December 29, 2013
The day began like any other, which is to say with me reflecting on lessons learned from the previous day’s misadventures. Christmas Eve’s lesson: When you find yourself with an expiring $10 Extra Cash coupon to your local CVS (“CVS, because…Walgreens? Are you serious???”) and all you need are paper towels and lotion; buy something else…ANYTHING else. (Editor’s Note: Anything other than a magazine…or batteries…or a doll of any kind.)
After internalizing the lessons from the previous day, I headed to the bathroom to externalize the fluids and solids from the previous day. Since I was on a well-deserved, much-needed vacation, I neither showered nor shaved. I did brush my teeth, however, because I hated tasting my own foul breath. (Ed’s Note: Smelling his own night-stench; apparently, not an issue. Could explain why he’s still single…Just a thought.)
I headed downstairs, turned on the television, fired up the laptop, and checked my email. Among the correspondence from single moms and Russian women who want to meet me, male enhancement product offers, and interior design catalogs, one email stood out. It was from ChristianMingle.com.
Dear Mr. McCloud (it started)
Though we appreciate your interest in finding Love through our website, we cannot, in good conscience, expose our members to someone of your…you get it.
“This must be a joke,” I thought.
P.S. (the email continued) - This is Not a Joke
“This certainly cannot be THAT Jesus; it must be an odd coincidence.”
P.P.S (the email continued…yet again) – Yes, THAT Jesus. I don’t usually take the time to write perspective members directly, but this situation seemed to warrant it, because, well…you get it.
“Wow. Not sure how to take that.”
P.P.P.S – I’d look at it as a sign that you should take stock and make some serious lifestyle changes.
“Perhaps, this is the kick in the pants I’ve been looking for, the proverbial ‘burning bush’, the key to my Salvation.”
P.P.P.P.S – Salvation??? Let’s not get carried away. That ship has sailed, sunk to the bottom of the ocean, and been set on fire. Do you know how hard it is to set a ship that is already at the bottom of the ocean on fire? Granted, hindsight being 20/20, we could have rearranged the order in which we performed those tasks, but that’s just how determined we were. Truth be told, the best you can hope for at this point is a room with a view…not a great view, but, hey, beggars…am I right? That was, of course, a rhetorical question, because…you know…Jesus.
“Looks like it’s time for another quest,” I thought to myself. “Time to venture out into the world, to find my true path, to get my old-time relige on…Dammit, now I have to take a shower and put on pants! The price of Sal— less Damnation.”
After cleansing both mind and body, and warming up my jeans in the dryer (I like a warm pant. I don’t apologize for that.), I headed out to cleanse my Soul…or, at least, clear up some of the more noticeable blemishes. I slid into “Shakira” (Yeah, I recognize the imagery; and no, I’m not gonna change it.) turned her on, put my hands at 10 and 2, and listened as she roared to life. Destination: The Catholics.
I set a course for the nearest Catholic Church, The Church of the Holy Gilt (See what I did there? Guilt…Gilt…Huh…Yeah, you get it.) (Ed’s Note: Not an actual church…hopefully.) in my Garmin GPS (“Garmin: Because you wanna get there…eventually.”) (Ed’s Note: Not the actual slogan for Garmin…yet.).
When I arrived at the church, I parked “Shakira” and made my way inside.
“No shattering glass,” I thought to myself. “That’s a good sign.”
I placed my hands in the Holy Water at the front.
“Doesn't burn,” I thought. Again, to myself. “Another good sign…or else this isn’t an actual church.”
I entered the nearest confessional and waited for my priest to come. (As opposed to my prince…or Prince. Wouldn't it be awesome if Prince were my priest? Don’t think he’s ordained, though. When would he find the time…or Morris Day, for that matter? Ha! Morris Day and The Time…That takes me back. I wonder what Apolonia’s up to. Bet she’s still hot. …”Dearly Beloved, we have gathered here today to get through this thing call Life. Electric word ‘Life’. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time. But I’m here to tell you, there’s something else…the after world. A world of –“)
“Are you about done, or did you want me to come back when you're finished?” a disembodied voice from the other side of the curtain asked. Apparently, I had been singing aloud.
“I can finish it later,” I responded. “So, are you a priest?”
“Well, I’m not The Wizard.”
“Great! Now, I have that song in my head.”
“Would you like me to come back later?”
“No, I’m good…Let’s get this party started.”
“Not the usual beginning, but okay.”
“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”
“Not a surprise.”
“I thought the next line was yours.”
“Oh…right…you got me all…nevermind. How long has it been since your last Confession?”
“In or out of a taxicab?”
“Let’s go with out.”
“Pre- or post-Baptism?”
“Not knowing when you Baptism occurred, let’s go with ‘pre’.”
“In that case…carry the three…about 41 and a half years.”
“And how old are you?”
“41 and a half.”
“I’m gonna need to cancel my afternoon, aren’t I?”
“Probably a safe bet.”
About an hour into my confession, Father Christian (not his real name) interjected. “Do you want to take a smoke break, or stretch, or something?” he asked.
“I don’t smoke.”
“Nothing…In that case, let’s move this to my office. Chairs are more comfortable in there…and I have some reference materials I may need to consult.”
When we stepped out of the confessional, the good father made an astute observation. “You don’t look like I pictured.”
“You mean I don’t look 41? Well, I do work out regularly and try to eat right. Besides, you know what they say, “Black don’t crack’.” (Little known fact: That actually started off as an anti-drug slogan.) (Ed’s Note: It’s “little-known”, because it’s entirely untrue.)
“I actually meant I expected you to have horns…and possibly a cape.”
On our way to the office, I explained the events that had jumpstarted my quest for spiritual re-awakening.
“So, before we get started with your path towards Catholicism," he continued, "I would be remiss if I didn’t ask if you had considered JDate.com.”
“The Jewish dating site?”
“I thought about it, but the process to convert to Judaism seems a bit…involved. They also have a lot more holidays to keep track of, many of which are not observed by Corporate America (i.e. would cut into my personal vacay time). Besides, think about it, if Judaism were so great, wouldn't Jesus still be Jewish? Huh? Yeah, you know I’m right…”
“Call me ‘old-fashioned’, but I believe that true Love and the pursuit of such a love, should be free of charge.”
“I…well, to be quite frank, I expected a response that was much less…acceptable. I’m impressed by your…maturity.”
“Nothing to be impressed with. I believe Love should be free. I feel the same way about premium cable and internet porn.” (Ed’s Note: Damion actually pays competitive prices for premium cable…notsomuch for porn.)
“…There it is. Now that I have gotten a sense of who you are, let’s start with some simple questions. What do you do for charity?”
“Charity is not a person; it’s the act of doing something without expectation of compensation. Doing something out of the kindness of your heart.”
“Outta the who of my come again?”
“Let’s start even simpler. Have you actually SEEN the Bible?”
“Good…surprising, but good. Favorite book that’s not Revelations.”
“How did you –“
“This is not my first rodeo.”
“The Book of Ruth? Really?”
“No, I just said that for out of respect for a former English teacher…Genesis?”
“And the lamb…lies down…on Broa-oadway…”
“May want to learn the lyrics to ‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be’.”
“Nothing. What about your favorite passage from Revelations?”
Twenty minutes later…
“Never heard anyone recite The Book of Revelations before?”
“Not in Aramaic…I assume you know The Ten Commandments.”
“I know OF them…Oh, you want me to recite…Not a problem. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not covet Thy neighbor’s daughter --.”
“Stop. There’s nothing about coveting your neighbor’s daughter.”
“I’m pretty sure.”
“Can I get that in writing?”
“It’s in writing…or, more accurately, NOT in writing…The Bible.”
“Right. Thou shalt not...stop…til thou get enough?”
“Did you put your hands in the Holy Water when you came in?”
“Would you mind dumping that out on your way out? Actually, just take the bowl…”
“I’ll try not to take that personally.”
“It was actually said with the intent that you would…Honestly, how you didn’t burst into flames when you walked in the door is beyond me.”
My conversations with representatives from other denominations went just as well…
…The Baptists (aka “We can’t guarantee your entrance into Heaven, but if you give enough, we can put in a good word.”) “Seriously, how many offerings do ya need??? I’m gonna need to take a look at your books…the accounting ones; not the Holy ones.”
…The Methodists (Don’t know much about them, but they’re right down the street and sell Brunswick stew twice a year. Who doesn’t love Brunswick stew? I wonder if members get a discount on stew?) “So, you’re saying there’s a Method-ist to your madness? I’ll show myself out.”
…The Adventists (aka “We obviously hate children. Why else would we hold Church during Saturday morning cartoons?”) “Do you think God could be a woman? I ask, because I’m an extremely gifted liar, damn near prodigal, but I can’t lie to women…I just don’t think a man would do me like that.”
…The Pentecosts (aka “The Come-As-You-Are-ers”) “Does your band take requests?...Alright, I’m leaving, but, for the record, I said “Suck My Kiss”. It’s a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
…The Mormons (aka “We’re more than just multiple wives.”) “Seriously, are there ANY black people in Utah??? Name one…non-athlete…”
…The Latter-Day Saints (“Were there “Former-Day Saints”?) “Did Jesus really turn water into wine, or did he just invent grape Kool-Aid? Not a ‘miracle’ per se, but still pretty impressive given the time…and he was black.”
…and the Lutherans (aka “Have you tried the Lutherans?”) “Do you think Sammy Davis, Jr. could’ve been the second-coming? He was black, Jewish, and could make a rainbow…Just think it would be a shame if we misread all the signs.”
After the surprising(?) number of rejections, (The Lutherans??? I mean…right?) I headed home somewhat despondent. When I arrived, I threw my keys on the kitchen counter, and turned on the television. A commercial for eHarmony came on.
“Free communication weekend??? Hellz yeah!”