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In Praise of Gary

2005-03-15

Category: prose

You may remember that I will have purchased some time ago a box of assorted books from two hundred years from now. Many of them are antiques from the next few years. Because I don?t have anything better to post, here is an excerpt from a piece called ?In Praise of Gary?. I hope you enjoy it.

Gary was a city dweller who was granted a wish. Upset that he only got one wish instead of three, he wishes to be a god. The wish-granting entity claimed that the ?three wish? deal was invented by morons who had squandered their wishes but still wanted to pick up women. These losers often claimed that they were saving the other two wishes for the right gal. The wish was granted.

He found himself back in his apartment where his roommates were discussing the existence or nonexistence of Gary. Some thought he was made up and never existed. Some thought they remembered him existing but assume the real story of Gary was lost to time. His girlfriend, who was sure he existed, made a small shrine in his honor. He appeared to her and she went and told everyone else. That?s where the religion started.

A particular friend of the girlfriend was convinced of the reality of anything that sounded supernatural. As a result, this woman automatically believed in Gary with the slightest suggestion. Since she had an entire network of associates with similar attitudes, the belief in Gary spread rapidly.

Gary came to realize that he only existed when people remembered him and accepted his existence. He could communicate with or appear to those who believed already. He did everything he could to make people believe in him but it had to be done through his followers. When two different groups believed different things about Gary, he found himself in psychological turmoil as his reality tried to reconcile the beliefs. (The two primary groups argued over Gary?s favorite pizza. One side said pepperoni and the other said Italian sausage. As the argument grew more heated, each side came to believe that not only did Gary not like the other topping but also that it would make him ill. As a result, Gary found himself ravenous for both toppings and yet greatly sick after eating either of them.)

Unfortunately for Gary, he had no other god-like powers. Other than appearing before his believers and communicating with them, he could not do anything. He also had no extra knowledge. As a result, he could not explain things to his followers. They described that behavior as ineffable. Gary had to quickly have the word ?ineffable? explained to all his followers. Some thought that the word was censored, particularly the ?f? part and assumed that Gary had no masculine bits. Explaining the meaning of the word quickly restored Gary?s privates.

Eventually, he stopped trying to be believed in. With time, the last believers died off and went to Gary?s apartment for the rest of eternity. (Gary?s Apartment is a beautiful, rent-controlled place with plenty of room for everyone. There is always beer and pizza in the icebox. The plumbing always works. There are no cockroaches. The temperature is good all year round. The paint doesn?t peel. All the windows overlook the park. Every room is cable-ready. All the best restaurants deliver at no extra charge.) Gary lost consciousness.

Gary awoke in the far distant future to look down upon a homeless person who was handling a relic from the days of Gary. Gary thought hard and then decided not to appear before the new believer. The believer dropped the relic and went away. Gary smiled to himself and drifted off to sleep.


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