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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #551
David Gunn

In the Beginning, there was a house. It had walls and a roof, windows and a door. It did not resemble other houses of the day because there weren't any other houses. So by default it became the archetype of all houselike entities that followed. Billennia passed before another house appeared because the Neighborhood was hot and dense in a primordial sort of way and not conducive to development. In fact, the next structure to appear was a chicken coop. It was infected with a varicella-zoster virus, however, so the zoning board denied it a habitation permit. The decision saddened the house, weakening its HVAC system, so when it bid the coop adieu with the inorganic equivalent of a hug, it caught the virus. Soon thereafter, the house came down with shingles -- which in the long run, of course, was a boon.

More billennia passed. Life forms appeared. But because the Neighborhood was still hot and dense, they just as quickly disappeared. Some did, however, stop to visit the house first. No matter the door had been zoned for both entry and egress, these visitors exited by way of a window. There was no apparent reason for doing so, but then there were few apparent reasons for anything in those ancient days. Those that lived to tell the tale were called "defenestrators." (To be sure, the life forms that didn't survive the window departure were also dubbed defenestrators, but their story is not crucial to this narrative. Another time, perhaps.)

Given the nature of the Neighborhood (it was hot and dense, remember), it was inevitable that these acts of defenestration would attract spectators. Whole ecosystems sprung up whose sole purpose in life revolved around these domiciliary exits. Some debated (hotly, of course) whether the acts were deliberate or involuntary. Others argued over the meaning of the door, concocting elegant conspiracy theories as to why it worked solely as a one-way conduit. Still others seemed content to merely observe the defenestrations, no matter they sometimes had to wait eons for the next one to come along. (Evolution was clearly still in its Trial and Error Phase.)

One day, another structure appeared in the Neighborhood. It quite looked like a house in that it featured windows and a door. However, it lacked a roof and walls. The zoning board, which at the time was packed with conspiracy theorists, debated a long time -- some say more than a thousand coops -- before deciding to confer the "house" honorific onto it. Besides being deficient in fundamental exterior components, the new house was different from the archetype in another key respect: It made noises. In the vacuum that constituted the Neighborhood, this was hard to verify. But several surviving defenestrators claimed to have heard it, plus the original house admitted to feeling something in its joists. That was proof enough for the zoning board, which promptly granted the new house a conspiracy license. Had anyone bothered to ask any of the defenestration-observing ecosystems -- which had developed, along with their scrutiny skills, a keen sense of auditory sensitivity -- he, she, or it would have learned that the sounds were organized. But in a good way.

Still more billennia passed (or one did, anyway). The Neighborhood grew less hot, less dense, and the sounds grew proportionately more organized. A chord materialized in the Ether, after which harmony cautiously took root. The house reveled in this evolutionary tweaking because it was for the first time experiencing a sense of feng shui. Conversely, the structure of the harmony so discombobulated the defenestrators that they filed a grievance with the zoning board. The board went into executive session to discuss the merits of the grievance. The regular meeting site was unavailable, so the board moved its session to an Algonquin Hole, which regrettably slipped through a fissure in the space-time continuum and vanished. Because the board is still missing, the complaint is still pending.

Over time, the defenestrators grudgingly came to accept harmony as a viable Neighborhood component. The newly welcoming climate -- formally known as the Age of Organized Noises -- triggered the rapid evolution of rhythms, timbres, and tubas. In turn, whole ecosystems arose to observe these new sounds. Defenestration became a sometimes noisy event. Even the door, which had always been a silent means to enter the house, now looked forward to episodes of knocking, slamming, and jambing.

The second house was undergoing a change as well. Even without authorization from the zoning board, it was turning the "o" in its name into an "a". The reason for this change was not clear until even more billennia had passed. Until today, in fact, in a still different house. This house, the house of Kalvos ampersand Damian, which will soon play host to that other Hause and his own gang of defenestrators. Intrigued? Well, I should hope so. It isnít every day, after all, that we have more than one Hause in the house.