The Mail Order Millionaire Of Stupi

 

Long ago, before they privatised all the DNA, a highly successful businessman lived and died in the mountain kingdom of Stupi. His business was based on persuading people that they were dissatisfied. In this of course he was not alone, for there was evidence to show that between 16 and 22% of economically active citizens of Stupi between the ages of 18 and 60 were engaged in this pursuit. But of this army of workers Siar d'Mouton (for that was his name) was undisputedly the alpha male, despite the fact that he restricted himself to the tree based sector of the desire creation market (DCM).

His life path took him through stages where he was laughed at, disbelieved, viewed questioningly, adulated, envied and hated. In his personal life, as in his business, he aroused strong desires. People wanted to be near him, to be his friend, to bask in the reflection of his wealth. Professionally he was given a degree of respect by his peers, but regarded as an oddball on account of his rejection of any form of electronic desire creation. His urge to control the tree pulp side of the industry was exclusive and obsessive. His empire encompassed not only the production and distribution of attractive product information sheets, but also the plantation and harvesting of the trees destined to carry that information. At the peak of his success, 30% of the forest that once covered the mountain slopes of Stupi was dedicated to the d'Mouton effort. He also controlled the pulping and paper making process, the making of coloured inks, and the china clay and plastics used to add a shine to the paper, and the creative graphical advertising industry that generated the images of the product whose desire he meant to stimulate. As with form, so with content. The DCM effort set no artificial limits on the products whose consumption was boosted by his operation. It is true that he stayed strictly within the law, but this meant next to nothing, since if he felt restricted by laws, he would arrange for the law to be altered in his favour. He disseminated seductive information about everything from kitchen equipment through mind altering solids, liquids and gases to pornography and the machinery of torture and death. Short shrift was given to any moral objection. "If I did not do this", he would reply, "someone else would". One foolhardy philosopher opined that this argument spelled the end of ethics as an operational discipline. De Mouton had him put to death after a decent interval, but painlessly, in order not to give him the satisfaction from beyond the grave of being absolutely correct.

In addition to this limited moral criticism, he was condemned by those misguided souls who held that human desire was the problem not the solution. Siar responded to this criticism by increasing (by a small margin) the amount of recycled fibre in his pulp, and by paying journalists to make sure that the adjective 'naïve' preceded any and every reference to his critics. Ever the entrepreneur, he also invented and developed a small domestic incinerator for his products, generating home heating and/or electricity, and fitted with state of the art chimney gas cleaners which allowed only carbon dioxide and water vapour to escape. The tars from the scrubbers were fed back and consumed in ultra high temperature cycles of the incinerator, and the ash was compressed, collected and reprocessed into building blocks and arboricultural fertiliser. This move won grudging and partial praise from some of the naïve environmentalists but their criticism of the central intent of his business continued.

In this way Siar became immensely wealthy. Naturally this did not bring him happiness, only the ability to satisfy any desire that came into his consciousness apart from love. He had never been at ease with people, and after a brief flurry of high social activity, he became a recluse. His business activities became autonomous, run by stewards who were overseen by other stewards, who were overseen by accountants who reported back to the boss by paper based mail. D'Mouton designed and built for himself a secure underground dwelling place. Like all of his creations it was idiosyncratic but perfectly executed. From the outside the only aspect of the building was a huge impregnable door with a letterbox through which every desire creating paper in his empire found its way on a daily basis. Behind the door was a cast iron spiral staircase which led down to his main living room. In this Siar ate, slept, and examined incoming mail. Food arrived by post, in containers that could be heated by his incinerator. He became very obese. The main occupation of the day, after reading, was shifting the mail from the doormat to the incinerator. Although not happy, he was not unhappy, for only a fool would have been unhappy when every day evidence came through the door that desire continued to flourish in the minds of the people of Stupi.

In this way the mail order king of the mountains lived alone, until he slipped on a shiny leaflet on the iron stair. He struck his head and broke his left tibia and fibula. Waking from his concussion, he found himself immobilised. He took his fate philosophically. Three time a day he tried to attract the attention of the deliverer of post, but the thick door muffled his cries. After two days he was covered in incoming paper to the extent that breathing became difficult. After three days he died. After a week his living room was full and no more post could be thrust through the letter box. After a month the mail piled outside his front door began to impede the flow of traffic, and the authorities began to take an interest. After a year the necessary paperwork was completed to allow the police to enter the private property of Stupi's richest citizen unauthorised, and there, beneath a pile of shiny, attractive mail, they found the malodorous remains of the author and victim of the greatest mail avalanche known to man. When after five years news of his death could be suppressed no longer, his business folded, and after a further four hundred thousand years the forests of the mountain kingdom of Stupi had recovered some (but by no means all) of their historic beauty and diversity.

©Richard Lawson
Congresbury 1997

 
© 2001 R. Lawson This page was last updated on January 19, 2002