The Benefits of Bumism, or, An Alternate Lifestyle Explored

It is an exquisite fact that the social group most suited to surviving some sort of plague or apocalypse is that of the Practicing Bums. Practicing Bums are those who embrace bumism as a way of life. These are not the downtrodden who have, through some misfortune, come face to face with homelessness, abject poverty and destitution. Rather they are those individuals who form communities and live in tents in empty lots in the midst of skyscrapers or congregate in disused train tunnels beneath the feet of those who live lives of decadence in comparison. Practicing Bums choose this lifestyle and the skills needed to survive such are similar to those necessary to survive  mass catastrophes. Contact with those who may become exposed to a super-virus is limited. Antibodies and immunities are higher due to exposure to pollutants and microbes existing within dirt, unprocessed water and garbage. Acquiring food is a way of life and the dangers with which a Practicing Bum deals with on a daily basis provide essential survival skills. Living in the midst of apocalypse is second nature to the Practicing Bum.

It is another exquisite fact that Bum culture closely mirrors that of we who choose to lead lives as professionals and homeowners. There have been Bum presidents, Bum emperors, Bum kings. History bears witness to many Bum scoundrels, villains, vigilantes and heroes. In some communities, Bum gangs harass workaday Bums, bumming things no self respecting Bum would ever dare to bum.

Where we have due process, Bums enforce a special brand of Bum justice and are beholden to rules that would confound us with their subtle complexities.

Bum prophets and oracles, who stand on the street corners of large cities screaming things none but a Bum could understand, have foretold the rise of The Great Bum, who is destined to unite all of Bumdom under one flag. All but the most deranged remain skeptical.

Following is an account of one whom many Bums believed was this Great Bum.

The nation of Bumopolis (an optimistic name and a bit of a cliché, to be sure) was led by Supreme Bum Bob. Bob was elected to office because his promises to jumpstart a Bumopolis nuclear program struck a chord with many a Bum voter. Spies from Bum China (as the conglomeration of bums in China called themselves) had infiltrated Bumopolis many times, leaving anti-Bumopolis graffiti on the homes of many an innocent tent-owner. They spread among the people many pieces of propaganda indicating that Bum China already had a nuclear program and would soon unleash it upon the inferior Bumopolites. Bumopolis quickly became a nation quivering with fear. Until the election of Bob, there was much squabbling over what was to be done.

Bob, through many backroom deals and long nights dumpster diving behind small appliance stores, crack-houses and housing projects, had acquired quite a large pile of microwaves. He unveiled his stockpile on the occasion of his inauguration to the cheers of all present (which was everyone in Bumopolis). When asked by a member of the Bumopolis Press Corps what percentage of the microwaves worked, Bob answered honestly, “zero percent.” Before his statement of fact could be spun, Bob outlined his plan of attack. A member of Bumgeist, Bumopolis’s premiere elite fighting force, would board a canoe loaded with microwaves. He would then paddle to China, bumming fish, water and coins from any fishing or pleasure vessel he passed, and deposit the full contents of Bumopolis’s nuclear arsenal on the beach. The Bum Army would soon follow and, with their arsenal in place, launch an attack on Bum China the likes of which had never before been seen in all of Bum history.

Everything went as planned until the attack commenced. The Bum Army stormed Bum Chinese positions, pelting and bashing the enemy with broken microwaves. Supreme Bum Bob had sent no spies ahead, ordering the attack on the assumption that no Bum nuclear program could possibly be any more advanced than his own.

Supreme Bum Bob was wrong.

The ensuing carnage insured that no Bob would ever again be elected Supreme Bum.

The Bum Chinese not only had working microwaves, they also had power sources. The doors of Bum China’s microwaves had been removed and the fail-safes that prevent doorless operation defeated. As Bum China’s foot soldiers fought hand to hand with the invading army of Bumopolis, Bum Chinese elite fighters crept up behind their enemies, clapped microwaves over their heads like helmets and hit start buttons on timers preset to the baked potato setting. Bumopolis soldiers fell by the tens as their brains cooked inside their heads.

Victorious, the Bum Chinese threw the invaders into the ocean that the tides that brought the enemy might also sweep them away.

A single dead Bum in the tattered camo of Bumopolis with a microwave on his head washed up on the Bumopolis shore with assorted flotsam many months later. Realizing what had happened, the Bums of Bumopolis formed a successful coup against Supreme Bum Bob and the local prophet stripped him of his rights of bumming whether on street corners or Bum to Bum. Bob, obviously not The Great Bum and unable to survive on a non-bumming Bum’s salary, was forced to enter mainstream society. He got a job, bought a house, played the stock market and lived unhappily ever after.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy fiction for fiction. Don’t read into this. It means nothing. I was bored and then this happened.

A don’t…underestimate my respect for Bums. They are urban survivalists, doing what they must to live off the land. I’m a free as I can be with handouts and, when offered the opportunity, giving a hand up.

Advertisements

Lazy Survivalist or Urban Genius: You Be The Judge

I call myself an urban survivalist. This means that I read survival books, daydream of survival situations (knowing that I certainly would not flourish) and try (unsuccessfully) to start my fire pit without matches.

I have a bamboo patch in a corner of my backyard. I have been fascinated by it since we moved in, but it is not suitable for heavy duty use; tables, chairs, various what-have-yous, but this afternoon I decided it might make good little-weight-bearing clubhouse walls. I’ve been promising my kids a clubhouse since we moved in. Today I decided to begin making good.

I grabbed my hatchet, pocket knife and roll of twine and set to work. I crafted one wall frame, complete with cross braces and sharpened support posts that could be driven into the ground. It took nearly an hour and I lost heart because twisting twine around the various pieces and tying nearly thirty knots and blistered two of my fingers.

My daughter and I began to toss a frisbee around and during a short lull, I had an epiphany. I looked at my daughter and said, “Why am I doing all this work? I have zip ties!!!” Apparently the look on my face implied that I, in my own opinion, am rather stupid for just realizing this. My daughter cracked up and continued to reenact my facial expression all through dinner.

I grabbed the ties and produced another wall frame in less than half the time, pain free.

Either I’m a slow-burning genius or just a lazy aspiring survivalist. Either way, zip ties are going into my bug-out bag.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…make use of what you have around you.

A don’t…think inside that “gotta do it the traditional way” box. Some modern technologies will survive an apocalypse and survival is about surviving. Stepping away from tradition isn’t shameful if it produces results.

The Toynbee Idea: Mysterious Tiles and a Strange Realization Regarding the English Language

I think about strange things sometimes. No one who knows me is surprised about it anymore. During a weird idea acquisition binge I indulged in several years ago I became aware of the Max Headroom Intrusion, Toynbee tiles and other such social arcana.

The Toynbee tiles intrigued me the most and I think about them quite a lot. If you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, I’ll explain briefly. Some unknown individual(s) have placed small tiles on roadways and sidewalks in the eastern part of the country. These tiles are handmade and most look somewhat like ransom notes with letters cut from magazines to evade identification by handwriting analysis. The main idea the tile maker(s) seem to be conveying is that the dead should or shall be resurrected on Mars. It is unclear to me if they (or he or she) want the dead already on Mars (Martians) to be resurrected or if the dead from Earth will be transported to Mars for resurrection. The reference something called the “Toynbee Idea” and the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

None of this makes any logical sense to me. Despite my confusion, the fact that someone finds the idea important enough to make and surreptitiously place these tiles (which it is believed are coated in some substance that gradually wears or melts away leaving the tile exposed only after the tile maker is long gone) is certainly intriguing. Couple this with the unknown identity of the tile maker(s) and it smacks of whacko conspiracy theory oddity, the study of which is a hobby of mine.

Anyway, this post is not about the tiles or the “Toynbee Idea”. It is about the way the English language works and how it seems that we somehow understand that writers of sentences and phrases do not mean exactly what they say in some instances. At least one tile calls upon others to make and lay tiles. The tile I reference states “You must make and lay tiles! YOU!”

Now, reading this we understand that sentence is designed to call the reader to action. However I am not “you” to me. I am I. Yet I still understand that the “you” the author refers to is me even though I never refer to myself this way. If I was unfamiliar with English idiosyncrasies, I would fail to understand that the request was directed at me because I am not “you”. If the author had written “I must make and lay tiles! I!” I may then understand if I was unfamiliar with the language. Knowing the language, however, I do not read in the first person so I understand the “you” refers to me even though I am not “you”; I am I. Understanding English, I am aware that the author would not refer to a stranger as I.  By crafting the sentence the way he, she, they or it have, they have caused me to understand that they are calling readers, rather than themselves, to action. The reader understands that the writer is writing from his/her/their/its own perspective. For some unknown reason, this fascinates me.

I leave you with a joke of my own crafting (as far as I know. If you’ve also thought of this joke or heard it elsewhere, understand that I am unaware of it and am not attempting to plagiarize.). What is the first thing two individuals who have just been released from prison experience upon getting married? Con-fusion. A ha ha ha. Confusion, con-fusion. Two cons now one. I apologize for that joke.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…look into the Toynbee Tiles if you are interested or literally have nothing else to do.

A don’t…make and lay tiles! Don’t! I’m sure it’s considered a form of vandalism.

An Antique Man and His Anachronistic Existence; A Wondering About What Could’ve Been and May Yet Be

I’ll start off with an anecdote only very loosely related to the topic of this evening’s post. My wife and I had a humorous misunderstanding at a local Mexican restaurant this evening. We both, for some reason, deviated from our favorite Mexican cuisine ruts and ordered something called “Special Dinner”. We visit this place fairly often due to the quality of the food and the fact that every server and staff member we’ve ever dealt with has been extremely friendly and attentive. We each have our favorites, but they’ve re-done their menus and added a few items. Special Dinner has a chile relleno, a chalupa, a tamale (my least favorite Mexican food, but I really wanted all the other items), a taco, an enchilada, refried beans and rice. My wife was looking at her phone when a waiter and waitress arrived, each bearing two plates loaded with food. They set the stuff down and we just stared at it for a moment. As my eyes perused the offerings on each plate relaying suggestions to my mouth about what to try first, I forgot that my wife had been looking at her phone when the food arrived. I heard my wife’s voice floating, as if from outer space, on the periphery of my hunger limited audio zone. She said, “Do you know any 24 hour plumbers in town?” My brain slapped back to normal speed so suddenly that I just stared at her, slack-jawed. To me, the food looked amazing. Nothing that would cause the need for a plumber soon after eating it. So I said so. Now it was her turn to stare, slack-jawed. Apparently one of her friends had come home to frozen, possibly burst, pipes and needed an emergency fix for baby bathing and formula fixing and whatnot. Oops. We laughed ourselves even more hungry. After my wife sent her friend a link to Roto-Rooter, that is. We aren’t jerks.

This brings me to what I really want to talk about. I feel like I’m an antique man in a modern body. Nothing would make me happier than to wander dusty roads in a wagon pulled by mules or some other such beast of burden collecting stories like the one above and jotting them down in neat looking journals that I’d stow in my wagon and read from to random villagers at festivals. My wagon would contain everything a man really needs. Fire starting materials, a guitar, books on edible forage, a bow and arrows for hunting (this antique man needs his meat), and tome on tome on tome of historical accounts, and, hopefully, my beautiful and wonderful wife. I’m sure antique her would be up for a nomadic life spent with a penniless scribe. I suppose the closest I can get in these modern times is to finish up the history degree I’m currently working on, blogging and writing books and trying to grow amazing tomatoes, succulent corn, nutritious green beans and giant pumpkins. All that and darkly and guiltily wishing for some sort of apocalypse.

It would be fun though. I’ve always been a nomad at heart. My current job is the only one I’ve ever stayed at for more than a year, other than the Army, but they forced me into six years of servitude. After I signed a paper promising six years of servitude. Anyway, the Army provided me free trips to Kuwait and Iraq and the means to afford a month and a half long trip to Europe. This was a veritable glut of travel to a life-long nomad devoid of the means to roam. And it was fun, even if there were bullets and rocket propelled grenades flying all over the place for a while. I’ve also lived in Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada with brief stints in Kansas, Washington State, South Carolina and California thrown in for good measure.

It’s been quite a life so far and it can only get better. At least once I earn my degree I can rightly call myself an historian, even if I never get the chance to travel lesser known roads in a mule wagon loaded with tomes and tomatoes.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…let your antique self express itself if you have it. Be who you are even if who you are is anachronistic compared to when you are.

A don’t…deny your modern self if you’re of a more technological bent.

 

Let’s Conspire! Here’s a Theory to Get Us Started

I present to you a real cake-taker of an idea. This idea was presented to me as a truth, or at least as a perceived truth. It has some flaws, but my reason for posting it is so that perhaps a dialogue can be started to iron them out.

The theory goes something like this: Hitler was on the verge of creating a gas that would only kill Jews. I already asked the first logical question; “How?” The answer was that the gas isolated some genetic…bit, for lack of a better word…that was specific to Jewish people and then, somehow, killed them with it. Hitler never got to use his gas, as it was still nearing completion near the end of the war.

In case all that wasn’t quite enough, the theory goes on to state that a certain environmentally conscious former Vice President got his hands on the formula, modified it to only kill cows and then procured several crop dusters. He is planning to fly these over every cattle operation in the U.S. so that, with cows extinct, we must all become vegetarians. More questions arise here. So I asked them. First was “If he only kills the cows won’t people just resort to filling their pastures with deer or bison?” Burger lovers like myself could certainly make do with another form of burger as long as it included meat of some sort. Beef is preferable but not necessarily necessary. Second was “Once the people realize what’s going on won’t they simply keep watch and shoot all crop dusters out of the sky?” The first question was never answered, although I assume the answer is he’ll eventually kill all those too. This of course implies that he doesn’t care for the environment at all, as mass extinction is not extremely environmentally friendly. The answer to the second was that it would be so well coordinated that all the ranches would be hit simultaneously.

You’d think that would be enough. It wasn’t. The next stage somehow has the has-been V.P. owning the only car in America and going door to door confiscating every gun in the country. And that, finally, was enough.

Now, there are those out there who wouldn’t stand for such things and there are those who would shrug their shoulders and live on. If you wish to participate in any discussion you should probably decide which side you’ll be on.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…keep an open mind. Stranger things than this have turned out to be true.

A don’t…judge me for sharing. This is a theory held by at least one person that I know. There may be other believers out there somewhere.

End of the World Prophecies End, The World Survives; A Possible Solution to the Age-old Conundrum

Perhaps you’ve heard the most recent Doomsday report that claims the world will end Saturday. If you haven’t, the end of the world has been predicted for Saturday, September 23, 2017. Get ready.

Or don’t bother. We all know that it won’t happen (not all of us, I guess. Most of us). The Mayans were wrong. Perhaps more fairly put, the people who “interpreted” an ancient calendar with no surviving users were wrong. Nostradamus was wrong, (I’m no expert on Nostradamus but surely he’s prophesied on this) web bots were wrong. Biblical scholars, Jewish scholars and crack-pot prognosticators have all been wrong. It isn’t because they are stupid or uneducated. Perhaps it is simply because the world has already ended and we are already in some sort of after-life.

It’s very simple to throw out theories like this. Rest assured, I have substantial evidence to back my claim.

Let’s consider technology. High-end tech labs continue to churn out products at a pace that is nearly as unbelievable as the products themselves. I heard on the radio the other day about a phone security app that gives access to you only after scanning your face to be sure you are an authorized user. Apparently this even adjusts itself over time so that it continues to recognize you even as your face droops with age. Amazing! Slightly scary. Fraught with bugs? We should know the answer to that in about ten or twenty years. I also heard about a pair of pants that will vibrate one leg or the other to notify you that you need make a turn as you progress toward your destination. That’ll be off the market as soon as someone allows their pants to lead them into the path on an oncoming train. Maybe the pants are smart enough to detect trains. At the very least you could call someone smarty pants and literally be correct. It’s about time. Thank you, techno geeks. But I digress.

The unbelievable nature of these products and the speedy  jumps of technological history could be attributed to the fact that the world has already ended. This would go a long way to explaining why these unrealities are realities. They could simply be mass hallucinations inspired by something in the atmosphere we believe we are breathing in.

If we were already in an after-life setting this would also explain Bigfoot, UFOS, ghosts, ESP and every other new-age idea and supernatural experience. People don’t die, they just leave behind their “body” and become invisible.( Or maybe there’s some after- life after the after-life. I hadn’t considered that until just now.) Some people have really seen Bigfoot. Some people have actually been abducted by aliens. People can really read minds and make the Statue of Liberty disappear and keep their teeth white and do any other unbelievable thing because the science we profess to understand doesn’t apply here like it did before the world ended.

Anyway, just food for thought.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…think about it.

A don’t…overthink it.

Wonders of Post-Apocalyptia

A post apocalyptic setting, of course, requires an apocalypse. This is terrible. But no matter what happens there is usually some sort of bright side. Let’s imagine a few possible upsides of post apocalyptic living.

Shooting stars and meteor showers are beautiful and will surely still occur in Post-Apocalyptia. But, given the fact that whoever it is that does whatever they do to keep satellites in orbit will no longer be doing what they did from wherever they did it, these vestiges of communication, space exploration and scientific discovery will probably fall into decaying orbits. Eventually they could re-enter the atmosphere and fall burning to Earth as single shooting satellites and even perhaps spectacular satellite showers. In addition to being a beautiful sight to behold, the raining down of chunks of high technology will provide adventure to those that seek out the resulting smoking craters of hope. Although I don’t know what benefit they’ll gain from fused chunks of melted metal, plastic and ash.

On a related note, I’ve seen some science that indicates that the moon may be very slowly leaving. If true, this contradicts my next idea, but here it is anyway. At some point perhaps some future generations of survivors will be witness to a shooting moon. It sounds ridiculous but I picture myself standing in my yard and noticing the moon looming large upon the horizon. I think my reaction would be something like “Um…Uaaah.” No exclamation mark. A simple monotonous vocalization prior to vaporization.

Speaking of vaporization, I would be a terrible denizen of Post-Apocalyptia. If it was the case that I could do things without harming anyone else, for example if I was the only person left in my state or even my city, I would likely die by my own hand. I do enough stupid things now for the sake of entertainment. I’ll digress a moment to explain. A few days ago I planned to make a Halloween decoration. I bought a plastic skull on a pedestal and cut a hole in the top. I inserted a candle. I planned to answer my door on Halloween with this in my hand and an Alfred Hitchcocky “Goood Eevening” and then hand out the candy. My wife warned me to use an led candle. I rebelled, calling upon the value of authenticity and bought a wax candle. I lit it on the kitchen counter because I wanted wax to drip down on the skull. I then went to the bedroom to watch t.v. and be lazy. Several times I almost got up to get my glasses from the kitchen counter, but laziness won out until I smelled burning plastic. Even then it didn’t dawn on me. It wasn’t until the dog burst in and hid under my bedside table that I sprang to my feet, tripped over the dog and cursed my way to the kitchen to find that I’d need a new counter top and some flooring needed replaced. With this image in mind, picture a man crawling alone across the asphalt with two bloody stumps below his knees because he stood to close to a recreational explosion.

In the end, the attraction of Post-Apocalyptia is the inherent freedom. No more bills, no more job. Nothing but finding food, shelter and water and then doing whatever on Earth you want to. But in this case the ends certainly do not justify any means to bring about disaster.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…know that if the apocalypse happens, though I may enjoy it, I had nothing to do with it.

A don’t…worry if you scream at the sight of a shooting moon. It’ll probably be all you have time to do and no one will remember in a few seconds anyway.

If you enjoy my blog, feel free to visit my facebook page @williamennisauthor. My philosophy on writing is available there. Likes, follows and, of course, book purchases are always greatly appreciated. A portion of all royalties I receive will be donated to programs that focus on the strengthening and enrichment of families.