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by: Max Burbank

I have been called at times directionless. An underachiever. Lacking in ambition, overly content, At seventeen, a tarot reader at a psychic fair in the food court at the Methuen Mall told me I wasnít living up to even half my full potential. A hell of a stretch, making that observation of a seventeen year old guy with the kind of bushy muttonchop sideburns the late 70ís not only allowed but encouraged. Adding insult to injury, she wasnít reading my cards when she made her analysis. I wasnít even in line. She had to lean around my stepmother and point at me. I thought to tell her that she was living up to her full potential, telling fortunes in a food court, but unfortunately the thought occurred about six hours after it would have been funny to say it. 

I want to state here, on the record, none of these assessments are true. I have a goal, a lofty one. F.E.T.A. I want to bring about Forced Enlightenment Through Absurdity.

Forced Enlightenment Through Absurdity
The Official F.E.T.A. Logo

Iím rarely one to advocate political violence. Iím adamantly opposed to capitol punishment, I abhor terrorism in any form and sadly, history shows revolution almost always leads to nothing more than a shift in what group is abusing whom. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. That being said, Iíd like to advocate for political violence for my cause. At least once. I mean, come on, be fair.

To achieve F.E.T.A. someone has to die. Even God required a blood sacrifice to get the whole Christianity thing going. How could He have known St. Paul would turn such a nice hippie dippy, vaguely commie religion into a global corporate engine of doom churning out such notable atrocities as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Pope at Avignon and the annual East Lawn Easter Egg Roll Off? Actually, ĎHeí being omnipotent, pretty much had to know. So scrap that line of argument. My point is, for me to get what I want, someone needs to get croaked. A big someone. A Page One someone. John Lennon big, Kennedy big.

Itís possible I waited too long. I donít just need Big, I need Blameless. This death has to be tragic and pointless. I had Mother Theresa in mind, but then she went and died of old age which I think was selfish. And you know what? Blamelessness pretty much went with her. I canít think of anyone currently famous who there isnít some good reason to kill. So for the sake of argument and until I can find another likely candidate lets pretend Mother Theresa is still alive, still doing her  good works with lepers, just hanging out being saintly so I can have her killed.

Now letís pause for a minute here. Imagine your reaction to the news that Mother Theresa has been brutally assassinated. Shock. Horror. Why would anyone do this? Twenty four hour news coverage saying the same few things, showing the same few minutes of video over and over, humanity coming together to grieve as one... and then imagine, on a worldwide scale that there was no clear, unconflicted way to experience any of these emotions.

Anybody out there familiar with the Chicken Gun? Developed by The Experimental and Applied Mechanics Division at UDRI, (the University of Dayton Research Institute), itís a compressed-gas gun, with a 30-foot  long, seven-inch diameter barrel designed to simulate birds hitting different sections of an aircraft at up to 900 mph. Itís a huge cannon that fires chickens bodies.

Picture for a moment the kind of damage a nice ten pound Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster traveling at 900 MPH could do to a diminutive, elderly, brittle boned, innocent Nun. 

Now. What would the banner headline on the New York Times say? How would Dan Rather break the news? Could Letterman and Leno just ignore it that night, pretend it didnít happen? The leader of the free world would have  to say something, wouldnít he? George W has enough trouble saying what he wants for breakfast without making a howler.

True, plenty of cynical bastards would laugh freely, but theyíd have laughed no matter how she got whacked because thatís what cynical bastards do when someone important dies unless itís Joey Ramone. But what about everybody else? How would they process the information?  Wouldnít the pope have to speak at her funeral? And what if instead of "Ave Maria", Julio Iglasias sang "I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight"? Would anyone ever do the Chicken Dance at a wedding again?

I believe this act of senseless, violent absurdity would cause a wave of cognitive dissonance that could cleanse the world. For a good, solid chunk of time no one would be able to worry about bills or yell at the neighbor kid or yammer pointlessly into the cell phone while burning a gallon a mile out their bloated, dangerous, ugly, SUV that cost more than a condo and never once got mud above the wheel rims and never will, or muster the kind of focused concentration really conscientious ethnic cleansing requires. Theyíll all be caught in that special place where you have to laugh but you canít, not just because youíre not allowed to or supposed to but because itís just plain wrong to laugh in this situation except you have to because this saintly woman who only did the things we all ought to do but donít because of how wound up we are in our own petty needs and desires died of a dead chicken flying removing her pancreas at 900 MPH.

But Mother T. is gone and there are no candidates as good as her for the role of poultry martyr. While Iíd personally like to aim my chicken gun at Michael Stipe, that would be just some damn good comedy and couldnít create the cathartic paralysis Iím looking for. So things are on hold for me and my little movement. At least for now. And this creates the illusion that Iím not doing much of anything with my life.

But you know what? If thatís your attitude, Iíd keep your mouth shut. Because while no one out there looks ready to fill Mother Theresaís sensible Nun shoes just yet, Iím going to need some target practice. I wouldnít want to miss when the big day finally comes.

note: F.E.T.A. has no affiliation with P.E.T.A. Although if a F.E.T.A. member wanted, he or she could aim that chicken gun at a P.E.T.A. member to really stir things up.

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