>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson

January 7, 2007

Essential New Word of the Week: victory scatter (definition hint: the agony of defeat)

I live and work in the downtown core of a big city, so owning a car is prohibitively expensive and impractical. Sure, it would be nice to ride to the convenience store in comfort so I can be in a good mood when I buy cheese-covered mystery loaf, but I get by. Girls I date don’t even mind, as long as I convince them I’m actually a crusader for the environment as opposed to a cheapskate.

I can occasionally cadge a lift, but circumstances dictate that I be a frequent user of good ol’ reliable public transit. There’s plenty to hate about it, but there’s one aspect that burns me worse than the rash I might be contracting from the delightfully sticky vinyl-esque seats: All thecrazyfucks I have to deal with every day.

One time a guy sat next to me with dozens of green twist ties poking out of his nose. I tried not to stare for a while, but if you’re riding the subway with a nose full of twist ties, I have to think you’re enjoying the attention, not the scent. After that, I tried to think of some preventative tactics. I started wearing some badass clothes so no one would sit next to me, but let’s face it: a twentysomething suburban Jewish kid can only look so tough, no matter how much metal is on his leather jacket.

“With the reintroduction of slavery, the Vice President could finally build that enormous golden palace he’s been hankering for.”

Here’s another story that typifies this type of bother. Last week, as I entered a subway station, a Jamaican man accosted me and my friend. I know he was Jamaican because he smelled delicious and his hat was extra poofy. He offered to sell me a subway pass at a significant discount. Without even using my Batcomputer, I soon spotted several holes in his awesome money-saving opportunity.

I told him I’d rather spend the extra money for a pass not written on burlap, in pencil crayon. Half thinking out loud, I said to my buddy as we left, “Another subway pass con.” The dude’s super hobo hearing must have kicked in, and he hollered at us: “Con!? It’s not a con! Enslaving the black man—that’s the true con!”

I’m a pretty good arguer, but by pulling the slavery card, this guy vaporized me pre-emptively. All I could do was look disgusted and pretend I didn’t speak English. I guess he had a right to be pissed, but not at me. I live in a country where slaves could escape to. I won’t even be Facebook friends with someone who owns a slave. At least, that’s how I used to feel. After playing the victim in this little melodrama, I’ve changed my tune.

It might be controversial to write a column in favor of slavery but hear me out. It’s the concept of slavery I’m advocating, not the oppression of any one particular race. In other words, it’s not just blacks who should be slaves but whites, Asians, midgets or anyone, potentially. Matter of fact, black people should probably receive some kind of historical exemption. Jews, too, although I can’t claim to be completely objective about that.

I need to emphasize that no race is innately superior to another. If I ever need an amputation, I’d rather have my leg sawed off by any minority than, say, a white supremacist. Hopefully, it won’t ever come to that. But even though it’s ethically abhorrent, much could be gained via the institution of slavery. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a little trip on the Wayback Machine™.

According to my Hebrew school teacher, the Jews were slaves of the Pharoah in Egypt. Normally, I’d be leery of any story that involves Charlton Heston, but this same teacher also told me that on my 13th birthday, I’d become a man. So after she sucked me off under the table at my Bar Mitzvah, I was inclined to believe anything she said.

Look at what the enslaved Hebrews accomplished. They built the damn pyramids. According to my copy of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, those are still around. Now, we’re not known for being particularly handy, but anything that lasts for 5000 years is impressive. Future generations will surely say the same regarding the contents of my fridge.

So, slavery must have sucked, but I guarantee you those pyramids could not have been built by committee. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad God made the Egyptians pee blood or whatever until they freed the slaves. I’m just saying, without the social framework of slavery, there would have been sick leave, unemployment insurance, designated break time, etc. And not so much with the giant-stone hauling.

Skip ahead a few thousand years and examine the Roman Empire. If you were captured in battle, kidnapped, or abandoned as a baby, you had a lifetime of unpaid labor to look forward to. Most slaves were laborers, prostitutes, or domestic servants. Really valuable ones could be all three, though you’d have to be pretty horny to pay for sex with a wet nurse who also mined silver for 14 hours a day.

Actually, there were all kinds of slaves back then with very specific duties. You could be a slave whose sole task was to follow his master around, and remind him of the names of people he encountered. I could totally use one of those. Many wealthy Romans used a slave’s hair to dry the hands after washing. Hey, your job might suck but at least you’re not a napkin.

Did the Romans benefit from the constant influx of free labor? You bet they did. That era made great strides in warcraft, civil engineering, agriculture, and sexy gladiator movies. This could not have been accomplished, at that time, without the slave economy.

The American slave trade is still a touchy subject. In the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t been that long since Harriet Tubman managed to build and operate some kind of railroad that could actually travel underground! Neat! Slavery in America was morally indefensible, and I wouldn’t even try, because I don’t want to have anything in common with the KKK Grand Cyclops I saw on Jerry Springer.

That said, America did get really rich, really fast, through the exploitation of slave labor. Remember that next time you eat one of White Castle’s adorable miniature hamburgers. I believe that modern society could benefit in much the same way, as long as every single person is equally likely to become a slave. Scoff if you want, but the idea of Bill Gates being your footstool must have some appeal.

I’ve seen a few specials about America’s founding fathers. I’m pretty sure Thomas Jefferson wasn’t a wisecracking cartoon octopus, but he had a good point nevertheless. All men are created equal. But get this: We can hold that truth to be self-evident, and still choose to disregard it, in the name of getting stuff done quickly and cheaply. That sound you just heard was your mind totally exploding.

So, I propose a return to the slave economy, at least temporarily. Bush has done a lot of damage, and it will take something radical to undo it. The slaves in my new world order must be chosen fairly. We should avoid the slippery slope of allowing race to be a factor. Slaves shall be determined by some other means, such as ability to recall lines from Jean Claude Van Damme movies, gift-wrapping aptitude, or tetherball skill. Actually, now that I think about it, a random draw of some kind would be best.

With the reintroduction of slavery, America’s infrastructure could be improved. Additional manpower could be brought in to bring swift resolution to overseas conflicts. And the Vice President could finally build that enormous golden palace he’s been hankering for.

I freely admit, asking a barely-educated Canadian to solve America’s problems is like trying to determine the quotient of 0/0 by giving the problem to a developmentally delayed monkey. That’s OK, I’m happy to help. Don’t be shocked, but I’m hoping to benefit from the new arrangement. Personally, I don’t care if Cheneyopolis gets built, I just want sex slaves. Lots and lots of ‘em.

Sure, I could troll around the internet and find some site where morbidly obese women seek validation by offering themselves as submissives, but that’s just not good enough anymore. I want the real thing. I want to be able to set up a row of gorgeous asses to bonk with xylophone mallets if I so choose. I want hot chicks of every color to feed me, wipe my ass, and write daily haikus about me.

Maybe slavery’s not the best way to realize this fantasy. Sure, it brought short-term prosperity, but it also caused fear, suspicionand hatred, which persists to this day. Maybe these wounds can never be fully healed. But if Kunta Kinte can go on to become chief engineer of a spaceship, than surely anything’s possible.

Essential New Word of the Week:

victory scatter n [vIktri skætr]

Please take a moment to consider games and how they tend to finish. You move tokens around a board, reveal the flop, collect points or chips, and then someone wins and you do something more productive. But at that moment of victory, the players are left with a table full of tokens, chips, cards,pieces, counters and various other detritus that will require cleanup.

I’ve noticed that the winners of card or board games tend to just stand up and walk away. They might feign exultation of victory, but really, they’re just escaping the looming cleanup. In group games, everyone but the poor schmuck who comes in last moves away from the table at warp speed. This is known as the victory scatter. Leaving all the work to one person smacks of entitlement, but it’s nice to know that there is a tangible reward for basically meaningless victories.