At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


"What do you believe in", he asked. I was somewhat taken aback by the question, as it illustrated the dangers of engaging in conversation with a complete stranger. Normally one expects that question to come much later, once sincere friendship has developed, and clothes have been taken off on several separate occasions. Assuming, quite naturally, that the other person is female (and nice), because so help me I have no interest whatsoever in recreational nudity with another person of the same gender as myself.

If another man asks the question, it can only mean two things:

1) Far too much has been drunk for rational conversation;

2) There's a reason why he's the only other person not watching the Santa Clara Forty Niners getting their collective butt stomped on teevee.

If you deduce from this that sports on television fair make me ill, that's not far off. I think I would rather go handbag shopping with a passle of dippy spambrained females than watch the game.
Not to imply by that statement that all women are of deficient intelligence by any means; just the ones who purse-shop in packs. The female of genius level can do it all by herself, and will not make an afternoon adventure out of it. She'll scoot into a boutique, purchase the accessory, and make sure that there's a convenient place to put her handgun within, so that she can pistol-whip whoever needs it at a moment's notice.
Either that, or she uses it for books and lipstick.
In any case, ten minutes total.
Pay, and leave.

It takes a deficiency of brain power to organize such a spree as a group activity, equivalent exactly to what men do when they gather in front of a television to moo at the boys with shiny bottoms on the grass.

I had entered the cigar bar while the game was still on, knowing that the minute it was over the place would empty out and I could grab a seat. Miraculously I found one within seconds, next to the gentleman who was not enthused by the team from Santa Clara OR that other bunch.

You have to wonder: what kind of man goes to a place filled with yowling sportsfiends if he's utterly uninterested in the game? It's mighty suspicious. Downright deviant, even. A cause for worry.
Not to say alarm.


In my case, I've got a masochistic tendency, a pipe full of fine tobacco and nowhere else to light up, plus sheer boundless optimism that a rewarding conversation may yet be started.

Which this wasn't.

He wished to speak of Jesus.

I do not wish to speak of Jesus. Not now, not then, not ever. Kindly bugger Jesus and the plow he rode in on. Jesus does not interest me. Neither does Lord Krishna, the enlightened Buddha, Thor, Ctulhu, or whatsisbucket who took the Morons out of the civilized world and into the distant howling wastelands near the Great Salt Lake.
Stuff Jesus and all the rest of that bunch.
Thank you.

But okay, it was my own fault. Within mere moments of sitting next to him, I discerned that he was spiritual, and very deep. I should've stopped the discussion right there, but I needed something to distract me from the crazed savages throwing pizza at the screen while grabbing their crotches -- or whatever else it is that football aficionados do -- and so far there was little that indicated that I would be bored.

By the time he started talking about the sanctified atmosphere he felt in true worship, it was too late. When he misquoted from scripture, I made the mistake of correcting him.

"What do you believe in?"

In the Bavli it is made clear that one should abstain from too much social contact with people who practise false religions. For convenience sake, I categorize all spiritual conversation in bars as a form of avodah zara.
Yes, glib and self-serving, but talking about matters of faith can often lead to gag-reflexes (mine) when the other person starts bringing up Jesus, guns, ten commandments in schools, and the power of prayer.
I'm rather a cynic, I'm afraid; I could never date a Christian.
Especially not a male cigar smoker; gotta have boobs.
But I have a ready response to such queries.

"I believe in Malthusianism."

"I also believe in cigarettes, cholesterol, alcohol, carbon monoxide, masturbation, the Arts Council, nuclear weapons, the Daily Telegraph, and not properly labeling fatal poisons, but, above all else, most of all, I believe in the ONE thing that can come out of people's mouths: vomit!"

[Philip E. Marlow, in The Singing Detective.]

Talking about Jesus, or your past lives, or how Buddhism gave you great peace and everyone should try meditating, is all very much like reciting your own horrible free-verse; it is profoundly masturbatory.

There are three things you should never bring up in polite company:

Jesus. Cootchie. Sarah Palin.

And poetry.

Lord save me from cigar-smoking Jesus freaks.

Fortunately there was a spectacular play at that point, and the sweaty throng screamed their approval at the screen, which allowed me to utter such enthusiastic phrases as "oh jolly good show what" and "did you see that ball it was magnificent". This discouraged the spiritual person, and he fell silent and turned to the other side, to see if he could find a like-minded individual to his left.
I was still enthusiastically exclaiming over the umpire's decision and the shiny spandex bottoms when both the religious person and most of the sporty types had left.

I ordered another drink, filled up a second pipe, and enjoyed the rest of the evening by myself.

If you ever see a man with a Hello Kitty backpack smoking a pipe, for christsake don't bring up Jesus as a conversational subject.
It won't go well.

Talk about food instead. Fine Virginia flakes. Fruit bats.
Linguistic stuff. Cats. Japanese perversions.
Hats, handbags, and shoes.

No Jesus.


Once I finished writing this, I had second thoughts about posting it, then I reread it and decided 'nah, let it stand; it's as good a statement of principle as any'. The folks who might be offended, with one or two exceptions, are precisely the people with whom I would rather not associate. Especially if their favourite subject is divine. I despise missionary types, and do not wish proselytization to be inflicted upon me. I'm a middle-aged man, I've heard about Jesus by now.

There's an overweening and well-nigh sickening arrogance to the types who lay their belief system upon the listener, which self-assumes superior knowledge and experience in addition to a saintliness and sincerity in the act. It is, in a word, offensive.

Once I've ordered my beverage, I have committed myself to spending some time at the bar. That means that while I will be open to many conversational gambits, leading the discussion down the path to Jesus is likely to get my hackles up. It's not as if I can simply close my front door without a further word and leave you and your fellow idiot with pamphlets on the front steps with your mouths open, and unlike the mad street preachers I cannot just giggle while walking away.
I've got a pipe and a drink.
I shall finish both.
In time.

If you came here for Jesus that's your own business.
I haven't found him, and I'm not looking.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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