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Saving Simone From Hellfire And Brimstone

Most Jews Don't Believe In Hell. I Do And I'm Pretty Sure It Involves Arkansas, A Trailer, And A Guy Wearing A Wifebeater (Image via Wikipedia)

In Miami, it’s practically impossible to grow up surrounded by anything but diversity. My family moved there when I was six, but I first discovered I wasn’t in Kansas (okay, Sarasota) anymore when I noticed that many of our neighbors in our new apartment complex had nailed skinny, metal plates with strange lettering painted on them in their doorways at crooked angles. The OCD side of me wanted badly to straighten them, but they were clearly meant to be that way. Either that or they’d all hired a handyman with balance issues to hang what I later discovered to be their mezuzahs.

Until we moved to Miami, I’d never known a Jewish person. I’d known two midgets – both of whom had appeared in The Wizard of Oz, a dwarf and a girl who’d worn braces on her legs, but that was as interesting as it had ever gotten for me. No black people. No Latinos. No Asians. No Indians (dot, not feather). I didn’t eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich until I was fully five years old. Clearly, I’d been sheltered. Of course, having been raised in the Assemblies of God church, I knew of Jews. Theywere God’s chosen people. As far as I was concerned, the Jews received all kinds of special treatment from God, while us “Born Agains” were the red-headed step-children of the world.

Munchkins - I Knew The Middle Ballerina, But No Jews (Image via wizardofozpictures.com

Of course, it took some time for me to discover that these nice people with whom my parents socialized  and with whom I played in the pool, were different from me in any way. They looked the same. Except for the occasional foreign-sounding word, they sounded the same. In fact, they spoke more like me than my German grandmother, who peppered every sentence with words like hündchen and danke schön and bitte and auch du liebe. Unlike Grandma, all of our adult Jewish friends read The Miami Herald, rather than a newspaper written in a foreign tongue. Not to say that I didn’t pick up a little Yiddish. In fact, I was the only first grader at Westwood Christian School who, when something went wrong, often shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oy vey.” With a New Jersey accent, courtesy of Mrs. Schwartz in 3B.

As I discovered our differences, it became immediately apparent that they were minor. Some of our holidays were different, but it didn’t stop us – kids and adults alike – from dressing up for Halloween every year or celebrating one another’s birthdays. The introduction of Matzo ball soup into our diet was no stranger to me than I’m sure the butter and sugar sandwiches – a nod to my mother’s European heritage – was to them. The only truly distinguishing characteristic I could make out between my family and our Jewish friends was the fact that they seemed to possess no interest in converting others to their religion. Jews, apparently, didn’t recruit.

Protestant Christians make the U.S. Army look like amateurs when it comes to recruiting. “Be All That You Can Be” just can’t compete with “Become A Christian Or Burn In Hell For All Eternity.” Sure, the Army’s got the GI Bill and on-the-job-training, but compare that to eternity in a mansion encrusted with diamonds and precious stones and streets paved in gold surrounded by angels playing harps, and, suddenly,  free college tuition in exchange for risking your life for several years doesn’t seem like such a bargain. During chapel at school, we were urged to share the gospel with our non-believing friends because we didn’t want them to spend an infinite number of years screaming from the pain of hellfire and brimstone raining down on them, now did we? Born with an innate sense of guilt that any Jewish mother would have been proud of, I bore the weight of the world upon my shoulders on a daily basis as it was. To add the fate of my friends’ immortal souls to that mix was unbearable. I had to lighten the load.

U.S. Army - Amateur Recruiters Compared To Protestants (Image via http://www.army.mil)

At the time, my closest friend was a pretty, raven-haired girl, we’ll call Simone. Half Jewish, the future of her soul concerned me more than some of my other friends in the apartment complex because her dolls were always naked. Barbie – naked. Even worse, Ken – naked. Absolutely shocking, Donny and Marie – naked and sometimes lying on top of each other. It’s not like they didn’t have clothes, she just didn’t choose to dress them in them very often.

Marie Osmond - Singer, Actress, Object Of Donny's Unnatural Affections (Image via datalounge.com)

Playing dolls at her apartment was like witnessing the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah over and over again. When we’d play Barbies, in my head, my Ken doll – his red bathing suit having never been removed since it was delivered to me factory-fresh – was Lot, Malibu Barbie was his wife, and Skipper and the Bionic Woman were his two daughters. Once poor “I’m-a-little-bit-country” Marie Osmond had been mounted by one of several paramours, including her brother and The Bionic Man, my dolls would turn their backs to the plastic orgy, climb The Twin Bed Mountain and wander off into the wilderness of Simone’s Wonder Woman bedspread. Being the Christian that I was, I didn’t even allow Malibu Barbie to glance back longingly at the brimstone falling down on the heads of her comically-proportioned, nude girlfriends. I mean, she was my best Barbie. It would have done none of us any good if she’d turned into a pillar of salt. Of course, back then I didn’t realize that Lot’s two daughters later got him drunk so that they could have incestuous relations with him. They didn’t teach that part of the story in Sunday School.

Though I was now seven, I had not yet developed the savvy conversion techniques possessed by our pastor. However, I’d listened carefully in church and I knew what selling points had worked on me. Still, this would be my first attempt at witnessing as they called it. What if I flubbed it? Would Simone give me a second chance to win her soul for God’s army of Christian soldiers? Inexperienced as I was, I became determined to save my friend’s precious, immortal soul. After all, if I didn’t, who would I play naked Barbies with in Heaven?

One afternoon, as we sat in front of my wooden dollhouse amusing ourselves with my Barbies (dolls that were between nine and thirteen inches high, plastic and not of the baby variety were collectively called Barbies  then), all of which were fully-clothed (my apartment, my rules), it became apparent to me that I couldn’t put it off any longer. Simone, despite my warnings, undressed Malibu Barbie, presumably so the doll could take a bath in the pink whirlpool tub my parents had given me for my birthday the year prior. Making the situation even worse was the fact that the tub was located on the third floor of the dollhouse – in the master bedroom. And who do you think was seated in that room, on the bed, his head turned so that he stared directly at the plastic, jetted bathtub? Ken. Who’s mouth was practically salivating in anticipation of seeing Malibu Barbie’s uncovered boobies and hoo hoo? Ken. Who was being corrupted by a seven-year-old Jezebel intent upon bringing sin into my dollhouse? Ken. Poor, fully-dressed in a winter coat in the middle of April, celibate Ken.

One Naked Barbie In A Jacuzzi Can Lead To An Orgy - Keep Barbie Clothed! (Image via theblogocracy.com

As Simone plopped the naked and voluptuous blonde into the tub, I handed her a miniature bikini. “Put this on her,” I said firmly.

“But she’s taking a bath.”

“No, she’s soaking. Our parents don’t get naked in the Jacuzzi.” I could feel my nostrils flaring and my chest turning splotchy and red, a signal that I was becoming uncomfortable.

“That’s because the Jacuzzi’s outside,” Simone said, a smirk overtaking her perpetually-tanned face. “This one’s inside their bedroom.”

Oh. As if that explained everything. As if nakedness was okay just because it was confined to the walls of a plywood room intended for sleeping. Simone had a lot to learn and there was no time like the present. God forbid she should die in a horrible car accident the following day; certainly she’d end up sitting on the right hand of the devil, little horns sprouting through her shiny, dark bob and a long, red, spiked tail emerging from you-know-where and curling around her ankle. So, right then and there, I shared my secret with her.

Simone's Future - Before Being Born Again (Image via deathmask.org)

Blinking back my tears, I confided, “Simone, I’m very concerned about you.”

“Why?” she asked, discarding the blue and white bathing suit I’d handed her moments earlier into a pile of doll-sized clothes.

With two fingers, I plucked from the mess of clothes, the red one-piece that Malibu Barbie had worn the day she arrived under my Christmas tree two years prior. Tossing it at Simone, I casually said, “Because if you continue on this way, you’re going to burn in a lake of fire in Hell for all eternity.” I looked pointedly at the crimson bathing suit, now resting on her thigh, and then at the naked doll, who I’m sure was mortified to be stared at by Ken in a way that must have made her feel objectified.

The young girl’s forehead creased and I swear she snickered. “No, I’m not.” Snatching the bathing suit up, she folded it into the palm of her hand and tightened her fingers into a fist, before releasing her grip and allowing the crumpled bit of nylon to fall back into the pile from whence it had come. Clearly, fear-mongering wouldn’t work with this one. I doubted she’d ever become a Republican.

Okay, I’d take another tack. “Yeah, you will. But that’s fine. I mean, I just thought you’d like to hang out with me in my mansion.”

One eyebrow cocked skeptically, Simone retorted, “You don’t own a mansion.” But she hesitated. She waited. I’d caught her interest.

My Crib In Heaven. Damn! Makes Me Wish I Still Believed In The Place. (Image via withfriends.com)

“I will. When Christians go to Heaven, they each get one,” I said, conveniently leaving about the part about dying first.

“Says who?” Simone was as tough as a vanilla wafer that had fallen between the sofa cushions and remained undiscovered for months.

Rolling my eyes as though the answer were obvious, I answered, “Jesus.” The name prompted a blank stare from Simone. “You know, the Son of God.” This earned me a half-hearted shrug of her sun-kissed shoulders. Sighing deeply, I dutifully recited: John 14:2. ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ I was so certain and dogmatic in my belief system as a second-grader in the Seventies, I’m glad I wasn’t born in another place and at another time – like Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. I’d have been running around handing out pamphlets and quoting The Communist Manifesto.

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction - Don't Fuck With A Black Man Quoting The Scripture While Pointing A Gun At You - Or A Dogmatic Seven Year Old (Image via themarysue.com)

“Huh?” Simone said, her eyes widening. I’m not sure if her confusion was because another seven-year-old was quoting scripture or if she just had no idea what I was talking about. Looking back now, I realize that they only thing separating me from Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction at that particular moment was the absence of a gun and an afro. Perhaps it wasn’t confusion in her eyes, but terror.

“It’s from the New Testament.

“What’s that?” she asked, her eyes never leaving my face. I’m also pretty sure scooted back a little, putting a good foot of green shag carpeting between the two of us.

“It’s part of The Bible,” I said incredulously. “It’s the sequel to the Old Testament.” Finally, Simone’s head nodded in recognition. “Anyway, that’s not important. What’s important is that when Christians go to Heaven they each get a mansion and the streets are paved with gold and there are diamonds and rubies and sapphires, like, everywhere. Even the gates are made completely of pearls.”

My friend’s eyes grew even larger and her lips formed a perfect “O.” Fear had been replaced with good old fashioned greed.

“And you get crowns. Jeweled crowns.” I vaguely remembered the pastor saying something about crowns. “And princess dresses and a pony.” Now I was just making stuff up, but deep in my heart, I was certain that God wouldn’t give me diamonds, yet refuse me a Shetland pony. What kind of Heaven would that be? And He sure as heck wouldn’t make me run around in my blue plaid parochial school jumper. That would just be cruel.

Shetland Pony - How Else Am I Supposed To Get Around Heaven? Golf Cart? (Image via en.wikipedia.org)

“Crowns are for boys,” Simone insisted, folding her arms tightly against her chest. “I want a tiara.”

Of course, she did. All girls want a tiara. “That’s what I meant,” I added quickly. “The boys get crowns and the girls get diamond tiaras.” C’mon. I was so close. Simone was salivating more than Ken with his prime time view of Porn Star Barbie. I could see the wheels in her head spinning; I could practically hear the whirring and clicking of the gears in her brain as she processed this new information about Heaven and how it might benefit her to give Christianity a go.

“I want one with sapphires. That’s my birthstone,” she said, her eyes narrowing. I smiled and nodded, indicating that it was a done deal. “Okay.” Simone shook her head. “What do I have to do?”

A Sapphire and Diamond Tiara - Everybody's Got Their Price And This Was Simone's (Image via internetstones.com)

As simply as I could, I explained that she just had to believe with all her heart that Jesus Christ was the Son of God –  the Golden Ticket that would magically open up the Pearly Gates (still leaving out the minor you’ve-got-to-be-dead-to-go-to-Heaven component) so that she could gain entry to her new life as a jewel-encrusted, Lady of the Manor – and that he had died on a cross and rose from the grave three days later. That’s when the fear crept back into her stare and she slid backwards another foot on the carpet. I’m pretty sure she had a really bad case of rug burn by the time this whole ordeal was over.

“What do you mean he died on the cross?” she asked. For some reason, a guy nailed to a wooden cross, a crown of thorns cutting into his scalp, who’d been stabbed and was going to eventually croak was a bit traumatizing for her. The happy, shiny Heaven story had suddenly turned into an Edgar Allen Poe tale of murder, with a ghostly apparition rising wispy and fog-like from a cracked gravestone.

In homage to my future legal career, I hurriedly glossed over the carnage. “Oh, it’s no big deal. He comes right back a few days later. And He’s fine. Just a few scars.” I pointed to my hand with my finger as though a hole clear through your palm was the equivalent of a pockmark. Still, Simone’s face remained doubtful. “Look, Jesus is up there with God in Heaven right now. Their thrones are right next to each other’s.” I painted a cozy picture of father and son, plopped down in adjacent recliners with their feet propped up, watching an episode of Sanford and Son together and laughing every time Redd Foxx fakes another heart attack or argues with Ernestine.

The Holy Trinity Recliner Set - The Holy Spirit Sits In The Middle Since He's Invisible (Image via cousinsfurniture.co.uk)

Soon, her forehead uncrinkled and she agreed to move forward. Then I helped Simone kneel and instructed her to pray to Jesus, asking Him to forgive her for all the sins she’d committed and informing Him that she was now accepting him as her personal Savior. When she was finished, I’d expected her body to convulse with a jolt of Born Again power. This is what always happened at church. The wicked sinner would kneel before the pastor, say the prayer and then the pastor would touch the new Christian’s forehead, causing him to fall back, shuddering, as if he’d been shocked with an animal prod. When Simone remained upright, I tentatively touched her brow with my finger tip. Nothing. Next I tried pushing her backwards using a tad bit more force, but either the Jesus Juice wasn’t flowing through her loins quite yet or she had figured out what was expected of her and was resisting. Frustrated, I finally flicked her hard – just below her hairline – with my thumb and finger, prompting her to wince and yell, “Ow.” Okay, it wasn’t  a convulsion, but it was something.

“You’re done,” I announced, digging the tiny, red bathing suit out of the clothing pile and handing it to her. Without another word, Simone quietly removed Malibu Barbie from her bath and slid the one-piece onto her plastic body.

A week later, Mr. Adams, Simone’s non-Jewish father, cornered me by the public bathroom at the complex’s community pool. Dripping wet and chilled, I stared up into his contorted, angry face, and shivered uncontrollably as he launched into a diatribe that would have frightened a Mafia Don. I was emphatically informed that despite the fact that Mr. Adams was a Christian, Simone was being raised Jewish and I was to never try to convert her to a different religion again. As I cringed before this man twice my size, I thought of missionaries who’d been murdered in the rain forest for trying to save the souls of indigenous tribe members. What horrendous fate would I suffer in the name of spreading the Gospel? Before I could imagine myself being burned at the stake or my severed head dangling from the fist of a savage, pagan head hunter, it was over. At least, I thought it was. Mr. Adams had turned away, taking his shadow with him, leaving me panting from the adrenaline rush in the bright sunshine.

I Feared I'd Lose My Head Trying To Spread The Gospel (Image via lanceandjess.wordpress.com)

Suddenly, he twisted around and hissed, “And don’t you ever tell Simone that she’s going to burn in Hell again. You got that?” I nodded silently, my heart pounding in my throat.

Hah! I knew it. Simone had been scared shitless at the concept of swimming in a one million degree lava lake. I’d sold her from the beginning, but she’d held out for a sapphire tiara. Maybe she’d turn out to be a Republican after all.

Fear-Mongering Born Again Christians or Republican Presidential Candidates? (Image via indecisionforever.com)

47 thoughts on “Saving Simone From Hellfire And Brimstone

  1. What were you doing working as an attorney? You should be doing stand up…or writing fir Jay Leno/David Letterman…non-existent God knows they are not funny.

    1. Thanks, so much! I don’t think I have the delivery for stand up (read my “Why I Hate Witty People!” and you’ll understand why), but I love writing and making people laugh. Thanks for following the blog. P.S. your comment ended up in my spam for some reason. So glad I found it. You made my day!

      1. Yes Ms. Cristy, WordPress thinks I am potted meat in a square can (spam), thats my lame attempt at humor. I am glad you found it as well….for certain blogs my comments go straight to the spam folder. WP does not like me because I criticize it often.

        I love your blog…keep on keeping on. 😉

  2. Hahahaha! I worshiped at a Pentecostal church for years and I can just imagine the small children sitting in front of their doll houses trying to rebuke the devil out of one another. The push/ flick on the forehead had me rolling. haha!

      1. I was 16 when I started going to church, so, I really can’t imagine how a small child would feel having the burden of the world upon their shoulders. I do, however, know how it feels at 16. I was basically scared into backsliding. It might sound crazy now, but I did not feel I could live up to what I was being taught God wanted, and I heard “It’s better to be hot, or cold than to be lukewarm” recited one too many times. Needless to say, I did not want to be spewed out of God’s mouth. So, I quit.
        I’m still a believer in God. I just view spirituality much differently.

      2. I hear you…so do I. At that point in my life, not only did I attend a Protestant parochial school that included weekly chapel and daily Bible classes, my family attended church and I was enrolled in something called Missionettes. By the time I was 12, I’d read the entire Bible, cover to cover, twice. So now I have a very open view of spirituality. As long as what you believe doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s groovy with me. Another great thing for me was letting go of the NEED to know what the right answers were. Billions of people disagree on this fundamental God issue. Why should I assume that I’m the one who’s gonna get it right? That’d be pretty vain. So, I just try to be a good person and it’s been working for me.

      3. I was raised Presbyterian, but I went to Missionettes with some friends. I even still have my sash from STARS somewhere. I think probably the best part about it was when we went to the state powwow (I think that’s what it was called) and there was a tornado that night, so we all had to sleep inside the church. When we got back to our tents, someone in our group had left a window flap open and they had an inch of water in their tent. Good times. 🙂

      4. Wow…so it was bigger than I thought. My parents, fortunately, got bored with church after a couple years, so Missionettes went out the window by the time I was in the third grade. Still, it was ingrained in me every day at school. Every long, long day.

      5. I got bored with Missionettes pretty quickly – I don’t think I made it to the third year of STARs. My mom was the religious one in our family and she died when I was ten, so church attendance was pretty sporadic for me after that. Actually, it’s still pretty sporadic, despite the fact that I became Catholic a few years ago. It’s a tricky thing, religion. I’m with you that everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs and so long as no one tries to shove their beliefs down my throat, I’m a live-and-let-live kinda girl. Like you, I pretty much just try to be a good person and hope that when I die, I don’t wind up in some fiery lake shoveling shale for all eternity. 🙂

        Bonus points if anyone gets that reference. 🙂

  3. Good one, Carrington! I always think it’s funny how the more fundamental variety of Christians forget that Jesus… was a JEW! And didn’t come to found a religion! Not even Christianity. It’s so sad that by the age of 7 you were already indoctrinated with the idea of the body being the vessel of all shame & evil. (I’m Catholic, I understand…) Oh, well. At least you grew up & out of it.

  4. butter and sugar sandwiches – a nod to my mother’s European heritage
    Woo! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who enjoys these. Usually people look at me like I’m on crack when they see me eating a sugar sandwich. Or even when I mention them. But still, they’re friggin’ awesome. I think I’ll have one for lunch… 🙂

  5. I was raised as a once-a-week-Congregationalist which, while not exactly the Church of What’s Happening Now, omitted the fire and brimstone references and just kind of left the management of the soul to its owner. I always figured my family went to church mostly for the donuts anyway.

    Imagine my surprise at being dragged to Vacation Bible School one day in July while staying with some Baptist friends and encountering the full court press of God’s salvation mongers. That lake of fire business was absolutely terrifying and I still get “One way God said to get to heaven, Jesus is the only way” stuck in my head periodically.

    The term “born again” had either not been coined or had yet to penetrate the northern reaches of the Lord’s personal police state, but the threat was everywhere that day. I’ll tell you those folks were hot to baptize me, and it was only my horror at the prospect of having to sit around in wet underpants for the rest of the day (They didn’t just drip a little water on your head as the minister did in our church — they SUBMERGED you in a wading pool!) that outweighed the pressure to walk forward and accept the lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Even at eight, I was not a joiner. Glad you got out!

  6. Was raised Catholic. You know the ones who think everybody else is in the wrong boat. LMAO a lot. Never tried to convert anybody, didn’t want to share Heavenly goodies with anybody who didn’t put up with a lifetime of the BS. You must have been a handful growing up. I drove nuns crazy for a hobby and got tossed from Catholic school. They let me back in but I was running and they were’nt going to slow me down. Now I’m happy with the uncertainty of where I’m going.

  7. When I was a kid (2nd grade, I think), my mom dragged me to church one night for a special treat. We went to a baptist church and I went to Sunday school every Sunday. Anyhow, the “special treat” was a film called something totally uncreative like “The Rapture” or some such thing. Anyhow, it was a film about what happened AFTER God came and yanked all his fave peeps up to heaven. People were getting 666’s tattooed on their bodies willy nilly and then those who didn’t got rounded up, Gestapo-style. The non-tattooed folks had to decided guillotine or tattoo. If you chose the guillotine, then supposedly your soul might have a chance of not burning forever. If you didn’t, then you were definitely damned. This didn’t make sense to me. Weren’t all those folks left behind after the Rapture damned anyway? But I remember being scared spitless. I decided I didn’t want to be left behind to find out. Every time they asked us in church after that who wanted to accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior I always raised my hand. I never felt any different, so I thought I must be doing it wrong and so kept trying.

    Since then, I came to the conclusion that any religion that feels they must utilize fear to get converts isn’t a religion I want to have anything to do with. And, because I ask too many questions that organized religions in general can’t answer or always answers with so many contradictions that the answers become meaningless, I ended up an atheist. If anything, I’ve discovered I enjoy the philosophy of eastern religions (Buddhism in particular) and some aspects of Native American spirituality and I try to follow what my conscience dictates.

    A pastor came around the other day and was telling me about his church and I told him thanks for the invite, but I’m not religious. He asked if I wasn’t worried about where my soul might go and I told him no. I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in heaven and I certainly don’t believe in hell. He was completely baffled and didn’t know how to respond to that, so he wished me a good day, which I wished back to him, and he left, shaking his head. The look on his face–it was obviously inconceivable to him that somebody could NOT believe in heaven or hell. I don’t doubt he prayed for me later.

    1. People really want you to drink the Kool-aid; doesn’t matter which Kool-aid it is, but you MUST believe in something. Once I let go of the need to understand and believe in something, I felt incredibly free. I do believe that there is some amazing power in the universe and I call it God, for lack of a better name, but I don’t know much about him, her or it – and I’m cool with that. I figure God’s busy and I’m really nobody special – except to those who know me well. As far as life beyond death, I suppose I’ll find out one day. I’m just not down with any religion that says, “If you don’t believe this – exactly – then you will be punished.” I mean, people of other religions believe in their deities just as fervently as Christians, but most Christians are so intolerant of someone disagreeing with them. Did I mention this was a humor blog? Damn, I gotta stop getting all serious.

      1. It IS funny! Especially when you think about the enticements. Gold, jewels, mansions, pearly gates…Those are THINGS. On earth we’re supposed to be humble and not greedy and not covet things, yet the reward for that is…things? Makes no sense. When I think of heaven, I think of the things that make life happy. Like love, food, sex, knowledge, travel, peace, community, and friendship. Wait, I already have access to that on earth. What do I need heaven for, except to have that for an eternity?

        I don’t get the eternity concept. Immortality. Life would get pretty damn boring if you got to live it FOREVER. That’s why I don’t mind the concept of getting old and dying. Hm. Maybe heaven is having the ability for boredom removed. Everything you do is always new and fresh and exciting, even if you’ve done it 650,348,291,207 times. Wait a minute. So, heaven means I’m a toddler all over again (I wonder if this also means I’ll have the attention span of a gnat)? Where do I sign up?

  8. It seems that all this could have been avoided if you had simply thought about adding bubbles to the tub. You were such a strange child. But the father yelling at you was just wrong. You just didn’t know any better. It reminds me of the middle school. One of the girls made a list of who was Christian enough to be her friend. The story spread around school pretty quickly, and it was pretty controversial.

    Now for the Bible quote –

    John 14:2. ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’

    To me this isn’t exactly clear. He says there are many mansions – not that everyone gets their own mansion. Also these mansions are inside a house? That doesn’t sound nice. It is also unclear as to what place is being prepared. Maybe he needs a bunch a servants to clean all those mansions. You could be spending an eternity cleaning floors or doing the dishes in some mansion or in several mansions. Aren’t you at least a little skeptical and maybe a tad bit worried about this supposed heaven that supposed to last forever? ‘If it were not so, I would have told you” – This seems to be something like the criminal saying trust me. I’m sure he’s very compelling like any psychopath looking for free labor. It all sounds like a big con to me. It would be better to just die and that be it – you cease to exist. Where is that option? I want to sign up. Rhetorical question, you probably don’t know the answer. Lets just hope you didn’t condemn your little friend to a life time of servitude.

    1. Awww, there’s lots of Bible quotes about the mansions. I agree, it is weird how this one refers to them being in “my Father’s house.” I guess if you owned Heaven, you’d call it your “house” too. You’re just too Catholic to know your scripture. From what I hear, you barely went to church by the time you finished elementary school. Your brother claims that he convinced you that it was a farce and that was it – you guys were done. Let’s face it, you’re just a pagan. There would have been no saving you.

      As far as the bubbles go, do you think I was going to actually let Simone put water in the jacuzzi while it was in my dollhouse? Hell, no. That dollhouse had velvet wallpaper and wall-to-wall carpeting. This was no piece of crap Barbie Dream House. Plus, bubbles couldn’t have prevented the lust that would have arisen had Barbie remained naked in that tub for long. Simone’s dolls did some nasty stuff and I wasn’t about to have all that sin and corruption in my dollhouse. Nuh uh.

      Anyway, it’s all moot. I’m agnostic.

  9. You have such a fantastic sense of humour, I look forward to your posts. Very good for my belly muscles to get a humour workout 😀 and good for the soul too 🙂 Won’t go into the religion business, that’s too serious … personally, I think God (himself / herself / itself) has a great sense of humour and would have enjoyed your post about his ‘believers’ :))) Thanks for reminding me of ‘butter-and-sugar’ sammies, remember those from childhood, must have one one of these days, to hell with the calories, it’ll be good for working out the nostalgia muscle 🙂

  10. You were not only a strange kid but no fun to play with. No water? My barbies had swim parties with water. You girls couldn’t have taken the barbies in the bath tub or outside? Oh if you were as good as a Christian as you claim to be, you would have gotten rid of those lusty barbies or tried to save them. Maybe have a barbie exorcism. Lets play my barbie is possessed by a lusty demon.

    And if I owned heaven I would not call it my house. These phrases would be more appropriate: Back where I live, where I’m from, or since he was claiming to be the king of the heavens – maybe in my kingdom or just say in heaven. My house – not so much. Saving me for an eternity of servitude in an mansion placed inside someone’s house? No thank you. I wouldn’t even have a good view. Just maybe the inside of a wall with velvet wallpaper. Your doll house does sound a bit like a bordello. Was it bordello red velvet wallpaper? Also the dimensions are off- a house is smaller than a mansion yet the mansion is inside the house? It all sounds very fishy to me. Oh and most of the people I’ve met that have read the bible are a bit coocoo and not for cocoa puffs. Maybe your youth protected you, I stopped reading a little after the fig cursing story – I usually don’t start in the beginning of a book. The stories I read after that were a bit boring. The fig story was a bit absurd. Hence the coo coo crazy people out there.

    I remember my brother convincing me that it was more logical to worship the sun – after all without the sun there would be no life on earth. It sure makes more sense than mansions inside houses.

    I’m glad to hear that my brother is alive after I read the last blog. I bought you guys some air freshener. I’ll mail it to you.

    1. Omigod! Melanie, please stop trashing me on my blog and just write your own already. You are too fucking funny! Seriously, Sis, you are hysterical. You must start a blog. Now! I’m putting a stop to all this and just saying, “I love you and you’re the best sister-in-law in the whole world!” I really am lucky folks. Both my sister-in-laws totally ROCK! Okay, I’m still giggling from your comment, but it could be the vodka.

  11. My parents used to make me go to church overnights when I was in high school. Yes. The words “church” and “overnight” are intentionally placed adjacent to one another in the same sentence. Anyway, there was like one bongo-thumping college christian “monitor” for 20 rabid, horny teens. The overnights took place in the gymnasium, the entire floor below it was a series of dark, empty rooms, and I’ll let your porn barbie imagination take you to the places we all lost something that you aren’t supposed to find anywhere close to a pulpit.

    I’m way behind on reading material but had to come here first. You make me laugh in spite of my present need to peel my eyeballs off the floor. I also feel super smart when I read your stuff. Because I get it. Which makes me at least not average. Another amazing post. I’m not at all surprised. Love it!

  12. The Mendenhall family couldn’t stay for church too often. Right after Sunday school, we went to Isaly’s next door. Reverend Harold had a stroke and I would just sit there mesmerized at how he had to keep licking his lip between words. Meanwhile, my sister had taken her shoe off to show me the hole in her toe and so I sat there watching her big toe wiggle. My brother would write me notes or play tic-tac-toe with me on the program. That was what I remembered from Sunday sermons. Such a funny post, Cristy. Your photo captions cracked me up. Your postings just keep getting better, which is not really possible.

  13. Goog god, I love this. Thank you for saving me from the terrible Scooby Doo movie I am “watching” with Alice this morning (after a breakfast of doughnuts. Plural. I am a very, very bad mother sometimes).

    My favorite line: “. . .I casually said, “Because if you continue on this way, you’re going to burn in a lake of fire in Hell for all eternity.”

    My second favorite line: “After all, if I didn’t, who would I play naked Barbies with in Heaven?”

    And then there was this: “I’m pretty sure she had a really bad case of rug burn by the time this whole ordeal was over.”

    Oh heck, I give up. I love it all. This very well might be my favorite meandering yet.

    1. God, I love you people. The blog love is palpable. You’re such a sweetheart, Christine! Now, would you mind switching careers and becoming an editor at a major publishing house? Tee hee! Such a lovely compliment coming from you. Thanks again!

  14. hi cristy,
    pretty funny and makes me reminisce about being brought up catholic with all the commensurate guilt associated with it. i remember going to mass in the mid-70s which happened to be the time when all the girls wore really short miniskirts and they wore them to mass (must’ve been part of vatican 2). anyway the seating in the church had the main aisle down the middle toward the altar and an aisle that cut perpendicularly across the middle of the congregation. i used to sit in the row just on outside of the crosscutting aisle. at communion time when everyone went up to the altar, I would linger in my seat and make sure i got to see every miniskirted teenage girl there before meandering up for a lil’ taste of the host. of course, the whole time i was guilt-stricken because, you know, gob is everywhere and all that. the funny part, in retrospect, was that even though i believed that there was great disapproval of my girl watching, i seemed unable to break free from the grips of my surging hormones. a lesson learned as far as i’m concerned about the fact that we don’t have dominion over the animals… we are said animals. another event was that in my early teens i was sitting at mass and the priest, whose name was father meany (of course to us it was father meanie) had a heart attack and collapsed right before the homily. you know we all hated church and attending church and again, what went through my mind over and over and i was unable to keep the thought out was… yes, yes, yes, we’re gonna get out of church early.

    1. Fantastic! You’ve got to write this up as a blog post. There is something about those of us with that twisted sense of humor – we find the funny or even the positive in something horrific. Maybe we’re just the biggest optimists on the planet. Or maybe we’re fucked.

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