Monday, September 22

Chapter 51:

In Which Elwood Attends a Meeting of Highly Illogical Proportion

Recently I attended a meeting of LISP (League of Incredibly Stupid People) in Myrtle Falls. It was advertised in the paper that they were holding their multi-annual meeting each week and it was open to the public. How could I resist? As I entered the room I overheard a man trying to become a member – however, he had a lisp, and that’s one of the rules of joining LISP: you can’t both have a lisp and be a lisp. You would have thought that merely wanting to join the organization would be enough to get you elected president, but, as I later found out, the president of LISP was actually the person not voted for. In the case of the tie, they had a belch-off.

I told the man at the door that I was there merely as an observer, and he said I would have to wear the "observer hat" – being a little frightened by what this might entail, I hesitantly said okay. It turns out that it was a small bowler cap, nothing more. The members, on the other hand, all wore propeller beanies, or pith helmets, depending on their status.

"All rise as President non-elect Jorgan enters," said a man seated on the platform. All rose as Jorgan entered wearing a black robe and a floral Easter bonnet. "This meeting of LISP will now come to order. Our secretary will read the minutes of the last meeting."

The secretary stood on the platform and began reading the minutes. "Six O’one, Six O’two, Six O’three..." when she got to seven thirty-four, she sat down, and was thanked by the President.

Meanwhile I had turned to the woman next to me and asked if the entire meeting was like this. "Oh no," she replied, "they do other things than read the minutes. That’s just the opening."
The President stood and motioned for silence in the already silent room, and waited for the noise to die down. He then paced back and forth across the stage looking like he was about to say something, but then stopped, shrugged his shoulders, said, "I got nothing." And sat down to the stilted applause of the members. The woman next to me explained that usually the President gave a speech... except when he couldn’t think of anything to say... like tonight.

Then a microphone was set up at either end of the podium, and the members were asked to come share what they had been doing that week, and how they could help. The first person got up and walked to the microphone, and said "I paid my taxes this week." And went and sat down. This might not have been odd, except for the fact that it was September, and not April.

The next person got up to complain that they bought a Starbuckle’s Coffee and spilled it on their lap, and the coffee was hot, so she was trying to sue the company for giving her hot coffee. The next person stood and said he was taking up smoking and someday would sue the tobacco company for his lung cancer. Another person went up to the mic. and said he was having trouble with spam in his e-mail. When asked why, he said he thought it had to do with his renting the billboard and putting his e-mail address on it, but he wasn’t sure. The President said they should look into it, and appointed a committee of the secretary, and the doorman (as was his official title) to look into the matter and give their report next week, but that in the meantime, he should add the words "don’t spam me" to the billboard, and that should do the trick.

Next they brought out refreshments. Chocolate cake... but they had run out of sugar so they substituted more egg-whites. Also, there were no plates, so they were served in teacups, and there were only plastic butter-knives to eat with because the person in charge of getting the utensils thought they had enough forks and spoons, so they bought more knives. "Same every week," said the man sitting behind me. "But I’m sure next week she’ll remember the forks." The people around him nodded in agreement.

"Maybe she should write it down," I suggested.

"Nah," they said, "she’ll remember next week."

The next item of business was discussing parking. Apparently it had once been a problem, I surmised as they began the discussion, then realized it had never been a problem at all, but was just the next topic. They talked about their favorite parking spots, and how many cars they had rear-ended trying to parallel park their cars, SUV’s, minivans, and even one guy with a picycle. The discussion devolved into talking about their favorite bicycle accidents, and then on to injuries sustained in busses and while waiting in lines at the DMV (I was surprised there were so many).

"Let us stand and sing our anthem," the secretary said, standing. All the people stood and faced a different spot in the room, or the person next to them. At the same time, they all began singing the anthem... but each of them sang different words, and all were in different keys. If it had been orchestrated, I thought, the choir would have had a very tough time of it, but here it was merely the fact that they weren’t paying any attention to anybody else, and so even the rhythms were off. The guy in front of me, facing the folding chair I had been sitting on, for example, sang an anthem about sitting in folding chairs. It had three verses, and actually continued for a good thirty seconds after everybody else in the room was finished singing. When this was over, everybody sat down in their chairs, and took out a piece of paper.

"It’s time to vote," the woman next to me said, handing me a piece of paper, "write the name of somebody you don’t want to be president next week." I immediately put my name on the slip of paper just to be safe, and when they passed a bucket around, I put the paper in it like everybody else. The bucket was taken to the front and all the names were read, as each name was read, the people sighed with relief that their name was called... because, apparently, nobody thinks of putting their own name down.

"Next week," the secretary said, after having crossed off the names of everybody in the room who was called, even having to write down a few extra names before crossing them off, "the president elect will be Gary Johnson." Mr. Johnson said "Dang" and walked up to the podium where the hat was placed on his head, and the robe draped around his shoulders, revealing that the previous president elect was only wearing swim-trunks.

"Meeting adjourned." Said the doorman, "see you all next week."

But I decided not to attend the next week.



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