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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #489
Procrastinates
David Gunn

The first mechanically produced book was printed in Europe in 1455 on a press invented by Johann Gutenberg. The Gutenberg Bible comprised 1,284 pages, each with two columns of text containing forty-two lines. At least, that was the conventional wisdom until Hijiki Koramasu discovered a forty-third line at the very bottom of 931 of those pages. The text had not previously been detected because its 0.035 font size was too tiny to be detected by the unaided eye. But Koramasu was Professor of Very Small Print at the University of Hummock-on-Smythe in southwesternmost Lincolnshire and used to looking for minusculities. The text was a mélange of Aramaic, Greek and Fennel, and eluded easy translation. So Koramasu showed it to a professor of Ancient Amalgamomics named Rotomondi. Even she was at first perplexed. The text did not follow what preceded it on the page. Only after careful research and reconstruction did she discover that the text was a linear stream of consciousness wholly unto itself that represented a previously unknown chapter of the Bible: The Book of Procrastinates.

Procrastinates drew its name from the often forgotten thirteenth Minor Prophet of the Old Testament. In Fennel-Greek, Procrastinates means to "put off doing something, especially out of habitual laziness or carelessness," and the eponymous prophet epitomized the definition. Although he flourished along with Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Beanolator and other preexilic prophets during the late seventh century BC, he postponed writing down his divinations until 1380 AD. "Haste maketh waste," Procrastinates often said, and he religiously lived by that proverb.

For many years, he also lived by the waters of Babylon, the hospitality mecca of Old Mesopotamia that was modeled after Long Island's popular bedroom community. It was there that he prophesied the parable of The Shaniganster:

     Into Babylon camest there once a man from a land far away in geographicality if the oddly patterened raiment in which he was clad was any indication. Wrapped was he in a robe of mauve and lichens, with indigenous insect life forming a kind of ambulatory bunting around the hem; thus was he an instant visual curiosity to the Babylonities. Gatheredeth they around him, the better to knoweth his intent, for if he was of the ilk that selleth wares of neither value nor warranty, they wanted of him nothing.
     Waitedeth he until around him were congregated a throng ten deep; then didst the man bow in humblement, produce a hat and wand from the entrails of his robe, tap the hat with the wand, and magically a rabbit out of the hat didst pull. Verily amazed were the crowd, whence a smattering of applause didst unbidden arise. But lo was the best yet to cometh. Arrangeth he then down upon a table three nutshells. Underneath one placeth he a golden coin of much value and desire; then shuffleth he the nutshells about whilst muttering "Round and round she goeth, where she stops, nobody knoweth," an incantation foreign indeed to the villagers. At last, stoppeth he the transit of the nutshells, and verily tappeth he them with the wand. Pointeth he then to the first of the three nutshells. The crowd as one shaketh their head. In like manner indicateth he the second of the three nutshells, and in like manner the crowd its collective head doth shaketh. Then pointeth he to the third of the three nutshells and, amidst great excitement, hath the crowd in agreement noddeth as to the final location of the golden coin. Verily didst the robed man remove from the table the third nutshell, and lo was the golden coin there not. A great surge of surprise gusheth forth from the gathered villagers, and they didst clappeth with fervor and puckered lips, the better to produce whistles of appreciation, and also presenteth him thus a maiden fair and available.
     Bowing in humblement again, holdeth he up his hands so as to lessen the tumult that he might speaketh. And lo, all was soon silent except for the quarreling of two harlots, who were discussing possession of the rabbit. Paying them no attention, the man sayeth "Listen to me, my Sons and Daughters, though not in the Biblical sense, and be attentive to the words which fall from my lips like unseeing camels over the edge of yonder precipice." So saying, didst he gesture towards a distant hillock upon which dromedaries of pleasant disposition grazed. Then suddenly didst they pitch over a retaining fence and falleth far and hard onto the vasty fields below. Continueth he then, saying, "Forsooth shall lucent water soon cover your lands and the sheep shall be reduced to stock; and lo from a distant urban area called Toupee shall there come a prophet bearing hairpieces, and these hairpieces shall be distributed to the floozies who launder the pants of judges; and therefore shall they be blessed with naphtha and kept clear of burrowing rodents, for the son of Naphtha, named Jedd, shall bestow halvah on all who have not let his name be ... well, I forget, but at this point it mattereth not. Selah, and thanketh I thee for thou fine maiden."
     Yea didst the utterance draw upon their countenances expressions most blank, and didst they their brows scratcheth in puzzlement, for sense to their heads made it none. Then, as didst the man beginneth to gather up his hat and nutshells, from the rear of the gathered crowd a boy aged no more than 12 but uncommonly wise in the ways of shenanigansters didst shout, "Verily looketh thee beneath the other two shells!" The man berobed of mauve and lichens hesitatedeth just a nonce, but long enough for a largely girthed villager to clampeth down his meaty hand over that of the stranger before the nutshells couldst removed be. Another villager turneth over the first of the three nutshells, whence nary a golden coin appeared; in like manner turneth he over the second nutshell, and again didst the golden coin emergeth not. A trice before the crowd realizedeth it had beswindlest been didst the robed man scoop up the nutshells and make his French leave, ditching the fair maiden so as not to his abrupt skedaddlement hamper. Verily didst the crowd give chase, but stoppeth they when the bruised and bewildered dromedaries camest they upon, in order that ruminantary succor couldst be given. And lo was the confidence man never seen again, although were his exploits heard of whenever village elders gathered weekly to fling halvah ... which, yea, another story beeth. Selah.

When he was eighty, Procrastinates made his last celebrated prophecy. He was one of several prophets who foresaw Pontius Pilate ordering the crucifixion of Christ due to an administrative error, but he alone divined that the Roman governor would also invent the Pilates Exercise Method, a body balancing technique that wouldn't catch on for another two thousand years.

Koramasu also discovered the world's first scratch 'n sniff patches cleverly embedded in the ink of some of the forty-third lines of text. Seeking a more sensitive olfactory organ than his own, he summoned Pingmater, the college's resident Nosologist, who scratched and sniffed the four and a half centuries old patches at length before announcing that they smelled a little like chicken.

Today's 489th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, on the other hand, smells a little like Southern California, a phenomenon that will be posthaste explained by the Sanctum Olfactorium we call Kalvos.