Exactly a year ago, I wrote a piece suggesting that we re-introduce the idea of having a court jester, a bumbling fool in every organization, church, and family, who regularly, through true foolishness (not cynicism) deflates pompousness, pseudo-seriousness, and self-important inflations of every kind.
Well, they are around, these fools, they only need to be given a serious listening. So … some kernels of foolishness from wind-breakers of every sort.
Are you irritated with receiving those form letters wherein a family not-so-subtly flaunts its achievements in your face? Try this kind of a response:
It’s been a thoroughly rotten year. Victor lost his job. Our oldest daughter was picked up for shoplifting and our youngest is living with a real creep. Our 11-year-old’s greatest achievement this year was to stop wetting the bed. I am checking in at an AA clinic to dry out and Victor is leaving me for a 20-year-old hairdresser. Happy New Year! Fed-up in Regina, Saskatchewan.
And you think it is difficult to centre yourself and pray?
Listen to John Updike on a matter even more serious, and difficult: “It must be difficult for a man on his deathbed to take his own dying seriously; his son is asking to borrow the car, his wife downstairs is shrieking that the dishwasher is overflowing, his local sports team has lost four straight, his favourite sitcom is coming on tonight at 8:30 … and all this time he is truly dying.”
Some axioms you can live by, and bet by …
-Most people are carnivorous. This is more than a casual observation. They don’t want you on the program, they want you on the menu. (Dan Berrigan)
-Remember, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, not an amusement park. (source unknown)
-The weirder you are, the more normal you look. The reverse is also true. When you see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, you know for certain that there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person. (P.J. O’Rourke)
-Men should kiss their wives more often. At present this is the situation: Only 20% of men kiss their wives good-bye before they leave their houses … while 98% of them kiss their houses good-bye when they leave their wives. (Saturday Night Live)
-If you are a teacher, never get drunk enough to fall into this slip of the tongue: “What a class! I taught them everything I know and they are still idiots!”
-When riding on an airplane, watch the movie, but don’t use the earphones. Try to read the lips of the actors. Then, since you will understand practically nothing that is going on, you will feel quite at home, little different than you do on the ground. (Dan Berrigan)
And then, make sure you watch your language, be politically correct. I’ve checked out the following with the language police …
-Don’t say “lighten up”, it’s racist; nor “loosen up”, it offends the aging.
-Nobody is boring, some of us are charm-free.
-Nobody is untrustworthy, a crook; some of us are simply ethically disoriented, morally different.
-Nobody is wrong, some of us are just differently logical.
-There are no shoplifters, some of us are non-traditional shoppers.
-I used to be sloppy and clumsy, now I uniquely coordinated.
And here’s some hints for praying to patron saints …
-If you are balding you might want to pray to St. Hedwig.
-If you are a lawyer, try Our Lady of Good Counsel.
-If you are a knitter, try St. Casimir.
-If you are a fire-fighter, try St. Blaise.
-If you are a horticulturist, try Therese, the Littlle Flower.
-If you are a travel agent, try St. Martin of Tours.
-Finally, if you are overweight, you might want to try praying to St. Josaphat.
Dostoyevski said: “Call yourself a fool at least once a month!” For me, it’s been a year. It’s time!