In the eighth week of the Leacock Anniversaries, on May 14th, we continue the Saga of the Labyrinth Walk by citizens of Mariposa, under the guidance of Mayor Josie Smith.
This meeting began with a declaration by Mayor Smith. She said: “I am beginning to believe that this method of naming the rings of our labyrinth is not working. We tried to give them names from our solar system, another system of rings, but in fact they are not related, are only superficially of the same kind, and their names, arbitrary as they are, contain no information about the nature of each ring.
“Each ring,” she went on noting looks of interest on the faces in the circle, “has four characteristics. It has order, numbered from one to eight, from outside to inside, or from inside to outside, according to preference. We can call the centre the eighth ring, even though it isn’t really a ring. We could make it one if we had more room. In here it’s just a spot. We walk them in a different order, which is the second characteristic. Thirdly, we walk them in alternate directions: clockwise and counter-clockwise. Fourthly, they have different lengths, and that’s important to the quality of the walk.”
This triggered a brisk conversation about how to capture the four characteristics in four-word labels (including enjoyment of the pun on four-word and forward). What they came up with was the following scheme:
They put the direction of walking first, because it’s a word and the others are numbers. Then the geometric order, then the length very approximately, and finally the order walked. The whole walk in their indoor labyrinth, the way it was laid out, would therefore be summarized as follows, once they had finished playing around with the spellings:
Countre-7-20-5: Today’s walk
This, they realized, would be not that easy to remember at the start, but they would get used to it. At least the labels had meaning. This whole exercise took up a good chunk of the meeting, but they were satisfied with the result. After all, they noted, today’s walk along Countre-7-20-5, aka the Fifth Whole, would be a short one. How would the bawl lie on this one, and with what clob should they clobber it?
The bawl, they decided, necessarily lay right alongside Centre-8-zero, and that they therefore could fittingly clobber it with Imagination, anticipating both bawl and clobber as they would be when they got there. That way they could employ the next two walks, neither of any great length, to prepare.
As I say, today’s is a very short walk, so I am going to cut it that way, as they did. Suffice to say that they quickly decided that when they got to Centre-8-zero they would need to have a “slogan”, a simple phrase that would frame the practicalities they would need to resolve as they worked their way back out through all the rings. Their slogan would have to be something legitimately representing the sighting, maybe even the capture, of the wild Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice. They would tame it, or at least get a halter on it, during the walk out.
For the next two walks, therefore, they would consider slogans previously bawled by others, to see if they had enough clobber behind them.