Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Liturgical: Not Just A Funny Sounding Word
There are times in a man's life when he has to take a good hard look at himself in the mirror and figure out who he is. This usually happens for the first time right around puberty. And with a full length mirror. And may involve some crying. There are some things even the most detailed full-color health class pamphlets cannot fully prepare you for.
But eventually you come to embrace the new you (usually with one hand) and later periods of self-reflection are more figurative than literal. They happen at random intervals usually right up against other important personal landmarks: graduations, marriage proposals, the first time you run off to Mexico to escape on your wedding day, the births of children, your first DNA test, the first night one spends in jail for delinquent child support, hair starts to fall out... whatever. The point is there are times when a man has to look inward. Sometimes that involves a colonoscopy, sometimes not. The landmarks are there to help us stop for a second, to take stock, to see what it is we're missing so that we can then go out and try to fill the empty spaces by banging a series of gullible 19-year-olds who can be lured into your car by things that are shiny. Sure, that rarely addresses the complex emotional needs of a grown man, but it makes us feel better. For about 30 minutes at a stretch.
There are some of you here who read this blog regularly who might have gotten the erroneous impression that I am not the most serious-minded person in the world. This is plainly false. I am, in fact, the most serious-minded person in the world. See, it's even in bold. Plus you read it on the internets, so it must be true.
For all my whimsy and charm and light-hearted stories about deaf people being killed by falling trees, I am capable of deep introspection. Sometimes I introspect so deeply, it causes a little bit of bleeding.
That doesn't mean I can't be warm and pleasant and funny. Fuck you, I can too. What one learns as one grows older is how to recognize the time for personal evaluation and seizing the opportunity to engage. Not every day is a day for dick jokes.
Right now is just such a time. Not for dick jokes, I mean for personal evaluation. I am a Catholic and for us Catholics, this is Holy Week, the week that starts with Palm Sunday and ends at Easter, encompassing the ritual commemoration of Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, the Last Supper, his arrest, his torment, his crucifixion, his death and, finally, his
Every day has significance. I'm not one to evangelize, but I thought I'd share with the damned among you Bucketeers how we celebrate these holy days and what they do for me spiritually and personally.
After Palm Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are dressed up with the title "Holy." In case that's unclear, an example: today is known as "Holy Tuesday." These are the days traditionally in Holy Week where we... sort of just do what we would normally do on any other days of the week. Except they are called "Holy." I personally find them more compelling if an exclamation point is added, as in: "Holy Tuesday!"
After this stretch comes "Holy Thursday" or "Maundy Thursday." See, it's even got it's own special name. Plus it's funny because the word "Maundy" sounds almost like "Monday" so when you say it, it sounds like you're saying "Monday Thursday." Heh. That Jesus...
Maundy Thursday is marked by a Mass wherein the priest ritually washes the feet of some parishioners. This commemorates Jesus' third choice of occupation (after carpenter and Messiah), Old Timey Shoeshine Boy. But his dream died as he had TWO dads who wanted him to go into their lines of work pulling at him. Plus the bus handn't been invented yet, so there were no stations to set-up shoeshine stands in. And also everyone either wore sandals or went barefoot, hence the foot-washing instead of actual shoe shining.
After that is Good Friday, so named because it's the day Jesus died.
I know. It makes no sense to me either. But at least we get to go to a really long and darkly somber Mass this day. Oh! And we get to fast. Don't all of you convert at once.
After that is Holy Saturday! and finally Easter Sunday, the day Lent ends and we all get to go back to our regularly scheduled gluttony and self-immolation in the building earthly hellfire of sin and personal degradation.
As I said, I take all of this seriously. This past Sunday was Palm Sunday, despite which I did not make a single masturbation joke the whole day. Come on, Palm Sunday. And not a word from me. That's religious devotion.
Just to give you an idea of how we mark our holidays around here, on Palm Sunday we skipped out on Mass and took the kids to Disney's California Adventure that day. Yes, it's a park we don't even like and wouldn't dream of going to otherwise, but they're running their annual "2fer" ticket promotion (Disneyland AND California Adventure for the price of one!) and they expire at the end of the month, so it was free.
But just so you all know, you have a lot of down-time waiting in the interminable rides for the awful kid rides to stand there and think about your life. Like "What the hell am I doing here?" Maybe it's an existential question or maybe it's about waiting 45 minutes a shot to sit on dressed up carney rides in Disneyland's retarded little step-brother park. Who can say for sure?
All I can tell you is that I did think about Jesus. I specifically invoked his name several times when I was on Tower of Terror.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9