Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Mein Gott! This is the greatest thing ever! I think I've found my new religion, or philosophy, or something. Actually, I don't believe in any one religion, I believe in all of them, or at least parts of all of them. So the most accurate thing to say would be that I will incorporate large parts of this new philosophy into mine. But seriously, this is just amazing.

Anyway, the complete document is here, but here are a few highlights:

...And thus I met Timothy F.X. Finnegan, Dean of the Royal Sir Myles na gCopaleen Astro-Anomalistic Society, Dalkey, sometime lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin, and founder of the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal.

In fact, Prof. Finnegan signed me up as a member of CSICON that very night, in the Plough and Stars pub over our ninth or tenth pint of Ireland's most glorious product, linn dubh, known as Guiness to the ungodly.

Now I hear that Prof. Finnegan has died, or at least they took the liberty of burying him, and I feel that the world has lost a great man.

The Commitee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal (CSICON) , however, lives on and deserves more attention than it has received hitherto. Prof. Finnegan always asserted that the idea for CSICON derived from a remark passed by an old Dalkey character named Sean Murphy, in the Goat and Compasses pub shortly before closing time on 23 July 1973.

Actually, it started with two old codgers named O'Brian and Nolan discussing the weather. "Terrible rain and wind for this time of year," O'Brian ventured.

"Ah, faith," Nolan replied, "I do not believe it is this time of year at all, at all."

At this, Murphy spoke up. "Ah, Jaysus," he said, "I've never seen a boogerin' normal day." He paused to set down his pint, then added thoughtfully, "And I never met a fookin' average man neither"

...But Murphy's simple words lit a fire in the subtle and intricate brain of Timothy F.X. Finnegan, who had just finished his own fourteenth pint (de Selby says his fifteenth pint). The next day the aging Finnegan wrote the first two-page outline of the new science he called patapsychology, a term coined in salute to Alfred Jarry's invention of pataphysics.

Finnegan's paper began with the electrifying sentence, "The average Canadian has one testicle, just like Adolph Hitler -- or, more precisely, the average Canadian has 0.96 testicles, an even sadder plight than Hitler's, if the average Anything actually existed." He then went on to demonstrate that the normal or average human lives in substandard housing in Asia, has 1.04 vaginas, cannot read or write, suffers from malnutrition and never heard of Silken Thomas Fitzgerald or Brian Boru. "The normal," he concluded "consists of a null set which nobody and nothing really fits."

Thus began the science of Patapsychology, Prof. Finnegan's most enduring,and endearing, contribution to the world -- aside from the computer-enhanced photos of the Face on Mars with which he endeavored to prove that the Face depicted Moishe Horwitz, his lifelong mentor and idol. This, of course, remains highly controversial, especially among disciples of Richard Hoagland, who believe the Face looks more like the Sphinx, those who insist it looks like Elvis to them, and the dullards who only see it as a bunch of rocks.

...Patapsychology begins from Murphy's Law, as Finnegan called the First Axiom, adopted from Sean Murphy. This says,and I quote,"The normal does not exist. The average does not exist. We know only a very large but probably finite phalanx of discrete space-time events encountered and endured." In less technical language, the Board of the College of Patapsychology offers one million Irish punds [around $700,000 American] to any "normalist" who can exhibit "a normal sunset, an average Beethoven sonata, an ordinary Playmate of the Month, or any thing or event in space-time that qualifies as normal, average or ordinary."

In a world where no two fingerprints appear identical, and no two brains appear identical, and an electron does not even seem identical to itself from one nanosecond to another, patapsychology seems on safe ground here.

No normalist has yet produced even a totally normal dog, an average cat, or even an ordinary chickadee. Attempts to find an average Bird of Paradise, an ordinary haiku or even a normal cardiologist have floundered pathetically. The normal, the average, the ordinary, even the typical, exist only in statistics, i.e. the human mathematical mindscape. They never appear in external space-time, which consists only and always of nonnormal events in nonnormal series.

Thus, unless you're an illiterate and malnourished Asian with exactly 1.04 vaginas and 0.96 testicles, living in substandard housing, you do not qualify as normal but as abnormal, subnormal, supernormal, paranormal or some variety of nonnormal.


I strongly advise you read the entire document. I think I'm gonna go order a CSICON t-shirt now.


The Hell law says that Hell is reserved exclusively for them that believe in it.
Further, the lowest Rung in Hell is reserved for them that believe in the supposition
that they'll go there if they don't believe in it.
-- HBT; The Gospel According to Fred, 3:1