A satirical irony or ironical satire - depending on your point of view.
|It started the way all insanity starts, with two opposing ideas. Someone has a thought then someone else has to put in their two cents, sometimes just to cause trouble, sometimes with a legitimate thought.
The same thing has occurred throughout history, again and again. Of course, not all of them made it into the history books, good thing too, no one really wants to know how much stupidity humans are capable of.
This time it is a symbol that is causing all the trouble. A symbol found in a cave to be more precise.
The cave is a recent find. The drawings on the walls of the cave are the oldest ever found to date. Unfortunately part of the cave was destroyed along with an entire wall of drawings.
Except for one piece that was found intact laying amongst the rubble. That piece contained a symbol. It looked like a "Y". Of course that depends on who you ask. There are some that think the "Y" is supposed to be turned upside down.
Personally, I think someone was just trying to cause trouble. But, since I wasn't there when this all started I can't say for sure.
It takes just three things for something stupid to become something insane and thereby making it into the history books.
First is the original idea.
Now, the people that discovered this cave with its ancient cave paintings were just ordinary people. That is to say, they were not archaeologists, paleontologists, or any other -gists. They were just a group of friends on a camping trip that just happened upon this cave.
The drawings in this cave are said to be very God-like. Which means there are a lot of crosses, hand prints, and the like. It is said to be a very spiritual experience to walk in there. The majority of the population will never know this experience, we must rely on pictures - which apparently don't do it justice - and the constant ramblings of those lucky few that have seen it.
One of the original group happens to be the brother of a priest. His name is Ted and he is the one with the original idea. His first thought upon seeing the cave was of one being in the presence of God, so when they found the intact "Y" among the debris of the broken wall his idea was that it depicted man praising God.
Such a simple and non-threatening idea.
The second thing required for insanity to reign is the rebuttal.
That came with the first round of visitors to the cave. It was a very prestigious group which included a priest widely known for his Devil's advocate attitude. So when the new group was informed of the simple idea for the lone "Y", Gary, the priest with the attitude, just had to interject.
"Actually," he said with a smile, "it is probably an upside down "Y" and more closely represents God's love descending from the heavens and spreading across the Earth."
And thus it began.
Ted, a teacher by the way, still feels his version is the correct one.
Gary is of course adamant that his is.
It would have ended here, it should have ended here, except for one thing, element number three.
To make sure your insanity makes it into the history books you need widespread media coverage.
In this instance the media didn't just run with it, they threw it out of the ballpark.
The Media, in all its wisdom, started calling Ted and his supporters the Typophets, for "written truth", and Gary and his supporters the Chirophets, for "professional truth". Those in the media business always feel the need to name things, especially opposing groups. For some reason the names they choose tend to stick even if the groups in question already have their own names. Soon enough everyone will be calling them whatever the media decided to call them.
So now we have the Typophets and the Chirophets going at each other on a daily basis for the enjoyment of the entire world.
Even after all of this you would think the furor would have eventually died off. Every time it appeared to be fading the media would come up with a new spin on it or one of the groups would do something even more stupid to add to the drama. People love drama. Any drama. They devour it.
The Typophets became more and more media hungry. They didn't care which media - television, newspaper, internet, even small town papers would do - they were more than happy to supply the most recent reporter with whatever made them happy enough to write about the Typo's once again.
The Chirophets became more disgusted. Every time the Typophets stirred up the media the Chirophets dug their heels in even more. Now it was a matter of pride. They felt the Typophets were too self absorbed to glean what God wanted from a lowly "Y".
The verbal jousting continued. More and more people joined one group or the other. Small towns were split in two as both sides decided they could not possibly live in the same vicinity as the other. Insanity reigned.
Now, to be fair, not everyone participated in the debacle. Some sat it out, stoically hoping and praying the stupidity would end so that they could get back to their normal routines. And, most importantly, they never wanted to hear about that stupid little "Y" ever again!
Unfortunately for them the insanity was just getting started.
It got to a point where some of the Chirophets could stand it no more. Took them a lot longer than any normal person. At any rate, they decided it would be great fun to go around turning all the Typophets signs upside down. Not just the extraordinarily plentiful yard signs, but every sign, banner, bumper sticker, and what have you that they could get their hands on.
Soon enough everyone was a Chirophet.
Of course it didn't last long.
The Typophets were not amused.
The Chirophets involved claimed it was just a harmless prank. The Typophets felt otherwise and loudly voiced their disapproval to anyone with the media that was willing to listen.
Then, when things had sufficiently calmed down, the Chirophets suddenly found all of their upside down deep red "Y's" had been painted over with bright blue upside right "Y's". The furor could probably be heard on the other side of the planet. It was not the fact of the paint over itself, it was the property damage that upset them the most. After all, the Chirophets did not actually damage anything by turning things around, the Typophets on the other hand, crossed the line. The property damage alone would cost thousands of dollars to repair and that does not include the time it would take to have everything remade.
The Chirophets demanded arrests be made and those accountable should pay for the damage. That, of course, did not happen. The police could not seem to find any evidence against the Typophets or anyone else for that matter. No one saw anything.
The Chirophets were furious.
They say revenge is best served cold. The Chirophets took that to heart. Needless to say, the Typophets were very nervous to start with, eventually they became downright paranoid. They started blaming the Chirophets for every little thing that went wrong, if a printer broke then obviously it was sabotaged by some crass upside downer! If a banner fell during a gathering, a Chiro had to have loosened it somehow. Soon even the media was poking fun at the obvious paranoia of the Typo's.
The Chirophets thought it was hysterical.
The Typophets paranoia grew by leaps and bounds.
Something was bound to give or, in this case, bring it all to a boil.
And that something happened to be named Jack. To his credit, Jack belonged to neither group, he was one of those patiently waiting for the insanity to end.
Jack happened to get an invite to see the cave. We won't mention how much work or how many favors he had to wrangle in order to get that invite. Jack after all was just an ordinary guy, meaning, like the original finders of the cave, he wasn't one of the -gists either. Jack was the proud owner of a printing shop. Until he went to the cave, Jack was your average Joe.
Jack didn't go there with the intention of discovering something. He went to the cave because he really wanted to see it - this amazingly spectacular cave that everyone was talking about.
While he was there he did have an epiphany. You may even call it a splash of spiritual insight or you may even say God spoke to him. There will be many such speculations I am sure of that!
Just to the right of the destroyed section of wall Jack discovered a symbol. It had been there all along of course, and even documented, photographed, seen, and just as quickly put on the back burner for later since it was determined to not be very important.
When Jack saw the symbol up close and in person with all of its scratches and gouges from the original making of it, he realized what it meant. If he was correct, it was the most important symbol in the cave.
The minute he got back home he set to work. He knew what he had to do in order to prove to the world that he was right about what the symbol meant.
He worked tirelessly for seven days. He did not turn on the television or the radio. He did not even answer the phone. The work was important, the work had to be finished before the lunacy of the Typophets and Chirophets escalated any further.
If he had just answered his phone, he would have realized that he was out of time.
Finally he was finished. His sign was perfect, a body board, with the same message on both sides. He had a large cross body bag that he wore underneath the sign, filled to brimming with buttons bearing the all important symbol. And last, but not least, he had a stack of flyers showing his discovery with the utmost precision and step-by-step diagrams.
For, you see, what Jack discovered, the symbol that stood out for him, was the six-pointed star. You ask yourself what in the world does a six-pointed star have to do with a "Y" no matter which angle it rests?
Easy, what Jack saw up close and personal was that the "Y" had been carved into the wall in the upside right position and then in the upside down position - right over the top - which created the six-pointed star.
Both sides were correct.
Both sides were wrong.
Both symbols are necessary to create the one symbol of power. The six-pointed star - a symbol of strength and unity. Mans outstretched arms accepting God's love and God's outstretched arms bestowing man with His love.
Jack called his group, he was very sure he would have one, the Esemphets, for "unifying truth".
He wrote the name on the signs, the buttons, and the flyers to make sure the media could not come up with a name of their own.
Finally, he was ready. He donned his cross body bag and body board sign. The boards were a bit short, sitting just below his belt. That was probably for the best, the message was short too. The entire center depicted a bright blue right side up "Y" with a Deep red upside down "Y" over the top making the center, where they intersected, a nice purple hexagon. Purple being the result of combining blue and red. Across the top, in that nice purple, was the word "Unification" and across the bottom, in that same purple, "Esemphet". The back was a duplicate of the front.
The flyers showed the union of the two symbols in more detail and with a lot more information added, to make sure everyone would understand.
The buttons contained the blue, red, and purple symbol with the word "Esemphet" in a half moon shape across the bottom.
Locking up his shop, he still hadn't checked his phone, Jack headed downtown on foot. It was only a few blocks from his place of business. Good thing he decided to walk, after a block or two he found the streets backed up clear to the city center.
As he walked he couldn't help but think that maybe he was too late. First he passed small groups of angry faces, then larger ones, and even some antagonizing each other. But no outright violence, so maybe he was just in time. He handed out buttons and flyers as he went to anyone who would take one. The closer he got to the city center the louder things got.
Rounding the last corner he stumbled into a group of children. They stared at him all wide eyed and teary cheeked. A small girl pointed to his sign and asked what it meant. He explained the best he could, passed out some buttons, and hurried on his way.
His only thought, "the insanity needs to stop!"
Jack approached group after group, offering up flyers and buttons, explaining his theory as best he could. Some turned their backs and stormed off, some yelled, others screamed their anger, and still others threw things at him, usually rocks, but then, there were a couple here and there, that actually listened. They asked questions, they took buttons, they were interested.
These types of insanity, the ones that make it into the history books, tend to breed just one thing, Hate. It festers. It grows. Eventually it boils over into complete stupidity.
Jack didn't get far before Hate found him. He never heard the gun. He never heard the screams. He was dead before he hit the ground.
The paramedics arrived in a timely fashion, not that it mattered to Jack. They removed his sign board, laying it on the ground, and his bag, setting it on top of the sign, then went through the motions they do when called to help. Chaos erupted around them in spurts and sputters. They were in such a hurry to leave they left the sign and bag right there on the sidewalk.
Amanda stared down at the pile of stuff left behind. An Esemphet button hung haphazardly from her shirt, it was the best she had been able to accomplish. After Jack had stopped and explained the symbol to Amanda and her friends, she had followed him.
The gun shot had scared her half to death. Looking at the guy she had been following lying in a growing puddle of blood, his eyes open and blank, probably scarred her for life. And yet, she stood looking down at the now blood spattered sign. She knew what she had to do. She knew what it might cost.
Slowly she picked up the bag and pulled the strap over her head. The bag hung to the tops of her tennis shoes. Then, with some effort, and a bit of a struggle, she managed to wriggle into the sign. It hung just past her knees, banging into them as she walked.
If she could find her parents in the melee, then, maybe, she would be okay. They would do everything they could to protect their child. Walking as fast as she could so encumbered, she made her way through the chaos.
She did not stop to talk. She did not hand out any buttons or flyers. She searched for her protectors.
Amanda found her parents at almost the exact moment that Hate found her.
Though she did not stop to explain the symbol she wore so boldly, They saw her. Those already consumed with Hate saw the sign. They saw the two symbols, the red and the blue, so proudly displayed together. Their fury could not be contained.
All Amanda saw was her parents, relief filled her being. She did not see the baseball bat racing towards her small head. Her parents cried out, screaming as they ran for their baby. They did not get there in time. The blow knocked the child several feet down the sidewalk, her body skidding to a stop in front of one of the many reporters on the scene.
The parents descended upon their child, finding her still alive, they removed the strange contraption covering her and the large bag from over her small shoulders then gingerly picked her up and headed for the hospital.
Jillian stared at the blood spattered sign lying on the ground. Even upside down she could see clearly what it meant. Still, she plucked a flyer from the bag, just to be sure.
Her heart swelled with the truth of it. Then she suddenly remembered why she wanted to be a reporter in the first place. To spread truth to the masses. An unbiased, unfiltered, flood of information. Facts laid out for the people to decide for themselves.
And now the truth lay before her. She had no idea how the child had come by it. she had even less of an inkling that there were more than one set of blood spatters on that sign. She only knew it to be the truth and her moral salvation.
She turned to her cameraman and found they were still live, the little green light glowing steadily. Quickly composing herself she held the flyer up so the camera could capture the entirety of it. Then she did her best to explain to whomever may be watching what she thought it meant. Jillian made sure to say what was conjecture on her part and what was fact based on the evidence on hand. As she talked a peace settled over her, she was finally the reporter she had always wanted to be.
When she finished, the camera still live, she retrieved the sign and pulled it over her head. Once she finished adjusting it to its proper position, she flung out her arms, posing for the camera.
Jillian, so engrossed in her self revelation, failed to see the mass of axe wielding Hate bearing down on her.
And now I am the one that needs to make a choice, me, your faithful story teller, and brother to Jack.
When Jack returned from his trip to the "God" cave we talked about his findings. He told me his plan, I thought it was a good plan. But, I begged, "wait for me to get there, I want to make sure you are safe."
He was of the opinion that the truth would bring everyone together. They would all see it just as he had. Differences would be set aside, polite society would return.
"Nevertheless," I told him, "I still want to be there."
"We will see how it all plays out," were the last words my brother spoke to me.
I called repeatedly.
I left messages dutifully.
I got here as fast as I could.
I was not fast enough.
When I got to his home I found it empty. The same with his office.
By talking to everyone I came in contact with I was able to follow Jack's epiphany to its very bloody end.
Not it lay there tauntingly silent. The truth always crept in quietly, slowly seeping into the consciousness with a sudden awareness, thus called an epiphany.
The difference between Jack, Amanda, Jillian, and myself - I brought friends. Twelve of them. Soldiers all.
I pick up the bloody satchel and slip the strap over my head, then I proceed to hand out a button to each of my friends.
My friends quickly don their buttons then eleven of them take up their posts; shoulder to shoulder, backs to me, batons out, weapons holstered and ready, creating a safe circle around me. The last one goes to find Jillian's cameraman, the van is still here, he can't be far.
I pick up the sign. The back is a bloody mess with a wedge missing at the top. The front has many blood spatters but is still bright and legible. It will do. I pull the contraption over my head.
A short time later my friend reappears with a very pale cameraman in tow. Luckily he had the sense to hang onto his camera.
The circle enlarges enough to add the last of the twelve leaving me and the cameraman in the center. I hold out my hand and introduce myself, warily he takes it and says his name is Sam.
I tell Sam what I need from him, then wait patiently while he calls his station and sets things up.
Another short time later and everyone is ready. Sam sets up the camera and lets me know when we are live.
I take a deep calming breath, then, "Hello everyone, my name is David, and I'm going to tell you a story..."