THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY (seriously) lists five hundred fifty-five members on its web site. For a small membership donation of twelve bucks, these people officially become known as Friends of the Flat Earth Society. I’m tempted to think that, at least maybe, some of this number are tongue-in-cheek jokers who just want the Flat Earth membership certificate to display for a laugh. But maybe not. How do you explain odd ball folks who come to believe crazy, conspiracy theory stuff like this? Three possibilities occur to me. One, they are members of a cult, a social group which is defined by its inexplicable religious, philosophical, or political beliefs surrounding a particular person, object, or goal, in this case the conviction that the earth is flat. Two, they are simply stupid people, so gullible that they’d believe just about anything some charlatan tries to sell them. Three, they are actually mentally ill, suffering from some identifiable psychological malady that causes them to live in an alternate reality from the rest of us. Or, like some absurd Venn diagram, these three theories intersect in such a way that the Flat Earther fits all the categories: a stupid, cultish, mentally ill person. Flat Earthers don’t even believe in gravity, and they avoid the problem of falling off the edge of the earth by claiming that the flat earth just continues on and on. Like Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Or the Yellow Brick Road. Or Uncle Harry’s hiccups.