What would compel an otherwise rational person to dive head-first into a cesspool filled with shit, piss, garbage, and bacteria?
Why — religion, of course!
On PBS tonight, there was a documentary program about the Ganges, a.k.a. the Ganga River, located in India. This is a vast tributary of life (and potentially death) for hundreds of millions of people, living in both Bangladesh and India. It’s also one of the most polluted rivers in the world, a breeding ground for sickness and disease — not just to humans, but animals, as well. And it’s that way almost entirely because of indifference from religion, and specifically Hinduism, which continues to promote the loony notion that bathing in feces-encrusted waters somehow makes gullible believers “spiritually” whole again.
[Palm slapping forehead]
Which brings us to the question: Why do we revere such absurd, not to mention dangerous, religious practices?
Allow me to take this occasion to express my deepest gratitude to so many of you out there who sent me a Christmas card this year, or to appease the political correctness police — “a holiday card.”
It might surprise some of you to know that I celebrate the Christmas season devotedly. I love opening up my presents. I feast on festive holiday dinners with plenty of calories. I indulge myself by drinking more expensive wine than usual. And football games are way more fun to watch in the snow.
Say what you want about my radical politics, at least I understand the true meaning of Christmas.
That said, here are some suggested guidelines for those of you who adhere to the hallowed annual tradition of sending me a Christmas card. Following these ten recommendations will greatly enhance my enjoyment of the holiday season. So, please read carefully and take notes:
Following a jam-packed five-hour flight over the long Thanksgiving weekend, a typical flight-during-the-holidays hell that was delayed more than four hours, this photo shows the display of horror I saw upon my arrival at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
You’re looking at an empty service counter at 1:15 am. Poof! Where is everybody?
Hey ass jokers! What happened to my advance reservation with the mickey mouse company no one either has ever heard of or uses called– “Payless Rent-a-Car?”
Pay less, my ass. Now wonder the customer pays less. A company can give you a phony fish hook price when they fail to hire a single employee to work the night shift.
Those are the first words you’re likely to hear at the mother of all mind fucks — the dreaded annual family get together which unfolds today.
For many families, what begins as a blissful reunion and a genuine celebration of kinship deteriorates into heated arguments, wounded feelings, and solitary post-dinner rants targeted at all the people who said rude things or pissed you off during the previous six hours. Add in those simmering decades-old anxieties, excessive alcohol consumption, and a few losing football bets, and the recipe becomes complete for resentment and misery.
Such affairs require a solid game plan. Here’s a list of the hot topics most likely to come at Thanksgiving Dinner this year, along with my recommendations on what to say versus what not to say:
I don’t have time for small talk.
When you approach me, get straight to the fucking point and wrap it up within a reasonable amount of time. Is that too much to ask? Otherwise, my mind will wander elsewhere and you might as well be talking to a wall.
This goes for every form of communication — telephone conversations, e-mails, texts, and most certainly our face-to-face exchanges. I can chose to ignore your phone chatter and texts if they start to bore me. But direct conversation carries with it a unique obligation to be pertinent and precise. So, do as I say!
What follows is a handy checklist on the ways and means to properly engage me in meaningful conversation. By following these simple rules and guidelines you will significantly improve your chances that I will both listen to what you have to say, and perhaps even care. There’s no guarantee of this, of course. You better shine like the hope diamond. And you’ve got about ten seconds to do it, otherwise my busy mind leaves the station. So, come to me loaded with your best comments and questions and be prepared to fire them at me when I’m ready.