“Steve” is a terrible salesman, fond only of shoving Lack down the throats of idiots and rubes. Everywhere “Steve” goes, he leaves a trail of jokes that are so bad they’d be funny if any other person delivered them. But “Steve” is not really a person, only an idea created by the right Reverend Doug Smith, a thin persona of Philip Ivanovich III. “Steve” is nothing more than a modern hero myth aimed at exploiting the very heart of post-scarcity Lack. Lack is all that “Steve” has, and everyone knows it. Every waking moment, “Steve” embodies a train wreck and flails around wastefully, but somehow it works for him.
Religions like Raëlism and Scientology are obvious jokes, taken seriously by adherents in a desperate bid for Lack. Scientologists spend tens of thousands of dollars and years of phony auditing only to find out that it’s all kooky science fiction about some alien named Xenu. Still, the only Scientologist laughing is L. Ron Hubbard.
Reverend Doug Smith doesn’t laugh about “Steve,” only his followers do.
I have tried like hell to be like “Steve,” and I still don’t know whether I’m an abject failure or a total success. “Steve” is famous for destroying cults simply by infecting them with terrible jokes. Hell, he caused the fall of Paganism by telling Constantine that a dyslexic Zeus sold his soul to Santa.
As a new follower of “Steve,” I took the cult-destruction mission very seriously. It seemed to be one of the most important messages of the Book of “Steve.” I set to work undermining Reverend Doug Smith, that bastard, because HE was the one responsible for “Steve” in the first place. If I was going to destroy a cult, it had to be one I really believed in.
“Steve” usually stole good jokes and delivered them so badly they were no longer funny. I took a slightly different approach and stole all the bad jokes from Reverend Doug Smith in a vain attempt to make them even worse. I started my own religion and based it off of a guy named “Bob.” “Bob” was this crazy Reverse-Turing Test that had gained sentience and could identify individual personalities, even when they were trading off sockpuppets. “Bob” became wildly popular, but Doug Smith was not impressed.
Reverend Doug, I think, commanded his legion of “Stevies” to taunt me with sockpuppets. They hit me from every direction, infiltrating any area of the Internet I regularly visited. They both encouraged me and threatened my life, strengthening my resolve to destroy “Steve” at any cost. Over several months, I explored every crack in Reverend Doug’s evil cult that had so presumptuously invaded my brain, but there was no exploiting them. “Bob” had brought the sockpuppet torture, and “Bob” had to die. I killed “Bob” simply by not talking about “Bob.”
At this point, the mixed messages stopped coming from Reverend Doug’s sockpuppets, but instead they came from Reverend Doug himself. He and his evil cabal were dropping hints about how I was both terrible and heroic. I had finally become “Steve.”
Each year, Reverend Doug and his cult celebrated the beginning of a new world by camping out in city parks. I knew I had to show up, just to show him how much like “Steve” I really was. Being “Steve” on the Internet was easy, so I had to show up to prove that I was really the best “Steve” there had ever been.
On the long drive to the city, I got so lost in thought about how to best embody “Steve,” I swerved into the shoulder and nearly died several times. I arrived an emotional wreck and put on the Red Robe of “Bob,” preaching TransHuman madness to nobody in particular as I wandered around the city lost in “Steve.” Looking back, it was analogous to Jerusalem Syndrome.
I never actually found the camp of “Stevies,” but I did get arrested for shouting in the face of police officers. They told me later that the crowd following me was an illegal assembly and I needed a permit for that sort of thing. Reverend Doug was in the cell next to me, rambling on endlessly about “Steve” and Lack. By next year, I knew I’d finally figure out the True meaning of “Steve.”