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String Theory

Chapter 1

It was yesterday, or perhaps the day before. No, yesterday and the day before were both Thursday— so it couldn't have been them. It most definitely happened on a Monday, Wednesday, Sunday, or Friday.

In fact, the past week has been Thursday so it couldn't have been then either. The week before that would have been Tuesday, so it must have been at least two weeks ago.

But that can't be right…

You see, the confusion is due to a company called SCC and their premier product: The Calendar. This device was supposed to read the appropriate astronomical data, adjust itself to your time and date system based upon that data, and henceforth keep an accurate record of the date and time.

However, the programmers were too preoccupied playing video games over the Intergalactic Network to be bothered to code it correctly. The result was a device that, no matter its position in the Universe, would announce consecutively for one week, the same name of a day of the week on the obscure planet called Earth (this is where the (limited) testing was done because real estate is relatively cheap there and the inhabitants are quite clueless).

Rather than correct the error, the SCC management paid the Intergalactic Lobbying Agency (whose slogan is "We'll lobby for anything so long as the price is right.") to pressure the IGGB-the Inter-Galactic Governing Body-to pass a law forcing everyone to change their calendar to that of the SCC's device.

An IGGB representative named Fluck Zootleberg finally introduced the bill-after being paid quite well by both the SCC and the Intergalactic Lobbying Agency.

His method was very simple: he tacked the desired text onto a behemoth spending bill--which he knew no one ever really read. The spending bill passed the IGGB Council with no opposition (despite the fact that it called for a three-thousand percent expenditure over the current intergalactic tax revenue).

So the new calendar regulation became law without anyone knowing it; and now, when they found out it about, it was either accept it, or face the insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles that stood in the way of changing the law (the largest, of which, was getting any politician to admit that they had passed a bad law)

So here we are: forced to use a dating system that can lead to extreme confusion-and embarrassment. The only entity who has actually benefited from this system is the government-and it took them ten full weeks of Thursdays to figure it out.

The technique they use is fairly elegant (in so much as anything any governing body does is elegant) and deeply rooted in the fact that politicians like only to engage in conversation in an election year--otherwise they prefer to be disconnected from the on goings of society and that tortuous business of intergalactic affairs. Ideally, in their mind, they'd never have to address the public at all-they'd just be elected by looks or family name; that way they'd be able to sit around all day passing laws about things they did not know or understand in the firm and comforting knowledge that they'd never be bound by those laws.

In an attempt to realize this dream, one particularly astute politician (in so much as any politician can be astute) noticed that if he said his press conference would be, say, Monday, that, due to the new dating system, there were actually several Mondays to choose from and no one would know which he intended. Therefore, he could say he meant this Monday even though the press thought he meant that Monday. The net result of this would be no more press conferences-at least until election time.

Soon other politicians noted his success and began initiating similar schemes to evade the press. This worked very well and good for the government officials and they enjoyed large stretches of time not talking to anybody or anything and remaining wholly content at being isolated from the happenings of the Universe.

That is, until one particularly annoyed reporter got it into her head to take up residence in the office lobby of the IGGB. She remained for four full Thursdays before one rather hapless politician unpleasantly wandered through and was immediately pummeled with a barrage of questions he was not in, nor ever in his entire political career had been in, a position to answer.

This politician, whose name is Pip Fvralmalstet, merely stood there dumbfounded until the reporter concluded her onslaught of inquiries which ranged from current legislative practice to the recent disappearance of an entire galaxy for no apparent reason other than it thought it was invisible. When Pip finally realized she had finished, he gave his official statement on the matter, which was that "the cheese will be delivered Thursday" and he promptly ran off as fast as he could down the hall and into the nearest room with a lock.

The reporter was eventually forced off the premises by the police three Thursdays and ten pounds of cheese later.

The official statement by Pip Fvralmalstet caused quite an uproar among the voters-who accused the IGGB of being precisely what they were: disconnected and apathetic to the functions of "the common entity." To this the most pompous and outspoken politician expressed publicly, and with violent gesticulations, that he was outraged and would be immediately forming a committee to investigate the validity of these allegations and said committee would then report its findings directly to the public.

Seventeen Mondays and 1023 Earth dollars later, the committee reported that Intergalactic Network Video Games were responsible for corrupting youth...and also causing the detachment of Pip Fvralmalstet (who is the only IGGB representative they found guilty of being "mildly unaware"). Also, the committee requested a further 1034 Earth dollars to buy equipment to be installed in every office of the IGGB so that each representative could "monitor" these games and come to conclusions on the appropriate legislation to be passed.

Being as so much time had passed, the public had no idea who the committee was nor why they were making an announcement, and so the populace listened to only the first two minutes of the broadcast-which contained only the bit about Intergalactic Video Games corrupting youth and nothing about the "mild unawareness" of Pip--and then switched to the all Sports Network. A week later, parents became enraged that Video Games were corrupting their children, stormed the IGGB buildings, were informed that a monitoring law was being proposed, were impressed by the expediency of the Council, became stout supporters of the bill, and were joyous when it finally passed.

This levity lasted quite a long time until the public noticed that the officials spent an inordinate amount of time "monitoring" the Intergalactic Network Video Games and very little time passing legislation, this--hold on a second, someone's at the door.

Now that's very odd. No one was at the door when I arrived, but there was this very nice package. Well, I might as well see what it is…


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.