In today’s blog, I’ve decided to change things up a bit and post a piece of satire with a dash of my dark humor. I hope it’s both entertaining and thought provoking. I now give you “Cults for Dummies.”
The Scene: a man suffering from insomnia stumbles across a late night infomercial that piques his curiosity.
What is one to do when your education and work history limits your employability outside of small range of fields? I asked myself this question one day while musing on how I could use my background in an entrepreneurial endeavor. I quickly realized how limited my options are. However, one immediately jumped out as having real potential.
Freelance cult leader
I mean, seriously. The hours are great. You have total freedom to develop your own business model. There’s no regulation. Literally, you’re limited only by your own imagination. This, I thought, was my ticket.
It turns out it’s not the utopia I thought it would be.
First of all, there’s no textbook on starting a cult. Apparently, no one has thought of writing “Cults for Dummies.” So I was pretty much on my own to figure this thing out.
Secondly, coming up with an issue around which to build my cult proved much more difficult than I imagined. All the really good ideas had already been used. Additionally, modern pop-culture has left people so jaded that finding a nutty idea around which to build my cult proved nearly insurmountable. People in America are bombarded year after year by a wide variety of books, TV shows, and movies that are post-apocalyptic or grounded in conspiracy theories and bent realities. Virtually every idea I come up with had already been done and embraced by the mainstream.
What’s an aspiring cult leader supposed to do when all the good ideas have already been taken?
I realized that 21st century popular culture had the answer I was looking for. People no longer care about content. All they care about is image. My cult didn’t need to be about anything. All I needed to do was convince potential followers that simply identifying with my cult would give them the sense of fulfillment they so desperately craved. I needed the cult version of the cool kids’ table.
This was about the only good part of the process. Once upon a time, a cult leader would have to print or run copies of his literature. He would then staple them on telephone poles around the city and stand on street corners trying to woo potential followers. Not today. Now, all you need is a good website with all the right tags to place you at the top of the Google search.
So I recruited a top-flight advertising specialist and an equally qualified web designer and went to work. I can tell you, it was worth the investment. From the moment my website went live, I started to gain followers. It looked like I had found my gig.
That’s when the problems began to appear
People who join cults are weird. They are so needy, so clingy. I’m a pretty hardcore introvert and these people were starting to take up way too much of my time and emotional energy. I tried to shut things down, but they just wouldn’t go away. I started to feel like I was trapped in one of those zombie apocalypse movies.
Fortunately, I had taken a freshman course on psychology and counseling while I was in college. I was able to use what I learned to help the crazies get past their foil helmet paranoia and achieve just enough stability to reenter normal society. I was eventually able to get my numbers down to a cult of one. That was about right for me.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I don’t consider my experience a failure. Quite the opposite, I learned quite a bit.
I’ve written a book, “Cults for Dummies.” It’s available at Amazon for $19.99.