On Wednesday evening, Zach Brewer of Hopkins was standing in his kitchen, making dinner, and scrolling through his email, making sure he was all caught up on bills and other such correspondence.
That’s when he noticed an email from another Zach.
Addressed to him, Zach.
And nearly 300 other Zachs.
“I thought it was spam,” he says.
He was wrong. Wonderfully wrong.
“Dear Zachs,” read the email. “I am emailing all of you in regards to a new group I am forming. I have collected all of the emails for all Zachs going to the University of Minnesota in an attempt to create a supergroup.”
The writer – a fellow Zach – said the possibilities were endless. They could use their Zach swarm to take over entire small classes or intramural sports. They would be organized, with executive positions, for which they would now be accepting applications.
Zachs with their names spelled “incorrectly” – such as “Zack” or “Zak” – would not be permitted.
Here’s the document in its entirety, courtesy of yet another Zach, may he rest in peace.
Just got this email...I'm dead �� pic.twitter.com/nH4A3AmPVT— Zach Portman, Ph�� (@zachportman) September 9, 2020
“There’s an unspoken rule that ‘Zach’ is the true spelling,” fellow email recipient Zach Day confirms. Day graduated in 2019, which caused him to politely decline this invitation, but he wonders why he didn’t think of this back when he was a big Zach on campus. He had no idea until now there were so goddamn many of these guys just hanging around.
“It’s simple shit like this that really makes my day,” he says.
This simple shit has been brought to us by Zachary Faith, a junior at the U who happens to be in a frat with, you guessed it, a lotta Zachs. He rounded up the emails because, technically, he could – they were available through the school directory. On Wednesday, he finally pulled the trigger, and he named his frat-mate Zach Uter “Vice-Zach.”
Faith was not expecting a lot to come out of this.
“I’m not much of a man with a plan, if I’m being honest,” he says.
But despite a few polite emails from people saying they were at work and could he please not ever contact them again, he wound up with about 40 delighted replies from his new Zach brotherhood. The whole thing snowballed in a matter of days. They set up a suite of executive positions, from Director of Zachademics to Director of Zachtivism to… Treasurer.
A Director of Philanthropy has already been appointed. There is a Director of Foreign Affairs, the only “Zack” on the email list. T-shirt designs are in the works (Ski-U-Zach, anyone?). They have a Discord channel, and it’s active.
The Zachs are legit.
“The other night, I got a message saying, ‘I hope all my fellow Zachs are okay this Thursday night,” Brewer says. He graduated years ago. He doesn’t care. He’s joining up. According to strict decorum, his formal title is “Brother Brewer, Zach.”
Unfortunately, the Zachs will have to wait before getting up to any real mayhem on campus. COVID-19 is making true union impossible at the moment, and several contributors have said they’d never consider risking the health and well-being of a fellow Zach.
But once things change and the campus opens back up? Then the real fun begins. They’ll form entire basketball leagues. Go jogging in a longass single-file Zach line. Show up in random places with their matching T-shirts. Mostly, just do whatever stupid bullshit they feel like doing in massive Zach numbers, because hey – they can.
There’s something beautiful about a stunt so silly as to be completely harmless, especially in a time when so much feels dangerous, fraught, or oppressive. But there’s something even more beautiful about a stunt that ends up being… not a stunt. One that ends up being the start of several hundred friendships, a built-in community based on nothing more than the good fortune of being born with the right name.
In a time when social distancing and political differences have separated us from many of our own communities, the reminder that some can be built spontaneously out of nothing but caprice and inanity is… weirdly comforting.
Less comforting: The group can’t figure out how to handle a small coalition of “Zacs” who have infiltrated. Brewer says they’re mostly being flexible and allowing them in. That said: “Personally, I don’t know how you make it past kindergarten without learning to spell your name correctly,” he says.