Prose Header

The Insultalon

by Randy D. Ellefson

part 1 of 2

The following anonymous account arrived in my inbox recently and, while I first assumed it was a joke, I am no longer so sure and have decided it should be made public.

After all, if the events are not just the product of some sick imagination, innocent people should be warned what they may be up against when someone starts in on them.

I have often wondered why some people are offensive in such a way as to suggest they will somehow be rewarded for it, and perhaps I now have my answer. I pass this on in the spirit of fair warning. — R. D. E.

In many towns and cities across the land, a secret contest of unparalleled grandeur and magnitude has transpired among men and women of unusual talent and vision. Unbeknownst to most simple folk, who strive to live in peace and harmony with all the known world, this contest has thrived in the dark and remote places of society. It has long been seen by both its participants and creators as the special province of those of the very same disposition, and henceforth its existence has neither been advertised nor denied on the premise that those worthy to participate or attend will of their own accord discover its existence and location.

Like the secret societies of the world, though more noble and enduring, word has spread through underground channels and in coded messages, bringing the true believers flocking to the arena of their dreams.

Some come to gain insight from the masters, some to relive past glories, and others just for the spectacle. But regardless of reason, all know it is forbidden for them to recount what transpires to those not naturally drawn here.

By silent agreement, each vows to uphold this idea, for none wish those with disapproving eyes to come and spoil their amusements, nor tell the world at large of the events in their beloved competition.

At great risk to my own personal safety, I have infiltrated their games on numerous occasions to learn what little I could. While I confess to appearing amused as often as possible, so as not to draw attention to myself by being different, in truth I was horrified continuously. It is my great hope that these practices be stopped, for the betterment of all mankind. It is to this end that I compose this missive.

However, I will be unable to assist further in this regard, as I feel my life is in danger and will subsequently retire from public life to a private location. I entreat you to ponder at length on any matter which might remain regrettably unclear, try as I certainly did to overcome my horror at the remembrance and give suitable voice to what has become a nightmarish memory of the gleeful depravity, the twisting of moral fibers into knots of woe, and the weeping of the innocent.

In the interest of preserving the integrity of the events, they are presented here in the favorable view held forth by those attending, and it is my sincere hope that this manner of presentation is in no way seen as my condoning these terrible acts, but simply an attempt at genuinely portraying them with all the zeal, delight, and enthusiasm of a true-born participant.

Please note that in the spirit of solidarity with my fellow man, ways of spotting easy victims have not been included, nor have the specific techniques used by the contestants to hurt and offend innocent people everywhere. Peace and joy be with you.

Here follows a brief account of the events that, taken together, form the body, heart, mind, and soul of the Insultalon.

The Insultalon

As with any great event whose practitioners enjoy legions of admirers, the Insult-a-lon has many fans who eagerly await the next outing, at which point they gather in excited throngs before the arena. The entrance fee is quite unlike other events and has been known to cause utter breakdowns even among those believing themselves most fit to attend. The price, not including parking, is simply to walk through the entranceway without crying, for it is lined on either side with past champions of the games, who exercise their considerable skills at the expense of their fans.

Far from being daunted by this, many repeat spectators see this as a great honor and even look forward to it. In desperation do they seek out the entrance at which their favorite contestants stand so as to be blessed by becoming an inspiration. Some entrances are even known for famous past champions, who traditionally line a particular hallway, perhaps in remembrance of the first time they won gold.

Those who cannot enter without weeping are obviously too delicate and unfit to watch the games, and would inevitably cause a commotion that would impair the enjoyment of others. However, this would give spectators a momentary target for the natural wrath that builds within them as the games progress.

For this reason, it is considered wise to allow a handful of unworthy spectators to enter as a matter of crowd control, for they will eventually rise to their feet and cry out that the games must not continue, that they are an unholy abomination, that they offend all that is decent and kind among men. Henceforth the individual will become the focal point of spectator rage and, upon their removal, the games will continue with a more manageable level of angst.

During the entrance spectacle, some spectators are chosen to participate in the games as targets upon which the contestants will test their skills. Many amateurs, local talent, and those with favors to collect are allowed to enter a lottery from which the target victims are eventually chosen. For some, there is no greater honor in their lifetimes than to rise to compete one day. After the customary opening ceremonies, the events begin.

The Appearance Attack

The object of the Appearance Attack is to use the target victim’s appearance against them, noting any unusual features and making fun of them in such a way as to hurt the victim as cruelly as possible, thus causing a reaction worth a predetermined number of points. The score is based on the following chart, known as the Shock-o-Meter.

Reaction Points
No Change
Raised Eyebrows
Mouth Falls Open
Looks to Others for Comfort
Indignant Muttering
Eyes Water
Tears Fall
Verbal Counterattack
Physical Attack

Though this style of insulting people is generally considered beneath the grandeur of the contestants, it is recognized as the foundation on which skills have been built, and is included to pay homage. Additionally, it promotes the spirit of brotherly love in which the games are conducted by reminding the participants that however high they may have risen since their humble beginnings, their gifts flow from a common well-spring, and that pride will certainly bring the considerable self-righteous fire of the other contestants down upon them.

Since contestants can berate the targets at length during the ten-second event, multiple reactions are expected and tallied accordingly. Though the number of successful attacks and their quality are noted and considered an important aspect of style, the overall total is the only thing that determines the contestant’s standing. The contest moves in three stages, increasing in difficulty simply by changing the targets, a practice used throughout much of the games.

The first victim has unusual features and is therefore easiest to hurt, their sensitivity about those very same features causing such strong reactions that some participants call this a freebie.

The second target is so physically attractive that, among the uninitiated, it sometimes occasions wonder as to how this is not the most difficult victim, but no one is uniformly lovely and such beauties can pine for even greater perfection. Where others see a striking countenance, they see naught but trivial imperfections about which they worry and fret, and so a clever contestant can strike a nerve for a surprising yield.

The final victim is of such plain countenance that ferreting out some cause of angst takes the skill of a true champion, and some sense of greatness can be gleaned from a contestant’s performance here.

There is a strong temptation to use appearance for character assassination, and avoiding this is part of the challenge, particularly in the case of the attractive target, about whom one could assume such loveliness has caused vanity. That is a separate contest and is therefore strictly forbidden here as being off-subject. Points are harshly deducted for each transgression. It ruins the purity of this event and is considered bad form.

The 100-Second Dash

In this stunning contest, ten participants spew as many insulting names as they can in 100 seconds. The qualities or characteristics of the names are not important, since this is tested in other events, and the primary goal is simply that of speed.

While control and accuracy are important in other contests, here a blinding flurry is best. Repetitions neither count for nor against a participant, though naturally it is not beneficial to make them, as they waste precious seconds. Tone of voice and gesticulations, while impressive and a question of style to some, are likewise ineffective in scoring points.

Unlike other contests, the scoring here is simple: the highest number of names and insults wins. Single words are worth one point, but streams of insults are worth more than their parts. For example, rabbit humping chamber slut is sixteen points, not four, though some judges hyphenate the first two words in such an instance for a final yield of nine. Such a rule is determined beforehand by a panel of judges overseeing the games.

The Accusation Hurl

The Accusation Hurl tests the ability to hurl an accusation with great force and momentum, thereby achieving two goals. The first is to shock the accused into submission so that no counterattack can occur and additional allegations may be liberally sprinkled without opposition.

The second is to convince all those nearby of the target’s guilt with nothing more than the impassioned conviction with which the charge is uttered. In real life this often works because witnesses reason that no one would accuse with such vigor unless absolute evidence was at hand, and this outraged sincerity is given such value that any evidence need no longer be considered. The existence of said evidence, or the ability of the accuser to produce it, is therefore moot. To this end, it is of utmost importance that contestants appear to believe their words.

The Shock-o-Meter once again tallies reaction scores, though it should be noted that the Verbal Counterattack and Physical Attack are considered signs of failure, for such retaliations do not denote submission.

A Swoon is likewise undesirable, for it suggests the assault has ravaged a person so delicate and fair that it is unlikely they could cause a grievance warranting such hostility. This in turn casts doubt upon the judgment of the contestant, who is now suspected to be up to no good. This showing of your hand is not merely frowned upon but a cause for disqualification from this event, such is the importance of always appearing noble, righteous, and true, qualities that this event betrays in the worst of ways.

The Conclusion Jump

Next up is the always impressive Conclusion Jump. It is a rare contest in that it involves some activity from the target, who has been instructed to speak on a given theme unknown to the contestant. These subjects can range from observations on trivial fashions of the day to commentary on the prevailing political climate.

Targets are careful not to project either a favorable or negative view so that there is less for contestants to cue from, as self-reliance in all matters of conversational perfidy is cherished. When the contestant feels a suitable opportunity has presented itself, he begins ferreting out whatever secret, nefarious meanings may have been meant by the speaker.

The awarding of points is based in part on the speed with which one reaches conclusions, the title of Quick Draw bestowed upon the fastest perpetrator and worn proudly until the games conclude.

Secondly, both the total number of conclusions drawn and their content are tallied. Content scoring represents a great challenge, for the farther removed a conclusion is from the initial subject, the higher the score, and yet these far-reaching fantasies must still relate to the subject. Failure to maintain continuity results in a harsh deduction, for it reveals the ulterior motives of the contestant to attack without true provocation, a practice that reveals the contestant is a jerk.

Since it is the desire and goal of every contestant to appear as if they are the one beset upon by life and its minions of evil, not the other way around, such failures not only reflect badly upon the participant, but on the practitioners as a whole. It is therefore to a loud chorus of booing and hissing that ungrounded fantasies are punished.

It should be noted that participants are not to go on at length in the manner of the Controlled Improvisation to follow. One must walk the fine line between a reasonable number of conclusions to draw and overzealous rants, for which the discerning judges deduct points. It is similarly wise to avoid assassinating the speaker’s character and focus on the discipline at hand.

Proceed to part 2...

Copyright © 2009 by Randy D. Ellefson

Home Page