I had a chance to sit down with Sol Gallivan. By day, he’s a data entry clerk at a regional gas station chain. In his free time, though, he is Woodbury’s self-anointed “Guardian of Empiricism”.
I sat down with him in his apartment along Valley Creek Lane. He was dressed in his royal-blue leotard, a red and yellow “GoE” shield embroidered to the front, a red cape slung jauntily over his shoulder. He poured a Chocolate YooHoo onto a bowl of Captain Crunch as we spoke.
MITCH: So you call yourself the East Metro’s “Guardian of Empiricism”. What does that mean?
GALLIVAN: I find places where people are behaving irrationally, and I go and mock them.
MITCH: Er, OK – give me an example of this…
GALLIVAN: I went to Best Buy on Black Friday.
GALLIVAN: I stood by the cash register and yelled at people who were buying extended warranty protection.
MITCH: Er…you yelled at them?
GALLIVAN: I yelled HEY! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT MOST PRODUCTS DON’T GO BAD DURING THE WARRANTY PERIOD? YOU ARE BEING IRRATIONAL!
MITCH: Er – well, be that as it may, it’s their choice…
GALLIVAN: Right. And it’s my choice to mock them for it! Because they’re gullible!
MITCH: Well, sure – everyone who’s ever worked in the industry knows those warranties are prett much a cash cow for the business. Still, it’s their choice! What difference does it make to you?
GALLIVAN: They have done something mockable! It is my duty and mission to mock it!
MITCH: Duty and mission to whom?
MITCH: Sounds like your mission is to be a self-proclaimed, solipsistic pain in the ass!
GALLIVAN: That’s what the security guard said as they threw me out on the street. Irrational sheeple!
MITCH: OK. So you yell at people in checkout lines…
GALLIVAN: Oh, don’t you underestimate me! That’s just a time-killer! The other day, I went to a H’Mong wedding. You know the bride was like fifteen, right?
MITCH: Right. It’s their cultural custom.
GALLIVAN: Right. And so I jumped up by the witch doctor or the Oobadooba or whatever you call him, and yelled “HEY! GETTING MARRIED AT THIS AGE IS IRRATIONAL!
MITCH: Wait – you interrupted someone’s wedding to insult their cultural norm…
GALLIVAN: Not just a “cultural norm” – an “irrational” cultural norm that is just stupid!
GALLIVAN: I walked into a Green Bay Packer bar and turned off the big screen TV, and yelled at them that they were empirically wasting their time watching football! They should be reading a good book! On biology!
MITCH: I bet that went well!
GALLIVAN: They were too drunk to catch me before I got out the kitchen door.
MITCH: I bet. Coulda been your funeral…
GALLIVAN: Oh, speaking of which! Yes! Funerals are the best! I love going to funerals and jumping up during the happy-talk, and yelling HEY, YOU GULLIBLE PEOPLE! IT’S ALL JUST GOING TO DECOMPOSE!
MITCH: To a room full of the bereaved?
GALLIVAN: They’ll thank me later.
GALLIVAN: And don’t get me started on churches.
GALLIVAN: But since you did – hooie! Stupid, gullible people!
GALLIVAN: Because there is no empirical basis for religion!
MITCH: When has anyone ever said there was?
MITCH: No, not exactly. Faith isn’t about empirical belief. It’s about answering the questions that science doesn’t, and most likely can not.
GALLIVAN: G’huck. Right. How stupid! Science explains everything.
MITCH: How did life start?
GALLIVAN: A bunch of chemicals randomly formed and were hit by lightning.
MITCH: And you empirically know this how? There’s been no empirical, testable means to show not only how life began, but how human life evolved in the time we’ve had to develop things like “consciousness” and such. None!
GALLIVAN: We…well, we will know it someday.
GALLIVAN: Well, I believe we…
MITCH: What’s that?
[faint smell of urine]
MITCH: Anyway. What’s your next project?
GALLIVAN: On “Christmas” morning, I’m going to go around and tell kids there is no Santa Claus.
MITCH: Sounds like you’re less a “Guardian of Empiricism” and more of a self-centered narcissist who gets a kick out of trying to poke holes in whatever happiness other people choose, for reasons of their own, to have in their lives. I mean, it’s their business, not yours, right?
GALLIVAN: No. Anywhere someone does something gullible, in whatever part of their life, for whatever reason, it’s my business.
MITCH: That’s just…I’m sorry. Words fail me. Oh wait – one more question. Do you mock people who believe that human life begins at birth? So that people who get abortions in, say, the second trimester are killing a human being, because empirically, infants delivered in the middle of the second trimester are, empirically, alive today?
GALLIVAN: What are you, a neanderthal? That’s a womyn’s choice and personal business!
MITCH: Unlike culture, faith or choice of football team?
GALLIVAN: You are stupid. It’s because you are very gullible. Pardon me, I need to go and change…
MITCH: By all means. I think we’re done…
GALLIVAN: Live long and prosper!