Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lonesome no More

I came across a weird ad in today's AJC: "Frank Moore hereby gives notice of his intention to be a write-in candidate for the office of the President of the United States in the General Election to be held on November 4, 2008."

So I googled Frank Moore. Somehow his platform seems a lot less crazy than his face. But everything is relative.

Mr. Moore's candidacy reminds me of a book by Kurt Vonnegut called Slapstick: Or Lonesome no More. In it, a deformed giant twin named Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, who is the smartest man on the planet when he is with his sister, Eliza, becomes president of the United States.

His platform is that the biggest problem in America is human loneliness. So he gives everyone new middle names and number designations at random. Everyone with the same name is part of a new family. If they have the same name and number, they're siblings. They're lonesome no more. Unfortunately, society has collapsed. Gravity is out of whack and a mysterious disease has killed millions. Swain's sister dies and he writes the book while living in the husk of the Empire State Building.

I'm sure I liked the book enough to quote parts of it somewhere, but I don't know where. So I pulled a couple of pages from
"I had no relatives and I needed relatives," he said.

"Everybody does," I said.

He told me he had been drunk for a while, trying to make relatives out of people in bars. "The bartender would be kind of a father, you know - " he said. "And then all of a sudden it was closing time."

"I know," I said. I told him a half-truth about myself which had proved to be popular on the campaign trail. "I used to be so lonesome," I said, "that the only person I could share my innermost thoughts with was a horse named 'Budweiser.'"

And I told him how Budweiser had died.

"And I told him how Budweiser had died." Only Vonnegut. To continue:
I found it absorbing. It said that there was nothing new about artificial extended families in America. Physicians felt themselves related to other physicians, lawyers to lawyers, writers to writers, athletes to athletes, politicians to politicians, and so on.

Eliza and I said these were bad sorts of extended families, however. They excluded children and old people and housewives, and losers of every description. Also: Their interests were usually so specialized as to seem nearly inane to outsiders.

"An ideal extended family," Eliza and I had written so long ago, "should give proportional representation to all sorts of Americans, according to their numbers. The creation of ten thousand such families, say, would provide America with ten thousand parliaments, so to speak, which would discuss sincerely and expertly what only a few hypocrites now discuss with passion, which is the welfare of all mankind."

My new name under Kurt Vonnegut's Lonesome No More! scheme is:-
Charles Iron-6 Fain
Enter your full name to find out if you're part of my family:-


Anonymous said...

Joe Aquamarine-3 Petersen

Nick said...

Nick Uranium-1 Studymine