Friday, April 10, 2009

The Secrets of An Exclusive Secret Society Revealed

It's the first day of the Easter long weekend here in Canberra, and I am sitting in my bed with an espresso battling the cloying demons of memories of previous Easter long weekends. So, here I will give you a quick squib I wrote a while ago. Enjoy.

“Is that the office of some sort of a secret society or something, that ornate building you guys are exiting now?”
Me and Ronnie were dressed in lavender robes leaving the Osiris Temple. It was two in the morning and we were being accosted by some drunk too lonely to know not to talk to strange men late at night. Ronnie shook his head and told the guy that we were just renting the place out for a convention and so we didn’t know if it was a secret society or not, but wouldn’t it sure be funny if it was a secret society now, wouldn’t it!
And that’s one of the best things about being in a secret society: you get to tell people you are most definitely not in a secret society.

Conversations I get to have now that I’m in a Secret Society
GIRL: Wow, look at this, this guy at the Exclusive Hollywood Party, a photo of whom is in the tabloid entertainment magazine I am currently reading, he certainly looks a lot like you, isn’t that strange?
ME: Yes that is strange.
GIRL: And is that Scarlett Johannsen giving him a rather amorous kiss on his cheek?
ME: Yes. It appears to be so.
GIRL: That guy is very lucky, isn’t he.
ME: I agree wholeheartedly.

COLLEGE FRIEND: I didn’t know that you knew my (boss / girlfriend’s father / pastor) so well. Thanks a lot for getting me out of that jam I got myself into through of a startling lack of foresight and wisdom that unfortunately is well within character. If it wouldn’t have been for you I would have lost my (job / girlfriend / position in the church choir).
ME: It was no problem.
C.F.: And you know what’s weird, I just got my utility bill today, and there must be a problem with my meter, because now they’re actually giving me money. Can you believe that?
ME: Yes. Yes I can.

GUY AT A BAR, TO ME AND RONNIE: What was that elaborate, acrobatic handshake you guys just did? It wasn’t a secret handshake for some sort of secret society or anything, was it?
RONNIE: Of course not.
G.A.A.B.: Because whatever it was, it looked really awesome and I wish you could teach me.
RONNIE: We could, but then we would have to kill you.
RONNIE: That was a joke. We wouldn’t have to kill you.
ME: We’d just have to poke out your eyes.
RONNIE: Actually, we wouldn’t have to do anything. We have an army of thralls to do our dirty work for us.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: I bet you guys get up to some weird stuff. Probably with celebrities. And that it’s kinda gay.
And I’d say to you: The rituals of the Secret Society, while being continuously updated to reflect the changing times, are based on a proud tradition that dates back to the very founding of the Secret Society itself – which is a really mind-bogglingly long time ago (I can’t tell you how long ago, exactly, except that it pre-dated and was responsible for some pretty major milestones in the development of human culture, you’d be surprised) and while a few of these august rituals might seem a little, well, baroque to the outsider – even cruel – it’s still part of our tradition: and plus, they give the whole thing a sort of dangerous mystique which is so very integral to the proper coolness of a secret society.
And of course there are celebrities. But not the ones you’d expect. And they all go by their real names. And are a lot of fun at Charades, which, while not our official party game, is pretty close. Our official party game is one of our closest guarded secrets.

You know, the power, the celebrity friends, the parties – all of that is great. But it doesn’t make me happy.
What does make me happy is this. I get to go through the boring shit I have to do every day to keep up appearances and I know that underneath it all, behind the hours of work, beneath the restaurants and bars and strip-malls, lurking inside the television news broadcast smiles and the scientific discoveries there works a hidden but understandable intelligence. And it’s especially cool to know that I have some power over this intelligence. I live a parallel life in which the curtain hiding the truth of reality has been pulled back, and I can smile at the futility of it all, and the majesty. Which is pretty cool.

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