Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Man From Awesome

Recently, I met a diplomat - a man who claimed to be from the country known as Awesome. Awesome doesn't appear on any maps. You can't find it on a globe or on your computer. This is, I was told, because you are not awesome enough to find Awesome. Searches on Wikipedia don't work either, although the man from Awesome told me he had attempted to make such a page and was denied.

"Wikipedia just wasn't awesome enough," he said.

The man from Awesome was fascinating, although he of course preferred to be called awesome. He was tall and thin, dressed in a dark charcoal suit with a white shirt and light blue tie. His hair was always parted to his left, although a stray hair would stand up from time to time. He described his home by only its name. When asked about the immigration policy, he replied that there was none. "You must be born awesome," he calmly explained.

As we walked together, our interview continued. He told me that the national flag was black. Just black. No patterns, no images, no stripes or stars or symbols of any kind. "When we get on the battlefield, and you see that black flag coming towards you," he said wistfully, "Shit goes bananas." He then described Awesome's unique brand of armed forces, also described as awesome. When asked for the national pastime, his reply was an obscene sexual remark regarding my mother. Then he asked if I would like to see the national bird and made a rude gesture with his right hand.

Observing his briefcase, I asked if he was part of Awesome's national government. "We have no government," he replied. "Everyone's just awesome." I was intrigued, having devoted years of study to my own country's form of democracy and legal structure. I asked how decisions were made, if there was a council or a senate. He shook his head. "Can't have a Senate, everyone's too awesome," he said. "If we had a Senate, it would just be a hundred awesome people constantly high-fiving. That would make your arm fall off and that would not be awesome."

Awesome's national currency was, of course, the awesome. The man from Awesome pointed at his bottle of soda and proclaimed that in his country, the bottle would cost but one awesome. When asked if this was roughly equivalent to the American dollar, he waved his hand and said that he could not think in dollars, but only in awesome. This confused me at first but as it turns out, the plural of awesome is also awesome. I struggled to understand how a people could survive on such a currency, but the man from Awesome assuaged my fears. "Everyone gets a stipend of awesome," he said. "We're all too awesome to work." He also stated that the chief export of Awesome was, of course, awesome. I could only assume that the nation had been fortunate enough to be located just above a vast, almost unlimited supply of the precious resource.

The man from Awesome then told me that he must leave. He walked out of the coffee shop we had wandered into just as a long black limousine, made from a stretched hummer combined with treads from a military tank and what looked to be a genuine shark fin attached to the roof, pulled up to the curb. I rushed outside, one last question lodged in my mind.

"What's the national anthem?" I asked.

The man from Awesome said nothing. He merely grinned as he ducked into the strange vehicle. But as the limo pulled away, music began to blast from inside of it.

"Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta," by the Geto Boys.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First They Came...

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.