Monday, December 08, 2008

From Sublime To Ri_iculous To Festivus

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.

Evolution? Ptooey!"

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.


Unknown said...

That episode of Seinfeld is one of my favorites.

And congrats on Joseph's confirmation!

Unknown said...

Now I am up to three people in this world that I know of who love fruitcake, one of them being myself, another is my Mom. Wait until I tell everyone the Uke of Winsor is the third, there will be a run on the stuff I am sure!

The Confirmation looks like it went off without a hitch, sorry the same could not be said for BC. At least the Pats won (a term I use VERY loosely after that game of sheer luck on Sunday).

lime said...

congratulations to joseph. and hey, you clean up pretty well!

BC, i can't tell you how much mail they sent me when i was a senior in HS. i think i could have wall papered my room with all the letters and brochures.

i am a fan of festivus, i wonder if i can convince my family....

Buck said...

Congratulations to Joseph. And ya looked quite natty in your suit, Jim, co-worker's comments aside!

re: ...the ritual circumcision of teenagers among some of the more sadistic African tribes...

Muslims do this, too, the Turks in particular. It's called a s√ľnnet ritual and I've been to one, when I was an impressionable 13 year-old.

Michelle H. said...

Congratulations on Joseph's confirmation and your role as his sponser. You look straight-out maxing in that suit, almost like a don in the Godfather movies or on the Sopranos.

Hilary said...

Congrats to Joseph. Great looking guy.. Joseph too!

I'm so envious.. you got to go to a Festivus party. I'll bet it was a blast.ddddddddd

LOL.. that last bit was my cat stepping onto my keyboard. I think he was locating your missing "D"s. ;)

Pappy said...

A libertarian in the nesting place for ultra liberalism, a rare find indeed. Thanks for coming by today. But, I should have suspected when I saw your "street name", "Suldog". Great explanation of the confirmation ritual. Not boring anyway. And, you would expect someone who's mother named him Tyrod to be tough right? I can imagine what his brothers must be like, Pushrod, Camshaft, Lifter, and Rockerarm. Just wait until they get in college. Come by anytime and stay a while. Pappy

Jeni said...

I dunno but I'm thinking choosing you to be Joseph's Godfather was an excellent decision. I'm a firm believer in those who live life a bit off-center at times, who have a sense of humor (much needed) making a better Godparent or sponsor too at Confirmation that some folks who take the religious things way to seriously. I was wondering what you were building up to with the bit about BC but thought you did a great job explaining their "D" and lack thereoff through your build-up. Festivus -now there's a holiday I'd love to celebrate and I think I'd have very much the same complaint too about the nicotine. Gee, I've even stopped going to bars now completely since they are now all smoke-free in PA. How can one be expected to enjoy the brews without the nicotine in hand to keep you from just totally chugging? The nerve of some people, taking away ALL our fun, ya know!

~j said...

"uke and uchess" lol-
that was a long way to travel to explain that Boston had no "D," but your friends sound like fun folks.

Cath said...

And now I know why your post title doesn't have a D in ri_iculous!

Great post Uke.

GreenJello said...

Huh. I've wondered the same thing re: evolution and why our bodies haven't adapted to refined flours/sugars/processed-chemically foods yet.

Other animals adapt pretty fast-- why not the stupid humans?

tshsmom said...

Your duty as a godfather, in the religion department, is to make sure the parents raise the child as a Christian. Most parents do quite well in this, so the godparents are off the hook.

Our goddaughter had flaky parents. We, together with her grandmother, took on the responsibility of getting her to confirmation classes(3 yrs in the Lutheran church). This turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to her. The pastor was fantastic when we explained the circumstances to him. He took our goddaughter under his wing and wound up turning her life around for the better. That experience was one of the most rewarding "duties" we ever HAD to do!

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back, love the idea of something called Festivus I want one.
Lost me on the football...adore fruitcake, just made one for Christmas. Oh and Pubs are going out of business like ninepins...blaming it on the financial crisis, but we both know that smokers are fun [filthy habit but fun] and now pubs are sterile restaurants with bars.

Saz said...

what a diverse post...from the catholic church of which I am familiar as a former catholic convent school girl, no jokes thanks..tee hee.....

to some type of sporting activity taking place which had lost its D on a rock stage in a music hall...did I get the gist ....tee hee..
to Sienfeld, which I have never seen and always mean to catch the repeats starting with the pilot, I may have go rent some dvd' larry David in curb..belly ripping....tee heee

Melissa said...

That's a great photo of you and Joseph. I think you're a great pick!

Fruitcake? I can't stand the stuff, but my Mom loves it.

Pat - Arkansas said...

May God's blessings continue to be upon Joseph. Congratulations to you for being asked to be his sponsor. (I think he chose well.)

Another fruitcake lover! Yay! I haven't tried to make one on my own (Mama used to) but am addicted to those baked and shipped by the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX, especially their apricot and pecan concoction! (I hear Johnnie Mathis singing "Heavenly.")

Janet said...

I'd forgotten about Festivus. That sounds like an excellent theme for our New year's Eve party that actually takes place in early afternoon because we all now have small children and don't stay up till midnight unless we're forced to.

You look very distinguished in your picture with Joseph. As they say in the South, "Wow, you sure clean up good." (which line was spoken to me more than once at both my weddings)

And your Ukiness, inserting that story to preface BC's loss was nothing short of inspired.

Pam said...

that's sweet that your godson asked you to be his sponsor. obviously you were more responsible than ya thought :)

i don't know anything about college football or festivus so i got nothing in the way of comments, your royal hineyness uke of winsor hehehe :)

wait...ya didn't have to rock the boat, since ya ate the rock (fruitcake...yuk lol)

Ericka said...

hmm. festivus. i enjoy holiday for the rest of us. i think i'll have to add this to the list!

hee hee. my word verification is "wokityli." that sounds like something you'd do or drink at festivus to me.

Kathy said...

Happy confirmation to Joseph! Congrats, it's wonderful that you could stand up with him as his sponsor. And I think you're right, God's not going to sweat the minutia. I think it matters more that you were there for him and love him. :-)

Karen said...

Have been traveling - just caught up on my reading. Blessings forever to Joseph! When you write about sports, my eyes just kind of glaze over :O so no comments there. I am one of the chosen few who love fruitcake, too. It's been years since I've made my own, but it was always soaked with brandy.