Friday, May 20, 2011
The big day has arrived. Everyone's abuzz with either cynicism or anticipation. While I publicly scoff at the notion of the Rapture happening tomorrow, I've quietly packed a small bag, just in case I get sucked up. Fat chance, but I like to be prepared. I labored a good twenty minutes over whether to bring a toothbrush, and finally ended up packing one, in the off chance that oral hygiene isn't covered in heaven. I hate to be turned away at the last minute because of extreme halitosis.
Speaking of extremes, were you aware that in the Catholic Church, there is a sacrament known as Extreme Unction? Dude. Check it. It's reserved for a select bunch of folks, who must answer YES to the following questions:
1) Have you got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel?
2) Have you been a major butthole all your life?
3) Does (or rather, did) the world revolve around you since you emerged from the womb?
4) If you weren't at death's door, would you be utterly unrepentant?
5) Is a priest hovering over your bed and clutching a cross, and are you concerned that there's not enough time for you to enumerate your long list of sins before you croak?
If you answered YES to all of the above, then you can request Extreme Unction on your deathbed and be absolved of all your despicable acts in one fell swoop. Don't ask me about the mechanics of it...there's some kind of anointed oil, muttered regrets, and hasty chants. They've got it down to ten seconds or less, for obvious reasons, making it the most popular sacrament among douche-bags. The outcome is that you're free to barrel down the exit ramp with a clear conscience, knowing that you've effectively erased a lifetime of being a full-on rotter. Croak in peace, brother.
Who comes up with this stuff? I mean, c'mon, people! This is not scriptural. It's not even apocryphal! It's the lazy man's version of living a life of integrity; an exit strategy for the person who's displayed the moral conduct of a single cell amoeba. Live selfishly, be a dipwad, and then repent in the final moments of your myopic life.
There's also some Catholic sacrament whereby one can pay the Church to redeem the souls of loved ones who have already passed. I guess this is for those who were completely unprepared for death and were taken out by something along the lines of a Boeing 787 crashing into their bedroom while they were double-dipping their neighbor's wife. While the widow may petition for the hottest chamber in hell, the grieving children may wish otherwise. The latter are invited to pay a substantial fee, and their late father's soul will be yanked from the fiery furnace and placed on the fluffiest cloud in heav'n. The implication is that the more cash that's forked over to the Church, the fluffier the cloud. Now, don't quote me on this. I know that it was in use during the Renaissance, and indeed these petitions became the capital with which Pope Julius II financed the decoration of the Sistine Chapel. But prayers for the salvation of the dead may have gone out of fashion over the centuries. While God is eternal and unchanging, it would seem that He likes to stay current with the greed of the times.
What I want to know is how anyone can be so presumptuous as to pronounce the will of God with such confidence? Where can I attain such pluck? It's all I can do to sit at the foot of God and listen for any glimmer of instruction, much less bring myself to pray for something. Who am I praying to? And why would the All-Powerful Creator listen to the prayer of a worm in the first place? It's not low self-esteem that keeps me humble, it's naked truth. We're worms, folks! In fact, that's an exaggeration – we're worm turds! I don't know if you've looked at a map of the universe lately, but it's big. Infinite, even. Our planet is a grain of sand on an endless shore. So what does that make us? Heck, we're not even worm turds, we're worm turd dust.
But enough of waxing poetic. Suffice it to say that this piece of worm turd dust cannot feature coming up with an agenda for God. And if I was God, I'd hardly ask a worm to be my personal assistant. As for the Rapture, didn't any of those Christians read the verse that says no one knows the day or hour of Christ's return? That he'll come like a thief in the night? I'm almost tempted to pray for God to mess with them a little, except that I hate to bother Him with such trifles.
I'm not one to get all excited over these events. The night before Y2K I grudgingly drove to the store and bought a gallon of water, just in case. Tonight, well, I've packed my toothbrush, a half a bottle of wine, and my Sizzlin' Sudokus, in case there's a long line at the Gate. But honestly? I got a feeling that Sunday morning I'll still be here, Rapture or no. It's okay, I'll be in the good company of my fellow worms, and as always, we'll help each other out.