Steven Handscomb’s Startup Proposal

It’s friday afternoon or morning. I can’t tell because I only work two days, five times a month.

I’m on my daily three hour jog around the Eastern Prom trail. My knees don’t hurt this time, because I had kale and Greek yogurt at my last lunch.

In a fit of caprice, I find myself gliding down the newly constructed Bayside trail on the well-oiled engine of my perfect knees. On Anderson Street, I spot a new brewery that opened up this morning. My knees and their caprice instinctively carry me towards it. The sign reads “Five Guys Diners and Dives” and I laugh, even though no one is there to hear me. I decide to go inside to sample one of their ales, or lagers. I can’t recall which is the good one.

But inside, instead of seeing a group of motivated young bearded men serving well-hopped alcohol, I see only my friends and family, sitting at a hand-crafted wooden table. Everyone is on only one side of the table, like in the famous painting. But this isn’t necessary, because I know what the backs of my friends and family look like. They frame the astonishing and disorienting visage of Steven Handscomb, who is seated immaculately at the center of the far side of the table.
“Have a seat on your side of the table,” He requests. There is plenty of room to slide from side to side on one of our locally-sourced rolling chairs.” Without hesitation, I take a seat at the table opposite of my friends, family, and the most enigmatic wood sprite in the great state of Portland, Maine, Steven Handscomb. Glasses and mountains of bagels crowd the table suddenly. I say ‘suddenly’ only to denote an amount of time that cannot be measured by celestial durations.
Steven Handscomb officiates what will be the most important ceremony of this trimester. The sweat that I earned on my jog beads up around the erect hairs of my neck. Steven continues to proclaim his wishes.

“Drink of this wine and Moxie cocktail. This is my blood. Take these bagels from a restaurant called 158. They are my butt. Eat of my butt; drink of blood: and you shall find eternal relief from dry rot in your terrible apartments. Only through the Lord, my Aunt, may you find this immanent spirit.”

Globbing the contents of my plate and goblet hard, I look up only to focus on the next words that come from Handscomb’s mouth. “I got a start-up idea,” he exclaims with thunderous vivacity. “I want to sell you German-engineered, hand baked Toblerones for $400 dollars. Not these new mass produced toblerones with less chocolate that you see at generic stores, but artisanal, hand-chopped, hyper-local, artisanal Toblerone chocolate mountains.”

Everyone seated, including your truly, closes their mouths out of politeness: drooling is an abomination to Steven Handscomb, I deduce intuitively.


Can We Boycott Our Way To Power?

I think that if you could find a nonprofit, or a broad coalition of nonprofits, with a large base of support, a boycott could be a really good short term strategy that will be able to force concessions on a few items here and there.

But I think there are a lot of opportunities for a boycott to fail to create the deeper systemic change we are hoping for, and I think that in the future it will be necessary to pursue other strategies that are more involved than changing purchasing habits. Continue reading

A Tale of Steven Handscomb

It’s a normal night here at the Empire Dine and Dance.  I’ve never seen this man before, but he emerges.  A Hall and Oates song starts playing, but I couldn’t tell you the name of it, or what the hook is until it gets to the chords.  The man is standing there with a bottle of brown liquor held tightly to his lips and tilted far above his head.  He is jerking quickly back and forth.  Not dancing, but… jerking.

Suddenly, I realize that the song is coming out of his butt.  His name is Steven Handscomb.

How do I know that?

I also know that he manages a moving company.  Where did he get that bottle?  I look at the bartender, who doesn’t seem to care.  He is gazing at Handscomb serenely.  He has only the slightest smile hung from his approving face.

As Steven jerks back and forth, he moves his stiffly-straight legs across the floor, like a spirograph pen skittering on top of a card table.  We are now halfway through the song, and I recognize its chorus.  A bird rubs its back on the window from outside.

I don’t come to the Empire Dine and Dance regularly, but I come here often enough to know that this slowly descending disco ball is new.  A middle aged woman in the corner is showered with Nickelodeon slime.  After a moment, she laughs with a shocked expression holding her lips apart.  The spring equinox will come in 54 days, I recall.

The song ends, and by this time, Steven Handscomb has grown a mustache.  We’ve all grown mustaches.  As I fumble through my purse, looking for a razor, I notice that Steven Hanscomb is missing.  He is gone like the winter, and gone like his song.  But he has made my dreams.

Come true.