Saturday, 27 April 2013

Message In A Bottle


This has been reproduced from Battersby's blog, When I Am King. The original post can be seen here. Battersby is also a great guy to follow on Twitter. Check him out.


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“This is our story. We started out with just a hundred survivors. A hundred people stranded on a deserted island, fortuitously gifted with pigs and goats and edible fruits. A paradise... unless your former life revolved around Twitter.

“It turned out that Steve used to be a pig farmer and he had a way with an errant sow, so off he went to round up the wild pigs. Eric had a smallholding back home so he began investigating and cultivating the local flora with a view to greater yields. Alison discovered there were chickens so she busied herself with collecting them all together and protecting them from predators so we could have eggs for breakfast.


“Among the rest we had a couple of engineers who quickly rigged up some irrigation and drinking water and some builders and roofers who managed to knock up shelter in a time which would have made them either pariahs or heroes back home, depending on which planning rules they’d circumvented and on whose behalf.


“About eighty of our survivors had no specific skills but were willing to give of their abundant physical energy and were happy to follow orders, but a few were genuinely unwell and unable to work. Luckily, we had a few carers amongst our numbers and a makeshift sanatorium was erected.


“Remarkably, within a month we had all stopped starving and we began to build a successful settlement. Everybody was happy and the island supported our needs. We began to plan for rescue despite some of our more widely read colleagues predicting we’d never be found. A moot point because discovery and rescue were not within our gift. After a couple of years we accepted our fate and resolved to make the best of it.



“By now we had it pretty well sussed. We had food and fuel and shelter and while some yearned for their smart toys, nevertheless we accepted our fate. In fact we celebrated our deliverance from the corrupt, venal world from which we’d abruptly been severed and began instead to make the most of what we’d got. It was a small world of plenty and as long as we husbanded our resources wisely we could see a future.

“As we became relaxed in our new home we began to pair up and despite our primitive state our population grew. And we worked and worked and worked to improve our lot. We welcomed each new arrival with joy and afforded the parents some respite from work, others glad to shoulder an extra burden for a while. After all, a new mouth to feed would eventually grow to become a valued member of our little community.


“ But a strange malaise began to creep over us as focus shifted from mere survival to increasingly comfortable life styles. The largest families were invariably produced by those who were the least economically productive. They made themselves look busy, of course, spending time raising children, tending the sick, decorating their huts and dreaming of rescue. Soon the bulk of their time was spent in meetings where they began to award themselves meaningless titles and grant themselves various entitlements, none of which put food on the table.


“Away from camp, out in the fields, those most engaged with keeping us alive were working ever harder and longer hours to provide food and drink and were too busy and tired to get around to breeding. Being on an island our resources were finite indeed and working hours increased to make the most of them. There came a time when the workers, the non-breeders, realised they were virtually slaves to those who saw it as their right to procreate without restraint. So they withdrew their labour in protest.


“After a few threats and a few beatings, the decision was made to cast out the stubborn striking workers, the twenty percent who just didn’t fit in with the majority view that the creation of babies was more important, more vital and more noble than crude food production, which anybody could do. This was democracy in action


“The engineers and the farmers, the builders and thatchers were rounded up and forced to built a makeshift and suicidal raft and we threw them on the mercy of the sea, never to be heard of again. I wish I was with them because now, nothing works any more. We have growing needs and dwindling resources and open mouths and failing crops. The chickens have flown their coops and the swine have returned to the wild. Meanwhile, having no other example to follow, we continue to breed.


“Everybody now continues to blame the departees (especially the thatchers, now that the roofs were beginning to fail) for our plight, spending more time in committee meetings, dreaming up more inventive ways of stretching what we’ve got between us. We’re all equal now. And we’re all starving. Something will surely turn up.


“If you find this message, please help.”






© Battersby MMXIII
Reproduced with permission
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