At the organization's capital in Milpitas, California (USA), several corporate-level officers of the Society for Creative Anachronism and members of its the Board of Directors are in a heated debate about healthcare reform, and tempers are flaring on all sides.
It started with a simple premise from the leaders of the Chirurgeons' Guild: "We can ask the SCA Inc. to pay for bandages for event attendees who cannot afford them." That question, and the proposed change to Corpora to implement it, has led to a major outcry of support from some officers and opposition from others. With the Board, officers, and kingdom Royalty deeply divided on the issue, some are wondering if the organization can survive.
For years, merchant cartels at events have controlled the sale of bandages and other first aid supplies, charging high prices. In the words of one merchant, "You are all, as you put it, 'noble lords and ladies of these Current Middle Ages.' Well, then, if you are nobles, you can afford a few gold coins. Or, you are welcome to continue pouring your noble blood on the dust of the road. The choice is yours." Yet some SCA members cannot pay these steep prices, and with the winter interruption of caravans the price has skyrocketed in recent weeks.
Frustrated with the situation, the newly-elected Society Chirurgeon, Laird Barrick O'Bimma, proposed that a portion of membership dues should fund a Society-wide bandage supply. But this did not sit well with conservative officers such as the Society Exchequer, Master John of Bay Knorr, who say that the SCA simply cannot afford luxuries like this. In a recent interview with a reporter for the Wily Fox, a widely-distributed conservative handbill press, Master John said, "We can't go about giving free handouts to everyone! That is utterly alien to the ideals of monarchy for which our Founding Members sacrificed! Besides, there is a war on. In fact, several of them, every single year. We need to spend our money on armor and swords and horses, not bandages for peasantry!"
Even merchants are divided on this issue, with the well-funded Bandage Cartel opposing the Corpora change that they fear would undermine their profits. Opposing them are members of the Barbers' Cartel, who say that millions of SCA members who could not afford dentistry will now be able to experience fully-authentic tooth pulling (without anesthesia, of course). The Barbers, of course, expect to collect millions of florens in extra profits from these new patients.
Things turned ugly last week when a sharply-divided Board of Directors published for comment a 3700-page hand-calligraphed manuscript outlining what the Chairman describes as, quote, "A very simple, reasonable, understandable, and affordable plan to bring Chirurgeonate care to every SCA member." The populace reacted strongly on both sides, with some claiming that the Board would be appointing panels of Marshals to decide who lives and who dies among those who lose their limbs in battles at Pennsic War. Others claim the Corpora change does not go far enough, and leaves several dozen members without access to bandages. A Laurel, Master Beck of Gleann Ora, has loudly decried the lack of authenticity in the manuscript itself, claiming that it represents Greek-style "Democracyism" and not the Monarchism that has always been the SCA's form of government.
The Society Exchequer has pointed out that the free bandages will require a large increase in membership dues, and that although the dues increase is immediate, the free bandages won't be offered until A.S. LIV. Said Master John, "The bloody lot of peasants will have bloody well snuffed it by then, now won't they?"
As members of the Board entered the castle for their historic vote, opponents of the proposal showered them with loose tea leaves (which are period) and insults (which are also period), shouting, "You [are] heedless joltheads and unmannered slaves!" and referring to one distinguished Board member as "a bankrupt, a prodigal, who dare scarce show his head on the Rialto."
Kingdoms, also, are divided over this contentious issue. SCA members in Lochac, Ealdormere, and Drachenwald pointed out that they have had Kingdom-funded Chirurgeonate care for years, paid for with higher Royal levies and, in the case of Drachenwald, by tourism revenue from their real castles, of which the rest of the Known World is justifiably jealous and will someday invade and take by force. SCA members in other kingdoms insist, however, that they do not want to do anything like those people do because, well, well, well....just because, dammit!
No one knows whether the populace will approve the proposed Corpora change, but it is certain to be controversial from now until the next Board meeting.
This article is a work of parody and is not intended to represnt actual policies of the SCA Inc., its Board of Directors, or its officers. Happy April Fools!
As posted to the Ealdormere List, thanks Duncan for the chuckle