Sometimes I just like to be silly

 

August 20, 2016

 

          My good friend Dave Clarke, whose mantra is “Think for yourself,” frequently posts something he calls “Quote of the Day.”

          I wrote “frequently posts” but as I consider the name I suppose it must be something he posts daily.

          Today he posted this: Quote of the Day: "I am still learning." Michelangelo - Artist (1475 - 1564).

          That sparked one of the silly type of comments that things often spark within me. I wrote a reply, and here’s what I wrote:

          What an amazing coincidence. I was thinking of that very quote earlier today.

It's a little known fact that when Michelangelo was painting the Sistene Chapel ceiling, he also played goalie on the Vatican City Olympic soccer team.

He had made several impressive blocks of shots by the Greek team, and those blocks were instrumental in sending Vatican City into the gold medal round.

Mickey -- that's what they called him -- was being Interviewed after the match by the Small World of Sports.

(You have to remember that in those days, the Olympic Committee was totally unaware of most of the world outside of Europe and small parts of Asia, and they refused to invite the dark-skinned teams from the African continent. Asked about it, they explained that they were afraid the Kenyans would try to slip in some professional runners and the judges wouldn't know it because "All those Kenyan runners look alike to us.")

The reporter who was interviewing Mickey was wearing a mini-robe and had long, blonde hair. She was practically throwing herself at the goalie and gushing about his amazing athleticism.

She said he must be the best goalie the world had ever known. A modest man, Michelangelo hung his head and answered softly, "I am still learning."

My shouting match with God

 

(Warning: Rated SA for Sacrilegious Audiences.)

 

July 31, 2016

 

          Driving back from buying dog food at Tractor Supply Company, I thought for some reason about a shouting match I had with God.

          The yelling session took place back in the days when I was a Believer, which means it probably was about 25 years ago.

          I believed in something back then. I had gone through several different beliefs in some type of higher power. For purposes of this memory, I’ll refer to the higher power as God – capital G, even though god is a generic name and there have been people who worshipped many different gods over the millennia.

          I don’t know what would be the name of the higher power. In fact, if a power is that high, he, she or it probably doesn’t even need a name.

          I wrote “he, she or it” because I’m not sure which would be correct.

          I’ve never known for sure. I don’t think a spirit or a force or a higher power would have a need for genitalia, so if I met one and he, she or it was naked, how would I know what sex to assign to it? And I’ll bet that spirits or forces or higher powers don’t wear clothes. What would be the point?

          I know that many of the people who worship King James and his Merry Men Band of Translators’ God and the various revisions of that God’s words say he, she or it created people in their same images. I use images in the plural form because if we believe people actually are built to resemble that translation of how God created people in images, then we are stuck with the suggestion that one of us isn’t built quite right. If God is the father, who is the mother? Do they have genitalia that makes them father and mother?

          I really hope the higher power – whomever or whatmever he, she or it is – doesn’t have the same physical makeup as we do. I don’t want to imagine such a power having to run to the bathroom the way I sometimes must do.

          Did you notice that I wrote “whomever” or “whatmever” in the paragraph just above this one? I figure if we need to add an “m” after “who” to make it fit within our grammar structure, then we are honor bound to throw in an “m” after “what” so we can be consistent. Say if you must, as Emerson felt he must, that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” but I say in my defense, “A foolish inconsistency is the knobgobbler of little hands.” I don’t think Emerson ever said that. Maybe it was Trump.

          But back to the memory.

          I was on my way back to Oak Ridge after having left Knoxville.

          I started shouting at God as I neared Oak Ridge. In fact, things got so intense that I pulled off onto the shoulder in front of that cemetery on the Knoxville side of Oak Ridge so that God and I could continue our rant.

          My set of beliefs at that time included the idea that affirmative healing prayer could focus healing energy with curative power onto persons to whom it was directed.

          I had experienced intense feelings on more than one occasion when I was aggressively trying to direct that healing energy, or healing light as we often called it. Each time I felt that “feedback,” as I will call it, the person or persons toward whom I was trying to direct healing power experienced significant changes for the better in their health.

          Call it coincidence, call it higher power’s healing, call it whatever you like, but this I know: When I received that “feedback” something changed for the better. I didn’t get it every time I tried affirmative healing prayer, but I knew on those special times that something had happened.

          My set of beliefs at the time was that God, or whatever name the higher went by, if any, was saying to me that he, she or it was working with me at those specific times.

          But, I also thought that it should be an uplifting spiritual experience that would make me feel good. Instead, I felt exhausted and tired and that made me angry.

          So, I pulled over and began the cursing and yelling session. It continued as I pulled back onto the highway and drove toward my home. I even cried much of the way to the house or apartment or whatever it was I lived in at the time.

          The higher power, however, was having none of it. Not once did he, she or it speak to me or holler at me or even chuckle at what I was saying. I kept looking for weird, moving clouds and watching for burning bushes, or at least a smoldering sassafras tree or two with voices coming out of them, but nothing was said.

          If God – or whatever we call the higher power – spoke to people a few thousand years ago, shouldn’t I get at least a burp or an odorless fart? Maybe I didn’t understand the ancient languages so the higher power didn’t waste its or my time in unintelligible conversation.

          That day, I stopped attending the church I had been going to each week, stopped trying to use affirmative healing prayers, and stopped being a believer.

          People have asked me where I will be going when I die, and I tell them, “The University of Tennessee Body Farm.” Sometimes they try to insist that I make a different choice, that I pick one of the Hs (aitches), but for me, the University of Tennessee Body Farm is the last stop.

Cardiologist gives good news

 

July 31, 2016

 

          Sometimes a visit to a doctor results in bad news, sometimes good news. This one was good news, providing some assurance that I will live a bit longer.

          I drove from Monkey’s Eyebrow to Paducah a while back for a follow-up visit to a cardiologist after a heart cath procedure to re-open a re-clogged artery that was initially reamed out when I had a heart attack back in 2008.     

          The heart attack (when I lived in Morgantown, West Virginia) gave the cardiologist up there an opportunity to put two stents into the artery.

          Thanks to my healthy diet of barbecue and fried catfish after the heart attack, the stents and artery had become blocked again – about 99 per cent blocked, the doctor said. That's the reason for the new heart cath. It went from 99 per cent blocked to 99 per cent open.

          Anyway, I went to the follow-up visit somewhat concerned about the condition of my heart, but I needn’t have been.

          “Come back in a year,” the doctor said after examining me.

          I didn't know doctors could guarantee another year, but it made me feel good about the appointment.

The Church Unredeemed needs to raise funds

 

April 20, 2016

 

(Warning: Rated MA for Mature Audiences and SA for Sacrilegious Audiences.)

 

The Universal Divine Modern Primitive Sanctified Holographic Church Unredeemed of Signs and Wonders Ascendant Notwithstanding found itself in need of additional funds to maintain its fundraising programs and pay for the sign out front. It cost quite a bit to purchase and install a sign big enough to display the church’s entire name.

The church had suffered a significant reduction in donations because of recent layoffs at the toilet paper mill, where many of its members had worked.

In calling for a special board meeting to discuss ways to raise money, the Reverend Salvatore Vayshon – or Rev. Sal Vayshon as he is more widely known – told his closest advisers, “No crap, we need more money. Collections at our regular meetings every Wednesday and Thursday, and on alternating Sundays, are no longer enough to let us live in the style to which we hope to become accustomed.”

As you know, the church continues to hold its meetings in that pretty little building just down the road. Because of funding and other issues, it had to give up plans to purchase the property for a new church building at 666 Demon Drive. Some board members never felt good about the address anyway.

As board members began to file in, one complimented member Bertha Ucanlayme on the pretty rattle her 14-months-old son, Reginald, was shaking.

Bertha, the church’s most attractive and promiscuous member, was going to make her 24th appearance next week on the Maury Show. This time, she was 5000 per cent positive she had identified little Reggie’s father. Last time, she was only 4500 per cent positive.

Most of the board members remembered when Reggie was born and the church bulletin announced that Bertha had given birth to a baby boy. Board chairman William Bigglittle, the well-known sinful cynic, had grumbled, “I reckon it’s a good thing she didn’t give birth to a toddler.”

Mary Marie Merry asked Bertha where she had gotten such an attractive baby rattle.

“Brother Joshua gave it to Reggie,” she told them. Brother Joshua was a deacon at another church. “You know that new baby store on Easter Boulevard, the one named Jericho’s? The one that stocks diapers and car seats and baby clothes and pacifiers and toys? Well, anyway, Joshua bought the rattle at Jericho’s.”

In due time, the good Reverend Sal Vayshon called the board meeting to order and got right down to the business of finding ways to come up with more money.

Entrepreneur and slightly touched-in-the-head member Blind Lemonjuice Cornpepper, who frequently played hurdy gurdy and sang Delta blues songs at the nearby Blues and Bagels Club despite being neither blind nor talented, re-proposed his idea that the church should go into the business of selling flowers and flour.

He had found a supplier who could provide and package Jesus Christ Self-Rising Flour (the name being his own idea), and he had applied for copyright protection on his advertising slogan, “Mum’s the Word,” for the floral shop side of the business.

The board didn’t approve his idea, partially because of confusion about whether the spelling was flour or fluor, and no one was able to spell out the full name of the flower they called mums.

Rev. Vayshon said he hoped the lecture and discussion series the church had scheduled to start in three weeks would bring in some extra money.

“Remind me again what we’ll be discussing at that series,” board member Harda Herring asked, with her right hand cupped behind her right ear.

Rev. Vayshon said he would be glad to. Topics, he said, include:

          “If we’re a nation ‘under’ God, does that mean this is hell?”

          “Virgin birth: With chromosomes only from his mother, was Jesus a woman?”

          “If no one comes to the Father except through Jesus, does that mean that Jews can’t go to Heaven?”

          “Did the kangaroos swim to the Ark or come over on a ferry?”

          And, “How did they write the Bible in English, which hadn’t been invented yet?”

The time allotted for the board meeting was running out when Bruce Blome proposed that the church should sponsor a cornhole tournament with an entry fee of $50 per contestant. He said the tournament would raise quite a bit of money.

Blome had recently won his third straight championship of the church’s annual cornhole tournament. Members bragged that Blome, the only openly gay member of the board, was a cornhole expert.

Cornhole being a very popular activity at church picnics, the board unanimously approved Blome’s proposal and then, with the weekly bingo game already in progress, the board adjourned its meeting.

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© Joe W. Culver