Sunday, February 06, 2011

Holy Smokes

BLOGGUS INTERRUPTUS:  Your agent has been busy moving mountains and then carefully putting them back where they belong.  I haven't been able to get anywhere near the blogging machine.

Meanwhile, Sack news has piled up at an alarming rate. Great bales of the stuff fill the cul de sac blues head office.  Today's yarn was spun from a half-standing position more likely to be seen in a yoga class.

 I think I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

Little Doug found God last July.  Sadly, he lost him again before November passed.

His brief bout with piety began when he met a woman named Charleen.  They found each other through an online dating site.  Charleen was a buxom, fifty-something blonde with a face Oscar likes to describe as experienced

Charlene made it clear from the start that she was a born-again Christian.  This characteristic did not deter Little Doug in the least.  When asked about it, he pointed to her pleasant demeanor and shared interest in camping and fishing as the source of his attraction.  Her spiritual rebirth, as far as he was concerned, was just a secondary characteristic, like a fondness for shopping or collecting spoons from abroad.

Weed, Little Doug's de facto son-in-law, thought otherwise when it came to this matter of attraction.  He found it hard to imagine that the buxom blonde thing did not fall into the equation somewhere, likely at the beginning of it.

Buxom, by the way, was the Sack's word of the month last August.

Rockin' the Rock Church
It did not take long, however, for Little Doug to embrace Charleen's evangelical zeal.  Within weeks of their first date, he was in regular attendance at the local Rock Church.  This is where Charleen found and maintained her redemption.

Sack observers were only mildly amused by Little Doug's sudden plunge into evangelical waters.  Big Doug said he didn't give a monkey's arse about peoples spiritual activities as long as they kept it to themselves and maintained a decent front lawn.

Computer Doug was even more nonchalant about the matter.

"Whatever floats his boat," he said, "is fine with me."

Weed and Daisy, Little Doug's daughter, had a very different view of the situation.  After a month at the Rock Church, Little Doug quickly became a frequent source of frustration on the home front.

It began with his insistence at saying grace before every meal.  At first, Daisy and Weed were happy to accommodate the ritual, out of respect for Little Doug's exuberance for his burgeoning relationship with Charleen.

"Don't get me wrong," said Weed, during a chinwag with Oscar and your agent at the local coffee cathedral, "I'm okay with a quick 'Thanks for the grub, Bub,' but it's starting to get ridiculous."

To demonstrate, Weed bowed his head in front of his maple sugar donut and launched into a lengthy monologue of appreciation directed at God, the Holy Spirit and St. Timmy, the patron saint of dead hockey players and sweet pastries.

According to Weed, Little Doug was also adopting a preacher-like position on most topics of discussion.  By this time, he was seeing Charleen four or five times a week, attending bible study classes, group discussions and, of course, the twice-weekly sermons lead by Pastor Rick, the public face of the Rock Church.

The gist of Little Doug's message was that Jesus Christ had taken it on the chin for all of us. The least we could do is straighten up and fly right.  He said a lot more than this, of course, but Weed said this was the best he could make of it.

For her part, Daisy was equally baffled by her father's transformation.

"Before, the only God-talk in our house was when someone sneezed or when Dad fell off a ladder," she said. "Now, it's all he talks about."

Until Charleen came along, Daisy said her father only stuck his head inside a church for weddings and funerals.

"Now," she added, "you can't get him out of one."

You would be correct if you're thinking that Daisy and Weed held a dim view of Charleen and her influence on Little Doug's life.  In fact, the feeling appeared to be a mutual one.

One day, Little Doug suddenly raised the matter of Daisy's marital status with Weed. The couple is unmarried and their boy, Baby Doug is now an active toddler.  Daisy, of course, reacted with something more than mild indignation.  Backpedaling, Little Doug admitted that Charleen had noted her disapproval about their status and her reluctance to be in their presence as a result.  Apparently, there was a risk of "guilt by association" in the eyes of the Lord.

Also, after listening to Pastor Rick, Little Doug added that he was simply getting worried that an unmarried couple with a child would not be looked upon fondly when final accounts are due to be settled.

Daisy, according to Weed, told her father that both Charleen and Pastor Rick should mind their own beeswax. 

Pastor Rick (or Pastor Dick, as Weed refers to him) is quite a prolific figure around the old town.  His frantic calls for redemption appear regularly in paid advertisements on the pages of the Chronically Horrid's Sunday edition.  

Pastor Rick's writings often rage about the apocalyptic events already happening in front of our eyes.  Weed says this includes, among other things, the existence of Lady Gaga and the Double Down sandwich.  In Pastor Rick's view, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and we need to wake up and smell the coffee.

I have no idea about any of this.

The bloom fell off the rose, however, in mid-October.  Little Doug suddenly stopped seeing Charleen with the same frequency.  His attendance at the Rock Church also declined.

Near the end of November, Little Doug announced that his relationship with Charleen had ended.  He said it was a mutual decision, but admitted that the "born-again" thing was starting to wear him down.  Apparently, he was having trouble making heads or tails from what the Bible was talking about.  Pastor Rick's "fire and brimstone" approach wasn't helping matters either.

Nevertheless, it was also clear that Little Doug was bummed out by the loss of the relationship with Charleen.  Weed said he seemed to be spending a lot more time in front of the TV and barely broke a smile when he watched his favourite old television show, Hogan's Heroes.

"On the positive side," Weed added, "he's back to being what he was before, a bored-again Christian."

Bored-again Christian, by the way, was the Sack's word of the month in December.

A few weeks ago, your agent encountered Little Doug at the local coffee cathedral.  We enjoyed a brief sit-down at a corner table.

Little Doug told me that he had now been smoke free for six months. He said he quit smoking at Charleen's encouragement, shortly after they met.  Besides the obvious health benefits, she said quitting smoking was one of several things that would boost his profile when the time of reckoning arrived.

Little Doug said he had been thinking a lot about his dalliance with the Rock Church and his short-lived relationship with Charleen.  He was at the point now where he could look for the positives in the experience.

"I've been trying to quit smoking for years," he said, "so meeting her and going to church must have been part of the plan for me."

Your agent nodded in agreement.  "So, no matter what," I replied, "your chances of going to heaven have gone up."

"That's right," said Little Doug, "and if I end up in Hell, at least I won't have to bum smokes off the Devil."


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