The year, 1954; the day, a Friday. A Friday which just so happened to fall in July, July 2nd to be particular. This July was the hottest to ever hit the Salt Lake Valley, which enacted a relief to be produced from the man to be leaving on this day.
The man wore an expensive business suit. One could easily tell it was expensive from the ever so intimidating black and white logo claiming Guccio Gucci’s name. The man also sported the same name on his sandcastle tan briefcase. The clothing and accessories matched his physical appearance. Dark black hair that was combed back with expensive pomade cream and the same color and thickness eyebrows, minus the cream. His face was sharp and chin chiseled. He was 6’1’’ (although it would not be surprising for him to tell people he was 6’2’’) and had a muscular athletic frame. He was disciplined and worked out every morning to keep his image rich and young. His crown jewel was his English style mustache in which he kept a comb in his suit pocket for grooming.
He was proud to show off his wealth. What he wore, carried, drove, and lived in were all products of his hard work and determination to get to the top of the corporate ladder. He was on his way and the sacrifices in which he underwent were long gone forgotten in his past.
He had had two opportunities to marry and cement himself into the all-encompassing dream of a picket fence, two children and a dog named spot, but was adamant on making a name for himself, so blew out the opportunities like smoke from a birthday candle. The candle was lit, flamed on, blew out and left there to wax cold for however long it took the cake to be forgotten too.
He was in love with both woman, but loved the money more. Ever since he tasted the crisp green Benjamins with his greedy fingertips, he was married to a different dream. Little did he know, he was ahead of his time. The man was unaware that from the 1950’s on, each generation would decline in terms of couples married between ages 18 and 32. By the time the world is well full with millennials, only 52 percent of adults will be married compared to the whopping 72 percent in the 1960’s according to the PEW Research Center, which has not been founded yet, so of course the man does not know.
However, what he did know was how different he was from the usual Salt Lake crowd that surrounded him. He was 35 and at this age he should have been happily married for ten plus years and had eight children by now. Or so his surroundings told him, both vocally and by example. His surroundings used to be a lot louder on the matter. That is until he took his personal dealings elsewhere and found a new lifestyle, a lifestyle of grandeur and wealth. Surrounding himself by those on his level and leaving the others behind only seemed natural. Goodbye old friends, hello new world.
Despite his dissension from his Salt Lake upbringing, he was still conservative, progressive in some social issues but for the most part conservative. It showed in his dress. He didn’t much like bright colors and for certain did not want to look like a beatnik. He disliked patterns (which could be why he decided to purchase the plain sandcastle tan briefcase instead of the bright colors that screamed royalty). He had a collection of expensive ties which mirrored all other “collections” he had. There could be no patterns found in one tie. All different shades of black, grey and tan. Solid Grease, obsidian, ebony, or even ash, slate and pewter ties. He owned the tan ties, but had decided not to wear them anymore.
“They are borderline beatnik and I don’t want to chance it,” he had said gleaming to himself one morning.
See, the beatniks were bad for business, bad for sales. The younger generation was being watched by the corporate world and afraid of their outspoken behaviors against industry.The man was the personification of corporatism in the rising world, and nothing was going to stand in his way.
That is until he made his way up to the customs desk in the Haneda Airport.
He had just arrived in Tokyo to commence a business trip. He wanted to get to his destination a weekend before the scheduled meetings throughout the week of the 5th, so to settle himself in and perhaps do a little sightseeing. He had traveled to Tokyo before and developed a taste for the greasy food vendors in the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in which he was hoping to spend more time in during the weekend.
Everything seemed dandy and in routine. The man had two patrons ahead of him before he found himself face to face with the cute customs agent. The man had been tired of standing and felt almost faint like. He had been slightly sick on the ride over and it had gotten steadily worse as the plane flew over the Pacific Ocean. He had paid extra for a direct flight, he hated layovers. (He is not a man that likes to wait unnecessarily). He thought the stomach problems were due to the free continental breakfast served at the two-star (at best) hotel companioned to the Salt Lake City Airport. He had stayed there the night previous for convenience sake so to not of missed his flight. He felt a fever vexing and started to sweat.
The customs agent took his information packet, which included all the good stuff such as his passport, I.D. and visa. She looked at it routinely and made a motion, almost as if to stamp and hand it back to the man, when she stopped abruptly in the motion and stared a little longer at the information.
The man thought he saw a look of surprise in her eyes and asked, “Is there an issue?”
In his ambitions to climb to the top, he understood that the business world held the most potential for those who spoke multiple languages. The competition was expanding and in order to stay within a paradigm, a company must have the ability to outsource. So naturally he was attracted to Japanese because of the growing market in the country. It was an obvious decision since in 1951 the world noticed the Japanese skip ahead of the Swiss with the first electric wrist watch mass production. He knew Spanish too, but was convinced it would serve him only in his vacation travels to California’s sunny southern beaches.
She made a face of confusion, first a split second confused that this white man could speak Japanese with a perfect accent but then she remembered her initial confusion and immediately turned her attention to the issue at hand. She was only a week on the job and did not recall any training regarding the problem that lay before her.
In her short experience as a customs agent, she quickly realized a vast difference between whites and the Japanese. The Whites had little to no patience, and by the look of the man standing in front of her, she guessed that he fell into the latter end of the spectrum.
She was known to her friends to make quick decisions and manifested that in this instance by calling her supervisor, who happened to be a couple agents down the booth. He noticed her beckon and followed suit by walking toward her.
“Mam?” said the man, a little frustrated.
“Please forgive me sir. There is an issue I am not quite sure how to explain or fix.” She responded.
Her supervisor reached the table and the agent turned her back on the man, making him even more upset. He could hear whispers and she reluctantly showed the supervisor the man’s paperwork.
The man could feel more sweat rolling down his face and, by this point, only wanted to cool himself and lie down. His stomach had begun to turn and goose flesh manifested itself on his arms.
“Goose bumps?” thought the man but his attention was turned to the supervisor now who had turned around and seemed flushed.
“Sir, please come with me. I am sure we can fix this but it will take some understanding on our part if you don’t mind,” the supervisor said, trying to sound like he knew the situation well.
“I do mind. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if you would just go ahead and tell me what the problem is right this instant,” the man said, trying not to put his arm on the booth for support. He was feeling faint.
The man could now see two security officers walking his way in a hurried pace. The man could not muster any more strength to continue standing and was pulled to the floor as a refrigerator door would pull a magnet if thrown at it. The man’s anger left him. There was only darkness.
He woke up on a cot and recognized the writing on the wall in front to put him in the medical office of the airport.
He was on a cot and feeling much better than he had before. Although he still had an ever so slight headache.
The on-floor doctor for the airport had saw that he’d awakened and immediately left the room before the man could open his mouth.
The doctor came back with the same supervisor that had been on the customs floor.
“Are you doing better?” the supervisor said with a small bow.
“Yes, although I do not quite remember how I got here,” the man answered. Although as he was talking, the memories made their way back to his awareness.
“My name is Akio Uchiha. I am the Floor manager here at this terminal. I have arranged for my superior to meet you and he will be with you shortly,” the supervisor said.
“What is the problem Akio?” asked the man. His frustration beginning to return.
“Your paperwork seems to be in error in some way. The forms seem to claim that you are from Mundus Novus,” said Akio.
“Yes, and what is the error?” asked the man pointedly.
“There is no such country sir,” responded Akio unsurely.
The man’s eyes squinted.
“Surely, this must be some joke Akio,” said the man.
At that moment, a larger man with a bald head and pinstriped grey suit came into the room with a few more security guards. These ones looked meaner.
Hate the stripes, love the grey thought the man.
“My name is Dai Amano. I am the head of the Haneda Airport. This is Hitoshi Handa, he is head of this region’s national security,” said Dai shortly. He seemed threatened and not sure of the situation.
“Good day sirs,” said the man with a short mocking tone.
“I assure you I am no threat to your country and I also assure you that my country is in existence,” said the man.
“So, you are aware of the situation,” Hitoshi remarked. “It seems though, that you are not aware of the seriousness of the situation. Yes, your passport, visa, and identification card are indeed authentic in every way…”
“So, there is no problem,” the man interrupted.
“…Except for the name of the Country the forms are said to issue from, and with even more digging, the state does not seem to exist either,” said Hitoshi.
“Deseret?” the man said questioningly. “My mind is spinning right now and I am not sure what the situation is. We can solve this very quickly if you were to give me a map and I will easily point these places out to you.”
“My thoughts exactly,” said Hitoshi. “I had planned to prove this to you with a map and had found one to display.”
The men behind him brought to eye view a large map of the world. With one man on each side, they stretched it apart for the man to view.
“This confusion is out of the question. Mundus Novus is the world of the west! Every first world country looks to us for all things economic. How can this joke be believable? This is ju…” The man trailed off in his chatter as his finger stopped on the map.
He looked dumbstruck and at a loss of words. His finger, which just a moment before, was acting as a champion of truth, making its way to a predetermined location to secure victory of his side of the argument, was now bending in defeat and confusion.
Under the defeated finger was the shape and location of the country he sought. However, the name seemed to stare at him with confidence. In bold big letters, it read:
THE UNITED STATES
The man did not understand. This was his country, but the name seemed to imply otherwise. Had there been a 16-hour war that took place while the man flew on his international flight. While he was sitting back sipping on orange juice in first class with a warm towel on his head, had there been bloodshed and conquering taking place behind him?
His eyes flitted to his home state of Deseret. His horror did not secede. The state was indeed surrounded by the states expected; Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada, but the state in the middle of this family held a name formatted and as different in much the same way as the first world changing title. The font was smaller but held the same effect. It read:
If one is to truly see the significance of this short story, there needs to be an understanding of history. The two most notable changes that the man from Deseret experiences was that of a different name residing over his home country and state.
There were many names being discussed for title of the new world discovered in the West in the late 15th century. Among these names was Mundus Novus, which is Latin for “New World.” The Mormon pioneers were the first to settle the Salt Lake Valley. They planned to remain separate from the American Government but were soon after forced to join the States. Brigham Young and followers were planning to name the state Deseret, meaning honey bee, which word associated Mormons with their own culture of working together, such as a hive of honey bees would. Although this name was in favor, other factors were at play and the name for the State became Utah.
What if there was a world where the ancient founders decided to name America, Mundus Novus? How different would the world we live in be? It seems like a subtle difference but who is to know such theoretical wondering?
What if such a world already exist but in a different reality? What if there is a reality that was split from every decision we made in life? Sure, you live the life presently, and you can remember decisions you’ve made to determine your current status. However, what if there was a reality created from every choice you did not choose? In another world, The man from Deseret could be a man of high standards and not so carried by the ways of the world. He perhaps may have married one of the two woman mentioned in his story.
How many versions of you are there? Depending on how old you are and how many decisions you’ve made, there might be billions of versions of the same you that now live in a world that was branched from the adverse decision that you, in this world, decided upon. Once that version of you is created, along with the universe they live, how many versions are they creating with the different decisions they commit?
Are there rifts between these realities? Will the Man from Deseret meet himself and see what could have been if he was not so driven by money and outward success?