It’s one of life’s greatest unsolved mysteries. Conspiracy theorists and devotees alike have spent their lives chasing ghosts, poring over scraps of old papers hoping that they might contain clues as to his origin. And yet, for all their effort, they still can’t answer the one question they are literally dying to know, “Who exactly is this Optimistic Pessimist?”
Born Bocephus Chigger on the planet Tralfamadore in the (earth) year 1943, to Cletus and Mary Jane Annie Sue Chigger, Bocephus grew up a poor Southern boy, forced by his parents to listen to country music every waking hour of the day. You hicks out there might be doing the country version of fist pumping (lasso swinging?) right about now, but there is something you should know about Tralfamadore’s particular flavor of country music: Tralfamadorian country music sounds like a cross between Uncle Kracker, Auto-tune Cher and a burping contest. It was known to drive listeners insane after prolonged exposure.
Upon reaching the age of adulthood for a Tralfamadorian (3 earth years), Bocephus escaped his parents’ country music crazy factory. He moved to the capital of Tralfamadore and became involved in politics for a brief time. He was even elected as a congressman before being banished from his home planet for making a sexual hand gesture on national television. After “Jerk-offgate,” Bocephus headed to the only other safe haven in the galaxy, Earth.
Bocephus already knew from his grade school exobiology class that humans would easily mistake a Tralfamadorian for a hand puppet. This gullibility would work to both Bocephus’ advantage and disadvantage for his first couple of decades on Earth.
The sock puppet routine worked so well that Bocephus worked his way into the swanky mansion of a New York mob boss, known by his associates as “the Don.” The cost of staying warm for the winter meant witnessing beatings, drug deals and even murders. Eventually, the boss got whacked and Bocephus was the only witness.
Until then, the mobsters all thought he was just a puppet, but upon seeing the Don pumped full of lead, Bocephus couldn’t help but shed a tear. One of the hit men heard Bocephus sob and the secret was out. Bocephus managed to escape, but he knew it wouldn’t be long before the mob had him.
He needed help, so Bocephus turned witness and entered protective custody where he was given a chance to start life over as a butcher named Jerry Smith. No one is sure why the feds had a grey furry alien work in a butchery when it would have made much more sense to have him keep hiding as a hand puppet. That’s government for you!
Believing he could do a better job of protecting himself, Bocephus soon left protective custody and went underground. Little is known about this period of his life, but there are many rumors. Some say they served with him in Vietnam. Some claim to have served time with him in a supermax facility in Colorado. Others say he lived a hard life of prostitution, pimping, gambling and hustling.
By 1996, Bocephus was lower than he had ever been. He was living in a Goodwill parking lot and his only remaining possession was a magic blue T-shirt with a picture of Mickey Mouse next to the word, “Indiana.” The members of the mob had either been thrown in jail or had moved on to more “legitimate” scams like credit default swaps and derivative trading. So, Bocephus stopped running.
As he lay on that pile of random Goodwill offerings, he thought to himself, “Things are going to change,” and soon they did. A few nights later, a mysterious teenager and his friend found Bocephus in the parking lot and took him home where he was given a comfortable walker to rest his tired fur upon.
Bocephus and his new friend grew close. Eventually, the mystery teen even got Bocephus to talk again. They shared their experiences and struggles with one another. Through the teen, Bocephus finally learned what it was like to be free. He saw amazing things, smoked the best weed and listened to the dopest rap music in the galaxy.
When Bocephus wasn’t listening to Dr. Octagon and getting blunted, he wrote. He wrote so much that his arms and legs fell off and he had to learn to use his mouth. In early 2008, a young Sacramento upstart magazine, Submerge, took notice of Bocephus after he used his magic Indiana/Mickey Mouse T-shirt to make them think he was a brilliant writer. Bocephus told them he would write about funny shit like sweatpants or would just complain about something that bothered him.
“The Optimistic Pessimist” debuted in April 2008, and Submerge has regretted it ever since.
-Words by Bocephus Chigger