Choosing a Special Group
That Won’t Crush Your Soul
‘Accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.’ Groucho Marx had a point, but most of us do long to belong. More so now, when so many feel the world has turned against them. Fear not, anti-heroes of the moot field. There’s hope.
And an affiliation just for you. Not the adventurer type? choose among the Bureaucracy Club, the Cloud Appreciation Society, Dull Men Club or, if still follicle-endowed, the Luxuriant Hair Club, but have your PhD ready. In a wretched mood? the Death Cafe will do you wonders.
Sport aficionados get it. The religiously devout most surely do too. And an assortment of clubs that flourish on Facebook or England, of all places, are equally adept at listing names of people who like this, or don’t like that. Prefer red, or despise unsuspecting hamsters.
Deep down, most would like to qualify for the Explorer’s Club, but if you haven’t stepped on the moon, or climbed the Everest, forget it. In another life, perhaps. Better sign on for the Apostrophe Appreciation Society. It’ll won’t give you vertigo. And you’ll be busy, guaranteed.
And before you disrespect good ol’ Groucho, misquoting him again, we know you’re actually jubilant that Twitter accepted your behind and your trolling galore. You don’t fool us. So go ahead, send out that form for the Mediocre Pun Brigade. They’re running a sale this week.
THE UNCOOL & THE RED-TAPE LOVER
‘Dull but not boring.’ That’s the main ‘virtue’ required by would-be members of the Dull Men Club. And while ‘optimization of bureaucracies and bureaucrats’ is in the Bureaucracy Club‘s mission statement, both place a premium on a particular personality type: L, as in lukewarm.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nevertheless, members live fulfilling lives, as long as they don’t involve trying spicy food, taking cold showers, or wearing colorful underwear. They gather periodically to debate mild things. But we hear the coffee is extra strong.
DAREDEVILS & THE MANE-ENDOWED
‘Bald inexperienced need not to apply.’ Nothing is ever safe when The Explorer’s Club and The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Clubs for Scientists break from their accident-provoking agenda, and sit down for a dinner whose menu often includes fried tarantulas and hissing roach snacks.
Living Explorers Buzz Aldrin and Jane Goodall share (more)
* The Aitch Old File
* Petty Crimes
* Counting Electrical Sockets
membership with late braves Edmund Hillary and Thor Heyerdahl, among others. Long-haired Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein are honorees of the same Annals of Improbable Research‘s hirsute club scientists such as Anne A. Madden and Alex Dyson, for instance, routinely sharpen their chops in.
CLOUD 9 & THE GRATEFUL DEAD
‘Order the Good Death with some Nimbus.’ Here are two contemplative, serene, poetic even, associations everyone has already a part of: The Cloud Appreciation Society and the Order of the Good Death. Yes, they both require some level of commitment to what they’re about, but doesn’t it everything? Besides, rewards are said to be nifty.
The Positive Death Movement seeks to restore our final touch to its fair evolutionary placement, and into a gift for those who’re staying. And the C.A.S.’s Manifesto pledges to fight ‘blue-sky thinking.’ One gathers at cafes; the other, probably outdoors. For a small membership fee, you may bring your own cheerios.
YOU BELONG TO THEE & THEM
If anything, the explosion of social networks only increased this delusional notion that we’re all a happy family, no offense to Brotherhood of Men members, or slight to the Womanhood of Males, or whatever. Fact is, many can’t bring themselves to that dreaded point, said to advance anyone’s life: networking.
So, while showing up in person is hard to do, signing on to a group even remotely interested in something we once liked, seems just the ticket for connection. And connected we are, with millions of LinkedIn groups, and cooking (crack) associations, and affiliations of any variety.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Gregarious we’ll be, and now it’s possible to indeed be one with many, without having to go through the trouble of actually meeting them in person. It saves on hand sanitizers. But personal hygiene has little to do with it.
THE REALM OF THE DISEMBODIED
That’s because we seem to be racing to a time when bodies may become beside the point. What, with robotics and the likely upcoming age of tech slavery (followed by a horrible cyber revolt), we can’t help thinking that the very idea of connecting with another human being, or professing allegiance to a fact-based reality, are under distress today.
Sill, any of the clubs above share one trait hardly trending on social nets: they all cater to basic emotions we cherish, from being out there, to leading a quite but meaningful life, from enjoying a bit of mirror time, to loving simply laying on the grass and watching clouds go by.
Disrespecting grumpy Groucho, the club we should care about would be one where we’re the benevolent host, always so glad to have our patronage, and baggage, on board. So issue your own ID card and start enjoying its benefits. Others may follow and should be welcome too.
(*) Originally published on Dec. 1, 2016.