Sunday, December 29, 2013

Getting My Old-Time Relige On

December 29, 2013

Dear Diary:

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

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.”

“Not yet.”


“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”

“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…”

“ eHarmony?”

“Call me ‘old-fashioned’, but I believe that true Love and the pursuit of such a love, should be free of charge.”


“And what?”

“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?”

“Who’s 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?”

“Favorite passage?”

“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?”

“Get out...”




“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!”

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Diary - Let's Get (A) Physical II: Electric Boogaloo

November 19, 2013

Dear Diary:

The day began like any other, which is to say with a heaping helping of awesome washed down with a tall glass of adorable.  I had a bounce in my step and a stella in my grooveback.  “Why so perky?” I asked my nipples as I headed into the bathroom.  The question was, of course, rhetorical.  For, you see, I knew the answer, and my nipples had not yet gained the power of speech…not yet.  But one day…one glorious day…

After 15 minutes of staring into space contemplating the power that a man with talking nipples could wield over an unsuspecting populace, I continued my preparation for a day that had been coming since that fateful September morn (Editor’s note: afternoon) when I promised a scared 19-year old that, if she got a mammogram, I would go in for my physical.  My full physical…The one that included a hernia check and prostate exam.  The one in which a lucky medical professional would get me both coming and going…”The Co-Go”.  It wasn’t the first promise I had made to a 19-year old girl, and it wouldn’t be the last.  (Editor’s Note: Actually, for reasons of legality and moral decency, it probably would be…or at least should be.)

Upon finishing a hot shower and dental cleansing, I headed to the closet to get dressed.  But what to wear?  This was my first prostate exam.  What was the protocol?  I wanted to appear relaxed, but not disrespectfully so; professional, but not uptight.  Something that said, “I’m a professional; you’re a professional.  Let’s take this slowly and enjoy one another’s company on this journey to medical enlightenment.”  Should I bring a gift?  Seemed rude not to; seemed creepy to.  After much deliberation, I decided on no gift.  I was creepy enough…and I didn’t need any additional entries in my HR file.  Yes, this was being conducted at my place of employ.  Why not make this as awkward as possible?  Besides, it was one of the few times I was allowed to “drop trou” at my workplace.  (Editor’s Note: The key word is “allowed”.)  I decided to bring gum.  I’m not an animal.

My appointment was for 10:30am.  I had a meeting from 10:00 – 10:30.  The knowledge that I would be bent over a table in T-30 minutes, however, made it difficult to remain fully engaged.  When the meeting adjourned, I headed toward the Health Center.  When I reached the door to the facility, I took a deep breath, turned the knob, and headed inside.

“May I help you?” the woman at the window asked
“I have a 10:30 appointment for a physical.”

“Sorry, our computers are down.  Could you sign in please?  And put your pants back on?”

(Ed’s Note: This next part is true.) “Hello, Damion” a second woman said.  “I had a dream about you last night.  I must’ve known you were coming in today.  Isn’t that crazy?”

“Yes it is,” I replied, because it was.  “I’m used to it though, because…you get it.”  I said whilst motioning toward my manly physique (man-sique?).  It was an attempt to diffuse the awkwardness through humor.  It did not work.  (Ed’s Note: Anyone who’s mind immediately went to Johnny Depp in “Dark Shadows” wins a prize.  The prize of knowing that your mind works similarly to mine own.  You may want to get yourself checked.  By the way, this also signifies the end of "This next part is true.")

“Mr. McCloud, can you come with me?” a third woman asked.  It appeared as though only women worked at this Health Center, which was both comforting and not.

I followed her through the door.

“What are you doing?” she asked seemingly confused.

“Getting undressed?” I responded similarly confused.

“I’m just taking your blood pressure.”


“So, put your pants back on.”

“If you insist.”

She handed me some paperwork to fill out.  Once completed, I handed it back to her.

“Mr. McCloud?”


“I’m pretty sure that ‘sexy’ is neither a valid height nor weight.”

“What about age?”


“I’m going to need another sheet.”

Once the sheet was completed –this time with numerical values—I moved onto the eye exam and was then led into a back room.  (Wasn’t the first time I had been led into a back room, and it probably wouldn’t be the last.)

“Take all your clothes off; leave your underwear on; take off your socks; and put on the gown with the front open…like my coat.”  She gave that last instruction while tugging on her lab coat.  As though she were dealing with a child.

“Okay, but, for the record, it’s a bit cold in here.”

“Why would that matter?”

“I would just like that fact put on my chart if it wouldn’t be too much trouble...if you don’t mind.”

“Fine.  Whatever.”

She returned shortly after to check on my progress and administer yet another test.  This time it was an EKG.  As I lay on the examination table feeling vulnerable (and a bit cold), the nurse placed a series of discs on my ankles, my chest, and under my arms.  She then pulled out a set of wires.

“Are those nipple clamps?”


“So, I’m not going to need a ‘safe word’?”

“No, and you can take off that zippered mask.”

“I’d rather not.”

“Suit yourself.”

She printed out two copies of my EKG readings.  One for their records and one, I assume, for “The New England Journal of Medicine”.

“The doctor will be in shortly.”

During my last physical, the one before the recommended age for having your prostate exam, the doctor offered up the following medical advice while still cradling my “manhood” a.k.a. “A Tribe Called Quest” a.k.a. “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch” a.k.a. “Hall & Oates” a.k.a. “Prince and the Revolution”(Ed’s Note: Again, true story.): “You know you need to get your prostate checked next time…I have small hands.  So, I’m your girl.”  When she first said that, I was weirded out.  Now, a year and a half later, I was oddly comforted.

So, you can imagine my lack of comfort (my un-comfort?) when the doctor that walked through the door was not a diminutive lady with small hands and a gentle touch, but rather a stocky, heavy-set woman with plump fingers and a firm handshake.  Somewhere, God was laughing…and He was laughing a lot.

“Mr. McCloud, I have the results from your lab work.  First of all, I would just like to say, these are beautiful numbers.  Your cholesterol, your glucose, your liver and kidney functions…everything is…amazing!  Astounding really.  I feel as though I can drop the mic and walk out, because I have seen perfection and its name is ‘Damion’…”

“That’s good news.”

“Damn right, it is.  I would like to use you to recalibrate our instruments; to put you in a time capsule so that future generations can see what’s possible; to flash freeze you in carbonite and give you to a bounty hunter...”

“That last one didn’t make any sense.”

“Sorry, I recently finished watching ‘Empire’.”

“Lando Calrissian…Billy Dee.”

“Billy Dee!”

She then asked me a series of questions and issued the following verdict: “Good news, Mr. McCloud.  
Based on your lab results, the tests we’ve conducted today, and your answers to the questions I just posed, you don’t have to get a prostate exam nor a hernia exam.”

“Wait.  What?!?!”

“You don’t need an exam.”


“You seem disappointed.”

“Disappointed?  No, it’s just that—Well, I ‘manscaped’.”

“Wow…Is that The Nativity Scene?”

“Yes, I wanted to make things festive.  I was going to go with a ‘The Last Supper’ / ‘The First Thanksgiving’ crossover theme, but my detail trimmers weren’t fully charged.”

“I understand…Is that The Baby Jesus?”

“Yes, I was trying to put him in a place that wouldn’t be blasphemous.”

“Don’t think there is one in that particular region, but that seems like as good a place as any.  You know, you’re probably going to Hell, right?”

“I think we can remove ‘probably’,” I said while bursting into nervous laughter.

{the nurse echoes my laughter}

“Ahhh…Eternal Damnation…Good stuff…Good stuff."

"On the bright side, it appears it's no longer cold in here."

"Pardon me."

"I read your chart."

"I see...I brought some ‘mood music’ and everything.”

“’Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)’ by Justin Timberlake.  Can’t say I’m familiar with this song, but, based on the title, it seems wholly inappropriate.”

“You wanna hear it?”

“I’m gonna go with ‘No’….No.”

“Okay then.”

“OOOO-KAAAYYYY thennnn…Well, you can put your pants on, and the nurse will be in to give you your tetanus booster.”



I got dressed, still in disbelief that the one time I wanted to bend over for this company, I wasn’t allowed to.  A few minutes later, “Nurse McDreamsaboutme” came in to administer the shot.

“Why did you put your shirt on?  How am I supposed to give you a shot with your dress shirt on?”

“Listen, when a woman tells me that someone is coming and instructs me to put my pants on, putting my shirt on is just a natural reflex.  You’re lucky there aren’t any windows; else I wouldn’t be here right now.”

“Just take your shirt off.”

“Fine…Do you like Timberlake?”