by Matt Fagan
Tell me about the strangest person you ever met.
I once knew a man who tried to understand everyone. He thought he could do it by knowing everything. First he learned the names of all the countries and all the races. He learned the names of all the religions and all of their deities.
Then he learned the names of all of the cities, and all of the buildings, and all of the jobs that people had in the buildings. But it wasn't enough. So he learned the names of all of the people who had the jobs, and the products they bought, and the food that they ate, and the farmers who grew the food that they ate.
He began to see people as little compartments of information. The information that each individual possessed would define their interests, their favorite things, and their areas of specialization. He felt that he had enough information to begin the real work. He set out to learn every detail about all the things he knew the names of. Then, he thought, he would understand why every person acted as they did. But when he had all the information to explain everyone else, it was so much that he lost sight of himself.
He couldn't sort his own interests, favorite things, and areas of specialization from all the information in his head.
Then his mind did what it could to solve the problem. It divided everything he knew back into little compartments of information. Within his mind, he constructed precise copies of all the people he had learned, filling him with their voices and desires. He contained them all. And that was the end of it.
He went insane?
No, you idiot, he became a god.
About the author:
From the Pacific Northwest to the Windy City, Matt Fagan has carved a path of artistic destruction through the heartland of America, marking his territory in such publications as Little Engines and McSweeney's along the way. He spends three quarters of every year getting ready for Halloween, but the rest of his time is devoted to writing and painting and producing his zine, Meniscus. If you're attempting to capture him, just place a can of OK Soda in a bear trap and wait for him to come hopping along: he always falls for that.