The church of the subgenius once defined slack as that which can only be measured by it’s absence. I hereby submit my respectful disagreement with the church doctrine, which should be no problem at all in a church which practices the “sacrament of blasphemy.” I agree that slack can most readily be observed when it’s taken away, but it can also be acutely felt when it increases. Observe the first week of summer vacation when the mental shift from desk-slave to free spirit is not complete and you woke each day amazed that no one seemed interested in oppressing you. A clear and measurable instance of increased Slack. Note also the first week of school in which your hopes of “things are going to be great this year” get ground down by a mountain of schedules and syllabi and looming test just waiting to tell you you’re not as smart as you thought. A clear and measurable instance of decreased Slack.
As Ivan Stang said in the holy writ of “pamphelet #2”: “For 3/4 of the world’s population, Slack is a good meal” But I believe that this is true if the meal is positive or negative. There have been times in my life when I was in desperate need of the slack of a ham and cheese sandwich. Sometimes, long ago, it meant that my budget had been stretched that far and the ramen noodle content of my diet was unsustainably high. Sometimes, more recently, it meant that some twist of fate stranded me somewhere without easy sustenance and a long day ahead of me.
I am now officially leading a schizm. And like all great leaders in the church of the subgenius I’ll be surprised if anyone actually follows. I am currently the sole member of the Buddhist Serenity sect of the church of the subgenius. My goal is to embrace the joy of static Slack. To live in the flow of each separate moment and be thankful for the experiences it brings. To think knew thoughts without resenting the pinks that can’t think for themselves or the conspiracy of momentum of which we are all victims. And when necessary, to Fuck them if they can’t take a joke.
As JR “Bob” Dobbs sends his Yeti brethren out in search of slack I would like to remind you all of the sage words of Raymond Smullyan:
“Nothing is better than eternal happiness, and a ham sandwich is better than nothing.”
Cherish your slack.