The Idler

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – 1984, George Orwell

How about those kooky, nutty kids in Seattle? You know, the ones who threw out the cops and then formed their own country? Now they have random guys with guns “patrolling the perimeter” so we’re not sure that sounds like an actual improvement. Sure, you want to give them time to work the kinks out, but if you start your own country, you still need someone to keep the peace. I wonder what you do if you actually need to call the police. 9-1-1 would probably get you the old ones, right? And they’re in a different country now. It would be like calling up the cops and having inspector Clouseau answer. 

“Can you come investigate a report of a prowler?” 

“Not anymore” 

What about the mail? Wouldn’t all your letters go to the wrong addresses? Okay, so that wouldn’t change very much. But then there are the currency and the stamps. Instead of statesmen – ‘cause there aren’t any – you could put pictures of famous arsonists or vandals on them. But they might not want their pictures out there, in case there’s, like, a counter-revolution some day. And you’re going to need to have money to pay people just to keep things running, like water and sewage and power. None of those kids in the little ninja outfits look like they could turn a wrench. Maybe they could have bands of protesters chanting “Lefty- loosey; Righty-tighty!” at them while they work. See, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Except marijuana farming. That seems to be coming along. Awesome, dude.

That’s the thing about revolutions, though. They need to try to reinvent everything. Speaking of Inspector Clouseau, in the French revolution, which was about the time of ours, only in France, they decided they wanted to start the calendar over. So 1792 became the Year One and New Years Day was the autumn equinox.  They also changed to a decimal way of keeping time. Ten hour days of 100 minutes per hour and 100 seconds per minute. You’d tell your friends, “I’ll meet you at 75 minutes after 6!” Only you’d tell them in French. (I think it involves the word, “rendezvous”).They dreamed up new months too, so today would be the first day of Messidor! They abandoned all this in 1805 for the reason that everyone thought it was stupid. Not completely abandoning “La stupidite”, however, they then decided to put Napoleon in charge. 

Let’s not get too far into the weeds, though. The cool part about starting your own country is you get to name it. We were kind of confused at first about what the Seattle revolutionaries were naming theirs. It sounded like they had captured an auto parts store, the Auto Zone, and made it their capital city. Wrong. 

Some thought they wanted to keep their own names out of the paper, so they were calling it the Anonymous Zone. Also wrong. 

It’s the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone”, or “CHAZ”  

Naturally this inspired us to propose something similar for our area. There don’t seem to be as many revolting people hereabouts – okay, Lincoln Place excepted – but maybe they just need a cool revolutionary name to inspire them. How about the “West Homestead Autonomous Zone An’ ‘aT” or “WHAZAT”

Feeling rebellious yet?

Munhall and Homestead could join forces to form the “Homestead Autonomous Zone / Munhall Autonomous Territory”. Wait, I guess that would be HAZMAT. Not that attractive. 

The “Sans Culottes” of the greater Whitaker area might go with “WHitaker Autonomous And Awesome Territory”, or “WHAAAT”.

What about Braddock? Oh, they already have one.  We for one would like to see the Waterfront secede and declare independence. I think there are three boroughs involved, but hey, Power to the People! We’re thinking: “Waterfront Territorial Freestate”.

What’s that? They changed it to CHOP? Never mind.

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