Articles From the November 1997 Unification News
Modern Times - Part Two
This is the second half of a short story about some portentous events in a small Mississippi town. All of the characters and places described herein are fictional. On Friday, Bill Samson sensed it was time to switch gears once again. Hed encountered a large elderly population. This town was a backwater of the New South; its people were gracious, and pious, but few of them had an advanced education.
Besides, the package had just arrived from England.
Bill and his business partner Fred knew that people worried about their health. They understood that men loved sports, and their wives hated paying high bills. They also knew that almost no one understood genuine scientific principles, least of all in this humble, hard-working place.
Their colleague Dr. Edgerton ran an establishment in Oxford, England, and together theyd come up with something new. It was a line of products based on "Ludific Energy."
Bill and Fred opened the package, and eagerly made their plans. They switched places, and began to cover the territory once again. Both avoided places where theyd made heavy sales during their first go-round.
Their sales pitch was finely honed, and used many impressive, polysyllabic terms. This invisible energy was said to "vibrate beyond relativistic levels, oscillating with accelerations in excess of the precipitance of luminousness." Thus the "harmonic vibrations" could "stimulate any molecules brought into direct proximity, raising them to an elevated quantum plane."
The folks of Dixie associated anything from Oxford with its famous university, and Bill and Fred did nothing to discourage this impression.
They sold small "water conditioners" for fifty dollars, and sure enough, several elderly customers reported that their arthritis cleared up immediately. Bill then introduced golf gloves studded with "Ludific nodules," and that following Sunday, the owner of the local car dealership scored his best game ever.
Fred sold housewives hundred dollar "activated" food containers, and many husbands complimented them on the improved quality of their cooking. One lady caught Fred on the street and tearfully confessed that hed saved their marriage.
Things really started to roll!
Local gardeners bought larger, thousand dollar systems to treat their irrigation water, and swore their vegetables were growing faster. The mother of one summer school pupil sewed "nodules" into his baseball cap, and the boy proceeded to win the spelling bee.
Jim Faircloth knew what was up, but he didnt want to confront his friends and neighbors unless he had clear evidence. He examined his neighbors new "water conditioner" carefully. Despite its revolutionary claims, it was not patented.
"Honey," Jim told his wife, "if Bill Sampson patented this thing, hes have to show plans and a model to the Patent Office. Maybe he doesnt want to." But when he attempted to point this out to his neighbor, Jim received only a hostile glare.
Dale and a few other mechanics resisted the temptation to buy, as did a disappointed Ellie May. Her RV had used more gas than ever, and theyd had to borrow money from a cousin just to get home from the lake.
One "nodule" was sacrificed on Jims basement work bench. Every test he could perform revealed nothing but an inert lump of metal. It wasnt even magnetic. Nonetheless, Bill and Fred were selling hundreds of assorted devices.
The two salesmen had always been loners; both were unmarried, always on the road. Now they started getting bigger ideas.
"If Amway can do it-" Bill told Fred, in the privacy of their motel room. The very next day they rented an empty storefront downtown, and hung up a banner reading: "Global Marketing Institute of Mississippi."
Folks could buy in to the new organization at "levels" costing anywhere from three hundred to two thousand dollars. The golf-playing car dealer bought in at ten thousand, and was appointed Senior Vice President. Bill immediately rented himself a house in the nicest part of town.
Seriously worried, Jim Faircloth started asking around, and realized that not a single person in town had a degree in Physics. However, his brother-in-law had a friend who was a professor at the University of Alabama, several hours drive away. Long telephone consultations followed.
Word got around, and Bill learned of Jims concerns.
With guidance from Mr. Edgerton, the salesmen prepared their troops. "Ludific energy will cure many diseases," Bill told this recruits. "But those medical doctors, they need your hard-earned money to make their pool payments! Do you have any idea how many cancer cures the AMA has suppressed?"
Angry shouts greeted Bills assertion. "My pa died of cancer," one lady cried. "The doctors did nothing-and left us broke anyhow!"
"Thats not all," Fred followed up. "Do you know what they said about Galileo? The authorities always try to crush new ideas like ours. And do you folks know the real story of the Wright brothers?"
The following Saturday, Jim Faircloth dared to stand up during a monthly Businessmens Breakfast meeting, and address the issue directly.
Several of his fellows gave him an unexpected, and apparently well informed reply. Jim had never heard of Lord Rutherford, at least, not by name. He soon got an earful.
It seemed that Rutherford, one of the nineteenth centurys most prominent scientists, had pronounced: "Man will never fly." Later, when informed that the Wright brothers had done so, hed retorted: "Then theyll never manage to carry a passenger." Jim soon found himself wishing that Lord Rutherford had never existed.
Meanwhile, the towns mainstream, Protestant minister was getting involved. He was a young man, just out of seminary, and his self-appointed goal was to help the townsfolk become more enlightened.
Pastor Bascomb had found little open racism; hed almost felt disappointed about that. So he sought a new challenge, hoping to "raise the spiritual level" of the local people, and so "bring the whole community to a higher plane." Spiritual vibrations had been all the rage at his seminary, located as it was in the progressive Boston area.
It was proving difficult. And then, as if in answer to his prayers, along came Bill Sampson and his wondrous, vibration-raising high technology.
Pastor Bascomb was an intelligent man, and when Jim Faircloth had fixed his microwave oven, two months earlier, hes talked the repairman into giving a short lecture on how the oven really worked. That afternoon, Bascomb had told his secretary about it. "Why, the invisible energy excites the water molecules directly!" hed enthused.
Now it seemed to him that Mr. Sampsons devices must work on similar principles. Besides, Bill and Fred had started attending church each Sunday-and tithing generously.
That Sunday, Pastor Bascomb asked Bill and Fred to stand, and publicly thanked them for their contributions to the community. Sales and recruitment had spread nationwide, and their town was soon to boast of more wealth than it had since the Civil War. Seated in a back pew, it was all Jim could do to keep from jumping up and shouting, right then and there.
After the service, Jim requested a meeting with Bascomb. And could a friend of his, a professor from Alabama, sit in too? The Pastor said he could.
While they were waiting to see the Pastor, Jim and the professor talked about Lord Rutherford.
"You see," the professor explained, "the man understood the principles involved. He knew that air resistance would increase with an aircrafts speed. They didnt have good engines back then, so more output meant more weight. His objections were entirely valid. It was just a question of better engineering."
Jim shook his head and sighed. "I doubt there are four people in this entire burg who could tell you how a VCR works. Much less explain the principles behind it. Thats plenty good for my business, but no wonder Sampson can snooker folks so easily. Id love to put the truth about this whole business on the front page of the paper, like, explaining what a placebo is."
"Then youll have to find those four people, and get together with them," the professor said quietly. "Maybe you could put something in the local paper. Tell them how wondrous science really is. The genuine discoveries are so fascinating! You know I belong to the American Scientific Affiliation, and we do see the Lords hand in the cosmos as. I hope your Pastor can see his way clear, too. Hed be able to get the truth out."
With this, we come to the close of our story. But, who knows-there might be a sequel.
Dear Reader, if this town sounds at all familiar to you, thats because it was meant to. Which character would you like to be?
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