There’s all kinds of folk that come across this website, The Painful Truth, and for lots of different reasons. All different kinds of folks, from anywhere and of all labels, and I’m just getting jealous I guess, because I have always tried hard NOT to have one. A label, that is. I have lots of reasons…
(This topic of ‘labels’ also spreads fairly smoothly onto politics as well: There are Democrats and Republicans and Greens and Skull and Bones’ (Oops! How’d that get in here?), and Libertarians (the who?) and Strom Thurmond, who might not really know just WHAT flag HE is flying anymore, but he’s done it a long time, and with some amount of style, no?….
But this isn’t about politics, or labels like “Steeler Fan”, “Yogurt Lover” (shiver), or “Cha-Cha Dancer”. It’s about having a “religious label”. You know, like when all the guys are on the job, and we’re all talkin’ about the Cowboys humiliating loss to the Colts? And one guy says, “Yeah, I hurried home from church for THAT mess?”
And Fred goes, “Church? What are ya, Georgie – Baptist?”
Georgie goes, “Nah, Methodist, man. You?”
“Oh. Cool. Muslim”
Georgie looks at Fred a second, shrugs and goes back to our ditch.
But everyone around KNOWS that ole Georgie and Fred are SOMETHING!
I’ve been listening a long time, and I’m getting jealous because, everyone seems to have “a place”.
I tired of being a nobody. I wanna BE something! So I’m going to try and figure out something, while me and the guys are busy digging this ditch.
Let’s see. If someone asks me, “What are you, Mike?” I might could say:
Pretty lame. Middle of the road. Maybe I need to break that down some?
Catholic? Well…… Isn’t this hereditary? I mean, most I’ve known have always been Catholic, and their folks are and their folks, and……. I’ve never been. So I guess that disqualifies me. Besides. Why spend my time in church listening to service in an unknown language, giving my money to some folks I don’t know in bathrobes and looking at the very spooky specter of a dead guy nailed up there on that beam. Eating ‘flesh’ and drinking ‘blood’? Gross. No thanks.
Hm. And just look at all the choices with the hordes of Protestant Christians. From Southern Baptist (do ya have to be Southern?) to African-Methodist-Episcopal (African? Huh?) to Mormons.
Mormons. Now THAT is a spooky thought… Consider:
In the 1800’s this guy Joe had a ‘visitation’, from an angel named Moronic, er, Moroni. This angel tells him of a sacred history written by ancient Hebrews in America, engraved in an Egyptian dialect on tablets of gold and buried in a nearby hill. Joe is told it is the history of the ancient peoples of America, and that Joe would prove it to all. Joe gets a hold of these gold plates from the angel later, and translated them into English by the spirit of God and the use of a sacred instrument accompanying the plates called the "Urim and Thummim." The translation was published in 1830 as The Book of Mormon. Paraphrased from http://www.exmormon.org/tract2.htm .
Moroni and ancient Hebrews in America? An ancient history written in Egyptian!?! (Why the hell not Hebrew, one would wonder…) and on tablets of gold no less!!! Sheesh!
Ya gotta be joking, right? And outside of being comically spooky, I’d bet they would sure like me to donate money to keep all them young folks singing out West…. No thanks.
There are snake handling Christians (spooky!), fall-down-read-the-bumps-on-your-head evangelicals who prey, uh… I mean pray for your money on TV and cry after they get caught with prostitutes. There are entire cable TV networks full of big eyelashes, big hair, big buildings and I don’t know a one of them that don’t want my money; all those Crystal-type cathedrals must cost a fortune, not to mention the hairdresser’s bill. And frankly? All that dribbling mascara and big hair is too spooky to contemplate. Can you imagine waking up next to… Oh No. Can’t go in that direction.
There’s some other offshoots of Christians that are a mixed-bag of the others, and it’s too confusing to contemplate. Like Seventh Dayers...part Baptist, part Jewish? I dunno.
Jehovah Witnesses? Some things are just NOT meant to be understood: like them and yogurt….
The old Worldwide Church of God and various spit-ups and splint-offs? Sorta Jewish, sorta Seventh Day, sorta Third Reich, sort of a collegiate doctoral thesis in Advanced Advertising.
Sigh….. Oh well. Onward….
….Sounds a little strong, somehow. Scary. I bet ole Georgie would REALLY have a long look at that one. It DOES have a certain ‘shock factor’ that’s appealing. Hmm… Wait. What’s gonna happen if I tell the Boss that? I bet he’d have a cow.
Also…. Atheists can’t agree on what an Atheist is. Kinda like Christians. There are Soft Atheists, Hard Atheists, (I SWEAR I’m NOT gonna even TOUCH this one! J ) and Agnostics. I don’t think these folks have churches, so what’s the frappin’ point?
Well, you know… like witches (Wiccans?) and other Pagans? Hell if I know. I suppose they have ‘churches’. I suppose that Satanists and Voodo and these folks all want money too. All I know is this: If I told Georgie that I was a Pagan? He’d drop his shovel and keel over in our ditch. And the BOSS!? I don’t wanna even THINK about how fast he’d have me back on the street. The whole thing here is toooo wacky, but some of them sit in dark rooms with candles and black robes and play with knifes and chickens, I think, and that is spookier than three-day-old yogurt, my friends.
Uh uh!!! No way! I am NOT kneeling down and putting my arse up in the air in a room full of hairy Arab guys. (Or any guys for that matter.) ixNay on the upidStay. Send my money to some dudes I don’t know in Saudi? Have you SEEN all them folks in all the white robes walking around and around and around that Big Black Rock in Mecca? Talk about spooky! Nope…. Sorry Fred. Besides – these folks are way too much into bombs for THIS redneck’s comfort level.
“Buddist”? Or something else of Oriental flavor? I kinda like the peacefulness I sense in that. Probably never suffer from road-rage, and probably are REALLY good with a wok… but. Ya just gotta have some Led Zeppelin in your life sometimes. Some Budweiser and NASCAR. (I wonder if there’s a sect of these folks that study the Zen of Pink Floyd?)
No… A bit too peaceful. That thing about celibacy is a real drag also.
“The Whack Jobs”
Maybe some of the above fit here too, but what I’m thinking about is the Bent Screw Societies like: Jim Jones and the Temple of Doom, the Heaven’s Gate Purple People, the Branch Davidians (THEY sure got a bad deal, huh?) and some of the others.
Sorry. I just happen to think drinking poison on purpose is plain old stupid-ass. At least the Davidians weren’t buggin’ nobody except Janet Reno, but still…….
A private club for sure. Onward.
Georgie leans on his shovel. “Hey Mikey! Fred here’s a Muslim! How ‘bout you? What are you, Mikey?”
A hundred thoughts and instantly stupid replies didn’t leave my lips.
I broke out in a sweat. Put my shovel down, sat beside it in the ditch and looked at the late afternoon sun.
There was a bunch of things I COULD be. A lot of things I just CAN’T be. A lot of Labels out there, and I guess some folks earn those labels because they started out with them in the first place, kinda like a kid in India is probably gonna be Hindu, and an Italian kid in Rome is probably gonna be Catholic. Not always.
And something else, another thought niggled at me.
Just about every one of them had a couple things in common.
1) They all had some ‘spooky factor’. Some downright dangerous, but they all seem to come complete with some untouchable, unknowable, and faceless Bill O’Reilly-Type in the sky or some such. Lotsa stories and threats of pain or eternal hot places. Lotsa big, dark, and spooky buildings with dead guys nailed to boards or pins in dolls or poisonous yogurt, er…I mean Kool-Aid.
2) They all want my money. In some form or fashion. Every one. And what will this money, that I’m earning breaking my back down here in this ditch, buy me? A promised audience with the O’Reilly In The Sky sometime in the unknown and mysterious future.
Somehow, on second thought, this just doesn’t trip my trigger after all… I mean – there are good folks in the entire above-mentioned list, no doubt. I’m even relatively sure there are good folks who eat yogurt. (But I’d watch THEM closely, I would!)
And I reckon it’s ok with me what they all do or think. Or what labels they apply to themselves.
I think, however, ……
“Mikey? Ya with me?”
I looked up at Georgie, and then grinned. It was almost O’Beer Thirty, and Fred and Georgie and I had to be at the pub for our Team Pool Tournament in an hour.
I struggled to my feet, dusted my hands.
“Georgie?” I smiled at him.
“I’m just a Ditch Digger. Just a fricken Ditch Digger… Let’s head outta here.”
Georgie and Fred laughed and we headed for our trucks.
“Maybe I’ll just be the BEST Ditch Digger around, from now on!” I said.
Fred laughed. “Good. First round is on you, Ditch Man…”
Maybe that’s a label I can live with…..
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