I was eating a garden burger at Crepevine in San Rafael before rehearsal on Thursday, sitting on the sidewalk with Charlie the lab and an ex-student of mine when The Incredibly Reverend One and Freud walked by. There was a farmer’s market happening there on 4th St. and Freud was carrying a bag of groceries. I could hear Freud whispering ‘tamale’ to his bag of groceries like he was trying to seduce it.
|Note to self- find garden burger photo|
Now Charlie is a great dog and pretty well behaved but he’s still a puppy. I don’t think The IRO knew I had the dog there, and as dogs like to do, he stuck his big white doggy snout right where the IRO wasn’t expecting it.
I have been thinking about how to describe the sound The IRO made but I think I have it. Imagine you find out that you have won the lottery the same time that you realize the beneficial bacteria in your lower digestive tract have quit working and your body is going to try to get rid of the beans, pork chops and banana milkshake you had for lunch - one way or another. Or that a large hairy white dog has just stuck his snoot into your crotch in public and put a big drool spot in an embarrassing place on your tailored Italian slacks.
I grabbed Charlie’s leash and pulled him back. If The Look has a turbo mode, he was giving it to me. “Sorry, sorry, so sorry” I said several times.
“Charlie is a good dog, but he still has stuff to learn. I am trying to teach him to think before he lunges at someone.”
“I don’t blame the dog but you are an idiot as usual” The IRO said, “People think, dogs do.”
“Can I ask you a question about religion?” I asked him as ladies walked past dressed in tie-dyed shirts and carrying dogs the size of a soupspoon.
He didn’t answer, he just gave me The Look. I asked anyway.
“Supposed you were to find that your house burned down. Does that mean that god is mad at you? Maybe you did something in a past life the POed him off or maybe if you are cool about it you will be rewarded in a later life, right?”
The Look again.
“Listen dimbulb (one of the nicest things he has called me) why do you ask me such stupid questions. You know we can’t know such things.”
“But don’t we need an explanation of why there are miracles and tragedies?”
Big sigh. “I am going to give you an answer then we are going to go on your way so Mr. Freud and I can finish shopping. I tried to buy a bowtie at a strip mall but there was a school across the street and a bunch of girl scouts were painting the flagpole and I had to deal with Freud fainting.”
“But here is you answer: I do not care. I do not know. All I know is that Reality is God’s True Religion™ and God’s greatest gifts to man are fear, worry, pain and guilt. Good-bye.”
As he and Freud turned to leave I started mumbling ‘huh, what, hold it’ but they kept going. In a little desperation I called out ‘sausage and doughnuts!’ and Freud stiffened like he’d been tased. The IRO turned back “what the hell did you do that for?”
“How could you say something like that and leave, knowing it would ruin my day?” I could see a little smile coming to his lips and figured he was trying to think of a nice nickname for me.
“How could I not say something like that knowing it would ruin your day” he smirked. I was learning to dislike the smirk, Reverend or not.
“Without pain we would die of our injuries. Without worry babies wouldn’t make it past their first day. Without fear we would walk off of cliffs of elect Libertarians. And without guilt all the good people would act just like all the bad people.”
Before I could ask anything else he grabbed Freud’s arm and started walking westward. I heard him mutter ‘sphincter breath.’