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Saturday, June 21, 2003
EMAIL QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Pete, you're either an utter genius or a complete idiot. I haven't decided which yet."


Once again, the time is fast approaching for the latest of 'net-inspired "holidays". Yes, June 26 is officially "KOOKS' DAY" or, as they call it in Canada, "All Kooks' Day."

KOOK (n.) a person regarded as silly, eccentric, crazy, etc.

The holiday is inspired by, and celebrated on the date of the death of, Earl Curley - self-proclaimed psychic, 'net rabble-rouser, and a man whose biggest claim to fame was being sued by uberskeptic James Randi.

It was started a year to the date of Curley's death by 'net users who, ah, missed his unique brand of kookiness and wanted to honor (?) his "contributions" to the field.

Ironically, while the Internet has raised the level of infamy a kook can reach globally, it has also been instrumental in lowering the bar of kookdom in general.

Once upon a time, one had to be truly kooky to earn - yes, earn! - the title of Kook. It used to be, in most families, that eccentric uncle who was considered a kook. Nowadays, in this 'net "family", everybody *and* their mother might be labeled a kook.

Case in point, one person currently posting heavily to Usenet newsgroups who many call "kook" is, in reality, little more than an astrologer with very poor social skills and a bad temper.

Other mislabeled "kooks":

The overmedicated. The under medicated. Speed freaks. Neat freaks. Ultra-right wingers. Hippified tree-huggers. The mildly depressed. The sexually repressed. Headbangers. Racist ballplayers. Sex chat room men - and the women who love them. News junkies. Regular junkies. Third-party candidates and their political flunkies. Those who go on faith. Uberskeptics with no faith in their fellow man. Huffers. Tweakers. Guys wearing oversized pants and unlaced sneakers. The paranoid. The unfriendly. Anyone at a karaoke bar performing a Neil Diamond medley.

Then again, perhaps it's just me.

My first 'kook' was such classic kookdom that, maybe, he ruined it for all of those who followed.

You be the judge.


(Warning: Due to content the following might be objectionable to some. Please, if offended by sexual overtones, *skip* this account.)

Some 15-odd years ago, while waiting to board a Greyhound bus at 2AM, I looked up to see a peculiar sight.

An old, slightly balding man with two days' worth of stubble pacing back and forth. He wore faded jeans covered with red markered phrases written down his pant legs. "Democrats are Communists", "Reagan was Right" and "Jesus is Coming - Are You Ready?" leapt from his legs. He carried a large white box under his arm.

As the terminal loudspeaker that announced my bus was boarding, I must have been vibing like a kook magnet because this man made a beeline towards me.

"This your bus?" he asked.

When I answered in the affirmative, he said, "Mine too! You mind helping me?" and pointed to a second box a few feet away.

I had no luggage. I had gotten a cheap, visceral thrill from his pants. So I helped him with the other box.

On board, the man stuffed his boxes overhead and then sat down next to me. As the bus began its journey into night, he said, "Do you like my pants? My name is Hugh Clayton, but I'm sometimes known as 'Chickenman'."

The nickname should've been a big clue as to what would follow, but I was still young and oh-so naive.

As the bus drove on, 'Chickenman' explained his mission. He had one thousand copies of a many-paged manifesto, which he was taking to Washington DC to give to as many Republican congressional members as he could.

He didn't plan to give any to the Democrats, calling them, "a collection of liberal degenerates, militant homosexuals, slobs, bums, traitors and worthless bureaucrats." He added, "They should all be executed if you ask me."

"Aren't you being a little rough?" I asked.

"No, not at all," he exclaimed, "Give them even one inch and they'll run right over you. See, you're young but I've been around. I'm 52 years old. I was once a psychologist. I graduated from Harvard."

As the road went on, 'Chickenman' railed against smokers, social drinkers, overeaters, those who watch "low grade TV" and people who don't wash often enough.

He spoke of the younger generation who, in his experience, was a collection of "dense blockheads" and "base idiots". People with no brains who, in his words, "have no business throwing their half-witted anomalies in society's face" by reproducing.

After over an hour of his monologue, Clayton got uncharacteristically quiet for a few minutes.

He then leaned over and whispered, in an almost conspiratorial tone, "Want me to feel your cock?"

"No," I replied, "I'm a bit tired from traveling and think I'd rather try to sleep a bit."

Yeah, like I'd be caught sleeping on the bus at that point.

Becoming a bit flustered, he stammered something about how he thought that was a good idea himself, so 'Chickenman' quickly got up and moved down the aisle, finally reseating himself some seven rows back.

Later, as the bus pulled into the next city, I felt a hand on my shoulder.

I looked up to see 'Chickenman' standing there.

He thrust a thick, red book at me.

"I want you to have this book," he said. As I took it in my hand, he quickly turned around and went back to his seat.

I peered more closely at the worn book he had given me.

It was, evidently, his personal a copy of Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

Fully annotated and highlighted throughout by 'Chickenman' himself, with plenty of hand written notes in the page margins.

That was the last I heard from Hugh "Chickenman" Clayton. Gone, but not forgotten, as I don my tin-foil hat and remember him on this, the most special of days, "Kooks' Day" - June 26th.

So, I hope you'll join me and celebrate by getting a little crazy!


NOTE TO READERS: If you haven't read the early ARCHIVES yet, and want to do so, now would be the time. Nov-Jan won't be available as of next week.

posted by Pete 12:49 AM
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