The Emancipation of Dominic Lindl
The street was empty, the air was crisp, and a light autumn breeze tussled his golden hair. He walked alone, as usual, in his navy blue Tommy Hilfiger jacket. The thin covering hardly kept him warm, but he preferred being cold to having that swollen appearance such a coat gives when layered over a sweater. If you were to cross paths with this unruly fellow you might experience a certain unease, either due to his general murky demeanour or the almost imperceptible scent of the sushi he ate for lunch. It must be asserted at this point – lest I give the wrong impression – that Dominic Lindl was not an entirely unpleasant person, for he also cultivated many saintly habits and carried himself with a refreshingly honest amiability. A second assertion, however, should be made here; that although Dominic Lindl’s well-conditioned conscience was quite functional, he was fond of being mischievous. Not in a terribly serious manner, but similar to how a four year old might hide from his parents at a park, more concerned with his own amusement than he was with being mischievous for its own sake. All things considered, I do not believe there would be any objection to categorizing the fellow as “good”, and he was genuinely appreciated by those whose presence he had convinced himself to tolerate – a decision he was still debating whether or not to uphold.
“Aw piss.” he muttered, between puffs of his cigarillo. He noticed that he had mismatched his socks. It was a hardly audible outburst, but it was the most socially appropriate way for him to express the volcanic rage that was welling up in his lumbering frame.
What a catastrophe – I’m a freaking idiot! How could I have been so infantile? One blue, one white: this will ruin my reputation. I hope I don’t see anyone I know. Stupid cotton foot-wraps. So useless. I swear, I’ll never wear another sock again…no better yet, I’ll just buy ten pairs of the same socks so that a fashion-fiasco like this never happens again. There’s nothing wrong with wearing black socks every day: they work for every occasion! Yes that’s it, I can’t believe I never thought of this before. What an elegant solution – I’m a freaking genius.
The bored look on his face gave nothing away, and any passerby would have never guessed that Dom had interiorly transitioned from utter disgust to rapturous jubilation in a matter of seconds. As far as he was concerned, this euphoric realization was the crowning jewel to the comprehensive list of decisions he was preparing to make that would effectively optimize his presently unassuming life. Indeed, it was an impressive list. It was only a matter of time before every aspect of his mundane existence would be totally reformed. It took every ounce of self-restrain to keep from bringing this beautiful plan to fruition at that very moment, but he knew that he had to wait. Neither he nor the plebs that surrounded him were truly ready for his grand metamorphosis. It would only work when he was truly free to make this radical change. He was waiting for his appointed hour – the fullness of time.
So it was that the impulsive youth endured his lot with what could be described as an optimistic anticipation. Every skipped class, every meal, every cigarillo: all roads converged toward an inevitable climax – the imminent emancipation of Dominic Lindl. A third and final assertion must be made at this point to avoid a most critical error in judgement: Dominic Lindl was not a lunatic. This intensely consuming project of his confirms that he was quite unlike most other boys on the cusp of manhood, but it would be unfair to say that his nonconformity was strictly deleterious. He was, in fact, more intelligent than the majority of people his age, and he kept a much better general hygiene than even the most prudent youths. Perhaps the former was the reason that he was able to concoct such an extensive and practical list in the first place, and the latter was the reason that one of the foremost items in his upcoming program was the strict avoidance of public restrooms.
On the topic of his remarkable intellect, it should be noted that he was not brainy in the traditional sense of the word – which is to say that he was gifted in the humanities rather than the sciences – nor was he particularly boastful by nature; all of this saved him from being intelligent in the usual intimidating sense. He might have failed biology if he had taken the class, but he could receive full marks for a paper he wrote the morning after it was due. He laughed off his inability to do simple mental calculations, but he could, at any moment, improvise some charming bit of prose and pass it off as one of the lesser known writings of Robert Frost. He managed to spend an entire year’s groceries budget in three months, but he was the kind of person who, on the day of graduation, would surprise everyone by standing up when the principal called for the Valedictorian (a title he actually held).
Most people dream of being great and of contributing to society in some honestly helpful and gloriously important way, but Dominic Lindl stopped having such fantasies long before he started shaving. Ever since he began formally documenting his list (which he was inspired to do one cloudy afternoon when he realized that it was more efficient to press 9-0 on the microwave than it was to press 1-3-0), his fantasies started becoming real, tangible possibilities. Most great plans to revolutionize the world start with grand and somewhat vague topics such as justice and peace and inevitably get lost in their application to the details of daily life, but the strength of this young man’s plan was precisely that it outlined every detail with unprecedented clarity. Never again would a man have to struggle with deciding how much money to spend on a first date, because a quick reference to the “Romantic Relationships” section of The List would clearly explain why $65 is the most ideal sum, and on the next page, one would find a most excellent set of first date recommendations, the first of which is mini-golf and afternoon tea (which is playful enough to be a source of genuine amusement but serious enough to give a man the chance to demonstrate his masculine vitality). Despite its humble beginnings, his list was never meant to be confined to himself: it was meant to change the world.
It goes without saying that keeping such a treasure to himself was trying, especially when he saw two people make the fatal error of misjudging whether they would shake hands or hug at the onset of their reunion. The List gave very specific instructions on the matter (the attempted handshake was doomed from the beginning), and for some un-nameable reason, Dominic felt a profound confidence that this Statute of the Socks was the last rung in The List’s ladder toward utopia. Every other method had proven to be inadequate, and now, everything was accounted for. Dominic got home that night, and after saying his prayers, let the comforting whisper of the rain guide him into a deep and restful sleep.
When he awoke the next morning, it seemed as though the entire world was beckoning for him to begin: he woke up peacefully two minutes before his blaring alarm would have jarred him from his regenerative slumber, he could sense the warm call of fresh pancakes coming from the kitchen, and he noticed that the clouds had parted just enough for the sun to shine through his bedside window and onto the 492 pages of the first, and last, edition of The List. He picked up the tome carefully, as one would pluck a child from its crib, and nestled it into his book bag. He would unveil it in a private meeting with his university’s President (to whom he happened to be related) so that it would be published by an academic institution. Then, it would garner attention from reputable scholars, whose weak critiques would only serve to bring it into public spheres. The List would hardly ever be mentioned in conversation, because people would be hesitant to give away the source of their overnight success, but there would be a sort of unspoken acknowledgement between the masses that it was all thanks to The List.
Dominic sauntered down the narrow hallways of the university, and without breaking his stride, let himself into the President’s office with an air of focused determination. She was clearly busy, but he knew that she would understand his intrusion after laying eyes on the gem he held under his arm. Removing herself from her work, she recognized Dominic as she stood up with arms outstretched for a warm hug. But lo! He had already begun reaching out a singular hand for what was intended to be a firm but affectionate handshake. All of a sudden, every sensible word inked on the pages of his opus became empty as he gurgled some unintelligible sound and leaned to the wrong side for a hug that more closely resembled the unholy result of an octopus knotted with an eel.
“How are you Dominic?” she asked politely, still smiling. “What brings you here today?”
“Uh…nothing” he stammered oafishly before turning to stumble on his way out of her office. He absentmindedly made his way to the institution’s student lounge, where he proceeded to skip his day’s classes to play video games with the goons that passed their own time there. Even then, Dominic could not help himself from gently reproaching one of his peers who had reached for a fistful of potato chips with his right hand – an obvious misstep when you consider everything that must be done with one’s dominant limb.
Dominic went for a long walk that evening. He struggled to reconcile the day’s experience. If anything, the mishap only reinforced his conviction that there was a need for The List: if the President has only read page 341, she would have known that a hug was ill-advised before 10am in professional settings, but clearly, the system would only work if everyone could somehow be made aware of it all at once. A larger platform was needed.
So it was that Dominic made a decision that any sensible young man makes when filled with a burning ambition to change society: he would become King of the World.