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Chapter 8
Alternate Lives

Lives Unlived – Harve Nordlinger

Failed painter, failed poet, agoraphobic, Welfare recipient, messiah. Born January 12, 1984. Died August 16, 2007 of starvation, aged 23.

The thing you have to understand about Harve Nordlinger is that he was just an ordinary guy. A kid, really. He never expected to get any attention, and he certainly had no interest in starting a religion. In fact, the fact that people started arriving at his flat in Berkfordshire seeking spiritual advice was a source of utter bafflement to him.

As most people know, Harve found life too complicated and strange to deal with, so he climbed under his bed and refused to come out. “I’ll return to the world when the world goes away,” he would say when his mother asked him if he was going to come down for dinner. This, of course, became the first tenet of the Church of the Bed Hidden Nordlinger, a phrase Nordlingerites often tattoo on various parts of their bodies to indicate their devotion.

Also well known is the video made by Harve’s sister, Primary Apostle Pamela, that was uploaded to YouTube, where Harve developed the first cult following out of which his Church would grow. Perhaps less well known is that Pamela originally posted the video “as a way of making fun of my dorky brother.” She wouldn’t admit it now, of course, since she has benefited from the devotion of her brother’s followers in countless ways, legitimate and not so much; I know this only because she shared her diary with me before fame hit.

In fact, at every turn it would seem that the true origins of the religion have been papered over with myth and wishful thinking.

For instance, Nordlingerites accept that Harve’s death was caused by an argument with his mother, who refused to bring food to him under his bed until he got a job and contributed to the household. They, of course, have forgiven her, giving Marge Nordlinger a minor place in the Nordlingerite pantheon as the person who helped their prophet and saviour achieve his destiny.

Less commented upon is the fact that the state is far less forgiving, and would have brought Marge Nordlinger up on charges of willful neglect causing bodily harm had it not been for the intervention of Rufus Lovelorn, the first Reverend of the Church of the Bed Hidden Nordlinger. “Marge was serving a greater purpose,” Reverend Lovelorn stated, “and who are we – meaning you – to judge her?”

This also conveniently ignores some Nordlingerites’ own complicity in Harve’s death. After all, Reverend Lovelorn and his disciples spent several weeks sitting by Harve’s bed, taking down every word he uttered (notes which would become The Book of Nordlinger, the gospel of The Church of the Bed Hidden Nordlinger), but did any of them think to bring him any food in all that time? As the Reverend Lovelorn explained, “A prophet’s destiny, man – who are we to interfere?”

What is the ultimate value of a life? For Reverend Lovelorn, Harve’s life was the encapsulation of the dilemma we all face living in a world of instantaneous communications and infoglut. More importantly, many believe that Harve showed them, and, by extension, all humanity, a way to peace in the face of the world’s insanity.

On the other hand, The Church of the Bed Hidden Nordlinger poses a fundamental challenge to already established religions. Bobby Henderson, the high priest of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, says that Nordlingerism obviously fulfills a need that mainstream religions aren’t addressing, and best of luck to it. On another other hand, Pope Benedict XVI argues that Nordlingerism is a minor pseudo-religion that arose because of ephemeral temporal concerns, and that once people realize that, they will return to the religions that deal with the important, eternal questions.

To me, Harve Nordlinger was a confused adolescent who never had a chance to live life to its fullest. All this religious stuff is just weird.

Katarina Fabirzky

Katarina Fabirzky was Harve Nordlinger’s hair stylist. Ms. Fabirsky was found stabbed to death in her apartment two days ago after an advance copy of this article was leaked on the Internet. The fact that she was found stuffed under her bed suggests that she was killed by a Nordlingerite. The investigation is ongoing.

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