I recently did my will, and I basically used the standard form, with two exceptions. The first addendum was that I want my beneficiaries to give my Garbage Pail Kids to the poorest orphans they can find. The second is that I want my grandchildren to distribute a laminated pamphlet at my funeral, titled "The 250 Most Remarkable Failures of Zach London." I have already started working on the content of the pamphlet (with the help of my mother) and the graphic design of the pamphlet (with the help of my mother-in-law.)
Failure # 20 was going to be, "His songs were completely devoid of educational value." Unfortunately, I now have to call my estate planner and have him add a little asterisk with a footnote that will read, "except in December of 2006." That is because the Hard Taco offering for this month is the culmination of several weeks of intensive historical research, entitled, "The First Three Wars." This compilation of brief songs is intended to supplement (or replace) the standard 11th grade American History curriculum.
It sounds trite to say, “I am not making this up.” However, in the case of what I am about to write, I feel compelled to say it anyway.
I am not making this up.
In truth, the facts I am about to tell you could not be any colder or harder.
Somewhere in the Standish Federal Prison, a level V maximum correctional facility in mid-Michigan, amidst the 16-foot double chain link razor wire fences and five gun towers, lives a man named Chad Dekoven. Mr. Dekoven is serving a sentence for armed robbery of a Taco Bell. Did he rob the Taco Bell? Undoubtedly. Should I he be forced to serve his 20 year sentence? Mr. Dekoven believes that he should not, and the reason is quite simple.
He is the Messiah-God.
Chad Dekoven, 43, filed a formal complaint to the Michigan District court on April 26, 2001, naming among the defendants the United States, Great Britain, Israel, the Torah, and the publishing company Simon and Schuster. He sought relief from these entities for wrongs committed against him, due to the failure of these defendants to acknowledge that the plaintiff's was the "Messiah-God" described in the Holy Bible.
Mr. Dekoven claimed to have been known by over fifty other names throughout history, including Osiris, Ra, Yahweh, Lucifer, the Lamb, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Moses, The Creator, Allah, Satan, Zeus, Abraxas, Apollo, Hercules, Jupiter, Romulus and Remus, Dracula, The President, Job, Noah, Quetzalcoatl, Dionysus, and the holy name he chose for himself, Dakota Belzadok.
His complaint was 125-pages, mostly single-spaced, including over eighty pages of exhibits defending his allegation that he is the Messiah-God. Here is an excerpt:
III. If the plaintiff can prove by scientific methods that he is the "Messiah," the "Anointed One," the "Alpha and Omega," "God in the Flesh," that the holy bible says was to come, then can any court in the United States or Great Britain, or Israel refuse to grant the plaintiff the relief he requests in this petition/complaint?
The relief that he sought was to be in the form of several political requests, including:
a. Public acknowledgment by the state of Israel that the plaintiff is the King of the Jews.
b. Issuance of a full pardon for plaintiff. (He explains that since he owns everything on Earth, he could not be guilty of robbing a Taco Bell.) Alternatively, immediate issuance of a parole, the full duration of which is not to exceed 60 seconds.
c. Release from prison the killers of Yitzchak Rabin and a declaration of safe passage for Osama Bin Ladin.
d. A public declaration that the defendant is also Allah and an immediate establishment of a state of peace and disarmament in the Middle East.
e. A declaration that the founding fathers of America violated the Ten Commandments when they wrote the United States Constitution.
f. A declaration that he is the rightful President of the United States. (This is based on the fact that his first name is “Chad,” so every vote cast in Florida’s presidential election was actually cast for him.)
Since some of these demands would have been moderately difficult for the Michigan District Court to grant, Mr. Dekoven offerred an alternative. He stateed that he would instead settle for:
a. 600 million metric tons of .995 fine gold, 25 billion metric tons of refined steel, 50 million metric tons of refined copper, and 250 million metric tons of refined silver.
b. 50 million metric tons of salt from the Detroit salt mines and 50 million metric tons of copper from Michigan's copper mines.
c. 500 pairs of mature breeding lake trout, northern pike, small mouth and large mouth bass, perch, coho, brown trout, speckled trout, blue catfish, channel catfish, sturgeon, rock bass, bluegill, sunfish, and salmon.
d. Five million breeding pairs of bison.
e. 500 million mature breeding pairs of each species of crab and mollusk that inhabit the waters in the borders of the United States.
f. 25,000 mature breeding pairs of every creature that exists in the State of Michigan.
g. 45 million trees of various varieties at least 50 years old.
No mention was made of where these plants and animals should be delivered, stored, or kept, or how they would be cared for.
In his complaint, Mr. Devkoven explicitly invoked the provisions of several sources of authority upon which he based his claims, including the Holy Bible, the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Rights of 1765, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of the Confederation, the United States Constitution, and the Michigan Constitution of 1963.
Unfortunately, District Judge David M. Lawson was not swayed by Mr. Dekoven’s scientific methods, which consisted of, “numerology, symbolic name analysis, and sheer repetitive assertion that he is the Messiah-God.”
Judge Lawson’s argument to dismiss the case was based on several key precedents. (See footnotes below). If you wish to speak with the Judge about this decision, his office phone number is (313)234-2660.
Mr. Dekoven was ultimately frustrated by the verdict. Being the Messiah-God is taxing enough when you’re not imprisoned. He wrote, “The plaintiff has a million things to get done and every day, every second makes his job that much harder.”
Here’s my Andy Rooney-esque wrap-up. Frivolous lawsuits are a tremendous waste of resources, and if there was ever a case for tort reform, this would be it. My recommendation is that the State of Michigan adopt legislation limiting the number of breeding bison that can be awarded in a civil suit to, say, one hundred thousand. Measures should also be taken to insure that if a nation-state is sued for millions of trees, said nation-state should be allowed to forfeit trees of all ages.
Finally, and most importantly, Taco Bell needs to relax their security measures a little bit, and stop calling the cops every time God doesn’t feel like paying for a Chalupa.
Precedents cited in Judge Lawson’s brief:
1. Grier v. Reagan, 1986 - plaintiff claimed she was God of the Universe and that President Reagan was spying on her using “an electronic eavesdropping device.” She sought items ranging from a size sixteen mink coat and diamond jewelry to a three bedroom home in the suburbs and a catered party at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.
2. Robinson v. Love, 1994 – A prisoner claimed that the prison staff members were holding plaintiff's relatives, friends, and neighbors hostage and that the plaintiff had been subjected to witchcraft. The judge dismissed the case, although he did note that it was “theoretically possible” that the plaintiff was right.