Like everywhere else, last Tuesday was Election Day here in the People's Republic of Hillcrest. I think that I am just about the only person I know that casts his ballot on Election Day. Most folks I know vote early or vote absentee. That's OK. But as for me, I love to get out on the day itself. Robert Frost once said that he never felt more like an American than when he was at a ballgame.
While God knows I can certainly relate to that, as far as I am concerned, I never feel more like an American than on Election Day. I like being out with the crowd. I enjoy seeing the supporters of the various candidates with their signs. I like walking from my house over to the little church where I vote. Maybe it is kinda hokey. But that's the way I like to do it.
Truth is, I don't get over to that part over the neighborhood anymore. Funny. As I left the church, I noticed Jack-o-Lanterns in the yard of a little house where I used to hang out back in a previous life. I tried to guess which boy did which pumpkin. I bet I guessed right.
Oh well. Everything changes. Except Election Day.
Reclamation Project- I noticed that the Rev. Ted Haggard fessed up to the congregation of the New Life Church. Without going into the gory details, he admitted to sexual immorality and other improprieties. He has turned himself over to a committee of "overseers" who are going to guide him through a "program with the goal of healing and restoration" for his life, his marriage and his family.
While I wish the overseers well in their attempt to rewire Haggard to where he no longer feels the need to scratch certain of those itches that got him into all of this trouble, I think they got their work cut out for them. After all, it is one thing to give in to that second piece of apple pie, which is about as sinful as most preachers I know get. It is quite another thing to hook up with a male prostitute. And that's not even taking into account Haggard's purchase of street drugs during some of these escapades. I mean that's sinnin' above and beyond the call of duty.
I am pretty sure that the response of, say, the United Methodist Church under similar circumstances would be to get rid of him. At least that has been the response in the two cases of which I am personally aware. They eventually let one guy back only to have to defrock him again when he went back to chasing skirts. The other one is still driving a truck.
But then again, most mainline denominations don't depend on the front man to keep the meat in the seats and the cash register smokin'. Haggard's a proven money maker. It is in their long term best interests to "restore" him to where he no longer feels the need to rent him some from time to time. He will be back once the heat fades.
Prediction: 2 years. Tops.
Life Events- Speaking of Methodists, I have been getting calls from God's robocaller the last couple of weeks inviting me to a luncheon kicking off a new Singles Ministry at the church. Since I would rather give myself a lead shampoo with a 9mm rather than join a singles ministry, I called my excellent friend S over there to see what she could do to get this nuisance turned off.
She said that she and I were both coded "j" in the database which apparently means "pester without ceasing about the damned Singles Ministry." She also told me that, according to the database, I have "0 life events." I asked her what that meant. She said she did not know.
I deny that I have led a life bereft of life events. It has not been particularly purpose driven but it has been full of of life events. Why, I have more life events than you can shake a stick at. I am lousy with life events.
I have been airborne in a car. I have been made to cool my heels for 3 days by an irate judge in Mississippi. I have seen statuesque women making out in front of the ladies room of a beer joint in Foley, Alabama. I have a new car. It is being recalled. Seems the goddamn things spontaneously start themselves from time to time. This is not good.
I am the only person you know who has read 2/3 of Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy. I went out a couple of times with a former model who told me she has seen Claudia Schiffer nekkid.
Whoo-hoo! You say that's not a life event? I'll see your life events and raise you 10.
I once received by mistake the draft of the opening remarks a certain commissioner of a professional sport was to make before a Congressional committee prior to his testimony. The former head of the League of Women Voters in Pulaski County owes me 5 bucks. When I bought this house, the bank screwed up the paperwork and didn't require a down payment. The paper got sold before they caught it.
Tell me. You ever buy a house with nothing down? If you did you would call it a life event.
I blew out a tire en route to my grandfather's graveside service. You ever heard of a guy so inept he could "fuck up a 3 car funeral procession?" That would be me. I was that guy. And it happened during a life event. As soon as I got back to Little Rock after law school , I got mugged and I had a car stolen. When I lived in New Orleans, I had a guy leave me money and an apologetic note after siphoning gas from my car. In New Orleans!
In the greatest act of religious faith I ever seen, I once saw a man finish a cigarette before going inside a Christian Scientist church service. Me and another guy-who will go nameless since he is now a sitting judge-once smuggled beer into Baptist Medical Center to take to a buddy who was laid up in there. I know a guy who once got shot accidentally on Friday the 13th. My neighbor's tree once fell on my house on Easter Sunday. I leave it to you to ponder the wider theological import of that life event.
While I haven't bought any meth or sought out the services of a gay hooker, I will yield to no man in the "life events" category. I am not without some influence with the clergy and I will insist that this slander be removed from my permanent record.
One of our local federal judges says that the Holy Spirit descends in the jury room and in the ballot box. Of course, he would say that since he made a million bucks trying cases to juries. All I am prepared to say is that I never feel more like an American than when I am marking my ballot. And I know that those Jack-O-Lanterns in the yard across the street from where maybe the Holy Spirit descends unto me at the place where I vote are other outward and visible signs that I have indeed had some life events.