I want to make a short story about an Earth just like ours, except it's commonly accepted that at the age of 43, the government allows people to have a llama in their house. The government pays for the llama and the food during that year and that year only. Most people just have a Llama day where they spend a day with a llama, totally government-funded, then go back to everyday life. Others prepare and spend the whole year with a llama and have rad experiences.

Obviously, this is ridiculous, but I want a reason why everyone would be more or less fine with this and somehow keep Earth relatively the same in terms of social norms, religion, wealth distribution, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Good absurdist humor doesn't really need a reason, except that the reason itself could also be absurd. In the world today, people buy 100,000 dollar work trucks that could earn them thousands of dollars a day, and instead polish them, paint them and modify them at extreme expense and run them loudly up and down my street in what appears to be some kind of mating ritual. $\endgroup$
    – user8827
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ There is no parodical government plan so absurd that life hasn't emulated it. Venezuela's 'Plan Rabbit' encounters 'cultural problem' $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ put the llama on their flag and make it part of the national identity. If eagles made good livestock you know this would happen in the US. We subsidize many cattle ranchers as is. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ @SeanBoddy In Europe (or really anywhere but US) people are for some reason very exiting about 22 man running after a round object and putting it into net. This is very interesting phenomena where people engage in ritualistic battles including war paint, chanting and ritual music. This is often subsidized by governments for some reasons. I really don't think humans need any reason to behave strangely (even mating ritual is a reason). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 7:39
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    $\begingroup$ A more satirical alternative: it might have been a poison-pill amendment. The classic example is how the law against discrimination against women would not have passed Congress on its own in 1963, but southern conservatives tactically joined progressives in amending the Civil Rights Act to include it. The opponents of civil rights were hoping that would be too much for the moderates and the entire bill would fail, but they miscalculated and it was enacted, with the amendment against sex discrimination. $\endgroup$
    – Davislor
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 3:19

32 Answers 32


Is personal happiness hardly "world changing"?

Perhaps the Government has decided that many of it's people are saddened by the state of their nation and the Government has decided that funding temporary baby llama adoptions for people in the 44th year will be enough to bring a little joy to their lives. Fix the economy? Create jobs? Stop waging wars? Nah, give 43 year old citizens baby llamas!

(Real world, the NT Government allows citizens to 'adopt-a-croc' for up to 12 months when the crocodiles are young).

The next problem for the Government is what to give people when they turn 44 and suddenly have to hand their llamas back.


There is a custom that every 11 years one keeps a different kind of animal. The sequence is well established, starting with, say, a hamster at 11 and progressing to larger and more difficult to care for animals as the person grows. Formerly, the 44th year animal was one that is now endangered or poses a health hazard. To encourage people to break with the traditional sequence, the government pays for the substitution of a Llama.


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