ALYCE IN WASTELAND
Once upon a time a little girl named Alyce was born into a
strange land. Alyce, of course, did not realize that this land
into which she was born was strange. It was the only land which
she could ever remember seeing, and so she thought it was
When she was very young, Alyce sometimes thought her parents
were strange. They had a magic box which they often gathered
around. The box claimed to show them the world as it was. To a
large degree the box shaped Alyce's picture of the world.
Five days out of every week Alyce's parents forced her to go
to school because, they said, she would learn there the things
which would make life possible for her in the land in which they
lived. Her teacher in the school, the Queen of Hearts, taught
Alyce about "freedom" and "justice." Alyce heard many stories
about the wars which the people of her strange land had fought in
the name of these two ideals. So many times did she hear the
stories, and so many things was she forced to memorize, that she
ceased to question the truth of what she was told, and accepted
it without reservations.
Although the people in Alyce's strange land referred to it
as "the land of the free," Alyce was a little confused, because
nothing in the land was free. One of the strange customs
practiced by her people was to exchange little scraps of paper
for everything. The most sacred writing which the Queen of
Hearts had shown her stated that all people were entitled to the
"right" to life, but she had also heard that there were people
who starved to death for want of the little scraps of paper.
One day each week Alyce was sent to the temple where the
Knave of Hearts taught her about the strange morality of the
land. The wealthy Knave taught the virtues of poverty while with
pity he soundly condemned all those who did not subscribe to the
teachings which he expounded. He also taught Alyce that the
desires of her body were innately evil. Because Alyce did not
understand what "innately evil" meant, the Knave succeeded in
instilling a deep feeling of guilt in the little girl's mind for
those desires were still there. Not only was she afraid of
dying, by starvation or any other means, but she was also afraid
of being rejected by little boys.
Alyce was born a very pretty girl, but she lost sight of
that fact as she grew older. The magic box showed Alyce pictures
of other girls, and told Alyce that they were pretty. Alyce saw
women at the temple, and heard people talking about the beautiful
clothes which these women wore. The little scraps of paper
purchased the paint and padding which made the girls on the magic
box and the women in the temple so pretty.
Because she had learned that the scraps of paper were essen-
tial to the "right" to life, it seemed logical to Alyce that she
comply with her parents' suggestion that she attend an institute
of higher learning so she could acquire the skills which would
enable her to amass scraps of paper. Her teachers, Tweedle-dumb
and Tweedle-dumber, taught her to recite many theories. Alyce
learned to recite the theories very well, graduated with honor,
and got a secure job designing buttons for the ruler of her land,
the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter was totally out of touch with
reality, couldn't do anything for himself, but he LOVED power.
So he got people like Alyce to build him devastating weapons with
which, by chain reaction, he could blow up not only his own
strange land, but also everything else of which the Queen of
Hearts had spoken in geography.
One day, in a fit of pique, the Mad Hatter pushed the button
which Alyce had designed for him. Alyce, her secure job, her
accumulated scraps of paper, paint, and padding were blown into
oblivion so fast that she didn't even have time to be afraid.