ISSUE 20

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  The first rule of the Coalition of Rock-Paper-Scissors Advocates is, “Do not talk about the Coalition of Rock-Paper-Scissors Advocates.” The second rule is, “Empty the goddamn trashcan when it gets full.” If you’re reading this and you are not a member of the Coalition, congratulations, you found a loophole.
  The Rock-Paper-Scissors Advocates are based around resolving conflict with a minimum of conflict, an idea as revolutionary as it is hard to understand. Imagine writing a letter to your local Congressman in code or soothing a crocodile with political correctness.
 Respected member of the reptilians, you have expressed the desire to have exclusive alimentary rights to my left leg. I understand and recognize your feelings, and how they may conflict with mine. I am willing to compromise by giving you the lower half of my leg and to pay the monetary value of the other half so you may procure the equivalent sustenance from the local organic grocery.  
  From the coalition’s beginnings in childhood nostalgia, we have certainly grown. Through some old-fashioned pamphlet distribution and extortion, the United Nations adopted our strategies about a decade ago, though due to our first rule, they are not permitted to speak of it. Unbeknownst to almost everyone, most international policy is now decided by secret rock-paper-scissor matches in the President of the Security Council mother’s basement.
  Our coalition offers three distinct philosophies—rock, paper, and scissors—but all hold to our central “Conflict Without Conflict” tenet. The rocks are harder, more grit, more action, the F-14 Tomcats of the half-assed-paper-airplane world we live in. If your first choice is violence and your last resort is talking about the violence you’ve already committed, then you might be a rock.  
  Right now, you may be asking: Why would any self-respecting rock follow our philosophy? Well, in the real world, the rock’s views land them in a cell with a Mexican drug cartel boss, and their ninth-grade Spanish is nowhere near what it used to be. So, the better option for rocks is our conflict resolution strategy, which is like a violent video game with your hands. It has all the thrill of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Vietnam without a pricey Xbox or getting owned by a fourteen-year-old in Ohio/Vietnam. 
   
  Papers, on the other hand, go to southeast Asia to volunteer on an off-the-grid rice paddy farm not realizing this is a form of voluntary slavery. They find themselves in a grocery store and think, If only I could spend six months growing a dilapidated tomato instead of buying a perfect one. They tend to graduate to higher levels of “Conflict Without Conflict” quickly, fear to offend anyone with their “paperness,” and refuse to disagree, instead making origami cranes.   
  If you don’t identify with rock or paper, scissors are your group—“scissors” being a catchall term for everything in the kitchen crap drawer that is conflict philosophy. You might cut through the issues and resolve them or be a bit dull and not good for much of anything or you could be a pair of sheep shearers from the 16th century that… shear sheep.
 Or you could be a spineless weasel—the fourth unmentionable group of the rock-paper-scissors advocates. The consequences of being a weasel are dire, as stated by the third rule of the coalition, “If you end up in a half hand chop, advocates can resort to extreme non-violent violence.” This means the next time you order an ice cream cone, an advocate is permitted to throw it on the ground.
  See rock-paper-scissors advocates are all about solving problems, and half hand chops are the conflict equivalent of cut-rate duct tape that doesn’t stick to anything. To be an advocate you have to be committed and completely unaware of the word “compromise,” which is really code for people who don’t stand up for their views.
  It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong in our coalition, as long as we have an answer. It’s like relativism but so much better. If you believe the world is flat, and you win your rock-paper-scissors match, then by god, the earth is flat. If you’re gay, and you lose, you better start changing. Now truth and chance are the same thing, and if that doesn’t make a society on Facebook happy, we don’t know what will.
   
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