Monday, December 08, 2008
On Friday evening, my godson, Joseph, was being confirmed. I would be attending the ceremony as his sponsor.
I was suitably dressed for the occasion, in suit and tie. Since I had to travel to the church directly after work, with no time for a change of clothes at home, I wore the suit and tie to my office. This is not something I usually do, so it excited comment among my co-workers.
One of those so excited was Dan, my partner in the production department. He inquired concerning the reason for my unusual attire. When I announced my plans for that evening, he said, "Confirmed? Has Joseph just been floating in the ether until now, with scattered sightings, nobody knowing for sure whether he actually exists, but now the authorities have decided he’s not just a rumor?"
Dan is one of the more intelligent beings on the planet, so he knew damn well what I was talking about. However, since I’m always happiest when explaining things in unnecessary detail, I told him that Joseph was taking part in a sacramental rite of the Catholic church, similar to adulthood ceremonies in other religions – for Jews, a Bar Mitzvah; the ritual circumcision of teenagers among some of the more sadistic African tribes; or, in much of America, the first time you discover a copy of Penthouse in your dad’s underwear drawer.
Those of you intimately familiar with Catholicism know that the sponsor of the one being confirmed is not supposed to be a parent or godparent. There are exceptions made for extraordinary circumstances, but there were none here. So, why was I Joseph’s sponsor? Because he asked me to be, that’s why. I love Joseph and was glad to do him this service. Since I’m no longer a practicing Catholic (though I am still a Christian) I felt that what the church didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. I figured God wouldn’t really be troubled by such minutia. Besides, the circumstances under which I became Joseph’s godfather in the first place, while not truly extraordinary, were at least unusual, so I figured maybe they might owe me an indulgence of sorts.
When Joseph was going to be baptized, I was not the original choice for the position of godfather. This showed great judgment on the part of his parents, by the way. My past history would hardly have lead someone to the belief that I’d make a great parental substitute for a child should some catastrophe befall the natural mother and father. Hell, I’d barely shown an ability to care for my own well being, never mind some relatively small and helpless person who wouldn’t be able to just walk out when I tried to make him live on a diet of peanut butter and crackers, chocolate milk, and libertarian political rants.
MY WIFE and I were sitting in church with the other relatives, awaiting the beginning of the christening, when Joseph’s father walked up to me. It turned out that the man who had been chosen as Joseph’s godfather had failed to show up. As you might imagine, this was not a good sign concerning a possible future guardian. So, I was asked if I’d be willing to take his place. I said yes.
(I’m still not exactly sure why Joseph’s father asked me to be the one. Perhaps it was because I was wearing a suit and tie. I probably looked responsible, even if I actually wasn’t.)
So, I became Joseph’s godfather, and I was very happy about it, too. It was a great honor to be asked, even if I wasn’t the first choice. And he’s grown up to be an extremely smart kid, with great empathy and understanding. He takes his religion seriously, the duty for which I was supposed to be somewhat responsible. He has accomplished these growths through almost no fault of my own, but I’m glad they happened.
(On the left, the Bishop who confirmed Joseph; On the right, the Deacon who baptized him.)
Now, on to other religious matters.
Boston College played for the ACC football championship on Saturday, versus Virginia Tech. I’ll tell you why BC lost, but I’ll do so by shoehorning a wholly unrelated story into this space. I have little hope of ever telling you this story in another context, so I’m jamming it in here. It’s sort of cute, if that’s any consolation.
MY WIFE and I have a couple of friends, a married couple named Virginia and John Paul King. We play around with their names. We sometimes call them King John Paul and Queen Virginia. Since we were kind enough to bestow royalty upon them, they returned the favor. We lived in the section of Boston called Dorchester at the time, so they decided that we would be the Duke and Duchess of Dorchester.
In 1994, we moved to Watertown. This did not call for a diminution of our titles, however, since our new place was on Dartmouth Street. We became the Duke and Duchess of Dartmouth.
Seven years ago, we moved again. This time, our new residence was on Winsor Avenue. Of course, anyone familiar with true royalty knows that Windsor is usually spelled with a "D". Since our Winsor had no "D", the King and Queen decreed that we wouldn’t, either. We are now, and for the foreseeable future, The Uke And Uchess Of Winsor.
What in the name of Beelzebub’s left ass cheek does any of the above have to do with Boston College losing to Virginia Tech? Simple. BC, on Saturday, had no "D". At least, they had no defensive answer to Tyrod Taylor, VT’s quarterback. Taylor ran through the BC defense fairly much at will.
On the other hand, BC had a bit too much "D" in other areas. Their quarterback, Dominique Davis, was not ready for the challenge of a big-time championship game. To be fair, he shouldn't have been expected to be ready. It was only the second start of the redshirt freshman’s career, he being forced into the role when Chris Crane, the senior starting quarterback, went down with a season-ending broken collarbone a couple of weeks back. In any case, Davis was inadequate. He went 12 of 47 passing, a fumble returned for a touchdown, interceptions, etc., and it was not pretty. He’ll get another chance, two or three weeks from now, when BC plays … in the Music City Bowl. I hope he does well, not only because I’m a BC fan, but also because he is probably the de facto starting quarterback going into next year (and perhaps for two years after that) and it sure would help his chances (and my psyche, as a fan) if he has a good game to live on for the off-season.
After the disappointment of BC losing, I needed something to lift my spirits. Fortunately, we had been invited to a Festivus celebration that night.
Some of you may not be familiar with Festivus. It is a holiday invented by George Costanza’s father on Seinfeld. He said something along the lines of Christians having Christmas, Jews having Chanukah, Muslims having Ramadan, and blacks having Kwanzaa, so he invented “Festivus for the rest of us.” Although I feel the need to state, once again, that I’m a Christian, Festivus is far too silly a holiday for me not to enjoy celebrating it.
Instead of a Christmas tree, there is a Festivus pole, an aluminum rod with no particular significance. At various times during the gathering, the prescribed festivities include "The Feats Of Strength" and "The Airing Of Grievances." There is a passing of the fruitcake from last year’s recipient to a new keeper, whose duty it will be to pass it on again at the next Festivus.
(This last bothers me a bit, since I’m a confirmed fruitcake lover, but since I didn’t have to give up any of my personal fruitcake, I decided not to rock the boat.)
When it came time for the airing of grievances, I had quite a few. I only stated two of them, however, concerned with cigarettes and donuts, since I didn’t want anyone to have my airing of grievances become one of their grievances to be aired. Here’s what I said.
"I’m sick and tired of having to go outside into the cold to have a cigarette. I should be able to fill up your airspace with my foul and acrid smoke. So, you’ll die 10 years sooner. What the hell do I care? I’m cold!
Another thing: I think evolution is a crock of shit. Why can’t I eat two donuts and not gain five pounds, not to mention tasting them every time I burp during the following six days? Various forms of fried dough have been around for thousands of years. That’s certainly enough time for our bodies to have evolved to the point where not only should donuts not be harmful to us, but eating a half-dozen every day should give us bodies like Greek gods. For that matter, smoking should be increasing my lung capacity, not the other way around.
If it had been some other sort of gathering – a birthday party, or perhaps a ritual circumcision – we probably wouldn’t be invited back. However, such vitriol is encouraged during Festivus, so I expect we’ll receive our invitations for next year. If not, I’ll crash the party and eat the damn fruitcake.
Well, that’s about it for new stuff. I’ll be back to re-prints (with slight bits of flaccid new introductory material) on Wednesday.
Soon, with more better (old) stuff.