Does being stalked by an ancient zombie who’s been co-opted to enrich a bunch of cross-dressing brainwashing charlatans creep you out as it does me? That’s good to hear. Yesterday (Monday) my devout-to-the-max, born-repeatedly Christian wife Jina tried to cajole me into coming with her to some big faith-healing to-do forty-five minutes away by subway, but I politely declined. The ceremony would have lasted for three hours, and although I was partly prompted by morbid curiosity to say yes and attend the spectacle as a fly on the wall, I don’t think my stomach would have held.
In fact, I’d been hoping she’d go anyway so I could have had a little time to myself to catch up on my drinking, about the only thing besides books that keeps me from throwing my body off the roof of the highest building in town these days. As she’s embarked on her monthly three-day fast and it was raining bats and frogs, she didn’t have the wherewithal to go either. I think she felt deflated when I declined her invitation, but I was ensconced in a good book and since she’s at a low ebb and is bedridden with her earbuds and her crazy sermons, I didn’t mind having her around (now that’s love). Also, she was valiant enough to concoct for me a big pot of kimchi stew, complete with tofu, mushrooms, and bean sprouts, and all I had to do was wash the brown rice before she revved up the cooker for me.
(In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a selfish bastard–something she points out to me regularly, between the confusing moments of praise to keep me guessing ad infinitum.)
On Sunday morning I balked at having to go to church again, but I had to restrain my frothy venom a bit to avoid getting into a brawl with her. From her point of view it’s obedience-training (she obeys Jesus; I obey her while secretly snarling at both her and her supercilious savior); from mine it’s damage control.
The nice thing was we were about twenty minutes late again. As usual, she exhorted the cabbie who escorted us there to believe in Jesus, as if he didn’t have better things to do with his life. Unfortunately, due to our sinful and unforgivable tardiness, we were unable to score seats in the main digs of God’s pad. A kindly woman who I at first didn’t like because the first time I met her she scowled at me (although, to be fair, I do have that effect on strangers) led us out the door behind the main area.
Clueless twit that I am, I hadn’t noticed that she was in front of us when I asked Jina, “Did you see the scar on that woman’s throat? She must have tried to kill herself.”
Meanwhile, she was upstairs looking in a chamber to see if we could be accommodated with the rest of the stragglers. I hoped she hadn’t heard me, but didn’t say anything to avoid setting off Jina’s volcanic temper, figuring if the woman had it was already toothpaste out of the tube anyway.
Nothing in the woman’s expression or bearing conveyed that she had heard, so I sighed inside and refrained from asking what kind of razor she’d recommend in case I decided to top myself later.
Jina and I had to shed our shoes as we climbed into a smallish room with a linoleum floor we had to sit on, joining several other abject sheep. I’d thought before that the church had had a balcony (it’s amazing how someone could live so long while being so unobservant), but instead all there was was this dinky room, a gymnasium for munchkins.
The minister was protected by a bulletproof window with prison bars in front of it in case Jesus decided to come down and shoot him for being such a parsimonious, pandering, parasitic fraud. Instead Christ is probably just rolling his eyes in heaven the way he always is in those Renaissance paintings as he waits to be delivered from the evil of the cross and the salivating lynch mob.
I worked out some anagrams I’ll share with you later, coming up with quite a few for the phrase “for Christ’s sake.” Jina saw what I was doing and did not approve. Since after twenty minutes or so my leg had lapsed into a coma and I had to relieve myself anyway, I excused myself and got up slowly, trying to remember how to walk.
I didn’t bother going back up afterwards to hum my way through the hymns and listen to the collective groveling of the congregation led by the sycophantic dictator before them, but instead retired to the cafeteria to scarf down a big steel bowl of Japanese-style curry, pinching kimchi from a side dish in my steel chopsticks, eating alone until I was joined by a few stale male worshipers (avoided by the women as usual–the story of my life).
Then I went to look for Jina to tell her I was going home; I knew she wasn’t eating anyway, due to her fast, but I was a tad chagrined when she said she wouldn’t be attending her weekly class in which a group of pseudo-scholars tried to disprove Darwin’s findings on evolution and replace them with their own doubtful brand of narcissistic nepotistic necrophilia. I made the mistake of agreeing to join her for the first hour of the “class” last week, and suffered a veritable seizure of tedium. She’d convinced me to attend to help give her confidence as she read some inscrutably wordy paragraphs written in turgid English by one of the faithful anti-science buffoons in our midst.
The reason I was slightly crestfallen was that I needed some “me-time,” as Stephen Colbert would say, but I was also inwardly proud of her for rejecting the class, even though she said the reason was she wanted to spend more time studying the Bible (sigh), threatened as she feels by that big bad scary bully reality.
It’s still raining today, and Jina will probably camp out in bed the whole time, I hope. That will give me a chance to get out and breathe some relatively fresh air, perhaps retiring to the library or the bookstore and maybe even squeezing in a beer to lubricate my cerebral cortex, not forgetting to pop a few breath mints afterwards to ward off Jina’s bloodhound’s sense of smell as she lowers her eyebrows and snuffles and sniffs for the elusive scent.
That last bit is a quote from Barney of “The Simpsons.” I hope you don’t mind. . .
“. . . that I put down the words, ‘How wonderful life is/While you’re in the world.'”
Sorry, but I’m haunted by the sounds of cheesy pop lyrics.
A tip of the hat to Sir Elton John for conveying those overplayed, saccharine* sentiments.
*The lack of originality never stops; I owe that adjective in describing the Queen of Pop’s lyrics to Rick Moody, celebrated author of The Ice Storm.