In the Beginning, God Created the Religious Fanatic

In case you’re wondering about the title, it’s true.  I’ve done some research into the matter.  Turns out God was lonely and insecure, and wanted someone who’d love him unconditionally.  Reminds me of Pygmalion.

So the Pope has decided to throw in the towel, eh?  What’s the Catholic Church going to do without a pope?  How are they going to cope?  Will they finally appoint a woman for the job, as I humbly hope?  How about someone from Africa or Latin America, who might have a second opinion on the wisdom of the whole being fruitful and multiplying deal?  Dividing and subtracting might be the way to go instead.  (Way to go!)  Or at least encourage men to use rubbers.  You need something to erase your mistakes when you write with a pencil.

Imagine a world without a pope.  While you’re at it, how about a world without presidents, generals, or bosses of banks?  Okay, now wake up and smell the tsunami of raw sewage ringing your doorbell like a Tex Avery cartoon.  Since Kim Jong Un is so eager for attention, why not make him the new pope?  Oh yeah, then he’d have to get a divorce.  Can’t they change that rule?  And the dynasty he’s a part of is not the best ad I’ve ever seen for the whole being fruitful and multiplying thing.  More like starve and drop dead.

I spent last weekend celebrating the Lunar New Year with my Korean in-laws, eating way too much good food, pretending to watch Korean TV while shamelessly reading a book instead, and sleeping on the floor like a dog.  (I have a Korean friend with a dog named Lunch; that’s a really lame joke, especially for someone who’s lived here for seven years, but I can’t pretend to be self-assured enough not to have to go for the cheap laugh sometimes, and my politically correct and culturally sensitive censorship button appears to be out of order.  To be fair, there is a growing resistance to the custom of eating dog meat in Korea, although a few months ago while staying at a hotel in the southern part of the country, I was awakened in the middle of the night by the forlorn and haunting cries of what I finally perceived to be what must have been about a hundred dogs awaiting execution at a local “farm”.)

I love my family-in-law, but I was dismayed to find that my father-in-law suffers from some of the same delusions as my wife Jina.  You’d have to travel a great distance and a long time to find someone crazier than she is, or someone dumber than I am for having married her.  (If she ever reads this, of course, she’ll kill me–not that I have anything against euthanasia.)  While my second-hand dad and I were having lunch (no, we didn’t eat dog, Dawg), he asked if I’d heard about the practice in the U. S. of planting computer chips in people’s forearms (something begun by a company formerly known as Verichip).

How could I not have heard about it, considering Jina wouldn’t stop going on about it for months on end?  I pretended not to be nauseated by the topic–protocol is de rigueur in this culture.  But I did say that the chip was meant as a way to monitor people with severe medical disorders, not that it couldn’t be a Trojan horse for something far more sinister.  As I’ve said before in these pages, we’ve already let our government run wild with all manner of drones, and now that various police forces are making use of surveillance models (as Chris Hedges has written, the ones in Flint, Michigan hover overhead “like vultures”), it’s only a matter of time before people are going to have to defend themselves against attack with their own personal nuclear umbrellas.  Maybe the gun nuts will do something logical for a change and start blowing the drones away, making them fall from the sky like deranged Canadian geese suffering from heart failure.  The Fourth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution protects people against unwarranted searches and seizures; apparently, America’s last two presidents must have run out of toilet paper since they keep using that document to wipe their asses with.

Anyway, my pa-in-law made the ever-so-logical connection between the robo-human-making computer chip and the Mark of the Beast prophesied in the Book of Revelation and popularized by the movie The Omen, the terrifyingly repetitious number 666.  So as not to gauge his eyes out with my chopsticks, I changed the subject instead.  Wouldn’t want to forget my table manners.  I was afraid he was going to start channeling my wife’s already ubiquitous spirit and start going on about the bloody Illuminati or Freemasons and thought I’d best nip the conversation in the bud like Rosemary’s fetus.

One thing I’m having trouble understanding is the sustained popularity of Korean pop singer Psy and his song “Gangnam Stale” (sic).  Psy (sigh)–whose name reminds me of the Japanese word kusai, which means “stinks,” claims he’s working on a new song, which will be ready for launching in April.  The guy writes one song a year?  The Beatles and the Rolling Stones used to crank out two albums a year!  So did Elvis Costello.  But Psy is “the most beloved entertainer in the world.”  So there.

Maybe that’s why it’s okay for him to whore himself for a company that makes instant ramen noodles (the product he’s hawking is called Black, not an ideal color for ramen; maybe it’s licorice flavor–mmm, yummy).  I watched in awe-inspired horror as Mr. Psy (he’s a psycho–get it?  Gosh, he’s so darned edgy!) noisily slurped down a slithering cascade of his toxic treat on the family’s Jumbotron of a TV screen, following this Pavlovian display of untrammeled appetite with an orgasmic sigh (hence the nickname), and concluding the commercial by holding the Styrofoam (Psyrofoam?) container next to his preternaturally glistening, oleaginous cheek as if it were some futuristic Teddy bear, and closing his eyes with calculating affection for money and undeserved international fame.

Of course, like a minstrel singing for his supper, he did his little signature pony dance in the middle of the ad just to remind you that there’s no part of him that isn’t for sale.

Nice to know that tenacious, self-aggrandizing mediocrity will always have a place in this tacky masterpiece of a world.

But, as Billy Preston said, “That’s the way God planned it.”  (Even though I’m an agnostic, I have to admit that the live rendition of that song, which he performs on You Tube with George Harrison, is nothing short of inspirational.  Please check it out if you get the chance.)

So please join me in praying for a better pope, preferably one who was not a member of the Hitler Youth, and someone less disingenuous than Pope John Paul, or George Ringo before him.  Maybe the time has come for Pope Mick Keith, or Pope Sid (and) Nancy.  The Sex Pistols will come and send everyone to heaven.  They did it their way.

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