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Hey Ninety-Eight

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It's been more like two plus years now, but here is the story with the original intro...

Almost exactly one year ago, a friend challenged me to answer a couple of questions. What you see below is one of them, followed by my answer. As you can see, I got a bit carried away.

I may return to this someday as it took me in a new direction.

Or not.



Allow yourself to assume the role of Dr. Frankenstein. You have the ability

to pick and choose the best traits of humans to create the perfect man. Which

traits and characteristics do you [imbue into] this new and better man?

The base you are using to contrast your creation against is "Joe", who has 2.3 kids

, two Toyotas... lives in the white picket fence gated community of suburb X,

has a job working in a cubicle, etc, etc, ad nauseum

Well, that all depends upon Joe. Is he happy? Satisfied with his life? Does he love his kids?

Does he love his wife? Or, has he mortgaged his soul in order to have, be, seem like, the rest of the herd? Has he "exchanged a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage"? We really don't know all that much about "Joe", but for this exercise we will assume the worst.

The perfect man. Now there's a concept. Perfection is unobtainable, but let's see how closely I can approximate it. First, we need to assume that Dr. F's "monster" will have an unsurpassed physical form, be in perfect health, be more attractive than all who have gone before him, possess an intellect dwarfing that of genius, have a schlong the size of Texas, be stronger and faster than any other man in history, have a biting wit, and easy way of talking, be kinder than Ghandi and Christ combined, more logical than a computer, and be immortal.

None of which means $h!.

I'm having issues with that word "perfect", so let's substitute "Ideal" instead. An Ideal doesn't have to be realized to have value, it is more a goal than a static quality. I'm more comfortable with that concept. So this "ideal" man (who by the way doesn't even rate a name like poor old Joe has) will be the embodiment of all men before him. He will have none of the prejudices, blind spots, or selfishness of the "prototypes". He is the crown of creation.

No, scratch that. It sounds too much like old Mr. Perfect again.

Perhaps the ideal man isn't constrained by such base description. Maybe he is simply the man who is most completely himself. He could be unremarkable to look at, have a halting way of speaking, a weakness for drink, or some other group of human failings haunting him. Yet he could still be the ideal man. He is self-determining, he understands that he is always free, he is not owned by ritual and tradition. This is a man who realizes that the rule book is always being written and that he, himself, is the author.

Closer this time, but not there yet.

OK, let's dispense with thinking of this ideal man as an actual individual. He is more a hypothetical dream than flesh and blood after all. Being hypothetical, he needn't even be male.

In fact, he ought not to be. Nor should this hypothetical person be female, assigning a sex just limits the ideal. So, we are now dealing with the ideal human. This works best as, at our core, we are minds rather than organisms. The shell doesn't matter, what's inside does.

Now we have the most basic parameters for our ideal human in place and it is time to get more specific.

How about some context? Where do we locate the ideal human in time and space?

Tough decision, that.

In theory, being ideal, our new human should operate much the same regardless of context. However, since we intend to compare the poor hapless Joe against the ideal, the present day should serve the purpose well. And, maybe our ideal could encounter Joe in Joe's own environment.

I think I like that idea, time to set the scene.

Our friend Joe, lives in the gated community of "Oak Forest Estates". Before it was built there really was an oak forest there, now not an acorn is to be found. His comfortable home looks just like the comfortable homes of all of his neighbors except that the garage is on the other end of what amounts to the same house. This and the color of the trim on the houses is all that constitutes architectural diversity in Joe's neighborhood (community). Here, self-satisfied clones of Joe and his family inhabit these cookie-cutter buildings in average middle-class bliss. They maintain their properties with near-religious fervor under the guiding hand of the Oak Forest Estates Homeowners Association. Following the rules, holiday decorations go up and come down on a strict schedule, leaves are removed from all lawns by a date certain, no homes are painted in unapproved colors, and the outward appearance of all houses remains an anonymous, unchanging, static display. No one tinkers with classic cars in plain sight in driveways, or allows screaming children to enjoy a water slide in the front yard on a hot summer day. Weeds are banned from all yards under threat of fines, and each resident must consult the list of approved annual flowers to plant in the Spring. In this regimented artificial reality about a hundred families act their parts in an exceedingly boring and pointless play.

Joe and his family follow the rules, comfortable in their conformity and the illusion of safety that big gate manned by a full-time guard provides. The guard, by the way, rides the train from the nearby city, has no real training for this job, lives in a crime-ridden urban environment, and spends his work day smiling and smoking copious amounts of marijuana on the sly.

The Oak Forest residents don't even notice. That is, except for the teenagers who are supplied with all of the reefer they want by this same defender of the gate. So here in their smug state of ignorance and misplaced priorities, the "oakies" pass the time in self-induced inertia.

Enter the Ideal, that optimized human, who slips past the gate unnoticed by the dozing guard on his way to a fateful meeting with good old Joe.

Saturday morning hasn't been so great for Joe, but you'd never know it by observing his demeanor. Friday had been busy at work for both Joe and his wife, leaving no time for a real dinner or completion of the day's "to do" lists. All false smiles and pleasantries, the couple had completed the minimum possible of household chores by midnight, given each other the obligatory goodnight kiss and fallen into restless sleep. Saturday morning came too early and carried with it an expanded list of imperatives for the day. After the ritual early-morning run around the "community", smiling at all of their neighbors, and walking the dog with plastic baggy and scoop in hand, Joe and Kelly (his wife) began dealing with the list of "obligations" for the day. A hurried breakfast of carefully researched nutrition was followed by Kelly packing the kids ( secured in their safety seats ,of course) into the beige Toyota Sequoia to start the rounds to half a dozen "weekend activities" regularly scheduled for 7 year-old Jessica and 9 year-old Joey.

This would keep Kelly busy until late afternoon.

Bleary-eyed, and no longer smiling, Joe grabbed the keys to his beige Camry sedan and headed to the local Home Depot to buy some flats of "approved annuals" which had to be planted before the rest of his family returned. Completing that mission, he stopped to get a drink of bottled water in the kitchen (very clean and orderly with nothing cluttering the granite countertops) and discovered the letter from the O.F.E.H.A. Kelly had left there for him to find. Reading it, he discovered to his horror that a cluster of weeds in the far western corner of his back yard exposed him to a fine of $73.97 if not dealt with by the end of the day. f@#k!, said Joe to the empty room. He went on to read the schedule of increased charges that would accrue daily should the offending weeds not be removed in a "timely fashion". This stern warning was followed by a "friendly reminder" that any and all "Spring Holiday" decorations were to have been taken down as of last week and that per the bylaws raising "poultry" or any other livestock was expressly forbidden by the homeowners agreement he had signed. Now not merely frowning, but glowering at the letter, Joe wondered for the thousandth time how he could have voted for that nosey, overbearing bitch, Christina for the Presidency of the homeowners association. Joe decided exactly where he'd like to stick the weeds in question. Sighing in resignation to his fate for the day, Joe went to retrieve his gardening tools from the garage and start the day's work.

Leaving the newly purchased flats of approved annuals to begin wilting, Joe decided to tackle the weed issue first.

After slipping past the dozing guard, our Ideal walks to the common ground between the backyards of Oak Forest Estates. A walking path meanders throughout this "green zone" past the retention pond required during construction and now considered an asset to the community (except when the Canada Geese arrive in their hundreds and $h! on every square inch of "the commons")

The Ideal follows the path to a spot under a smallish red maple and sits on the bench. This position affords our new and improved human a direct view of Joe at work in his back yard.

The Ideal watches for a very long time.

Joe meanwhile, has really lost his temper and is ripping at the weeds with his bare hands having tossed aside both his gloves and the expensive (but useless) weeding tool he had purchased from an "upscale" gardening concern via the internet. Now sweaty and itching, and covered in dirt which he's has wiped on his "weekend casual" pants, Joe is at a boiling point when he sees something in the flower bed. It's a tag which reads "Rudbeckia" under a tiny photo of a bright orange-yellow flower growing from an eerily familiar looking cluster of foliage. Turning the plastic tag over Joe reads the following: "Rudbeckia is a sun-loving perennial producing bright, cheery, yellow flowers from summer until frost. Best planted in a mass planting with room to spread."

Joe turned the tag back to its front and studied the photo once more.

Looking down at the demolished planting bed, Joe noticed several more of the little tags and what was obviously potting soil around the base of some of the "weeds" he had been pulling.

"Got something against yellow flowers?" came a voice from behind Joe's back.

"Not exactly", responded Joe turning to face the source of the voice.

Feeling somewhat pathetic, Joe said," I think I need a beer, can I get you one too?"

"Sounds good to me", responded the figure relaxing on the bench.

Following a hasty hand washing, Joe returned with a six-pack of Canadian beer and, handing one to the Ideal, sat down in the shade of the maple without a word.

"That hits the spot, Thanks" said the Ideal, putting the bottle down on the grass beneath the bench.

"You're welcome" responded Joe with more edge in his voice than intended.

"So, you didn't know what you were pulling out there, I'm guessing?"

Sighing, Joe said " No, but I should have. I wrote the check to pay the landscaper for installing those things last summer."

"I'm a bit puzzled, care to explain?" asked the Ideal.

"It's that Goddamned Bitch, Christina Mumford! She sent me a threatening letter about the "weeds" I'd so carelessly let grow back here" , Joe nearly yelled.

Chuckling a bit, The Ideal said, "I see. I take it she leads the local Homeowners Gestapo?"

" Exactly!" responded Joe. " Hey, sorry for the outburst - and for being rude. My name is Joe"

" No worries Joe, I never heard a thing. Actually, I'm just giving this place the once-over to see what living here might be like. I'm Trace".

To Joe, "Trace" our ideal human, appeared to be a man of about the same age and social class as himself.

"Trace, Oak Forest is a safe and secure community and a great place to raise a family. The property values have been on a steady increase for five years and there isn't any crime to speak of. You'd love it here.", Joe spouted off automatically.

"You sound like the brochure, Joe" noted the Ideal.

Joe looked confused for a moment, and downed the rest of his beer.

"You know, you're right about that. I don't even think those are my words. Why the hell did I spout them off like some sort of church ritual?", Joe said in wonder.

"So you attend church, Joe?" , asked Trace.

"Every Sunday"


"Excuse me?"

"Why do you attend church, Joe? It's a simple question"

"Because I believe in God, Trace. What a stupid question"

"Really. I wonder about that. Do you feel that God requires weekly adoration?" prompted the Ideal.

"Of course not, but it's the right thing to do"

"Why Joe, why is it right?"

"These are some crazy questions, Trace. Did half a beer go to your head?"

The Ideal just smiled and upended the bottle, reaching for another.

They sat quietly for a few minutes, relaxing and taking in the day.

After a long pause in conversation Joe finally said, " Well, I should get this mess cleaned -up - I'm way behind schedule".

" Do you schedule all of your time?", asked the Ideal.

His resolve sidetracked, Joe answered slowly, " Yeah, I suppose I do."


" I... I really don't know. It's just the way things work, I guess."

"You seem pretty unsure of some major aspects of your life, Joe"

A brief moment of anger crossed Joe's face but quickly collapsed into obvious confusion.

The Ideal took the opportunity and pressed the issue with another comment." No offense intended Joe, but why you do what you do is a pretty vital question, don't you think?"

" I'm not sure I know what I think, Trace."

"Now you are making some progress, Joe!, encouraged the Ideal, "keep going".

" OK, I've just fallen into a pattern trying to keep up with all of the things I think that I'm supposed to do. So, I have scheduled everything simply to maintain the status quo.", answered Joe.

"And going to church every Sunday?"

" Is just another thing on my list?"

"Certainly seems that way" said the Ideal with a look of deep concern on "his" face.

" I haven't even considered my thoughts on God and religion since I got married.", Joe mused in amazement. "I just followed the pattern and went every Sunday"

Now a broad smile broke across the Ideal's face. " Crack open another beer, my friend. We have much to discuss!"

Joe returned the smile and agreed, " I think I had better grab at least another 6-pack, this could take some time."

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That was interesting. A lot of people are like that. They do things because it is tradition or it is what makes them accepted. People feel this need to be accepted or loved or be a part of the whole.

It is also sad how people lose themselves in an identity too that was developed by someone else. Thank you for the read.

In a way it reminds of of the people who bought Toyotas or some aspects of the auto industry.

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Well, Joe does own two beige Toyotas...

Thanks for reading it.

You are welcome. I noted the whole conformity aspect and the just how much that guy lost himself in striving for perfection. Perfection does not exist.

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Woah...98 is real? I thought we just replaced his name with one of those bots.

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Woah...98 is real? I thought we just replaced his name with one of those bots.

Yes, I am real. Alive as ever. I have been the one posting all those videos and news every day. Scary and funny people think it was a bot. I read, edit, and put all the posts together day. Be sure to check every thread daily or my name for all the latest news. I have been low key on my return and play to stay that way. It has not been a bot. This is the funniest thing this year so far.

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Are you Trace?


No, but I'd like to meet him/her and have a long talk.

And a few of those Canadian beers.

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Woah...98 is real? I thought we just replaced his name with one of those bots.

Yes, like 'News Feeder' or whomover was posting new articles a while back..

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Well, Joe does own two beige Toyotas...

Thanks for reading it.

Well, for many people marriage w/ 2.5 kids, a house in suburbia, and two Toyotas in the garage is the American Dream (with the ability to upgrade to a McMansion and 2 Lexuses later, of course).

Toyota: Moving forward.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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No, but I'd like to meet him/her and have a long talk.

And a few of those Canadian beers.

Add me to that list and replace Canadian beer with Canada Dry Gingerale.

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