Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Ceiling Didn't Crumble

Dad was honored when I asked him and his wife to be god-parents to my son, and it didn't matter that he hadn't been inside a church since he himself was baptized some 55 odd years ago. Some would say it defeats the purpose, that a god-parent is supposed to be the child's spiritual guide on the path to Jesus; I say however, that if somebody needs to be sitting next to me in that pew, it might as well be my dad.

Uncle Jim summed it up when he said in the background, "Don't let him near that church, or the ceiling is going to cave in." I had to pull the phone away from my ear because the laughter in Grandma's kitchen where Uncle Jim and my aunts and cousins eavesdropped exploded in my ear.

The ceremony was nice, and Deacon Dan performed it with passion and care. Dad sat to my right with a furrowed brow, clearly uncomfortable as Deacon Dan said, "...and next I will ask the god-parents a few questions..."

I said to dad, "You do remember the names of all the saints, don't you?"

He shot me a panicked look, and I patted him on the shoulder. "Joking, ok? Just do what the other god-parents do."

He lifted an eyebrow and jerked his head back towards the Deacon.

The flock chanted "Lord hear our prayer" in a ritual volley with the Deacon Dan. Dad's lips were pressed tight till they were bloodless. I nudged him. "I can't hear you."

And unbelievably he started saying it, albeit with the enthusiasm of a groom at a shotgun wedding. A couple minutes later he nudged me back. "I can't hear you either." We both laughed and attracted an angry glance from a stern looking church mother sitting side-saddle to the right hand of Deacon Dan. We were already on her shit-list because we refused to sit in the prescribed order of mother, father, baby then god-parents--our oldest son felt left out and sat between us, so f--- her. When I told her that, sorry, the kids were in charge, she said, "Apparently." That's right be-atch, we do spare the rod.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

The god-parents gathered at the front of the church and dad was asked the dreaded question, which turned out to be multiple-choice. So he chose what the other god-parents chose and got an A+.

So now both of my kids are safe from eternal damnation, even if their father and grandfather aren't. The ceremony went off well, and even Dad had to admit that it was quite beautiful. We might even start going to church on Sundays, with the understanding that we are joining a community of people that wish to do well by others, and that what we believe in our hearts can still be personal and protected. Maybe I'll turn a new leaf, and be a positive force in my small town, and be a shining example for all mankind. I'll donate half of everything I make to the church and make it my personal mission to stamp out homelessness and hunger, so that one day my name will be recorded in the same chapter as Ghandi and Sister Mary Elephant. The world will sing my name, in perfect harmony, from every rooftop, sharecrop and slum, each year from the anniversary of my passing. Maybe I can make a difference!


Now scram!


Tee said...

LOL - Scott, I won't tsk you as the church lady did even though you're being naughty ;) ... I understand the mix of feelings of wanting your child on the right path but not being so sure if you can do it yourself. We just have to do our best.

I loved the part where they made the joke over the phone. Too funny :)

Over in my blog where I was talking about discrimination and you mentioned reverse discrimination - I guess you're right. I just found it interesting that my instinct was to go for the box with someone the same race as me... As for Carlos Mencia, I totally respect your decision not to watch it. I can see why it turns a lot of people off. I just think that if everyone could lighten up like Carlos and his fans, the world would be a happier place. People are too defensive about race. We should be proud of our differences, admiring of others differences, and able to laugh about it all, too.

Scott said...

I watched the Mencia show right after I read about it on your blog, and I happened to see the one where he walks up to a white guy and flips him off--twice--because he was white. In jest of course, and I recognize that he is joking, but I don't think it's remotely funny.

If I had a show where I did a skit about how Mexican men were pissing me off because, as a contractor, I can't compete with the crew of illegals because I pay a fair wage to legal workers, then flipped off a Mexican man in my audience, suddenly I would be front page news and flayed on the public flogging post. When society allows me to make the same kind of joke back at them, then I'll get a good chuckle from Mencia.

And by the way, I say all that without an ounce of malice where you are concerned. I understand why people would find the humor amusing. I'm just getting tired of the double standard that is forced upon me because I'm white. The implication is that I have every advantage so shut up and take it. That's just my opinion, as Dennis Miller says, but I could be wrong.

Sadie Lou said...

How funny. My husband and I were just talking about God parents the other day. My family did not do the whole god parent thing. Dan's family is big on god parents.
So we have god parents for all the kids but I really don't see the big significance of it. The kids get an extra gift at Christmas and their birthday--big whoop. Some god parents are more involved than others. I'm a god parent to my niece but to be perfectly honest, I'm really just her Aunt.

Moni said...

Oh that sounds so sweet dad, son, grandchild/godparent, all coming together in a life event. Awwwe, that was a beautiful and humorous story.

I detected a slight sarcasm in your pledge to be a better influence. :P hehe You can do it!

Eve said...

When my maternal Irish Catholic grandfather married my Protestant grandmother in a civil ceremony conducted by a Justice of the Peace in 1918 he was disowned. He never stepped foot in a church again except for weddings and funerals. So I found your description of your father and church quite amusing.
My family consists of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Reorganized Latter Day Saint, Presbyterian, Jewish, Budhist, Muslim, Wiccan, Male, female, Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Homosexual and Heterosexual. We don't tolerate discrimination of any sort and yet, we still tell ethnic jokes within our own family and laugh. I think that's the difference - the humor can't be mean/malicious, but we have to remember to laugh. None of us like the use of racial slurs by either people of different races or within the same group, i.e. the "N" word used by Blacks. We can't understand why anyone would tolerate it.

Notta Wallflower said...

Sounds like it went great. :-) Tell your dear dad not to hang his head in shame - I have been to church how many times and I can't recite The Lord's Prayer?

Mrs.T said...

I was thinking of going 'back' to church... still thinking... lol

The Zombieslayer said...

Sister Mary Elephant.

Lol! I haven't heard that name since 1982.

Tee said...

Scott - I totally get what you're saying. That is unfair that because Mencia is Mexican he can make jokes without being called racist but if a white person got up there and told the same jokes all hell would break loose. I'll agree with you there for sure.

...Wow, I love sharing ideas and opinions with intelligent people. LOL. I think we just did better than the 2 candidates for governor in Virginia. We've been bombared with commercials for a state election we can't even vote in (just because our signal is in the viewing area), and they were NASTY. Thank God it's over.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I was never christened, so offically i am religion-less.

Apparently I am a post-modern existentialist.

Not my words...

mr. schprock said...

One of our daughters has a Jewish godparent. We had her baptized at the Saint Dontaskus Dontellus Church. Very discreet.

Chloe said...

That's right be-atch, we do spare the rod.

Scott, that line is perfection.

Scott said...

Sadie - My god parents were my mothers best friends at the time, but I don't even remember their names.

Moni - You caught my sarcasm? And I thought I was being clever.

Eve - Love that comment! Our family is very closed, at least the family tree before me. We are making our own new rules.

Notta - Me too. I had a feeling it wouldn't have been too hard, but I liked rubbing it in all the same.

Mrs T - I'm still thinking too. It's a big decision.

Zombie - Hows that for a blast from the past?! I had to look it up to see if I remembered the name right.

Tee - I like to debate too, but sometimes I lose my head. You have a sweet disposition to even see someone else's viewpoint so nicely.

Toast - You and everyone else in the world outside of ours.

Mr. Schprock - Yeah, very discreet. So my question is, why do they make it a requirement that the god-parents be Catholic (or at least one) when they must know we are all cheating? That's my whole problem with religion: it makes us pretend.

Chloe - Thanks Chloe. That woman rubbed me wrong.