Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: religion

I Hate a Parade

Therefore, the festival parade got rained on.

Rom said, “You should post more frequently so you don’t forget stuff.” Yeah, good intentions, what the road to hell is paved with, etc. I’m inclined to think the road to hell is not well-marked, either.

The bus today was standing-room-only, thanks to a woman whose attitude was, “I can’t be expected to move over. I have a tote bag.”

A CUSTOMER WAS LESS-THAN-RIGHT AT MCDONALDS

Speaking of which, in that blessedly cool and quiet setting, a woman marched up to the counter with 2 orders of fries and said, “These are cold and nasty. And I want 3 orders back.” OK, if you paid for 3 orders but only got 2, fine. If someone in your party already ate one order even though they were cold, or you expect to get an additional, free order of fries as compensation, too bad. And try not to be such a bitch. See, if my fries aren’t hot, I consider it to be in the nature of fast food, and better luck next time.

This is why they never made me the supervisor of anything.

CANNIBALIZATION, continued

My 3rd post (“World Without End”) was about how I got religion, if anyone has been wondering. Trust me, I was not Likeliest To Attend Church when I started at Dispatch. In the interest of brevity, that post featured only why I became religious in the first place, not why I embraced any particular religion. So here’s that explanation:

After my initial ecstatic experience in March of ’95, I feverishly read up on various religions, but came to no firm conclusion. Then I decided that, if God really was trying to get in touch with me, surely guidance would be provided, so I prayed for that. Around dawn on a day in  June (those who know me at all will know I was staying up late, not getting up early), I was idly paging through an old Bible I still possessed, and my eye fell on the verse in Matthew that says Ask, and you shall receive. This felt like a Sign to me, and I started attending St Paul’s Episcopal church downtown (that being the denomination I was raised in). And yes, I am aware of the objection that I probably chose it just because it was familiar to me. I’m pretty much aware of any objections to faith that can be found.

My conversion to Catholicism was more of an intellectual decision. I had been reading church history, and was troubled by all the divisions that had arisen, from the Orthodox split in 1054 to the Protestant Reformation. Jesus is on record saying that Christians should all be one, and we Episcopalians prayed for unity at every service, but we were part of the problem! So on Ash Wednesday 2002 at St Paul’s, I was gazing out the stained glass window that had been refurbished thanks to my contribution that year, and thinking, “Too bad that window has my name on a plaque, since I’ll be a Catholic now.” Since I hadn’t consciously made the decision yet, I was a bit unsettled by that thought. But I got my ashes and headed for the bus stop to go home, and prayed, “God, if I ought to  become a Catholic, let someone ask me if the ashes on my forehead mean that I’m Catholic.” In the past, comments on my ashes were either “You have some dirt on your face,” or, “Are you in a cult?” (Seriously.) When I got on the bus, a guy pointed to my face and said, “Are you a Roman Catholic?” So there you have it.

 

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Festival Day 1: We Fry Everything

But first…

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INTERNET ARGUMENTS: CLICHES ON FIRE

If I see the phrase “hypocritical Bible-thumping Christians” (especially effective when misspelled) ONE MORE TIME, I’ll–thump a Bible, I guess. There are hypocrites in every religion, and I’ve known some self-righteous atheists as well. And it’s not because “religion brings out the worst in people,” but because ANYTHING people have strong feelings about–politics, money, sex–can bring out the worst in them. That’s why we need a police force.

Now that I’ve set the record straight, let’s move on to fried things. Actually, I had nothing fried myself (ribeye sandwich, blackberry cobbler) (SWIRCA booth, ever-reliable cobbler source), but in a world that can give you chicken-fried bacon (with ranch dipping sauce, because it was too wholesome before) and pickle-juice slushies (how about maraschino cherry-juice slushies? that’s something I might actually try)…

I was, as usual, undercover as a 12-year-old boy (well, except for the yoga pants) (and the careful accessorizing), in an attempt to return the Festival to its Halloween roots. My orange skull T-shirt was pronounced “really something” by adults who thought I hadn’t heard them, and “awesome!” by a girl who looked to be about 11.

WE CREATED IT, LET’S TAKE IT OVER

–Sentiment courtesy of Patti Smith, referring to M-M-My Generation and rock and roll. I am pleased and proud to announce that the music on the midway was HARD ROCK, AS IT SHOULD BE, and not that non-rock stuff it had been for many years previously. To herald my arrival on the grounds, they played “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin, and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” (“But if you do them dirt-cheap,” Nick wants to know, “how much could my cut be?” Fear not, Nick, you will be paid in deep-fried Reese cups.)

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I GET MY HEART BROKEN TWICE

On the way to the festival, I passed a young cat on the sidewalk, which arched its back and looked up at me hopefully. Little one, are you lost? Or did someone care enough to put a collar on you, but not enough to keep you inside so you’re not at the mercy of strangers on the sidewalk? I spoke to it kindly, but did not touch it, lest it try to follow me.

And on the way from the festival, I stopped in at the Pet Food Center, and there was a yellow-and-white cat up for adoption–“Neutered and micro-chipped! Adoption fee only $30!” He looked up at me sadly, as if he knew what the outcome of non-adoption could be.

When I got home, my service cat Esmerelda (the reason why I can’t adopt another cat at this time) greeted me purring and led me to the bed to be cuddled. As if she knew.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Cry, Cry Again

For some reason, this entry was wiped out when I tried to post it, so let’s hope I remember what I just wrote. And let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

Re: last night’s post–Thanks to Teresa and Rabecca, who recognized whining when they saw it and took appropriate action!

I saw something on Facebook to the effect of “It’s great when someone sees you, screams your name, and runs to you!” I prefer it when people see me, scream my name, and run from me. And some of those people are police officers.

And now for a word from our sponsors, Scratchy Glitter Enterprises:

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Thanks to Lori (not to be confused with Laurie), for drawing my attention to the drug-dealer-and-alligator run. No, I didn’t make it up. Nor did I make up this 911 call: “My friend wants to start a website of men getting beaten up by women. It’d be consensual, so it’d be legal, right?”

Thought for the Day: If someone isn’t making sense on the Internet, blame either auto-complete or alcohol.

English: Albino American Alligator, Alligator ...

English: Albino American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis at the California Academy of Sciences Français : Alligator d’Amérique Albinos (Alligator mississippiensis) à la California Academy of Sciences Italiano: Un Alligatore del Mississippi albino (Alligator mississippiensis) alla California Academy of Sciences Español: Un lagarto americano albino (Alligator mississippiensis) en la Academia de Ciencias de California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s Get Serious: World Without End

Items of business, they be three:

1. I can’t believe that I’ve wondered for years where I got this permanent lump on my head, and it never occurred to me to blame the incident in the preceding post. I mean, my mother said I wasn’t dropped on my head as a baby. They  don’t make phones like that anymore. “Shut up or I’ll throw my cell phone at you” just won’t impress anyone.

2. Scratchy Glitter comes up in Google searches now! They said it might take 4-6 weeks to show up, so 3 days is pretty good. The ways of Google are mysterious. Maybe they didn’t have much to do this week.

3. Yeah, you’re wondering when I’m going to Get Serious (although being on Google is certainly serious). Welll…(yes, the extra “l” was intentional, Lisa, shut up). (Or I’ll throw my phone at you.)

A couple of you have asked over the years how I got religion. I always put this off with “I’ll tell you about it sometime,” or something similarly lame, because I get tongue-tied and inarticulate when I talk about it. I can’t promise that this explanation *will* be articulate, but I generally do better writing than speaking, so here goes.

I was baptized Catholic but raised Episcopalian. I became a flaming atheist during my first failed attempt at college, but then settled into a comfortable agnosticism, and was that way when I met Rom, moved to Evansville, started at Dispatch, etc.

In March 1995, I went back to Milwaukee because my stepdad (who was basically the only father I knew) was dying. Plans were underway to have him transferred from the hospital back home for hospice care, and I sat in on my mother’s meeting with the hospice nurse. The plans didn’t require my input, so I let my mind wander back over the events of the last few days–the phone call I’d gotten at work, seeing him in the hospital, etc. (If anyone’s interested, he was a successful radio DJ–google Mort Crowley.)

It suddenly occurred to me–everyone’s going to die. (Or, as Lisa would say, “We’re all gonna die!”) This is self-evident, but I, like most people, had pushed it into the safely-theoretical background of my mind. This time it hit me with a staggering force, and suddenly seemed intolerable. I felt immense grief, not just for myself but for every human being. I felt like I was going crazy, and would never not be crazy again.

Suddenly, I had–I can’t really describe it. It was like a white light going off in blackness, except it wasn’t visual. (See what I mean about being inarticulate?) In that instant, I knew everything was going to be alright in the end. Again, my poor words can’t describe the intensity of it.

Here’s a better description by someone who had a similar experience:

“I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter.”

–St Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4

I know  the arguments against my experience–that I was under a lot of stress at the time, that ecstatic religious experiences are the result of a momentary brain glitch that makes you think the  impression is coming from outside yourself. Believe me, I’ve entertained all the objections. But the experience stands unassailable, resisting all my attempts to explain it away. For however many seconds, I had a glimpse of Heaven.

So there you have it. Thanks for bearing with me.

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