The prospect of a book coming out that begins the story of the mullet mission – which is now, incidentally, on Sandstone Press and available for pre-order on Amazon – has got me thinking about the quest as a whole. Specifically, the total number of mullets.
Six years ago, when there were only five or six known mullets, finishing the mission seemed achieveable. There are now twenty-eight and it’s scary. So I’ve decided that it’s time to draw a line and say “no more new mullets” and just finish the twenty-eight mullets I know of currently.
This is for two reasons.
Firstly, I’ve always been rather reticent of too much publicity, because it often leads to people getting in touch with new mullets, stretching the finishing line further and further ahead. I refer to this towards the end of “Up The Creek Without a Mullet” as like trying to kill the Hydra – you kill one and two more appear in its place. With a book forthcoming, and publicity likely, the “Hydra effect” is likely to kick in once more and the finishing line could zoom away from me at an irrecoverable warp speed.
Secondly, there’s been a certain authenticity about the mission so far – at least, I like to think so. I’ve not been doing it to write a book, I’ve been doing it because I had an idea, committed myself to it and didn’t want to admit defeat. Sure, I’ve been interested in the idea of it being a book for some time now, but only because enough people have said “that would make a good book” for me to believe that maybe they’re right.
There’s a danger that I could continue with this mission ostensibly just to write a book; rather than for the sake of achievement, to have a laugh, visit unusual places and meet interesting new people. I like those reasons and don’t want the expectation of a book to overshadow them.
Of course, there are still fourteen mullets to go, and so there will inevitably be an assumption underpinning any future travels that there’s a story still to be told, perhaps in later books. But I’d much rather allow the mission to remain as uncontrived as possible, in order to prove to myself that I can do this as far as I can largely on my own initiative, as it was at the beginning.
I often suspected that there would one day be a threat that the mission would either never be completed or become contrived. Also, life has changed significantly since 2003 when I first discovered Mullet in Albania. So for those reasons, I think it’s time to say twenty-eight is the limit and I am not seeking any more.
There’s no particular significance of twenty-eight, mind, other than it being the current total – nobody’s challenged me to visit that precise number, and it doesn’t for represent some personally important number, for instance my age.
I’ve even scoured 28’s own Wikipedia page, which doesn’t suggest anything to me that makes it a good maximum number of mullets. Though it’s fascinating to discover that there are such things as Keith numbers, which sounds like a concept dreamt up by a man in a pub rather than something conceived by a distinguished mathematician.
So other than the two reasons above, there’s no particular logic behind deciding to stop at twenty-eight. Or indeed to carry on until twenty-eight.
However, there’s equally no particular logic behind deciding to visit all the places in the world with the word “mullet” in their name in the first place.
So I’m just going to visit twenty-eight of them because that’s what I’ve decided, and because I can.