Sunday, June 03, 2007

Where Ideas Come From

I must write to raise myself during in-between days, when I am waiting for no replies in the mail or calls to be returned.

I sit self-conscious next to a garbage bin and watch people going into Borders Books, but the view is limited and I’ve little to say for it. The view is limited enough to almost forget where I am, and if the fountain was on, I’d think I was in a small Mediterranean town. Though, truthfully, I can see the Apple computer store from here.

There’s a poster on the wall for some sort of atheist group—they call themselves Humanists. I suppose they gather to have discussions about nothing. To think! Corrupt atheists longing for organized hierarchies and fancy hats.

They were likely sitting outside, drinking wine in the June sunlight—on a Sunday morning no doubt—and one man named Carl or Merton said something like, “You know, we should organize some kind of group of people like us, people who believe as strongly in nothing as ourselves.” And another man agreed. Then they drank their wine and laughed gaily at the pretty church bells.

And then the man named Duke or Jacob said, “We should have some kind of hierarchy, don’t you think? If we organize?” And Carl or Merton agreed, and failing to decide who between them would lead, they played a game of dice, leaving it to random chance. Carl or Merton won. “Besides,” he said, “it was my idea.”

After hanging like sloths in hammocks for a few hours, they rose and designed a flier on a yellow legal pad, announcing a new group for atheists to gather and discuss beliefs. It would be a brief meeting, the flier assured in the last line, which was signed “Grand Presidentor I.”

“It sounds authoritative and respectable,” said Carl or Merton.

The other man proposed a logo. “It’s simple marketing,” he said. Duke or Jacob drew a thin, writhing dragon holding a hammer, on the letterhead of the flier. “It’s symbolic. Of justice, or maybe virtue.”
And they made several hundred copies for widespread posting.

The first meeting went well enough. Five men stood in the parking lot between a bar and a restaurant. The Grand Presidentor had little to say to the small group.
“Hi guys. I just thought it would be good to organize.”
“I hardly believe it,” someone said.
“Believe what?”
They laughed. Some went into the bar.

“Did you notice,” asked Duke/Jacob, that there were no women?”
Carl/Merton had noticed. He had not mentioned it as a reason for organizing, or for wanting to be the leader, but he had hoped to meet women who were as passionate about nothing as he was.
“They might’ve been put off by your logo, I think. Women don’t like dragons or hammers,” he said.
“Do you think the dragon should be holding flowers?” asked Duke.
“Why would a dragon have flowers? Is he going to the dragon prom?” The grand presidentor was becoming irritated by his second in command.
“That makes no sense. You don’t understand women like I do.”
“Then what should the logo be?”
“Let’s get rid of the logo for now. Let’s focus on a name. Something kind and gentle.”
“The Pillow Huggers,” said number two.
“That’s not bad, but it’s too unclear about our message. What do we believe in? Nothing but ourselves.”
“The Ourselvians. The People Huggers. The Humanazis.”
“Humanazis is pretty good, except for the Hitler thing. The Humanoids.”
“Too sci-fi. The Humanists.”
“Yes!” said number one. “That’s the ticket.”

And so the two atheist men had a name for their group.

“We should have uniforms,” said number two, “to establish ourselves as leaders.”
“Women love men in uniforms—they say that in movies.”
“So we should dress like sailors or policemen?”
“Something with buttons, yes, and maybe badges.”

A slow wandering journey through a thrift shop produced a blue boyscout shirt with patches that seemed vaguely militaristic, and a plain white button-up with the name REXCOM embroidered over the breast pocket.

“Who should be the boyscout and who should be Rexcom?” asked number two. Number one was quick to respond.
“It wouldn’t make any sense for the main leader to be a boyscout, right? Logically.”

And so it was decided.

“I’ll be Grand President Rexcom and you’ll be Duke the Scout. Or Duke Duke if you want.”
“Alright. I could sign it Duke squared, with a little two in the corner.”

And so they had uniforms.

——And so I sit and decide what to do now that my coffee’s gone dry. Do I use my time for nonsense, or—well what else is there?

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the end of something.