Now once upon a time in the land of Nada, there was nothing! Nothing special, nothing different, nothing new or exciting day in and day out. And the people, the Nadites, were very much content, and although you couldn’t really say they were happy about their lives, you couldn’t really say they were not either.
Nada was a land of sameness. All the trees were of just one variety and all were of the same height and width and none of them ever grew taller and none ever died away. None of them ever shed their leaves in the fall and bloomed again in the spring for that would be something different and life in Nada was not about being different.
Nada’s people, too, were all the same. All Nadites had wavy red hair and freckles. Kids were not! As a matter of fact, the Nadite language had no word for children. If there were a word for children, it would imply that children were not the same as adults and that would be a difference. All Nadites were even of the same gender-less attribution, neither feminine or masculine. And all played a one-string musical instrument called a Zilch.
Way back before any of the Nada population could remember, someone tried adding a second string to the Zilch, but it was quickly banned in the land of Nada because it was different than the first string.
Zilch players knew no chords or notes. They only plucked the one string to the rhythm of their own heartbeat. And since all heartbeats were the same and none ever quickened or slowed due to exertion, excitement or illness (those things didn’t exist in Nada) everyone always played the same note in the same tempo with the same rhythm the same way time after time.
Walking, or any other form of travel, was forbidden in the land of Nada because. according to the decree of the people, going from “here” to “there” would create a different place for the traveler and nothing in Nada was ever different. People pretty much stayed where they were and didn’t associate with other Nadites, for association would mean friendships and friends might like one another more than they liked other Nadites and a difference would be created.
One time a Nadite named Zip saw a neighbor and thought he was looking into a mirror. (I don’t know why it is important to tell you his name because all Nadites were named Zip, but it seems important to us to have names, and so now you know that one of the Zips in the land of Nada is included in this story.)
To try and see if the other image was really himself or another Nadite, Zip waved at Zip, his neighbor. Much to his surprise all Nadites were experiencing the very same emotion at the very same time and all of them raised a hand to wave at a neighbor and all of their neighbors also raised their hand to wave at exactly the same time. So no Nadite ever really truly knew if they were alone in the world looking at reflections of themselves or if they were part of a community with many others – all who just happened to be exactly the same as themselves.
Now over time, this caused a great disturbance and unrest and eventually none of the people in the land of Nada were happy.
Now also about this same time there was the land of Oodles, and unlike the land of Nada, Oodles and all the people in it had extreme differences. Even the land itself had many names. Some called it the land of Prosperity and others called it Plethora, Affluence, Opulence and a dozen other names. But no matter what name was used, everyone in the land of Oodles knew it was just a different name for the same place.
Difference reigned supreme in the land of Oodles and celebrations of anything perceived as different were presented at the drop of a hat. As a matter of fact, the drop of a hat was cause for celebration because it created such a difference. The hat which used to be “here” was now “there” and the air disturbance created by it’s fall caused small gusts of wind that stirred up dust and organic matter on the ground. Flying insects and even the hair on the hare would change their attitudes and direction because of it.
The language spoken in the land of Oodles had none less than 54 different words that could be used to mean “different” and the Word Committee, which changed it’s members every day, so as to be different every day, were constantly working to invent new words to mean the same as other words just so the people would never be bored with using the same word twice.
Now difference and being different was so celebrated in the land of Oodles that it was the only characteristic in the land that was deemed as being good. So much was it deemed as the only good thing that the word committee actually had more words that could be substituted for the word “good” than any other word. Being different was admirable, splendid, superb, rad and as many as 380 different words could be used in the language of the Oodlers.
Being different, as much as it was celebrated, also had it’s down side, much to the agitation of the King. For instance no two vehicles ran on the exact same kind of fuel and the difference in fuel was so great from one type to another that there were no alternatives or cross-over companion fuels. So filling up with a tank of gas was pretty much a difficult thing to do and the fuel station owners made very little income from the sales of fuel since they really only had one customer each and that was usually themselves. Long distance travel for the Oodlers was impossible unless they walked since they never were able to find their own specific and unique brand of fuel once away from home.
Hospitals were really incredibly huge warehouse storage facilities since it was necessary to store plasma of a different type for every single person in the community because no two Oodlers had the same blood type. This also caused a huge increase in the cost of health insurance.
Another major negative impact of so much difference was the playing of group sports because the rules for the same game were always interpreted differently from one team to the next. Even on the same team, the duties of each player were often confused because each saw his role differently than what the rule books called for and, so, quite often one might be watching a football match where the quarterback brought out a cricket mallet. No two referees even agreed upon the rules of the game and so decisions were impossible to obtain.
And music was never heard in the land of Oodles because no Oodler could ever agree with another Oodler on how many strings a guitar should have or and even within the same band, all the band members instead on playing in a different key.
Pianos in the land of Oodles had so many differences that some had only 10 keys while others had over 500. Some had a pattern of three black keys then two black keys while others had no recognizable pattern at all. On some, the black keys were called half notes and on others they weren’t black at all but a rainbow of colors and each color represented a different one sixteenth of the musical spectrum.
Some banjos had a fifth string tuning peg at the fifth fret while others had it at the 10th fret and still others had it mounted on the resonator causing a wide variety in the variable tunings so that it was very seldom any two banjo players ever knew exactly what the other was playing.
One banjo player insisted that his resonator should be attached to a set of bellows and his instrument was played by picking and squeezing simultaneously, which certainly was different, but also extremely difficult to do.
Now in the land of Oodles, there was so much difference created over the years that it was impossible for anyone to agree with another because agreeing would be too much sameness and that was not a desirable quality in Oodles. And it soon became impossible for anyone to communicate with another.
Like the land of Nada, this caused a great disturbance all across the land and the people were not happy.
Now both lands, the land of Nada and the land of Oodles, existed in the world at exactly the same time and so both were experiencing the frustrations of their community’s edicts and the problems they suffered because of them.
And it just so happened that the rulers of each land, the father of the land of Nada, a man named Eornom, and the father of the land of Oodles, a man by the name of Hsub, each had a revelation at exactly the same time. And unbeknownst to each of them, both of their revelations were identical.
In a dream, a messenger came to each man carrying a warning that to continue as they were would mean certain doom. But to begin to repair the world, each, Eornom and Hsub, would have to do everything in reverse. As a matter of fact, they would also have to convince their lands and everyone in them to also do everything in reverse.
And so waking up in the morning became waking up at night and clock springs were removed and re-inserted upside down and backwards so that time on the clock moved from twelve to eleven and then to ten and nine and so forth. Laughing became crying and what once were raindrops hitting the ground became steam and moisture rising back to the clouds.
Everything in the land of Nada began to transform into different shapes and forms and ideas of sameness were replaced with notions of variety. Likewise in the land of Oodles, all the variables began to merge to create wholeness and eliminate fractions.
But still it wasn’t enough. Each land, Nada and Oodles, with all they had done, could not get back to a time when peace and tranquility were abundant.
Now, because of the many changes that occurred in each land, the Nadites began to travel and enjoy the new discoveries and the Oodlers soon had an abundance of the appropriate fuel for their vehicles and travel became frequent for them as well.
And so it happened that each made the discovery of the others existence and in that new find, their worlds opened up, for each had exactly that which the other was in need of and a great war was waged between the two. Each side attacking the other over and over in an attempt to gain plunder for themselves. Each side going to battle for what they believed was their right – to gain what they didn’t have even if it was to the detriment and elimination of the other.
After many years of war and much ruination of the lands, the rulers of each land, Eornom and Hsub, had the occasion to meet and discuss their mutual problems and surprising to each was the fact that each man learned of the messenger in the dream of the other and the fact that the remedy for each man’s problem was exactly the same. Surprising, too, was the fact that each community had reached a stand-still with their progress and each ruler knew his people would not be able to last unless they could find a way to fully transcend the problems.
So each man took turns making suggestions on what they thought should be done. First one then the other, back and forth all of the day and all of the night, the two bantered and discussed and shared and debated. But still nothing they thought of seemed to be workable.
Finally after many many hours of debate and discourse, Eornom suggested that perhaps the only way for each land to truly become peaceful would be to merge both lands and become one and he suggested the new name for the two lands be Ssargeulb.
Hsub, fearing he might be left out of a leadership role in the new land, agreed but only with a compromise. He figured that if he caused enough confusion during the merger, he would have time to wrangle a hold on at least half of the new kingdom. And so the compromise was struck and it was that all of the people would begin to speak backwards.
And so each man agreed and back to their lands they went to begin the new peace.
Before long everyone in Nada and everyone in Oodles was speaking and even thinking in reverse and it made an immediate difference and both lands truly became one under a joint rule of both kings. And soon everything was working completely to erase the problems and give the people what they needed, peace, tranquility, happiness.
And so, in the brand new land of Ssargeulb, the father of Nada, Eornom, became Monroe and the father of Seldoo, Hsub, became Bush and all was right in the world of Ssargeulb. And from that day on and forevermore all the people speaking in reverse in the world of Ssargeulb remained happy ever after.