Was it just me, or were lights flickering and dying all over the world back in December of 2000?
I had moved to Baltimore/D.C. earlier that year to get in on the political action. After months of campaigning and organizing in Virginia and Maryland, a couple of my hippie friends from Clean Water Action found me and scraped me off the the floor of the Democratic Convention Center in Delaware the morning after the big election; drunk as hell, bewildered, and disillusioned.
Shortly afterwards I moved back to Texas. I had left Austin in the middle of a tech boom that had me living pretty damn well constructing modems and motherboards, and when I returned all my school, qualifications, and training got me was a job delivering pizzas...
One day, while stopping to refuel during a delivery, I couldn't help but notice a strange yellow station wagon at the pump across from me. The side windows were solidly papered over with what appeared to be densely typeset newsprint.
As I glanced, and odd, bald, gangly character ambled from the convenience store, muttering under his breath and looking like an unnerving, hatless, tweedy Willy Wonka. When he noticed me regarding his vehicle he gave a pleasant wave...
"Allo!" he cried. "Do you consider yourself political?"
I gave a sheepish affirmative.
"And," he asked, "do you consider yourself a supporter of independent, self-published writers?"
I gave a sheepish affirmative.
"One moment, then..." he replied, leaning in and digging through the back seat of the station wagon. Then with a dramatic flourish that seemed strangely reptilian, he swished a black folder into my hand.
"I would really appreciate it if you would assist with my distribution. I don't ask for any money, but if you could just give these out to some of your close friends, who knows?"
He then gave a sly wink...
"We may just change the world!"
With the folder in my passenger's seat, I gave it little thought for the rest of the evening.
When I finally did have a chance to peruse the folder, I recoiled in horror. It was several dozen pages of densely packed, heavily Xeroxed text. Articles were laid haphazardly across each other, each rendering the other illegible. Crudely pornographic caricatures of current celebrities framed curse-filled rants. Most of the content seemed to be revolved around either his personal (or maybe just acquired) research on Gulf War Syndrome, but he seemed to also be vehemently against vending machines in schools, fluoride, and the Canadian government. It was hard to discern the exact focus, however, especially considering every other line demanded the reader "get back in the pen with the other sheep if you don't understand what's going on around you..."
Wow, I thought to myself... I just found myself in direct contact with a dangerously crazy person.
And then sometimes, the older and more hopeless I feel these days, I can't help wondering whether or not I just got a glimpse into my future... How few days are left before I completely lose the last of my hair and my sanity and travel the country in a beat-up yellow station wagon, spreading entropy.