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Squid #334
(published June 14, 2007)
Ask the Giant Squid: When the Bell Has Been Rung One Cannot Unring It, But Only Wait for the Knell to Fade
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

Ok my friend started a rumor about me and now a whole bunch of people want to beat me up.

Signed,
Sean Benton


Dear Sean,

I can claim mastery of many topics, fields and sciences. I contain in my bulging headsac an intellect equivalent to dozens of your monkey-spawned, mud-chewing, textile-enshrouded geniuses. I have built machines that command the weather, machines which permit me to stride godishly across your lands, machines which twist your shallow intellects as easily as a mesomorphic Dutch boy pulls taffy. And yet I am unfamiliar with the mechanics of the rumor.

Like all Natural Philosophers, I often find it necessary to engage in a posteriori research afore composing my advice as to the most appropriate course of action. Which is to say, that to give advice concerning the spreading of rumors and their consequences, I must need first to spread rumors myself, and to observe their consequences.

As the subject of my research I chose my faithful, feckless lab assistant, Rob. Listless and slump-shouldered he has been, in conjunction with a wan complexion and disturbing dearth of the braggadocio. Further, I have observed — via server logs and security infrastructure — that Rob has kept long hours at the lab playing of the computer-simulated Solitaire, the MindSweeper and watching much of YourTube, whilst avoiding his usual human anatomical researches. My conclusion is that Rob is currently "down within the dumpster," and in need of the up-cheering. I find science always elevates the mood.

As a side note, my traffic analyses find that Rob does not often visit MySpace. This vexes me much. MySpace often up-cheers me. I find its blinking lights and mind-warping backgrounds fortifying.

My experiment took the following form: On four separate occasions I did plan to share four separate intelligences with four different members of my laboratory staff. All four intelligences would be false, and would concern Rob; two would be malicious, one benevolent, and one non-sequitorial. I would then observe the outcomes.

On Monday afternoon I began, speaking with my typist and errand-runner, Jarwaun.

"ROB IS SO GLUM AND SLOVENLY THESE DAYS," I faux opined, "FOR HE HAS REALIZED THAT HE IS A HOMOSEXUAL AND HOMOSEXUALS ARE FREQUENTLY AND INEXPLICABLY MOCKED IN THE POPULAR CULTURE AMERICANO. THIS SADDENS HIM, FOR HE IS OF THE HOMOSEXUALIS TRIBE."

Jarwaun shook his head slowly. "That sounds sorta crazy, Mr. Squid."

"INDEED NOT. IN FACT, I DID HEAR HIM OPINE THAT YOU ARE POSSESSED OF THE HOT CROSS BUNS."

Jarwaun stitched his brow, "I don't know what that means, but Rob ain't taking it on the down-low. I had an uncle who divorced my auntie. He was all down-low. I know how down-low looks, and Rob . . . he dirty, but he ain't down-low." Jarwaun paused reflectively, "Actually, thinkin' 'bout it now, down-low is sorta the opposite of dirty. Rob, he gotta be up-high or somethin'. You ever seen what's on his computer?"

"HE ENJOYS ANAL SEX WITH OTHER VERTEBRATES. MALE VERTEBRATES."

Jarwaun looked at me blankly.

"YOU SHOULD SHARE THIS INTELLIGENCE AS YOU DEEM FIT.

"Do you need me to do any more computer stuff, or can I go home?"

"YOU CAN GO HOME."

And he left.

On the next morn, I did deign to have Claude leave upon the desk of Molly a note, forged to appear as though it derived its source from Rob's own pen.

The clock barely showed eight-and-thirty when Molly strode purposefully to my tank. She slapped the note upon my glass, where it adhered, owing to its dampness.

"Did you write this?"

"NO! IT WERE ROB, I DO KNOW OF THE CERTAIN; IS IT NOT WRIT IN HIS MOST FAVORED SILVER WAX CRAYON?"

"Rob writes everything in green sharpie, and draws a potleaf next to his name — which he also spells with all of the letters correctly oriented." She was fierce and angry, conceivably over words we had exchanged the week previous, regarding her status as either a MILF, or "dirty and over thirty," or the both.

"Molly," I said in a gentle soothing voice.

"Finally," she said, running her finger down the piece of paper and then sticking it in her mouth, "I doubt he'd write me a love note declaring his homosexual passion and confessing to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby, and then soak it in a 28 percent saline solution before paying a vicious French monkey to leave it on my goddamn thousand dollar Aeron chair."

Still keeping my voice gentle and non-threatening, and the hues of my skin light and pastelled, I crooned. "ROB, I BELIEVE, IS SEXUALLY INTERESTED IN YOU."

She punched the glass of my tank, causing it to thrum and jump most disturbingly. "The salt water has fucked up the mesh of my chair; I expect the chair to be replaced in five — FIVE!," she held aloft five of her hand's fingers. "Business days."

"PERHAPS YOU CARE TO SHARE THE INTELLIGENCE GLEANED FROM ROB'S CONFESSION WITH OTHERS, SO THAT YOU ALL MAY SUITABLY ADJUST YOUR OPIN—"

Molly displayed heretofore unknown control over her own hues and pigmentation and turned her skin a threatening purple. I did not see her walk away as I inked my tank quite badly.

I next met with Meeks. we have a standing "date" on Tuesday afternoons wherein I sign and notate all relevant pay documents, so that my employees may eat of the food and drink of the wine. Whilst signing and whilst gripping a pen through one of my newly-installed racing tubes I did wrap a tentacle about Meeks' slender neck and pull him forward.

"GENTLE MEEKS" I whispered, "I BELIEVE THAT ROB IS GIVING AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF HIS PAYCHECK TO VARIOUS CHARITIES DESIGNED TO AID THE POOR AND THOSE WHO LIVE PRIMARILY OUT OF DOORS."

Meeks blinked and panted against the glass where I held his bespectaled face.

"DO YOU NOT FIND THIS ACTION NOTEWORTHY? IS THIS NOT THE MARK OF A SUPERIOR PRIMATE IN YOUR CULTURE?"

Meeks squeaked out a reedy, "I . . . can't . . . breathe." Before becoming limp and unconscious.

As the paramedical team carted him away for further study I called out, "MEEKS! DO FEEL FREE TO TELL OTEHRS OF WHAT I HAVE SPOKEN TODAY! THE TRUTH — SHE WANTS TO BE FREE!"

Late Tuesday night, in the interest of offering a control of my experience, Claude and I plunged out to the Internets in the interest of taking non-sequitorial action on Rob's behalf. To this end, the chimp and I donated $60 in Rob's honor to the This American Life Internet-Enabled documentary and philosofic(k) audio program. Offered the opportunity to insert a comment, I asked Claude to simply write extemporaneously, for what could be less sequitorial than the French nammerings of a chimpanzee?

On Wednesday afternoon, Rob finally arrived for to work. He was of rare high spirits.

"ROB, HAS THE STATE OF YOUR LIFE BEEN MUCH CHANGED IN THE LAST HALF-WEEK? YOU ARE MUCH OF THE CHEERY."

"No. Well, I guess — just this weird fucking thing happened this morning. I guess someone fucked up somewhere and donated $60,000 in my name to that art-fag radio show Molly likes, and so Ira Big-Glasses called me on the phone this morning and was all 'Thank you! You rock! I'm sorry my French is no good! Vous Étes la roche!' and all this shit, and now when I'm in New York next week for that hearing he's gonna take me out to eat — autographed pictures and shit. Then, just as a favor, he called Molly's cell for me, on account she is totally into that show, and she flipped out. The good kind of flipped out. When I saw her in the parking garage she was like, hugs and forgiven and shit. I'm totally gonna give her the posters, DVD and kite when they get here." Rob reflected for a moment in silence, "It's just . . . You know, it's hard not to get cheery when random positive shit happens."

And so, dear Sean, this is the lesson: spreading rumors of another can be costly to you, but beneficial to the Audiophonic Charities. It can also make women angry, men faint, and small boys shun your company.

I Am Rumored to Be,
The Giant Squid

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