Once rogue sycophants roamed the land. As the largest known life form on earth, sycophants had long held a special place in the hearts of many. But now, with an unprecedented explosion in their numbers and their increasingly reckless behavior, they threatened to become more than simply an oddity of nature. They threatened, quite simply, to trample underfoot everything in their path. Reports of their alarming conduct arrived from everywhere, and no segment of society was safe from the dangers posed by these blundering hulks. They appeared without warning and disappeared just as quickly, leaving behind the dire aftermath of their passage. Their burgeoning presence even brought major thoroughfares to a standstill on occasion when whole herds of them came together out of nowhere and trumpeted loudly for attention before lumbering from one side to the other and then dispersing anew to follow the solitary, unstoppable course of mayhem a rogue sycophant normally pursues. When conditions reached a point to cause widespread concern that unchecked sycophant movements might pose a public health hazard, various plans were proposed for capturing those most clearly out of control and neutering them on the spot. Traps were placed wherever there was mounting evidence of high sycophant traffic, beginning with those areas most commonly found to attract them: the lush environs of corporate headquarters and around political convention halls, but also near stadium-packing moral crusades, outside military briefing rooms, show business award ceremonies and/or trial proceedings, product roll-outs, “meet the master” self-help seminars, and so forth. All of these locales seemed to prompt the kind of rampant sycophant behavior otherwise seen only in the rutting season. Despite these efforts, however, the results were far from encouraging. The main problem lay in what to do with these reckless behemoths once they were trapped. You couldn’t just declare you’d saved the citizenry from certain disaster and then walk away, for nothing was more dangerous than a thwarted and enraged sycophant. When denied the freedom to wreak havoc right and left, their reaction could be harrowing. At times like these, neither tranquilizer darts nor dumdum shells had much effect. And the prospect of having to wrestle a bellowing sycophant to the ground was daunting indeed. Many wished the whole menace of roving sycophants would just disappear some day, like a bad dream. But wildlife studies predicted an exponential growth in their numbers was far more likely, given the current state of affairs. Leaving the obvious dilemma, what if they ultimately overran the entire place?
Copyright © 2005 by Geoffrey Grosshans