The Best of Country Commune Living: Genteel Mud People

A. Allen Butcher
October 2, 2017 revised March 18, 2018 · The School of Intentioneering · ·

Every summer down on the commune there is a holiday during which the members invite their parents to visit. The grounds and buildings are spruced up a little more than usual, the flower gardens are in full bloom, and the bright, warm summer sun encourages friendly smiles and laughter among all.

Most of the parents who arrive have never been to a country commune before and so do not know quite what to expect. Their daughters and sons who have joined are eager to positively impress their visiting family members, assuring them that life is good on the commune.

Meanwhile, down by the pond, those members of the commune who have no family coming this year for the annual open house are busy digging a shallow pit, about a foot deep and large enough in diameter to accommodate 20 or 30 people sitting down. They pour in some buckets of water and mix back in some of the soil they had taken out, making a thick mud soup. Then 20 or 30 people take off all their clothes and wallow around in the mud pit like pigs for an hour or so, getting thoroughly into a non-human, animalistic group consciousness.

Now covered head-to-toe with sticky mud the Mud People climb out of the pit and fan out in groups of two or three to wander through the community, walking the paths and searching the buildings for those unsuspecting and still slightly uncomfortable parental units.

Those members whose parents are visiting have already given them a tour of the nicest parts of the community, and are now settled with their family members in various residences and common buildings, or on the patios and in the gardens, at pleasant little intimate table-and-chair settings that the commune created to encourage members to gather around for socializing in small groups.

With the visiting parents enjoying a genteel respite of tea and crumpets, the daughters and sons of the visiting parents explain how commune life is a good thing for them, as they are learning to grow healthy food, build energy-efficient housing, and manage socially responsible businesses. They almost have their parents convinced that all is well on the commune, and that the commune will be a good place for their heirs to someday contribute their inheritances, then in come the Mud People, making crazy animal sounds and flaking off bits of dried mud with every move they make.

The Mud People pull up chairs beside the visiting parental units, avoiding eye contact while eating the crumpets off the visiting parents’ plates, and spilling their tea on previously clean, white table cloths, all while making soft animal coos and grunts!

Now the members who had invited their parents to this prankster ambush start noisily driving the Mud People out of the rooms and off the patios, shooing them away with brooms along with their trail of mud flakes, while exclaiming to their parents that they are not to be frightened, the Mud People are harmless, just a little hungry is all!

While most of the parents are annoyed, disturbed, or incensed, others are amused since they can see through the practical joke. These decide to turn the tables and attempt to communicate with the Mud People, telling them their own name and trying to get the Mud People to state their names, or stating the names of items on the table and trying to get the Mud People to pronounce them correctly. While the visiting parents get more and more amused the Mud People find it increasingly difficult to avoid laughing and stay in character, until they can keep a straight face no longer and run off before they cannot stand it any longer and burst out in laughter!

Now THAT is the best tradition of country commune living!

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