The prince of darkness showed up at my door late one night. I only answered because I had ordered a pizza. He wasn’t delivering my double cheese with jalapenos but he did deliver a message: “Repent and you shall not be saved” he said as he fired up a cigarette. “I think you have that mixed up Mr. Darkness. I think you meant to say repent and you SHALL be saved.” Then I thought about it, why would he want me to be saved? This guy is in the business of the unsaved. This S.O.B. was trying to trick me. If I repent, won’t I be saved? Maybe he did have it mixed up. It’s either repent or damnation but not both right? I needed clarification. I invited Mr. Darkness in for a j and a beer to give me some time to try to sort out this dilemma. “Let us not bother with repenting and salvation when I have some grade-A bud and a fridge full of pale ale Mr. Darkness. Let us attend to more, shall I say, higher matters, if you are picking up what I am putting down.” I couldn’t really see his face in the dark because he had his black cloak uniform on but he stepped right in. Without a word he ganked the recliner and the tv remote like he owned the place. He turned the tv to fox news. “I’m gonna go grab the brews, I’ll be right back,” I said innocently. I heard Bill O’Reilly mutter something about his Peabody award as I bolted downstairs to the computer. I googled ‘repent and you shall be saved’ and sure enough, according to some impressive theologians this was quite correct. So then I googled repent: – to feel sorry, self-reproachful, and contrite for past conduct. I definitely feel sorry for myself so I was golden. I bounced back upstairs with brews in hand knowing I had this cat in the bag. When I peeked in, Mr. Darkness was watching the playboy channel. “Hey what’s up?” I said rather loudly, and he quickly turned the channel back to fox news. I handed him a brew. I figured we might as well get high before I trounce this sucker with my new-found google knowledge. So we killed a j and laughed our asses off to O’Reilly. Just when I was about to pull the plug on ole beelzebub, the doorbell rang, double cheese with jalapenos I thought. I grabbed my wallet and went to the front door. The sweet, sweet smell of pie wafted from that heated bag like an odorous heaven into my needy nostrils. I gladly paid and gave a nice tip and on a whim I asked the delivery guy “hey man, it’s repent and you shall be saved right?” He smirked and said “I may be as high as you but you got it backwards, it’s repent and you shall NOT be saved.” As he turned and walked away I looked down at my pizza and thought what the fuck? Heading back inside I wondered why google and theologians would steer me wrong. I was definitely high but this was a real mind bender. I plopped the pie down on the coffee table and Mr. Darkness had no qualms about ganking the first slice. Luckily, I saw that we both needed fresh beers so I said “I’ll go grab two beers, be right back.” I again bolted downstairs to double check my googling and found the same thing…even Wikipedia confirmed that it is repent and you shall be saved. Dumb-ass delivery guy I thought. If he knew anything he wouldn’t be high and delivering pizzas. But why would he have it mixed up? Beers in hand I went back upstairs to find only two pieces of pizza left. “Jesus, you ate almost all the pie.” He took the beer out of my hand and spoke his first words: “relax.” I quickly grabbed the box to make sure I got at least my two pieces of sweet sweet pie. While I was scarfing down my slices, Mr. Darkness reclined in the chair and again said “Relax. The delivery guy was a plant. But I do want you to use your brain on the matter. Why would anyone feel sorry for their life? Why would such a fallible creature have contrition for fallibility? If ‘to err is human’ and you reproach your humanity, how can you be saved? You can’t. Salvation isn’t after the fact, it’s now baby. What am I Dick Vitale? But you do see my point right? So when I say repent and you shall not be saved it simply means that the waste of time you spend feeling sorry for being human is the very opposite of salvation, it is damnation, dammit!” Now light up another j, O’Reilly is coming back on.
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice About A Person, Ignore Them Till They Cry
by Bobby Breslin
My parents’ job is to teach me right from wrong and boy are they strict. Of course they’re right about most things and I appreciate all they are teaching me in life especially that if you can’t say something nice about a person, ignore them till they cry.
Such sage advice like this was impressed upon me at a very young age. Like most kids I rebelled at first and hurled my fair share of insults at my classmates, peers, teachers, grandparents and other mall patrons but my parents put the kibosh on that as soon as I came home ten times with related injuries like smashed lips, missing hair patches, various welts and bitten ear lobes. That’s when they taught me that ignoring people and not caring about them is the right thing to do when you can’t say anything nice about them.
My parents also walked the walk and talked the talk. Unlike other parents who too often resort to the old “do as I say, not as I do,” my parents modeled the behavior they wanted to instill. Let me tell you that hours and hours alone taught me the right morality. I soon began to treat others the same way and found out that, true to my parents teaching, ignoring people and complete apathy toward them is so much better than insults.
Take for instance Ms. Straiko at school. I used to just insult Ms. Straiko to her face and behind her back on the playground and after the detentions started piling up my parents had a nice sit-down with me and explained to me that while Ms. Straiko is indeed a complete buffoon who has no business teaching kids and will most likely be fired within months due to some sort of alcohol-at-lunch/sex-with-a-student/making-meth-at-home incident, it’s just not right not say something nice about her. Instead they taught me to ignore her as if she is invisible and be completely unavailable of any attempts she makes to interact with me and never, ever say anything to her or make eye contact of any sort. Let me tell you, that indeed was the ethical thing to do. With my parents’ teaching leading the way, and themselves not talking or looking at me for a week, I ignored Ms. Straiko like she had cooties – never a word, never a look, nothing for weeks. And when I was called to the principal’s office to talk about my complete lack of learning, I was able to simply blame Ms. Straiko and it all worked out because she got fired. I didn’t see it but I know she cried.
It’s like a win-win because the lesson was learned by all parties involved. It’s nice to know that I have my whole life ahead of me but have this social tidbit of wisdom tucked away. Thanks Mom and Dad! Mom? Dad?
It has been a good run my friend. We have been through a lot together…shared many a laugh and many a tear. It is with great pride that I am able to call you my gym bag. You are held in the highest esteem gym bag and you have most assuredly earned your stripes as they say. I can still recall taking you out of the box gym bag. You were young and clean and rarin’ to go. You even had that new gym bag smell. You jumped in with both feet, or in your case, both straps gym bag. You were so eager to learn and haul. No matter what I threw in you, you just gobbled it up and protected my privates as if they were your own gym bag. And I got to know you as well gym bag, your many zippers and compartments and where you liked what. I knew where to hide the camera for our secret locker room videotaping and you never made a peep. Shhh. It’s called symbiosis gym bag. And oh the experiences we shared gym bag! Remember that time after my first marathon when I spilled orange Gatorade all over you and you didn’t even get mad? Or when the energy gels squirted all over you and all you did was smile? Or how about when you lost my car keys after that 5k and I almost lit you on fire? Remember when we both had a good laugh when I put my ball bag in you? Who knew Rawlings’ balls needed extra support? Good times, gym bag…good times. But as Brett Farvre once quivered, all good things must come to an end and it is no different with you and I gym bag. And while we have grown old together and while you have been every bit the soldier that Kellen Winslow Jr was at Miami, we must <gasp> go our separate ways gym bag. I’m not going to disrespect you and give you the “It’s Not You, It’s Me” shtick gym bag. I owe you more than that. You’ve given it your all and you’ve served stoically, honorably, and you’ve always carried on…carrying things with the utmost grace and bottom support provided by your cardboard insert. But you see gym bag, you reek now and there is no amount of Febreze that can medicinally be applied to you. I know you have wicking material gym bag but you just wicked one too many times and the odors no longer dissipate. They stick like glue gym bag. A rancid glue. A guy at the work gym asked me if I had old bait in my locker gym bag! At the YMCA they thought I might be bringing in used diapers. It can’t go on this way old friend. Don’t you think we owe it to each other to be happy? No! I won’t do that! I won’t Clorox! No bleach. Don’t make this worse than it is. I know I’m not perfect, don’t you think I know that! What does that have to do with you smelling like a worm’s fecal matter surrounded by anchovies in a musty Dorito’s bag?
It’s over gym bag, it’s just over. Just don’t forget me gym bag…and don’t tell anyone about that video.