Live and let die

I fucked off for a little while. If you noticed, and missed me, then I am heartily sorry for that. If you didn’t, well….join a very large club. Membership is free, but the disadvantage to that is that you receive neither a membership card nor a badge. There is no membership fee for my fan club, but you do need to have a strong stomach for vulgarity, love cats to the point of distraction, and the ability to eat a dozen cookies in one sitting and admit to it. See? Small, fucking fan club.

Nothing happened while I was absent. Nothing caused my silence. Nothing major. No, I wasn’t gone because of seasonal depression; my depression is all-inclusive of all seasons and pretty much just lays about, muttering curse words and wishing for cookies.

I wasn’t absent due to writer’s block. There have been so many things to write about; this life, and, in particular, the state of the world we are living in offers up so many subjects. Nope, no writer’s block here. I used restraint, really. I simply asked myself, whenever something really raised my hackles or insinuated itself most irritatingly into that lump of wrinkly, gelatinous flesh inside my head: does this spark joy?

Oh, fuck that! No, I did not ask myself that because I did not watch that irritating shit on Netflix. When I want to purge, I watch an episode of Hoarders. That show simultaneously makes me feel really good and really bad about myself and it reminds me that those 27 strings of Christmas lights I threw into a corner in the spare room because they didn’t work – and I just knew I could save money by going through each one and replacing the blown-out bulb – need to be chucked into the fuckit bucket because no fucking way am I ever going to really do that when a new string is only $3. Don’t be a hoarder like Millie in Missouri, Lori. Throw the lights away. Fuck sparking joy – joy is not losing my shit because I can’t untangle the motherfuckers to go through them.

I could have written about the numerous ways in which I learned to modulate my voice when uttering, “What in the actual fuck?” every time I got online, turned on the news, or read an article about the clustered, caked-in-shit state of affairs in this country since the bloated, fake-baked assface with vagina neck took office. Oh, I have had words for days about that. Why bother, though? Did you want to read them? Would they have sparked joy?

Okay, lemme quit. I’ve been having too much fun with that and it could be misconstrued as condescension. Go watch that woman and take advice about your stuff if it makes you feel better. I’m just saying, it’s been done before.

I could have written about my aforementioned frenemy, depression, and how I’m just not feeling it anymore and wish we could quit each other. The thing is, I don’t think that’s possible. I think depression is as much a part of me as my pinky fingers are, and to break up with depression would mean to slit my wrists the right way and watch the red water get redder. Ya know what I’m saying here?

So, depression gets to stay. I take my pills, which allow a measure of calm, lucidity within, and that gives me the ability to distract myself from the fat blob, muttering “fuck this life” on the couch while she shoves another cookie into her piehole (or cookiehole, as it were). It gives me the ability to distance myself from troubling thoughts, like

– What if my eyes really never do get any better and this darkness and achiness, the dryness and the blurry vision are going to be with me until I die?

– What does my husband see in me, really? I’m not the same, vibrant, long-haired redhead he had the hots for back in the day. I say things, I act in ways that make him irritated. He probably just tolerates me. Wishes for freedom or some younger chick. I should just die.

– Now that I have fully accepted and embraced my atheism, what’s the point to all of this? Why be good, or try anything, when there is nothing when you die?

– If my spine is just going to get progressively worse and render me a burden to my loved ones, why wouldn’t I rather die?

See? Dark thoughts that need to be avoided at all costs, especially in the middle of the night, when sleep doesn’t want to come because most of the time it is just The Male Sibling Unit and me here, and I am still not used to the husband working overnights, and I feel like a pussy for saying that? Why can’t big girl panties be pretty?

During my absence from this sacred space, I tried new things, if you will. I reconnected with my hands-on, artistic self and revised our living space to include more color and practiced serenity even when I didn’t feel it.

I welcomed a new grandson.

I got a haircut.

I also got the flu, had two 3-day migraines, and had bronchitis, so that took up a little time. The point is, I looked for distractions from listening to my depression lie to me, and my panic and anxiety throw me into a state of chaos and uncertainty.

Holy shitballs, y’all….I just realized something.

I coped. I am coping. I’m not running away from my problems, sedating, numbing, elevating them, or creating more out of such actions. You have less problems if you face the ones you have head-on, and sooner or later, a mostly problem-free and drama-free life feels like the norm, not an anomaly.

And you aspire to that. You want your life to be like that always. A life without all that noise is still not a boring life. A quiet life is still filled with the crescendo of laughter, of music, of raucousness. When you find ways to cope with depression, you live the best, most authentic life you can in spite of the ways in which depression can sink your ship. It may not be what you envisioned for yourself when you were just starting out, but it is you, doing you, in the best way that you can. Maybe there is no point to it all, but who gives a fuck? It matters now, and that is the point.

That’s my idea of joy, not throwing away a t-shirt because it doesn’t make my skin tingle and my heart leap. I save that feeling for when I look into the husband’s eyes and see that he still thinks I’m worth throwing into bed.

You won’t find that on Netflix. Nor do you want to.

There is no applicable title for this think piece, except, maybe COMMON SENSE. Duh.

Warning: I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be a popular opinion. I don’t usually keep mah trap shut when I feel strongly about something – big shocker there! – so why should this be any different?

Or, “that’s her. The one with HER OWN OPINION.”

People are simply losing their shit about the New York State bill that was signed into law that allows abortions up to full-term. Opinions are everywhere, and most of them are the voices of outraged people who fear that New York State is about to lose its moniker, “The Empire State” and become “The Infanticide State”. I’ll admit, on the very face of it, the words are shocking and carry a very, heavy weight when you think about the reality of it. I was initially taken aback; when you read the words, “full-term” your mind conjures up immediate visuals of sweet, cherubic newborn babies, swaddled in blankets and smelling of baby powder.

Then, the more analytical, common-sense part of my brain said, “Wait a minute. Read the whole thing.”

Who in their right mind thinks that this law is for simple birth control and “killing of babies”? If your answer is “Religious and Evangelical Right-To-Lifers” I would then insist that you revisit my words “in their right mind” and then answer. I know, the rusted ass turd holding the Oval Office (and the nation) hostage right now threw out the words “babies ripped from the womb” into the mainstream, but you need to first consider the source and then remember that he has allegedly paid for a few abortions, if you want to believe pretty credible sources. I don’t know anyone that disgusting or heartless that they’d carry a child to full-term, or near, and then decide, “Yeah, I can’t be bothered” and decide abortion is the answer. People can be hateful and I am a pretty harsh critic of most humans, but even I believe that this isn’t a line most would cross. No, this law won’t hurt innocent babies or allow irresponsible whores to continue to be whores. It will assist parents in making the most humane, loving, difficult decision when they have an unviable pregnancy. It will allow them to make it without the shame foisted upon them by others or the questionable legalities. It will not assuage their own, personal pain or pangs of guilt, but those are human conditions we all experience and are as such, ours to own.

Late-term abortions are mercy killings, as much as I deplore the term. Is it killing if it gives peace to the afflicted? We have such a tumultuous, terrible struggle with the idea of euthanasia or even putting our sick pets down; this is a whole other kettle of fish. Why is it somehow more merciful and compassionate to have your vet inject your pet with something to end their suffering, or to allow a terminally-ill person to make the same choice? Why is it completely unthinkable that a parent or parents should be allowed to make the same, agonizingly heartbreaking decision to give their unborn child the same measure of peace?

Here’s a simple explanation, if you’ve been reading and you still want to say, “But….”:

The Reproductive Act only does three things:

– Decriminalizes abortion. Neither a woman or her doctor can be jailed for performing this procedure.

– It allows them to remove a fetus beyond 24 weeks who has died in utero (or has a malformation making it unviable), thus making a tragic situation maybe a fraction less devastating than it already is.

– It will allow other qualified health professionals to perform the procedure. And not in your run-of-the-mill Planned Parenthood Clinic, either.

This does NOT allow the abortion of a healthy full-term baby from a healthy mom, no matter how many Bible thumpers tell you it does.

I’ve recalled all the sad stories I have read and heard, secondhand, about babies who were born with unsurvivable conditions; babies whose mothers carried them to term, heartbroken by the knowledge that their child, if it survived the birthing process, would only live for a few minutes or an hour. Babies with conditions so terrible, the doctors were certain that every moment, as fleeting as it would be, was going to be filled with pain and agony. I’m not talking about chromosome abnormalities or even physical limitations; I’m describing malignant tumors, brain malformations, and fatal organ abnormalities. These aren’t just “quality of life” conditions. They are terminal, and by terminal, I mean that every moment these babies spend, both inside as well as outside the womb, is characterized by unendurable suffering.

Think about that for a moment. Is there anything worse for a parent than when their child is in pain? From simple colds to broken bones and even the unthinkable: a serious, life-threatening condition or injury; a parent will do anything to “make it better.” Now, imagine carrying a child who you have yet to meet, but who you have grown and nurtured, shared hopes and dreams for, and anticipated his or her arrival so excitedly; the love you feel for this little stranger who is also not a stranger is infinite and all-encompassing.

Then imagine an ultrasound, thought to be just a look at your baby; maybe this is a 20 or 21 week appointment. When the technician goes quiet and then leaves the room, returning with a more senior colleague, you are gripped with a fear so great it threatens to swallow you whole. They tell you that something isn’t right. There are urgent consultations, more tests, and then a final, terrible sit-down with experts. Your baby, that growing, kicking, part of you, is missing part or most of his or her brain, or has a malignant tumor that has tentacled into their brain, lungs, heart, and spine. Your baby will perhaps breathe at birth, but your baby will feel nothing but agony. Your love cannot fix this. Modern medical science cannot fix this. There is only pain, and then the memory of your child taking a first breath and then a last in the haze of perhaps an hour or less.

Would you want that? Or would you want the pain to end for your child as quickly as possible? Could you survive weeks and months of carrying a child who you know is in agonizing pain and who will die in your arms as soon as you deliver? Every time your baby kicked, would you want to lose your mind, wondering if that was because they were hurting and there was nothing you could do to make it better?

I couldn’t. Maybe you could. Maybe you just believe that’s how it has to be. That’s your right. But this same right, in the other direction, should be extended. Your beliefs are yours. Mine belong to me. And there are others who don’t feel the way you might, and they deserve a choice without repercussions. Abortion is legal in all 50 states. Each state has its own set of rules. In some, abortion is illegal after 20 weeks. In others, it’s 22 or 24. I would also state that abortions at this stage are not the typical, $400 procedure one receives in a clinic. They cost upwards of $20,000 and while the baby is injected with a drug to stop its heart quite painlessly, the mother still has to deliver. I would fervently hope that any serious medical conditions that would affect the viability of a baby would be discovered before the second trimester is over, but that is not always the case. And that is absolutely heartbreaking. But why compound that pain by saying, “Sorry, we know your baby is going to die and is in pain as we speak, but you need to give birth naturally, as was intended”?

There is also the language within this law that provides for the termination of a pregnancy if the mother’s life is at risk. I, personally, don’t know a single mother who would make that choice willingly. I had a high-risk first pregnancy and had my doctor asked me to choose when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, I would have told her to get fucked. I know that I was never more frightened when I was told that both our lives were in danger and that a cesarean section needed to be performed right away. Had you asked me then, in my petrified state, to choose in the event of a catastrophic event, Zachary would be telling you this story; not me. There are mothers whose lives are at a significantly higher risk, where one or both lives could be lost, and I can only imagine how hard that is. While some might argue that this makes things more manageable, I would argue that it is much more complicated than a simple decision. But isn’t it at least comforting to know that no one else can make that choice but you?

Isn’t that the point? Your body, your choice.

There are some things that the government, and churches, and perfect strangers should “scroll past”, as technology dictates these days. As I dictate, it’s a bit blunter:

Mind your own, fucking business.

How about we all take a hypocrital oath?

Hey!

Did you know that, when you become friends with someone on Facebook, you get to witness EVERY PERSONALITY THEY POSSESS?

You didn’t? You mean, no one ever explained to you how this stuff works? Well, let me. No, I insist.

For example, when you comment on, say, a political post I’ve made, urging peace, love, and understanding, that’s just wonderful! It projects a bipartisan, united front to me and my other friends. Rah rah you!

HOWEVER….if we have mutual friends, it is possible that maybe they aren’t on the same page as me on the same subject. I know; hard to believe that I might have friends with whom I do not always agree, seeing as I’m such a shiny, hearts-and-flowers kind of gal who exudes sunbursts out of my ass and all, but it’s true! I mean, I do have religious friends who haven’t totally abandoned my heathen ass but who probably don’t follow me closely (because of all the fucks I don’t give that I vociferously do nonetheless put out there on a daily basis. And the imaginative, always cheery ways I manage to work the word cunt into daily vocabulary) without unfriending me. I also have Republican friends, though, honestly, I try to keep that noise to a minimum since there’s only so much I can take. I even have Christian Republican friends, but…. wait….I don’t think there’s any other kind, right? I don’t know if you can be a Republican and an Atheist. It seems like one would cancel the other out, because Science.

So, if that’s the case, and we have mutual friends, you can’t post THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the message you preached on my page, on theirs. You also can’t join the “Libtards Are Stupid” FB group, or “Love” that mutual Republican friend’s meme calling for the genocide of all Democrats. Cuz, guess what?

I can see that shit. What happened to all that kumbaya, motherfucker?

Same goes for you Earth mamas (and daddies; let’s be fair), talking about your kids meaning the world to you and how you always, always, ALWAYS put them first and you spend every waking moment caring for them and every sleeping moment dreaming about their futures; good on you! Way to parent!

Yes, I see all your Pinterest saves about nutritious snacks to pack away for the Zombie Apocalypse, so your kids will have brain food during those horrific days to follow. It does seem pointless to me, because we all know they’re just going to get attacked and the zombies won’t care if they have smart brains or not; they’re going to eat them anyway. But hey, you do you, Mama. I totally commend you for the hours upon hours you selflesslessy spend online, looking at Pins and venting about how hard it is to raise kids these days, but how you don’t ever miss your pre-pregnancy body and it’s worth every potty training accident, or poop finger painting art project on your walls just to be able to be their mommy. I promise; I’m not gagging. I was you once, a long time ago, before the internet, nutritious snacks, and washable latex paint.

My daily goal was to get them through the day without killing them, which meant they sometimes were bribed with cookies and chips so they’d be quiet and I could hear myself think. In a Zombie Apocalypse, those zombies would have been lurching to my front door, because we would have had primo brains to eat, saturated fats and all.

You wouldn’t give these to your kids, but I would.

So yeah, you’re killing it on social media! You’re projecting Mother of the Year! Father of the Century!

Except when – you guessed it – some mutual friend posts pics of their weekend (or weeknight) partying at the bar, or when a BAR posts pics on their FB page and YOU’RE ALWAYS IN EVERY ONE. You, with your hoochie clothes and your party face, not looking like you’re missing your kids even though to be honest, I’ve seen pictures of you out every night for the last week.

Except when you post your daily selfie – poor, exhausted you, laying on your bed after a long day being the most selfless parent on the planet, captioning it, “This mommy is ready for some zzzzzs” but then someone tags you in a pic of the bunch of you in da club at the exact same time you said you were sleeping, and then your mom posts a pic of her gorgeous grandkids, who she took overnight “so Mommy could get some sleep”.

Who’s Mother of the Year now, bish?

The hoochie, in her natural habitat.

That’s how Facebook works. In a small town, or a close-knit workforce, or fandom – just about any setting where you have friends with mutual interests or geographical settings – all your personalities can be in play at any time. Your coworker might find out how you REALLY feel about them from your Zoomba buddy, who just happens to be your coworker’s husband’s cousin. Your boss might find out that you actually hate your job from a mutual friend who attends church with him. Your MOM might see you out on your four wheeler with your buds instead of home sick with a migraine, which was why you couldn’t come over to help her move her bedroom set around.

Yes, Moms know how to work the Facebook.

She knows you like porn, too. She saw your browser history the last time she came over to babysit, when she was saving pins to her Pinterest board titled “The Best Non-Nutritious Snacks to Give Your Grandkids To Pay Your Kids Back For Their Teen Years”.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Damn, I’m glad I’m not that dumb” then you, my friend, are in a very small community of the minority. Why am I bringing this up? Did someone light the string on my tampon? (Rhetorically, of course.) Who really is this stupid, that they think social media isn’t traceable? Isn’t consequential? And is private and secure?

Ask your mom. She’s been meaning to ask you why she found “cornhole” in your Pornhub Search engine, as well as “Devil’s Triangle”, because you told her that was a drinking game in high school.

The Sins of the Fathers.

This used to be my thinking place. It was a place of solitude and safety, where I could sit and reflect. The cacophony of noise and loudness, the whir of background whisperings and hummings within and without; it would fade in this place. There would be an echoing silence, broken only by an occasional door closing or distant, hollow sound of a cabinet opening and closing if someone was in the sacresty. I would sit, contemplating whatever it was that troubled me. Sometimes, the answers would come. Often times, it was simply a calming, peacefulness that descended over me, making it easier to work through whatever it was that was causing me worry. I would emerge, cleansed somehow, feeling as if I had taken a short, energy-giving nap; my inner voice strengthened and restored to the forefront, where it could speak over the chaos.

Some would say that this was God. The Holy Spirit was working its magic, giving me clarity. Think whatever you wish. Whatever your beliefs, go ahead and attribute this to them. It’s okay. In choosing not to believe, I am perfectly fine with others who do. I almost envy them, as sure as they are of an afterlife and that God is walking with them. I don’t believe in those things, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in something. I just don’t subscribe to the dog and pony show that is religion, and especially Christianity.

From those first, overwhelming moments as a young child, when I entered through the front doors, I was in love with the surroundings within the walls of my church. I have detailed, before, that the pageantry attracted me, and the ritual. Those things held me in their thrall. When I was young, there was a much more thriving Roman Catholic community here, and we had not only a rectory for the many priests in residence at our parish, but a convent filled with nuns. That was a part of the fabric that made up my childhood; the nuns ruled our catechism classes and taught us all the things we needed to know and the priests were like kings who occasionally deigned to walk amongst us, murmuring words of encouragement about our studies.

There was one priest who was in residence in the 70s, when I was still young and making my first holy communion and such. He was quiet, and spoke gently, and his sermons were always interesting and soothing. He didn’t smile a lot, but when he did, it was beatific. His hair was black and well-kept. He was handsome, reverent, and commanded a room without raising his voice at all. He dazzled me, a child who walked home to a fatherless apartment, and whenever he would say hello to me, I felt annointed. In those days, most of the priests were addressed by their last names, as befitting some sort of decorum. He was Father Lynch. I am sure he never knew that a quiet, naive little girl thought he was lovely. No, I am quite sure he never gave me a thought at all.

There was another priest, much younger, who came to our parish when I was a young teenager. This was at a time when the rules were shifting a bit and the clergy was trying to connect with its parishioners on whatever level it could; this predated RENEW, a program introduced where the Church beckoned those who had left the faith, or had allowed their faith to lapse, to come back into the fold, and recruited new Catholics, too. At that time, revenues were down, the faithful were straying, and new priests and nuns were becoming a scarce commodity. What better way to attract new blood than to “wash all the sins” away and start fresh?

This young priest was absolutely refreshing to our bored, ambivalent CCD class. He was cool, treated us like we felt we deserved, and really connected with us on a level we understood. He got us. Plus, he stayed for a whole class, giving us a break from the Sisters, who were both exhaustingly strident and bipolar, chattering away excitedly one moment, then barking and growling the next.

This priest was Father Chet, as he asked us to call him, and he was the last priest to ever hear my confession. He encouraged us to do it face-to-face, and while I was violently opposed to confession and didn’t believe in it, I lined up, like everyone else, to do this brave, new thing. I don’t remember what I confessed; probably something about swearing and lying to my mom; but he was encouraging and kind and it felt like talking to a friend. I left the room feeling upbeat; I still thought confession was bullshit, but if I ever had to do it, that would be the way I would prefer it – as long as it was Father Chet sitting across from me. I felt connected to him, even though we never had another one-on-one meeting again. He was there; then he was gone. The Church was always moving priests around, and this was a sad consequence.

These two priests are amongst the small, handful of positive memories and effects the Church had upon me as a youth. I would find the courage, when I was 15, to reject the rules foisted upon me; the beliefs I “had” to have in order to be confirmed. I walked home the evening the Monsignor bombasted us with the rules and chastised us if we questioned why we could not have personal choice in things such as abortion, birth control, sex, service to the Church, and so on. I was livid, quietly fuming. My mom and grandmother had instilled, within me, the belief that a woman didn’t need a man and I was aggravated that this guy was telling me how I had to feel in order to have some Bishop place his hand on me. Fuck that, I thought, and entered the apartment, loudly announcing that I was done and I wasn’t going back. My mother’s response was disappointment, but she had also given up trying to force me into things because all it did was cause a fight. She was much more into doing her own thing in those days, which included men and bars. She needed my complacency to assure her a sitter for The Male Sibling Unit. In any event, I would continue to attend Mass and I would lead responses and do solos with the choir, but that was me, doing me; what I liked about attending. I didn’t have to believe in anything but myself in order to sing.

The Grand Jury Report about the widespread corruption and abuse of children by priests in Pennsylvania was published this week. The numbers are staggering; the heartbreak has one, single voice and it speaks to all. Those of us who were abused by authority figures in our youth understand the searing pain, anguish, and shame these victims have felt; we join our heartbeats to theirs to form a deafening sound. Their courage is unquestionable and our outrage is like a forest fire in a drought-plagued landscape. The horrors are legion: pornography rings, marking victims with gold crosses to easily identify desensitized youth susceptible to more attacks, pregnancies, sadomasochistic acts, lying, payoffs; pressure to silence victims, whistleblowers, and families.

This is not “God”. This is not “Satan”. This is “Man”.

This is corruption and blackmail, a rich, powerful entity cloaking itself in privilege and religious piety, deigning to judge others when it was perpetrating horror and hell upon innocent victims and then using that power to beat down anyone who spoke up. It is evil; pure in form, the most blatant, transparent evil ever to walk this earth. It is men in power, surrounding themselves with riches, wielding it in the most cruel of ways. It is inherently human.

Those two priests, Father Lynch and Father Chet, who were positives in my otherwise unremarkable, Catholic childhood? You guessed right if you suspected that their names are on the list of priests who committed abuse in our Diocese. What little faith in the things and people I believed were good back then have been reduced by two. Many names, I recognized; many were not a surprise, because there has been a lot of talk since 2002, when this blew wide-open in the United States. There was one highly-publicized case that occurred in this decade, and that priest was found guilty in a court of law and later laicized by the Church. He still lives here, walks proudly, almost arrogantly, amongst us, and still has his supporters. I even knew some victims of priests going all the way back to high school; I dated a young man whose family had been paid off. That priest is not on the list, which is troubling, because if he isn’t, others aren’t, and that means there are so many more victims out there, afraid to come forward. I urge them to read this report and, if they don’t see “their” priest, to speak up. I don’t care if said priest is living or dead; it all matters. You matter. Your pain, shame, and suffering matters. The only way to free ourselves of the chains is to speak our attackers’ names and expose them. I have to believe that if I am wrong, and God exists, that is what He would want. Therein lies the rub for me, also; what merciful God would allow this kind of pain to be inflicted in His name? But that’s perhaps another subject, for another time.

I’m going to have to find another sanctuary for my thinking. My quiet place has ceased to exist for me. Some might say, “Well, you’re an Atheist anyway. To you, it’s just a pleasant, calming atmosphere where you go to escape the chaos of life. It doesn’t mean anything to you spiritually.”

It does, though. I can never seek out peace, solitude, and contentment in a place where evil has held court. I would not hear the silence I crave echoing through the vast, fragrant space. I would hear the cries of the victims, their voices blending together in one, painful, wailing wave of numbing terror. There is no peace in such a place of blasphemous, malignant atrocities committed against the very weakest, youngest, most innocent of victims. It would be heretically wrong to ever try and find solace in such a place.

Burn it all down. Erase it from the world. Better yet, liquidate it, all of the riches and ill-gotten gains of the behemoth Church, a true monster on this earth, and do some true good in eradicating this world of pain, blight, and suffering. Those clergy left standing should demand a complete overhaul of the “system” and, if the Church is adamant about “a vow of poverty” and celibacy, then damn-well adhere to it. I don’t care how it’s accomplished, but it’s pretty simple: figure it out. That would be a small start.

For me, though? Nothing will ever be enough. Humankind keeps proving me wrong. At least it’s consistent.

At this point, it’s actually comical.

I was not prepared for today.

I was not prepared for a whole day off after 7 days of work, and the fact that I might, just possibly, have some energy after the harrowing Plague infestation my body encountered. It has been nearly three weeks since I uttered a Stormy Daniels-type reply to a slightly sore throat:

“Uh-oh. Here we go.”

I want to insert my firm insistence that I would much rather get the Plague than do what she found herself reacting to when she saw the Orange Load sitting on the hotel room bed. And get the Plague, I did. But I feel a lot better now and this burst of energy was a huge bonus. With only 24 hours with which to do things and to sleep before the next block of work begins, I made a list, with the reward for my successful ticks off the list being a few episodes of the 4th season of Grace and Frankie. I’m a binger in that, once I begin a series, I feel the need to see it to the end, even at the surrender of all other shows I enjoy. I don’t know if I am alone in this particular tendency, but I also don’t care. You do Netflix and chill your way, I’ll do it mine.

Grace And Frankie Season 3

Look at those kitchen mixers…..yeah, that’s it. Hand blenders!

My one big road block today was this blog. I simply had no ideas. I could discuss silly things, or serious things. I could rant about Tide Pods and kids eating them. You don’t want that, though, do you? You can get that from so many other places! (Like, literally, everywhere. Here’s a really good, non-fake news story if you have been living underneath a rock and have NO clue about what I am talking about. ) With that in mind, I searched my brain for something, anything, relevant. New, interesting, funny.

Bueller?

Then, I saw it. There it was: a new story about how the End of the World is once again happening! Yes, folks, it’s on! The whackadoody Evangelicals or whatever you want to call them have decided, since the last, what? Three dates, was it? I dunno….but anyway, the last few dates where The End IS Here came, and went, and all we got was a dunce President. Ready for it? Okay. The new End Times will commence on June 24th of this very year. That’s right, folks, it’s on! I do want to throw out a sincere apology to my middle daughter, because she’s getting Armageddon for her birthday two days early this year. Sorry, Honey, but Mama is always really invested in getting you something unique, right?

I said all that I needed to say about this momentous event about 7 years ago, when the first End of Days was nigh. Never mind that it didn’t come to pass; I have full confidence that, if we keep skipping merrily down the current path this country is on, we will get there. No worries. So, without further ado, here is a blog originally published then, and still so relevant today that I just don’t have anything else to add. Enjoy. And start getting your bunkers ready! (Again.)

aem

Oh, Jesus!

The Final Countdown to May 21, 2011, or “Why I think I will be left behind.”

I have been following, with some irritation and more than a little amusement, the latest doomsday predictions put out there by the religious zealots who truly believe in them. In the past, we’ve been led to believe that the End will occur in 2012. Before that, most of the religious crackheads advised basically what was written in the Bible – specifically, Revelations. They watched for the signs of the Apocalypse and excitedly shouted whenever something that even vaguely resembled one of those signs happened in some Third Word country where of course, plague and starvation and insect infestation and dead animals weren’t, you know, the norm. I don’t know about you, but had I believed them every time they advised that The End Was Near, I’d be, well….dead. Right?

This latest prediction claims to be rooted in science. Specifically, some religious fruitbat has come up with a Formula that actually predicts the End of Days according to some mathematical equations that, when put to work with the things said in the Bible, comes up with what he is positive is an accurate date. I’m not making this up….and if you’ve been watching the news since the beginning of the year, you’ve probably read some interviews with his followers. They’re everywhere, you know, and they want to get the word out so we can all prepare.

The lowdown is that, on May 21 of this very year, Judgement will occur. Those found worthy of Heaven will leave then, be magically carried away on a magic carpet ride to God’s House such as they could have never imagined possible. Those left behind (and we know who we are) will remain on Earth, enduring suffering beyond anything ever dreamed in our worst nightmares, before being sent to the bowels of Hell 6 months later, on October 21st.

This sucks. I was really looking forward to Halloween this year. Can this be like taxes, where I file an extension? All I want is 10 more days. Halloween’s my favorite holiday! Who do I get in touch with? FEMA, right? Are they handling the End of Days? They’re the most natural choice, I’d think. Gaddafi’s got too much on his plate to be able to coordinate the End of Days effort, after all, and the United States always likes to be in charge of any cataclysmic event occurring anywhere in the world. We excel at disaster. Look at Katrina.

Anyway, back to my original train of thought, which is why I’m pretty positive that I will be left behind on the 21st of May. I’ve spent many hours of reflection on this, wondering if there could be some way I could make a last-ditch effort to redeem myself in the eyes of God and win a ticket on that Magic Carpet Ride to Heaven.

Okay….not really, but you just never know who might be tallying up things. Vocalizing regret about my past transgressions could help, right?

Something tells me I should be preparing for the last 6 months on this planet. I wonder if there’ll be a run on the grocery stores and hardware stores just before the 21st of May? How does one prepare for 6 months of “Judgement”? I have to assume that all the power will go out, because obviously only the good people have been running our world’s energy sources. I’m thinking I ought to quietly begin to stockpile gasoline in jugs underneath my house, so that I can fill the generator I’m going to have to buy. Gas will be hard to come by once the power goes out, and there won’t be a single Oil Company Executive left on the planet after May 21st. No one will be left to make those important decisions for those of us left behind. All the righteous will be having a barbecue in God’s back yard on the 22nd, looking down on us and shaking their heads sadly while we run around, pulling our hair out, screaming, “Why? In the name of God, WHY???” as we shake our fists angrily at the sky. Dick Cheney will probably shed more than a few tears as he gazes down at Earth and realizes that there’s no one left to make the right decisions for us.

Maybe I ought to re-convert myself back into Catholicism and go to confession before all of this goes down. Obviously, there won’t be a Catholic priest left to tend the leftover flock of sinners after May 21, right?

Before you ask if this is a blog or a nightmare, let me explain to you why I am sure I will be left behind to face Hell on October 21st.

According to Christian belief and wisdom, I am a sinner. I have broken a few of the Ten Commandments on more than one occasion. It’s not important that I list each and every single one here, but it is important that I acknowledge that I have committed them. I continue to break some of them on a daily basis, too. I swear. Daily. Like a sailor. I covet things. All the time. Not my neighbor’s wife, but then again, I don’t swing that way. Unless the neighbor’s wife was Shakira. Then I’d covet. Oh yes….I would covet a lot.

I’m divorced. There’s a strike against me. Being remarried doesn’t take it back. It’s not a do-over, or so I have been told.

I had a child out-of-wedlock. Even though his father and I married as soon as we were legally able to, there’s another strike.

I’ve never killed anyone, but I have wanted to. In some religious circles, this is just as bad. So there’s strike three.

A dozen or more little offenses come to mind, like the fact that I’m not afraid to have an opinion or two or three thousand, and I’m not afraid to voice them. Some people don’t like that, don’t like that I have ones different from theirs, and for whatever reasons, it upsets them. It upsets them even more when I explain that I’m allowed to have dissenting opinions from theirs, and that it doesn’t make me a bad person, or them a bad person, or either one of us wrong….just different. It upsets them when I advise them to work on their own lack of self-confidence and to leave mine alone.

I don’t like the color pink. I think it’s disgusting. This puts me at odds with a great many females on this planet. I happen to think that a black dress can be just as, if not more, feminine than some frothy pink concoction.

I’m comfortable with the fact that, while I’m not a genius, I’m pretty damned intelligent. I like to read. I like to pursue knowledge. I’m always on a quest for a new experience as long as it makes me feel comfortable doing so. I don’t always have to follow. I don’t have to lead, either. I prefer to go my own way. I prefer the quiet of my home to bars and parties and social events. Give me a choice between a rowdy evening with friends or a good book and the book is always going to win. This makes me a selfish, conceited asshole in some circles. This puts me on the short list for Those Who Are Condemned To Hell, because in order to be a good Christian, one must always think of others and see to their comfort and eschew their own.

I say Fuck that. See? I swear like a sailor.

I’ve been the dutiful wife, caring, dutiful mom-sister-daughter-friend. I still am, as a matter of fact. I just happen to care about myself, too. I am, therefore, a shoo-in for that long-boat ride with Charon down the River Styx.

That pretty much sums it up.

I hope that Hell has good pizza.

pizza

Pretty, petty, pretty good.