Strike Three, Take Second Base- A Life Story In Four Parts


So. It’s another glorious day here to Enchantedland and I’m headed to a funeral. A friend’s husband has died after a protracted illness, and the services are to be held at the big Baptist church over to Old Pecos Trail. I have sworn to stay out of churches save, and except, for funerals and weddings, so I will not be in violation of my promise to myself when I enter the doors of the church.

I have long known that the friend and her husband were quite large charismatic Christians—not Baptists by the way—and I have understood that their Christianity was the linchpin that held their lives together, and bytheway once more, why don’t we spell linchpin “lynchpin”? In spite of their beliefs, I like these two people. I’ve long understood their positions on abortion and gay rights and the rest of the bigoted modern Christian dogmas, but they don’t try to push their shit my way. They always have allowed me to have my beliefs without the confrontational judgments so many Born Agains practice.

Knowing the depth of their beliefs, I’m guessing that they pray for my heathen soul. Often.

Whatever happened to “Judge not lest ye be judged”? Why aren’t more Christians acting like this couple’s model? I think it’s because their religions have been hijacked by charlatans and politicians. And why do I seem surprised, a rhetorical question if ever was one.

Assholes throughout the continuum of human history have stolen the mantle of righteous causes and used the believers as cannon fodder for their societal invasions. Using Biblical drama, ever since Cain killed Abel—setting the precedent for assholes through the millennia—a never ending chain of power steals has marred the human conditions, and destroyed civilizations.

OK, stop. Maybe using Cain and Abel was a touch dramatic and not at all to my point. Maybe I’ll reuse Cain’s striking down of his bro when I write about the Stand Your Ground Laws.

Anyway, today it seems that the false religious assholes are stealing actual believers and turning them into zealots at a rate that rivals a vicious computer virus. Here in America, right-wing Christian zealots are stealing state governments and legislating away some human rights that I, at least I, thought to be stone pillars of our semi-democracy.

Which reminds me. I just had new, modern windows installed all around La Casita Johnson de Santa Fe. The original windows installed over the seventy years it took to build this place into its current format, were, I’m told, purchased from the demolition deaths of other, older structures or, more than occasionally stolen from construction sites around the state. The net results of that materials acquisition plan was a drafty and daffy old stucco living space which, as one designer describes it, “This place is as schizophrenic as my grandmother.”

I was required to install new windows of size and heights to meet modern building code, and that has opened several rooms to additional light and views. As I sit writing you, my office view has expanded from a corner of the roof, a small section of the big Ponderosa pine tree, telephone pole, mountaintops and patch of sky, to all of that plus a panoramic vista of the tidy and interesting back yard. I can now swivel my chair to the right and gain purchase of the entirety of my veggie garden—I can now watch the dogs to insure they stay the fuck out.

And that reminds me of just how delicate life becomes as the light at the end of our tunnels grows broader, brighter. I’m at that age where my friends and acquaintances are dying at a remarkable rate. I’ve once again become my parents twenty years ago. This marks the third time I’ve encountered a twenty-years parental catch-up. The first was when I finally felt I was an adult and deserved to be treated as one. The second was when my kids were adults and I felt it was OK for you to call me “Sir”.

Each of those first two catchings-up were good things to me—events of human growth to be desired. I especially remember the pride, and joy, at realizing that I actually was the man my daddy wanted me to be. I likewise remember same when watching my own spawn demonstrating the maturities of their adultdom.

But this time it’s quite different. I don’t know why as this next-to-final catch-up is the most expected of all so far. As a child, it wasn’t thought by any adult that I was destined to ever reach adult maturities, in fact it was anticipated by many that I would not. It was thought that I would either never reach the age of maturity or that I would piss somebody off enough to put the end of days on me.

For reaching those milestones I was proud and joyous. And having my own children mature was likewise surprising to not a few.

“Mooner Johnson should not be allowed to father children. His species needs to end here.” So said was the edict of Mrs. Leticia Browningwell. That old battle ax was my teacher and Baptist preacher’s wife rolled into one gigantic pain in the ass. But I’ve fooled them all. I’ve managed to pass through the first three of life’s stages and I’m still nuts.

OK, let’s stop and regroup. I see life’s stages simply, like a baseball game wherein there are four bases to touch: first base is reached when attaining adult maturity; second base is seeing your own kids mature; third base is when people close to you are dying; and fourth base is when your own body has begun its final decay. If we’re lucky in life, four each, twenty-year base paths.

And that re-reminds me that first I discover that I’m the old man who stinky farts and now this. Next thing I’ll find my scrotum dragging against my knees and my pecker playing sleepy turtle.

Ugh, but I’m a maudlin sumbitch this morning. Fuck Walmart!

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7 Responses to “Strike Three, Take Second Base- A Life Story In Four Parts”

  1. Squatlo says:

    We’re all turning into our parents, day by day. It’s the curse we bring upon ourselves as children when we look at our elders and roll our eyes in disdain and disgust.

    I used to wonder why my dad seemed so intent to go to bed early, then get out of bed again hours before anyone else in the house had stirred. Now I know. It was the only time of day that wasn’t interrupted by noise, confusion, conversation, and chaos. He wanted some “Me” time, and that was the only way to get it, short of driving around aimlessly looking for quiet places to sit.

    He used to feed the birds, then stare out the front picture window at them for hours. Now I do that. Only it’s from the screened porch, since we’re window impaired in the back of the house.

    I think we’re destined to become the old farts we made fun of as kids.

    Some faster than others.

    And as far as it goes, I too avoid churches at all cost. I will attend a close friend’s funeral, even if it means sitting through some righteous nonsense about the hereafter, mainly out of respect for that friend’s relatives or personal wishes on the matter. But damned if I’m attending weddings, unless they’re held on a clothing optional beach in Jamaica or on a houseboat with an open bar. Weddings suck worse than funerals, and are often confused in my mind as one and the same.

    Hurry up with your “stand your ground” column,
    cause I’m thinking I’m due to write on the same subject any minute now.

  2. Katy says:

    I was at my Great Aunt’s funeral a few years back. The minister said that, although my aunt didn’t go to church, her husband found a tiny, tiny Bible in her purse after she died. The minister therefore declared my aunt had a “quiet kind of faith.”

    My grandfather, who was sitting next to me at the time, turned to me and said, “When I die, don’t let anybody say that I was secretly religious!”

  3. Squatlo says:

    Katy, my dad never stepped foot into a church in his entire adult life, and was one of the most irreverent people who ever lived. On the day of his funeral, my mom (ever the vigilant Catholic) wanted to find a minister who would say a few words over dad’s gravesite burial. So she hired some jerk to say some nice things about dad… He started off with these words, “In many ways, Bert was just like Jesus…”

    My older sister grabbed my arm to keep me from getting up and bitch slapping the guy into dad’s hole in the ground.

    The only thing my dad and Jesus had in common were testicles and a penis. Well, that, and a shared loathing for Money Changers. Pretty sure dad didn’t cotton to bankers all that much.

    People ascribing religious sentiments where there were none make my blood boil.

  4. Mooner Johnson needs sexing says:

    Katy and Squat. A person has to wonder what it is, precisely, that makes religious zealots feel impulsed to force their shit on the rest of us. Me, I’m thinking it’s the insecuries in their belief systems. Like they do in the military when they enforce special drills and the required chants and crap to get young men to willingly die for a cause.

    If the Book of Revelations is an accurate prediction of the end of times, this religious extremism is the Beast its veryownself.

    Fuck all religious zealots and Walmart too!

  5. Q says:

    I remember the first time I said something that my father used to say. I couldn’t believe that those words had escaped my mouth. I was 24 years old. When you start turning into your parents, it seems creepy at first. However, if you had decent parents, you ultimately become proud of the fact that you’re turning into them. I don’t have kids, but I’m sure that it would be cool to see them turn into a younger version of me.

  6. Squatlo says:

    Q, it’s only cool until they start to REALLY morph into that younger version of yourself, and you start to recognize the smartass sarcastic remarks as comments you made to your own parents at that age. Then it’s not all that cool, because you realize they’re going to get into the same stuff YOU got into.

    Mooner, if the Hooey Gods are paying attention, I hope the find a way to punish the pious scolds first, while we’re still watching.

  7. Q. and Squat. Becoming our fathers is a scary and heartwarming event all rolled into one. I likewise find myself becoming my grandfather with a large dose of Gram and a pinch of Mother. Maybe that explains that entire multiple personality dealie.

    Then again, maybe some of the habits and traits we inherit are viewed by others as not quite so heartwarming. Like, for an example, my inability to NOT stare at an erect nipple. I find the stimulated adult female mammary spigot to be one of the most fascinating of Mother Nature’s creations.

    Then, and once more, again, I find the resultant slap much the same as my granddaddy must have felt them back in his day. But where I’m built to withstand most slaps–broad shoulders and flexible neck–my grandfather was a slight, spindly-legged old fart who bent into the wind as his commonplace posture.

    Fuck Russia and Walmart both!

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