The application process for a middle-class galaxy...
3.9 billion years ago, there wasn't even nothing because it wasn't permitted.
Previous Universes had been appraised, scrutinized, then stamped as liability hazards - conformed to the police-state known as the singularity.
It was the ultimate authoritarian achievement. Nothing could go wrong if it didn't exist.
In the instant the memo appeared there were born two parties herein known as The Committee, whom read the memo, and The Applicant, whom wrote it.
In response to the memo, the Committee returned application 957, The 'Illumination' Request Form, to The Applicant several times. It had been filled out sloppily, in red pen - in the dark.
To file a request for light meant you had to have previously requested light in order to see the required paperwork.
It was then communicated that the request be amended, adding the phrasal adjective 'a tincy wincy bit of' to the imperative 'Let there be light,' therefore allowing the applicant to see and complete the forms correctly.
After a delay of 9 billion years, an application for a single-celled organism was given the stamp of approval. The delay was attributed to a credit check uncovering a lack of records and references; the first case of bad credit in all history.
The first amoeba (party A) had a gender identity crisis. This first instance of such deep-rooted gender confusion was permitted as it hadn't yet been anticipated by committee. Party A applied for a divorce of its masculine self (party B). When the two of them split, this first act of cellular mitosis was deemed final – and irreversible. The papers were signed. They have been trying to get back together – in a Precambrian explosion of physical forms - ever since (by sticking this protrusion into that hole, rubbing mutual protrusions or holes together, staring into each others eyes, conversing for hours, drinking heavily while dancing, etc.).
And through numerous legal procedures, vetoes, and apocalyptic objections that brought the mullet down hard, what is known as evolution was permitted to continue for the next 4.8 billion years – before I myself was permitted, by committee.
When I was 19 I built my first crucifix and put it up in the back yard. The downstairs tenants complained, and even though I disguised it as a perch for the satellite and bird feeder I was legally forced to take it down (full use of the backyard was part of the rental agreement, after all).
I then put it up on crown land where it was taken away by the city the next day.
I was advised to move to an unorganized township, but couldn't afford the down payment on a mortgage without selling my family home.
Two years later, when the downstairs tenants moved, I erected a new crucifix before the new tenants arrived. Nevertheless they reported me for not having a building permit.
At city hall applying for a building permit the teenaged staffer told me that, up until one day prior I would not have needed to hire an architect to complete such a minor 'renovation.'
As we drafted the designs for a new cross I became almost glad – though still slightly hysterical – as this new design would be much more impressive, structurally sound, and therefore wouldn't raise my property insurance as much.
“It won't be hurting anybody,” said Architect Tom Avery, grinning under his red mustache.
The foundations had to be four and a half feet down, planted in a square meter of cement, surrounded by gravel, and supported by four posts coming down diagonally from the main beam, while the crossbeam also required supports. This was according to Edward Scott, the municipal building inspector at the time.
Though built to standard, my first insurance inspection was a failure. The crucifix threatened to interfere with the growth of my neighbor's poplar tree. Given a windstorm, it was said, the crucifix would be damaged, and debris from the tree could fall and seriously injure someone.
There was the issue of the cross (liability A), which somebody might be inclined to crucify themselves on, and liability B – American English for 'poplar tree.'
Rather than move the crucifix and its new cement foundations, I first asked my neighbor if it were possible to trim her tree. She agreed on the grounds that I help pay for the arborist, whom gave us an estimate of $3000. Three months later, the appointment was canceled as the cautious arborist did not want to assist in my suicide and we found another arborist whom did the job immediately for a greater fee. This amounted to a small debt that I had to repay before my big day. The Ascension of Steve.
It was also decided that the standard nine inch nails were excessive and may crack the crucifix. For a while they considered legislating the use of large bolts and nuts, which I fought against only because having bolts slowly twisted through you would hurt like hell.
The direct relation between body mass and the length and width of nails was made into an equation, applied across country –- this being just after assisted suicide was legalized in most American states.
As items in the new legislation forbid euthanasia by means of starvation and dehydration, a staircase with a four-and-a-half foot tall railing had to be constructed so that I could at least be offered food and drink way up there.
At this period, the new tenants stopped paying rent, and as it was still winter, my family was legally bound to keep them on until spring. They stated that they were not paying rent because the children found the whole affair of my crucifixion unsettling.
On the day of the crucifixion, my neighbor came forwards to complain that, when hung up there I would be able to see directly in her bedroom window. The conflict found resolution in the addition of scaffolding all around the cross; black cloth was tied to it like sails that acted as a blind and made it look a bit like the Kaba'ah structure in Mekkah. This served also to conceal me from the outside world and the media.
After the fire retardant foam was sprayed and the 'green lumber' encased in plywood, I was nearly there.
The incisions in my wrists and ankles, written up as 'body modifications,' were made with a scalpel and held open with sterile metal tubes. Legally they couldn't interfere with my ability to function, meaning I could still do my job – albeit with holes in my wrists and ankles. These tubes did hurt - especially when bumped against metal, since they ran through my very bones. I gave my employer one month notice and readied myself for the second coming of the sun. Spring time.
From the back door, I approached the cross wearing regulation steal-toed boots, a safety harness, and a safety hat. Though insertion of the regulation-sized nails only stung, having the nails support all of my weight was agony. If I let myself lean forwards though, the safety harness gave some support.
A lean, suited man then climbed the staircase and asked me to sign a form. Unable to do so, my testimony was then taken on video and reviewed by a legal committee – and refused.
As a panel, it was decided that I was likely only suffering from seasonal depression and mania, normally treated with anti-depressants.
As my lawyer advised we then shot another video in which my pale and emaciated face claimed that this, for myself as a manically depressed person, was me enjoying the pursuit of happiness allowed by the constitution.
Finally it was decided that I was only entitled to pursue – but not to achieve - this goal of happiness.
I went up to my bedroom. The back of my skull broke away like eggshell from a soft-boiled egg.