If there's anything more pathetic than being impressed with the winner of some convoluted reality-show contest, it's becoming ludicrously obsessed with one of the competition's also-rans. Clay Aiken lost to unremarkable gastropod Ruben Studdard during 2003's American Idol, but that setback didn't forestall his cultivation of a shrieking, geek-fetishizing fanbase. Aiken's followers embrace the umbrella term "Claymates," but they've created subdivisions such as "Claysians" (his Asian following); "Claydawgs" (refers to male fans, a species that's undocumented and presumed apocryphal); and "Claypools" (funk hippies who get fancy with the slap bass). No specific term exists for people who create and collect Clay Aiken lapel pins, as it's difficult to shoehorn a "Clay" pun into the apt descriptive phrase "complete fucking freaks."
The Historical Archive of Clay Aiken Pins documents nearly two thousand designs, many of which bear indecipherable Clayspeak descriptions: Clootsie! Clodo! Claymati Baltimorum! Pin classifications range from geographical to alphabetical to seasonal to sexual, with plenty of wild-card bafflers that defy categorization. If future Clayliens discover a stash of these pins during archeological reconnaissance, they'll assume "Clay Aiken" was the deity our society worshipped, and they'll lose any remorse about having decimated our civilization.
We might find we have more in common than we think if we just stop fighting long enough to combine our bodies into a singular organism.
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