Communion

Communion: (n) the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

I get the same sensation when I go to Red Lobster with a friend and he or she insists, with a giggle, as the cheddar bay biscuits arrive, and they gleefully take one from the basket, that, “This is what Red Lobster is all about!”

I nod (knowing that soon I will probably nod off.)

Red Lobster is not about the cheddar bay biscuits. It’s about the seafood.

Just like baseball games are not about the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks. There’s a ball, a bat and a game.

And marriage is not about starting a family. It’s really about how much you enjoy having sex with this one person and hope you can keep it up for the rest of your life while you have a family.

I find myself going to church from time to time–reluctantly.

I don’t like that about me. It seems jaded. In this season of agnosticism it smacks of the predictable.

But you see, in church there’s just too much emphasis on the cheddar bay biscuits, the Cracker Jacks and the family.

Many of them center their whole agenda around communion–a symbolistic representation of the blood and body of Jesus Christ, which he gave for the sins of mankind.

It’s disconcerting to me.

First there’s the thought that I am such a piece of shit that God had to kill His own kid to try to make up for my buffoonery.

Then there’s the notion that a dynamic spirit which walked in the flesh among us for thirty-three years only gained significance in the last few hours that he hung, as an alleged criminal, on a cross.

What an insult to all things loving and eternal.

Yet if you lodge an objection, somehow or another you become apostate–which, if you don’t know what that means, is the religious system’s way of telling you that you don’t belong.

The truth of the matter is, I admire the hell out of Jesus.

Long before he bled, he led me into an understanding of how we might begin to see God’s will done on Earth as it is in heaven.

 

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Clinic

Clinic: (n) a hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment

Old Marion Webster always tends to leave out a detail or two in presenting definitions.

Clinics are not only places where people go to get medical assistance, but often find themselves frequenting due to poverty.

I’ve been to a clinic. It wasn’t because I doing research for one of my essays. No–I was busted.

Broke. Without bucks. Dollarless.

I found the experience to be humiliating–not because I thought I was better than all the other clientele. It was humiliating by design.

All the furniture was old, scarred, some pieces broken. The magazines were dated at least four years earlier, and had articles which had already proven to be incorrect. The candy machine was empty except for peanuts and Cheese-it crackers. The Coke machine was out of order and the coffee maker had a crack in it, so they could only make one cup at a time.

The nurses were volunteers who attempted to be cheery, but still conveyed a sense of yearning to get over their stint quickly and return to their normal lives.

The people around me were sick–some very sick. It made them look and act dreary.

I sat there and thought to myself, how easy it would be for people of substance and finance to just donate new magazines.

How about that church down the road which recently bought new furniture for their parlor–giving that old plush couch and chairs to this clinic so people would feel just a bit more comfortable as they sat for hours, waiting for a three-minute visit?

Would it kill the vendors to make sure that the candy machine was adequately stocked, and price it just a bit more reasonably for those who have to search longer for quarters?

How about giving them a new coffee pot, or taking up a donation to make the Cokes reappear?

I wasn’t angry over the indifference–just perplexed by the ignorance.

Now that prosperity has crept my way, I have a little extra money every once in a while that might seem like a gold mine for a clinic.

Maybe just buying flowers for the attendants to wear every day. Or if you worry that the patients might be allergic, purchase more colorful scrubs.

For some reason or another, rich people do not feel it’s enough to insult the less fortunate with mere poverty. They want to make sure the experience leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

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Chestnut

Chestnut: (n) a glossy brown nut that may be roasted and eaten.

Beware of those who pursue authenticity simply to establish the superiority of their cause.

Spending Christmas with some friends many years ago, the suggestion was made that we try to roast some chestnuts over an open fire to
capture the sensation of Mel Tormé,  when he wrote “The Christmas Song.”

You remember…

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”

Not familiar with Jack Frost, we decided to go for the chestnuts. Actually, they decided–those purists who felt that authenticity gave them an edge in the competition for supremacy.

Three problems immediately came to the forefront:

  1. Nobody knew anything about chestnuts–and this was before Wikipedia enabled us to fake it.
  2. Nobody had any idea what type of fire would be necessary for roasting, or how the little fellas would line up to be toasted.
  3. And of course, none of us knew what chestnuts tasted like.

At first, it seemed to go pretty well. We were able to locate chestnuts, and somebody provided a solid brass container with two extended arms, so the chestnuts could be placed above the fire for cooking.

It looked lovely.

Then for some reason, the gentleman who basically instigated the event, became so excited about checking on his chestnuts that he forgot that the brass container was metal and had been dangling over (you got it) an open fire. For some reason, he reached in with his hands to remove the container and then lurched back in horror and pain, his paws red and ablaze.

So rather than having chestnuts roasting over an open fire, we ended up driving our friend to the Emergency Room to have his hands treated and wrapped in gauze.

Upon returning about two and a half hours later, the chestnuts had burned because no one remember to take them off–once again–the open fire.

In case you don’t know, chestnuts, like any number of other substances, don’t smell very good when they are burned. As a matter of fact, the odor of nutty immolation was in the house for months to come. Needless to say, not much was ever said about chestnuts, roasting or open fires.

Sometimes it’s just better to go out and buy a package of peanuts and warm them in the microwave.

Then pretend.

 

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