Bohemian Jackson Seinfeld Salad Rhapsody

Written in response to: Start or end your story with one or more characters shouting “Happy new year!”... view prompt


Funny Speculative Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

[Note/Disclaimer: Some sensitive content, including sharp social/religious satire; complete stream-of-consciousness improvisation with some self-censorship/self-moderation; Intention is not to offend, but to poke fun of absurdities all around. Apologies in advance if offense is taken.]

CMHBJM AFO was an aspiring writer who thought he had solved all his non-writing problems by adopting “CMHBJM AFO'' as a pen-name. Of course, he was yet to solve the core problems associated with his chosen profession (at which he was sucking): that of the (in)famous writer’s block. But that’s a generic “intractable NP-complete” problem which afflicts a broad swathe of the writing community. The class of problems CMHBJM AFO was trying to solve by adopting the “CMHBJM AFO'' pen-name was another category of “intractable NP-complete” problems: that of political correctness, and keeping everyone happy in the 21st century. For you see, CMHBJM stood for “Christians Muslims Hindus Buddhists Jews Miscellaneous”, and he had hoped that “Miscellaneous” would be good enough to encompass all the pronouns in the known observable universe, and any other category of religion or gender or mathematical sets he had missed. The last name “AFO'' stood for “Apologies For Omissions” to preemptively defuse the inevitable backlash from some group of people that he had inconveniently left out, who felt personally attacked by his failure to include them in the United Nations lists of endangered species. He hadn’t anticipated the noise from the Agnostic/Atheist community, for he had completely spaced-out on the a-word altogether. CMHBJM was quite sure he would have to add additional letters to his name in the coming years with a broadening of terminologies, and a big source of expenditure was to pay lawyers and newspapers the requisite fees for legal name-changes.

As 2021 drew to a close, CMHBJM opened reedsy to get some writing done, and he found a positive, happy-sounding prompt he liked: a prompt where surely everything would be great and dandy: a writing-prompt which would begin or end with one or more characters shouting: “Happy New Year!”. Surely, this is the least controversial writing-prompt in human history, a prompt where nothing can be misconstrued, a prompt which the most vocal SJW cannot take offense to, or a prompt which even the most active Internet shit-poster cannot mutilate beyond recognition. Or so he thought. That was his first impression. And yet, once he started writing, he realized this was yet another area fraught with questions of domination of one category of people over another, the historical cultural hegemony of a particular religion, and how it came to dominate discourse about how and when we wish each other New Years. Being a hyper-conscious samaritan (his own acute sense of crippling anxiety adding another subconscious layer to his hyper-consciousness), he did a Google search for New Years, and these are the results his self-conscious political-correctness-overloaded brain compiled:

  • Christians: Gregorian Calendar: 01-Jan-2022
  • Muslims: First Day of Muharram: 29-Jul-2022
  • Hindus: New Year: 22-March-2022; Diwali: 24-Oct-2022
  • Buddhists: various dates for various sub-disciplines
  • Jews: Rosh Hashanah: 25-Sep-2022
  • Miscellaneous: Through Online Random Number Generator: Take my word for it (don’t read too much into it in-terms of some hidden signs of misogyny, misandry, transphobia, communism, capitalism, anarcho-syndicalism, or whatever else): 06-Jun; i.e. 66, all we need is another 6 somewhere, and we get Iron Maiden’s the “Number of the Beast”.

And here, CMHBJM had stumbled on a new conundrum. Ignorance is indeed bliss. He wished he hadn’t Googled around. Then he could have just responded to the writing-prompt by coming up with some vanilla story, without developing it into a satirical exploration of the hyper-self-consciousness of writing in an era fraught with questions about privilege, cultural appropriation, dominance, cultural/social/political/economic hegemony, and so on. He could have just written a mundane fucking story about a few friends greeting each other Happy New Year, thrown-in a touch of romance or young-love or blooming-friendship or feel-good camaraderie, and that would have been it. Instead, CMHBJM was now hyper-self-conscious and acutely aware that there are multiple major religions in the world. How should he handle this in a way that satisfies all of them? It was a classic “Constraint Satisfaction Problem” (CSP).

With this nearly impossible task at-hand, CMHBJM’s first instinct was to repeatedly bang his head on the keyboard, and let the resulting work speak for itself, hoping for an accidental proof for the “Infinite Monkey Theorem”, through a finite human instance. In all likelihood, all that monkeying around would have resulted in absolute gibberish, and he would have just marketed his writing like a typing equivalent of a Jackson Pollock “abstract expressionist” (“muddled” for the rest of us non-artistic simpletons) canvas painting. He had hoped his bloodied forehead would be enough of a sacrifice for the Gods (and his Human Defenders, including Active Interner Holy Warriors) of all major religions, as a mark of penance, to repent for offending some or the other or all of them through this word-salad train-wreck of a post.

So then, since the beginning is already long gone, and the Infinite Monkeys are into the fifth paragraph, there’s only one possibility left: we need to end this piece with one or more people saying: “Happy New Year”. And keeping things consistent with PC principles, we need to do it in a way that keeps everybody happy, holding hands together, alternatingly singing Kumbaya and John Lennon’s “Imagine” in a nice big circle. So how do we do this, wondered CMHBJM. Since we are about 928 (out of 3000) words through by this point, there’s still a long way to go, which means there’s tremendous potential to offend all kinds of groups, including pot-smoking, super-liberal, pacifist agnostics who worship “Tobias Fünke” from “Arrested Development” as the “Übermensch” that governs the Space-Time continuum in the thirty-fifth dimension. At this point, it’s fairly obvious that CMHBJM was just trying to do the writing equivalent of killing-time (a google-search of “killing time” brought “this link”, which is about saving 35% on “killing time”, a video-game, which when taken literally can mean “save 35% on killing 100% of time”, which means what really? That you kill X minutes, and you have effectively killed only 0.65X minutes, that 0.35X minutes are somehow reclaimed back? Is this how Einstein’s Relativity, Time Dilation, Gravitational Warping works? Maybe that’s how we gain time in Daylight Savings?)

CMHBJM was killing time: his own relatively unprecious time (of which he had plenty), as well as the precious time of the readers and judges of reedsy, who would all bemoan losing their precious time like “Gollum” from “The Lord of the Rings”: “my prrrreccciioouss” … CMHBJM was writing a story about pretty much nothing, a writing equivalent of the legendary TV sitcom “Seinfeld”. He was secretly hoping to get rich and famous like Jerry Seinfeld for writing about nothing in particular, but was preparing for a strategic retreat into a nuclear bunker in-case representatives from all major religions sermonized him or PC internet warriors hounded him. CMHBJM was developing this post almost like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”: it was an improvisational, off-the-cuff effort, with sudden tonal shifts, to tackle some sensitive subject-matter, while taking insensitive potshots at nobody in particular, with accidental efforts to exclude from this satire the very people who desperately wanted to be included to account for diversity, for whom its a “Catch-22” situation: inclusion in this satire is problematic, exclusion from this satire is also problematic. WWYD? What Would “Yossarian” Do?!

And as much as we deflect, the central question remains unanswered: how do we end this shit with one or multiple characters wishing each other “Happy New Year” when various religions and cultures have different definitions of New Years. The Christians were just lucky to have cultural dominance, historical hegemony, and final creative control over record-keeping, but that’s just an accident of circumstance. Not an immutable neutral objective universal fact. Here’s a few possible ways out of this tricky situation (all of them are tricky to actually implement, but assuming we somehow are able to make this shit happen, all of them have side-effects):

  • Eliminate any/all religion altogether. The only winners in that are the agnostics/atheists. Agnostics will mostly just go “ho hum” and be on their apathetic way, adopting a “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy towards the idea of a Supreme Being. Atheists, on the other hand, will be insufferable braggers, gloating for weeks with a “I told you so” smirk; the most militant among them will take to mass-circulating videos of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris to everyone, including to 6-month old babies who can’t even understand jack-shit, and when it’s all done, they will probably implode with a sense of existential despair, without anything to rail against as an object of ridicule.

  • Eliminate humanity altogether. This is the “nuclear” option. A last-resort from our perspective, but the animal-kingdom would probably jump at pushing that button, wiping us out, so they can reclaim the earth and flourish again. Actually, it doesn't sound so bad, but then who will make funny videos on YouTube, and what about cat GIFs? And who the hell will be left to read this piece after blowing-up humanity?

  • Let’s put Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan in-charge of this whole Date/Time related bullshit. I am sure they will come up with palindromic temporal sequences embedded inside a revolving five dimensional tesseract, operated by mysterious benevolent aliens. who unfortunately have short-term amnesia, and need Totems and Mementos to keep track of Time and Reality, with the narrative jumping back and forth in time, and through aerodynamic movements in three-dimensional-space, keeping everyone from every religion (including the Atheists) guessing about what the fuck’s going on: is the Christian New Year the Palindromic Inverse Matrix Determinant of the Islamic New Year, is the Hindu New Year split into two by the Tesseract, is the Buddhist New Year simply a reincarnation of itself in a recursive Inception loop, and so on.

  • Invent some kind of a “literary/narrative construct”, “literary/narrative device”, or introduce a spatio-temporal SciFi construct  in the story  (that is to be taken as a “black-box” of sorts; its functioning is to be a given, off-limits for scrutiny or logical reasoning; let’s call it the “NewYearsCoincideTimeWarpingThingamajic”), that can warp time in weird ways so that the Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, and all other major/minor religious New Years align together on one date for the purposes of writing a story which begins or ends with someone saying “Happy New Year!”, but which is infinitely simpler than any shit the Nolan Brothers can conjure up. This is the most practical idea in the context of writing a story, but also a bit of a convenient cop-out. It’s a simple black-box thingy, and we’ve managed to paper over everything.

And so we go with the last idea, it is at this point that the story actually begins (this can probably be considered my actual submission; the rest of it is prologue and epilogue; just joking, this whole thing is to be considered as my submission: an uncensored stream-of-consciousness):


In the beginning there was darkness. Then there was light. Lots of shit happened for millions of years, and then apes appeared, then eventually humans. Humans evolved into various ethnicities and civilizations, with their own time-keeping.

At some point in the early 21st century, around the year 2020, Nolan brothers invented the NewYearsCoincideTimeWarpingThingamajic, which made it easy for people of all religions to wish one another Happy New Year, and for hyper-self-conscious writers to write stories that begin or end with one or more characters wishing Happy New Year, without anybody getting offended, marginalized, excluded, in any shape or form.

(note: reasonable assumption that people of all religions and backgrounds can be found in New York City, and the crowd in Times Square would have similar diversity).

As the clock struck midnight, many people in Times Square shouted “Happy New Year!”

The End.


As we have crossed the 2000 word mark, CMHBJM would like to acknowledge the persistent but useless contribution of the Infinite Monkeys, who were at least useful in disproving the Infinite Monkey Theorem, and CMHBJM looks forward to updating the Wikipedia entry with this pathbreaking result (the only definitive and sensible thing to come out of this incoherent gobbledygook). CMHBJM also wishes to make clear that the past four hours of banging his forehead on the keyboard has produced this work, while leaving him with multiple concussions and brain trauma. Therefore his mental capacity to stand trial and/or face legal charges arising from this shit-show of a post, is highly questionable. Anybody who wrote this bullshit is clearly of an unsound mind, and ipso facto QED lorem ipsum, cannot face legal action.

CMHBJM AFO. No, that’s it. Quite literally. CMHBJM Apologizes For Omission. Omission to satirize any group or concept. Jokes apart, genuine apologies if CMHBJM crossed lines here.

CMHBJM enthusiastically shouts at everyone reading this, and encourages you all to shout back (as you all are principal characters in your own individual lives, writing your own individual stories, serving as “sonder” in each other’s criss-crossing lives): “Happy New Year!”

December 28, 2021 16:24

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.