His bejewelled clothes are torn and soaked with blood. Then he collapses on the hot yellow sand of the great Madrid arena, face down in his own blood. In a flash of capes, El Juli's men rush him towards the arena's infirmary. His beloved elder brother runs alongside, sticking his fingers in El Juli's mouth, trying desperately to keep the boy's windpipe clear. Close behind, their father weeps and prays, his face twisted in dreadful fear.
The Show MUST Go On - This is Our Custom With El Juli gone, another matador picks up the fight. This is the custom. And although there is concerned talk of El Juli, everyone agrees he was flawless. So what went wrong? What happened? "What happened?" one of the men in the stands says. "What happened is that a man stepped into a ring with a bull." The only way to learn what has become of El Juli is at the arena's infirmary. There, tacked beside the door, is a handwritten report: El Juli is gravely but not mortally wounded. He has been gored in the thigh to a depth of 20 centimetres. He has a concussion and bruises to his chest.
Reverence The morning newspapers reverently laud him, pronouncing that despite the attack, "There was only one name in the Plaza de Toros yesterday afternoon - Julian Lopez." Later, at the hospital, a reporter asks El Juli if he would be afraid to return to the ring. "One is likely to be gored many times," he replies. "One must accept that risk or not be a bullfighter." As he explains about his spiritual connection to the bulls and his respect for matadors of the past, it is as if he is merely a participant in some ageless ritual. He is not even El Juli but the embodiment of bullfighting itself.
Life Would Make No Sense Then a final question is asked: Would he ever consider doing something else with his life? Something, perhaps, a little less deadly? El Juli lets that sentiment hang in the air for a moment and then replies with a levelling coolness, "If I could not fight bulls, my life would make no sense."
So now you know the answer: Life makes sense because thank Gd one can fight bulls in the holy temple of Spain.