Mom, Linda’s an atheist.
No I’m not, you liar.
She doesn’t believe in God, Mom. She thinks praying is useless.
Let Linda speak for herself, Billy . . . Linda, is this true?
He was praying for the Wild Cats to win on Sunday. I just told him how idiotic it was to ask God to get involved in a high school football game.
She laughed at me in the middle of my prayers and she pulled my hair. Isn’t that some kind of sin? I’m on my knees talking with God and she sneaks up from behind and pulls my hair.
You shouldn’t have done that, Linda.
He used the S-word, mom. He was praying for the Wild Cats to beat the S-word out of the Tigers.
She’s lying. I didn’t use the S-word. I used the C-word.
God doesn’t want to hear swear words, Billy.
But ‘crap’ isn’t a swear word. You use it,
I do not . . . well maybe when I’m very upset. But I certainly wouldn’t use it in my prayers. And you shouldn’t either.
Billy’s lying. He said s – h – i – t. He said, Dear God, please help us beat the s – h – i – t out of the Tigers . . . and for your information ‘crap’ isn’t the C-word. Do you wanna know what the C-word is?
Watch your tongue, young lady! You’re going to get yourself in very big trouble.
I didn’t say ‘shit’. Billy did. I just spelled it .
Well you just said it now, Linda! I’m shocked.
I’m just quoting what Billy said in his prayer. Billy said ‘shit’ to God. He was swearing — I was quoting. Two totally different concepts.
She’s so freakin’ full of it, Mom.
Did you hear that, Mom? Now Billy said freakin’ when what he really meant was the F-word. It’s what you mean that counts, Billy. If you say freakin’ in your prayers, don’t think God won’t know exactly what word you were really thinking.
Alright. That’s enough, both of you. I don’t want to hear any more profanity in this house — spelt, quoted or intended. Have I made myself clear? This is God’s house. God doesn’t want to hear filthy language. Your Dad will be back soon and I don’t want to bother him with this. He has enough on his plate as it is.
Actually, unknown to them, I am already home. I’m sitting in the next room trying to concentrate on the WFF keynote speech I’m going to give in Philadelphia at the end of the month, and their squabbling is making that impossible. I shout at them to shut the fuck up in there.
Of course I don’t tell them to shut the fuck up. If I acted like that? Used that kind of language? Would turn this family upside down. Hopefully they will soon take their bickering elsewhere so I can get back to work.
Why should God care one way or another if the Wild Cats win against the Tigers, Mom?
God wants us to talk to him, Linda. It’s okay to ask God for his help. God decides when and where he wishes to work his wonders. And God does answer our prayers.
Whatever . . . but you never want to second-guess God. No telling what he may come up with. God might just turn those pimply-assed teenage Tigers into real-life, 500-pound, sabre-toothed Bengals, just like that, and turn ’em loose on the playing field. That would give the fans in the bleachers something to get excited about. God might choose to have his real-life tigers devour the Wild Cat linebackers and gobble up their plump little cheerleaders to boot. This sort of thing has happened before you know. If you are up to spiff on your bible studies you’d know that.
Anyway, Laura is right. This is God’s house and we are all his children. That’s the way she wanted it. And I’m good with that. I’m all in. We’re a 101% percent Christian family here and God bless us for it.
Billy does have a foul tongue, though. When he was younger we had to regularly wash out his mouth with soap: a practice, which they tell me, has fallen out of favor with today’s parents. That’s a shame, as washing out mouths with soap has much to be said for it. It’s both a lenient punishment and a fitting metaphor, and that is more than one can say for confinement to rooms and spankings: “You stole a candy bar. Pull down your pants and bend over so as I can whip your little fanny pink?” Where is the metaphor in that, I ask?
Thank God for religion. I grew up in an atheist home and it sucked. I had two arrogant, know-it-all parents who had answers for everything — thought they had all the mysteries sewed up tight. Idiots. I mean, like, how stupid, is it not, to assume that the seven billion assholes currently trashing this tiny planet are the supreme honchos in the universe; that we humans, who are about three chromosomes genetically removed from fleas are as good as it gets? Denying God is like denying, on principle, anything we can’t put in a test tube or see through a telescope.
Yeah, my parents really sucked. What kind of parents tell their kids at the age of four that Santa Claus is a retail industry myth? Mine, Mr. and Mrs. William Russo — that’s who. And what kind of parents comfort their weeping child, as he crawls into to their bed in the middle of the night, terrified by dreams of demons, death, eternity and nothingness, with bullshit like . . .
“Well Benjamin, we all have to die someday. But there is no God, so don’t worry about being sent to hell, because it doesn’t exist. Paradise? No that doesn’t exist either. Those are illusions made up by the ruling classes to keep the masses from demanding what’s due them here on the earth. Now go back to bed.”
Laura, on the other hand, was brought up on faith. And it’s done her well. She glows with it. What a treasure it is for her. And I’m totally on board as well. As I said, we’re a Christian family with Christian family values, and proud of it. Those arrogant English bastards — Dawkins, and, what’s his name . . . Hutchens or something, who smoke and drank himself to death. God fixed that guy good. There’s all the proof you need. God smote him down.
See what’s happening? I’m trying to get some work done here, trying to put together a nice little talk for those WFF ladies up in Philadelphia, and my kid’s arguing has got me sidetracked into thinking about religion, which invariably leads me to thinking about our local church, which invariably leads to me thinking about our dear Reverend DeVos, that pious prick who obviously would like nothing better than to get his hands into Laura’s pants. There’s a real dickhead for you. But I need to clear my mind from those debilitating thoughts and concentrate on the task before me. Get to work, Benjo!
And I am truly excited about keynoting the WFF conference on marriage equality. After all, I’m an expert who should know what he’s talking about and a little getaway from the drudgeries of my everyday routines will do me good. They do have some fairly decent brothels up there in Philly that I’m interested in reacquainting myself with.
I’m going to talk about . . . hey, what am I going to talk about? Well, first I need a good title that grabs their attention.
Love and Marriage Equality in the 21st Century
Boring, boring, zzzzzzz
Why Arranged Marriages are the Most Successful (and Equal)
That’d provoke ’em good.
Giving Child Molesters a Second Chance
Now that would knock them out of their seats. And it’s totally off-topic. Love to see the look on their faces if I whipped out that PowerPoint.
I had a couple in once who were in pretty bad shape. A suitable challenge for my exceptional skillset if there ever was one. The wife had come down with P-PAWS (Periodic—Pervasive Arousal Withdrawal Syndrome), a calamity previously only diagnosed in the children of refugee families denied asylum in Sweden. She came to the first session in her bathrobe and slippers and fell asleep before I could ask her name.
And the guy — he was in even deeper shit still.
Like most Americans he had an overly optimistic view of the protection granted by privileged information. After a few sessions he let on that he had a collection of videos and pictures in his possession that were probably — probably is the word that dumbass used — illegal. He later suggested that LBGTQ should be complemented with a P.
Sorry, buddy, LBGPTQ is not going to fly. Nobody wants you guys in their club. They don’t want any more letters in that alphabet soup to start with — least of all a P! Sorry, but you are at the bottom of the pit. Better to want to hump sheep. Even Necrophiliacs come off looking good compared with your crowd. Sheep and corpses don’t seem to mind. LBGPTQ? Forget it.
I felt for the him, though— the poor bastard. Even if there is no cure for my particular compulsion (if there was I wouldn’t be interested in it, anyway) there is a quick fix and I exercise it at every opportunity, sometimes legally and sometimes not. But for this guy there is no fix. Nothing out there but catastrophes waiting to happen. Nothing but fragile lives to fuck up.
I recommended frequent ice baths for the wife. And for the hubby I prescribed chemical castration. As far as I know, these two are still together as man and wife. Another Dr. Russo success story.
But like I said, I felt for him. As Christ teaches us, true empathy can never be qualified by weighing in the deeds of the subject in question, no matter how much evil they have done. A sinner hurts and bleeds just as badly as a saint. Jesus gave his love and compassion unreservedly to the worst of sinners. Zap these guys good — sure, but Bin Laden’s toothaches, Eichmann’s rheumatism,Ted Bundy’s hair loss, Bernie Madoff’s fallen arches all deserve our Christian empathy. And that goes for this guy’s lot as well.
And while I’m on the subject:
In the barbershop I frequent there are magazines with pictures of grinning bozos in Abercrombie & Fitch fishing vests posing with their catches. As far as I can tell some of those creatures are still alive, drowning in the air, writhing in pain from the hooks in their gills, and horrified — you can see that horror in their eyes. These Abercrombie & Fitch fishing vest guys are oblivious to all that suffering. They are beaming. Proud as punch, they are. Fish don’t deserve their empathy because fish don’t wear vests, can’t drink beer and grow beards, or order Grand Slam breakfasts at Denny’s. Fish are slightly dumber than we are and they’re not cute like dogs and cats — thus fish deserve to suffer. I wish Jesus was still around to tell those guys a thing or two.
But now I have got to get started on this damn speech and remember to make sure they book a few extra nights for me at the Sheraton. Did I mention that they’ve got some great brothels up there in the City of Brotherly Love? The industry is thriving in that town.