A&M’s resident Realpolitik columnist, Dave Lazer, tells it like it is. This time he finds himself embroiled in questionable martial history, courtesy of the Church of Scientology, sort of…
“Daaaave, I’ve just declared war on Genghis Khan”, has got to rank pretty high on my ‘strangest sentences I’ve ever heard shouted through my bedroom door as I was trying to go to sleep’ list. Obviously, no such list exists. A ‘strangest sentences I’ve ever heard shouted through my bedroom door as I was trying to go to sleep’ list would come pretty far down my ‘list of lists I could realistically see myself keeping’ list.
My flat-mate, had recently been made redundant, so we thought we should probably do something, as apposed to sitting around and worrying about it. We decided to join the church of Scientology (well, we had been invited up to their Queen Victoria Street headquarters to watch a film, I assumed we would have joined afterwards, I was pretty sure that the ‘ film’ would involve some form of hypnosis).
This column was supposed to be about my experience at the Church of Scientology, my views on religion and how attending a catholic school single-handedly turned me into a cynical, miserable person. It would have been a brilliant piece. I had planned to ask lots of stupid questions at the Scientology centre based around the pretence that I thought ‘L. Ron Hubbard’s’ name was actually ‘Elroy Jetson’ (either that or ‘El Rolf Harris’).
This particular adventure would take a rather more mundane turn, when, at the last minute, my flatmate decided that (once we’d got a cab to central London), instead of our day unfolding as we’d agreed, it would be better spent buying shoes. We arrived home spiritually void, but with loads of fucking shoes.
That evening I bid my flatmate goodnight, complimented him on his new footwear and left him on the sofa with his laptop, playing a computer game. From what I could gather, it was a historically inaccurate computer game targeted at megalomaniacal yet ultimately apathetic young men. It was essentially ‘Games Workshop’ for people too lazy to glue the tanks together and paint the little men.
He had been playing it for most of the evening and I had been kept informed with what was going on through sporadic updates.
‘I’ve entered the golden age’ ‘Good.’
‘I’ve developed gunpowder.’ ‘Fantastic news.’
‘I’m invading Corfu.’ ‘Oh dear, poor Corfu.’
When I awoke the next morning, I casually wandered into the living room to find him cowering (looking not unlike Gollum in a pair of fancy new brogues), in exactly the same spot on the sofa, clicking at his laptop, with the haunted expression of a Cambodian child-soldier plastered across this face.
“Shit’s got really ugly, bruv; I’ve overstretched my army. The whole fucking world hates me. Even my own people hate me. I think they might be planning a coup…”
For the next two days, we sat on that sofa. I had somehow been dragged into the whole sorry mess. I had also developed an emotional attachment to this pointless and utterly futile game of idiot-chess he was playing with himself. We saw the Second World War unfold; we saw nuclear bombs going off ; WE SAW QUEEN VICTORIA SIGN A FUCKING PEACE TREATY WITH THE ANCIENT AZTECS….
I was genuinely worried that we were entering the beginning of the least glamorous breakdown in history. Every time the doorbell rung, I half expected to be greeted by Paul Gascoigne brandishing a fishing rod and a loaf of bread. Later that day we agreed it was probably best we deleted the game from his laptop and join a gym.
The moral of the story is, don’t cancel plans with The Scientologists.