June 4, 2013: Home of the Wave
I was up at 4am last night, assaulted by an insane idea. I am certain it is simultaneously the best and the most idiotic idea I’ve ever had.
The idea was to organize the largest audience wave in history—the sort normally performed by the drunken spectators of a tedious baseball game. But for this wave, all of the United States would be encouraged to participate.
It would start on the eastern edge of Maine, upon the conclusion of a special opening ceremony describing shared unity, brotherhood, etc., etc. I don’t think we’d even have to invite U2—I think they’d just show up.
From there the wave would move westward in a great sweeping longitudinal line. How it would work is you’d download an app, which will use your geolocation to determine when it’s your turn to perform the wave. If you don’t have a smart phone, you could just log into the website, enter your location, and figure out when it was your scheduled time. Both the app and the website would be called “Home of the Wave.”
The contiguous United States are 2,880 miles across. I think you could reasonably expect an audience wave to move at like 30MPH, just faster than the limits of human footspeed. So we’re looking at 96 hours. I don’t necessarily expect people to set their alarms for like 5am so that they can participate, but you can’t simply halt the wave at night; that defeats the purpose of a wave. So if you live in the areas the wave passes through at night, you’re kind of fucked. The other option would be to have a really fast wave, like a jet plane, so that it can be completed in a single day. I am also open to this kind of wave.
Hawaii and Alaska can participate, too, but honestly by that point I don’t think anybody would care. I don’t necessarily expect a very high participation rate among Hawaiians, but maybe if they can set down their coconut bongs long enough, we’ll make it through Honolulu. Meanwhile, Alaska is not really populated enough on its own. I imagine just a series of isolated Alaskans haphazardly standing up and sitting down across the countryside, which kind of shits on the whole idea of symbolic unity.
I know what you’re thinking, and I hear you. The biggest problem would be engagement. Even I would be hesitant to participate, and I organized the fucking thing. I think it’s one of those things where if you have a few other friends participating, you might as well participate too, and pretty soon just about every able body is on board, and you’re kind of just an asshole if you sit it out. There might be a few traffic accidents as the wave crosses interstate highways and drivers temporarily let go of their steering wheels, but I do think they’re partially to blame for not pulling over and taking the wave seriously.
Meanwhile—and this is where the idea turns from nocturnal whimsy to deranged delusion—meanwhile, although the giant audience wave would ostensibly be a beautiful symbolic gesture, a coming together of all Americans regardless of color and creed, both the app and the website would contain advertisements. “Home of the Wave” is an absolute cash cow because the demographic is everyone. I’d donate a token amount to this or that charity—throw some retarded kids a bone—but I’d also keep an absolute shit-ton of money and retire upon the succession of the wave.
Regardless, if the wave is successful, we can then organize a tremendous global Worldwide Wave. It’s a bit fucked up, though, because people near the poles would have to perform a really, really slow wave to keep pace. Like if there’s anybody in some sort of Arctic research station, they’d essentially just be holding their arms up the entire time. I guess it’s OK if they just hold one arm up and continue working—I think that’s fine. God forbid we set back their precious ice research or whatever the fuck they think they’re doing up there.
The Worldwide Wave will be the ultimate execution of an absurd vision. As the wave sweeps across the globe, I imagine soldiers putting down their arms, a temporary succession of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a respite from riots in Turkey. This would be the wave that quelled wars, bonded religions, and taught us all about our shared heritage. There may be language barriers, and there’d doubtless be dead pockets as the wave sailed through leper colonies. But I really think we could make it around the globe. Compared to this, the lighting of the Olympic torch will seem as tawdry and pathetic as a Mexican donkey show.