by Andrew Holland. Originally published in the Oct. 2019 edition of Live Ideas. Find it here.
Hello there, old friend
It’s been too long
Oh, you don’t know me? Never met me?
Well, allow me to introduce myself
My name is Wallace Sterling
But you can call me “w.s.” for short
You may not know it, but I’ve been by your side everywhere you’ve gone
Into every building you walked
I’ve overheard every conversation you’ve ever had with any sort of person
I’ve been around for as long as you’ve been alive
Even before that
I’ve witnessed some of the most important historical events
Seen the bloodiest battles
Marveled at new technologies
And watched people fight for their voices to be heard in society
I jotted down notes at many of these events
My journal entries are read about in schools across the country
Despite my notoriety
Some people have the nerve to try to silence me
My eyewitness accounts have stirred up many conversations
About whether I’m really telling the truth
Or just making up tall tales
Yet, most tend to agree my findings are legitimate
Regardless of anyone who dares to question my logic
Almost every time this debate has happened
Pathos has trumped logos
And you may not know it
But people have tried to get you to believe that argument since you were very young
Damn near anyone older than you
Stating that what I’ve written is the stone-cold truth
Before going on their merry way
What people fail to realize, though
Is that my words are more powerful than they think
I’m somewhat of a sorcerer of scripture
Casting spells, hypnotizing men, women & children
My literary voice has the power
To take a rationally thinking human
And transform them into a wild beast
Like a bear, swatting at honeybees
Or chasing after a helpless deer
My words have the strength to silence. Any. Doubters.
And whether you know it or not
My teachings are now world-famous
Oh, it’s not like I’ll go on book tours, giving speeches, showing up at meet-and-greets
No, no, dear me… I’m much too shy
Luckily, my notes convey what I have to say, with such clarity
That some of the most powerful world leaders in history
Have sworn by them, taught them to thousands, even millions of people
While I must confess my words have done much more harm than good
I think it’s cute that I have so many loyal fans
Willing to do anything to shout down the Critics
My journals have practically been bestsellers for decades, even centuries
And they still continue to be popular today
Through books, CDs, podcasts, YouTube videos, websites
Even the evening news if you know where to look
I have mentioned a few times my distaste for Criticism
Lately, it’s becoming stronger than ever
People saying that my words will only cause more divisiveness and hatred
Fools! I’ll make sure they eat their words
I’ll make sure that my believers – I mean, fans – shut the Critics up
Even if it takes fire, bullets, and bloodshed to keep them at bay
Why, what I’ve written about is enough to make the Most Powerful Man on Earth sing his praises for
He only THINKS he’s the most powerful!
In reality, he’s just part of my puppet show
That I write, produce, and direct
Everybody who’s read my books
Tell me they’ve changed their lives
Now, my believers are never afraid to stand up for me
When the Critics tell me what I’m doing is wrong
They always ask, “What about Wallace? His opinion matters, too!”
My teachings are everywhere
They’re being talked about on the news
Every morning, noon, and night!
I can’t tell you how happy I feel when one of my fans makes the news
Ooh, I shiver with excitement just thinking about it!
Can you imagine? Someone willing to raise Hell and spill buckets of blood…
Just to prove their undying loyalty to you?
I think it’s quite an honor!
You might be thinking, “Wallace, your words can’t possibly reach THAT many people, can they?” (1)
I say, just look around you
There are more and more people across this land
Trying to make this country better
By going out to spread my teachings
Every single day
They’re doing it while walking, running
You know…pretty much anything I say is the RIGHT thing…Å
So, now that I’ve told you a little bit about myself, what do you think?
Want to take a look into my books?
Want to preach the message of world-famous Wallace Sterling?
C’mon, just do it
You know you want to…
Oh, and if I were you
I wouldn’t say anything bad about these books
I worked really hard on them
I wouldn’t want my nice, caring fans to think that you’re a Critic
You don’t want my FANS to come out and change your mind
(1) The section of the poem from “Skyping, typing…RIGHT thing” is interpolated from two different rap battles, “Rone vs. Caustic (2010)”, released in 2010 by American battle rap league Grind Time Now, and “Rone vs. Caustic (Title Match)”, released in 2016 by Canadian battle rap league King of the Dot. Both battles were written by Adam Ferrone, aka Rone, and Daniel Stefani, aka Caustic.
Image Credit: “Monochrome Photo of Empty Hallway” by Marc Antonio Victorino. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.