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How To Start Your Own Gang
by Daniel Stern
Face it, it’s swell being part of a group; going to a movie alone sucks (unless of course it is an adult movie theatre, where etiquette demands personal space), and going to a bar alone is boring, and slightly creepy. It’s easy to overcome that drab solitude by establishing yourself as part of a stable, a time-honored tradition followed by activists and professional wrestlers alike. It may be time for you to start your own gang.

Of late, the term “gang” has been burdened with negative connotations. It conjures up images of ruffians tarring and feathering each other all willy-nilly, and in extreme circumstances a local group of dandy fops doing their best to provoke and evade the constabulary. Truly, gangs are associated with violence, yet that is but an archetype, for many if not most gangs are simply a small collection of friends with the peaceful goal of having one heck of a great time! Take, for example, the first gang ever: The Little Rascals. The basic rules of the Little Rascals were simple: girls are pretty much gross and to be avoided, and let’s go catch frogs and have pie fights and shit. Although Spanky and Alfalfa constantly vied for leadership, "leader" was but an illusion and more of a personal rivalry than an actual position of power.

How can you have your own gang? It’s simple, really, and requires only the most basic structuring! Gather together all of those to be involved, because there are some decisions at hand, but don’t get overwrought or anything. It’s meant to be fun, after all! (Remember that refreshments NEVER hurt a first meeting!)

1) Come up with a name – This is fairly self-explanatory. The name of the gang should reflect your group and its goals well; for instance, a group of elderly gentlemen committed to bar fighting would not benefit from a name like “The Sillyheads.” Good names for such a group would be “The Ragers,” “The Buzzkills,” or “The GREAT Depressions.” It should be boastful, but not obviously referential to outsiders.

2) Everyone gets nicknames – A nickname can be self-applied or a simple vote can be taken. Like the gang name, a reflection of self always helps, so pick out those character flaws. Be careful to use the right ones, though! A gang always seems cooler with a batch of people with names like Blade, Scar, and Shades, as opposed to one with members like Limps, Goopbelly, and Phlegm. Variations on a person's name work well (Jason becomes Jasonic, I personally can adopt the monikers Dangerous, Danosaur, or Danomite as I see fit.)

3) Come up with a secret handshake or sign – You think it isn’t impressive when some group of people all of a sudden starts doing some obscenely complicated hand gesture as a method of communication instead of simply saying “I have to use the bathroom,” or “omigod my contact lenses!” That is simply inexperience talking. My group, for instance, does the “Deadpalm.” This gesture is akin to the stance for the pledge of allegiance, but the hand is kept a couple of inches from the chest. Up close to the outsider, it looks like could be a handshake, but the hand is kept close to the chest to signify that we are so tough and confident in that toughness that you are going to have to work for that handshake, buddy.

Really, that is pretty much it. In general, the less rules a gang has, the more fun it is; nothing brings down the fun level at a party more than having some sworn blood oath against another gang or having to ONLY meet in mom’s basement. Go out, and have a blast. In the end, if there’s one universal rule that should be applied to all gangs, it should be taken from the famous two-man 80s gang/band, Wyld Stallyns (Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan): “Be excellent to each other.”
Posted by: Daniel Stern

Features (August 7th, 2006)