The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

The Craftsman Revolution

A man jabbed himself in the neck with a screwdriver outside the White House on Monday, a National Park Police spokesman said.

The man was yelling "something about, 'Free Iraq.' The words, 'I'm going to kill myself if you don't do something about Iraq' - something like that," said Washington Post photographer Michael Williamson, who witnessed the incident.

-- Newspaper article, late twentieth century

At the time, the actions of the man who would come to be known simply as "The Screwdriver Martyr" were seen as laughable, the man himself just another lunatic in an unbalanced world. It wasn't until the spring of 1999 that the citizenry of the United States of America began to see self-mutilation with common household implements as a tool for social change.

The first true hero of the "Craftsman Revolution" was one Martha Genhauser, who crushed her earlobes in a monkey wrench until her local high school agreed to stop running student productions of "Guys and Dolls" every other year. Her victory inspired many others.

Reg Dand of Newhucket, Nebraska convinced the local water district to add tartar control to the already-floridated water by soldering his thumbs together. Patricia Florida of Patricia, Florida was two-thirds into opening her skull with a oyster knife before the federal government agreed to return the San Placebo river to the Seesaw Indians. And thirteen-year-old Betty Slate of Ventura California managed to create a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine simply by attempting to pierce her ears with a safety pin.

I leave you with these words, from President Chelsea Clinton-Gingrich, who summed up the spirit of those exciting times: "I am proud to lead a country where citizens understand the importance of standing up to be counted, making their voices heard, and then poking themselves painfully with a X-Acto knife or something."

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