Tag Archives: Therapist Bob

Forgive Me iPhone, for I Have Sinned

I must confess, the main reason that I never converted to Catholicism is the same reason my t-shirt business folded: bookkeeping. I hated keeping track of every single purchase, sale, sales tax, transaction and never really knew what the hell I was supposed to report to Uncle Sam on my quarterly reports.

Given that the default mode on my moral compass points to “sin” (key word “default,” mom…) I cannot imagine trying to keep track of all my sins and accurately reporting them to the Catholic God’s taxmen, priests. Whereas a mistake on my business ledger might merit an audit from the IRS, a slip-up on my quarterly sin count may lead to being smote down in front of all my friends, eternal damnation, or God forbid, hand washing jock straps for the Notre Dame football team for the rest of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Catholicism or any other religion for that matter. All of my best friends, other than Jesus, have joined an organized religion. My problem with ascribing to any particular religion is all the damned rules (like using damn as a damn adjective). Nearly everything I’ve joined in my life, I’ve ended up quitting before too long — the one exception being the human race. But I’m telling you, some members in the latter group have been pushing all the wrong buttons and pulling all the wrong levers. I’m so close to falling over the edge. However, I would never kill myself; that would be suicide.

Converting (can you actually convert if you are not already in a religion?) to Catholicism presents the added burden of keeping track of all your sins, so when you climb into an outhouse-shaped confessional booth (see image below), you’ll spill ALL of your sins to the priest in the adjacent stall, receive a check list of Penance that needs to be checked off before you come back and drop your next load of burdens. Then, like Superman donning a cape and dipped in synthetic red and blue polyester, you emerge from the booth, conditionally absolved and feeling lighter, as if you can fly – or in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear: “fall gracefully”.

No Priest on Duty: Enter at Own Risk!

Although, thoughts of converting to Catholicism just became more tempting with the new Roman Catholic App for your iPhone or iPad or iSin. The new app is designed to help penitents examine their Conscience based upon pre-programmed factors such as age, sex and vocation. Better yet, the app helps keep a running count and organize sins based on contrition. Moreover, you can add sins not listed in the standard examination of conscience such as “Third-Degree Blog Blasphemy.” The long-awaited app replaces the archaic Sin Abacus, which, with a couple of sharp turns en route to confession could shift your beaded sin count to absolution — something coined by some deceitful sinners, usually teenagers or closeted televangelists, as “The Absolution Sin Solution (ASS).”

Thank God for technology, eh? It’s only a matter of time before the Man upstairs, Steve Jobs, comes out with an ankle tracking device, the Sinulator, that monitors your sins as you commit them and simultaneously stores your history of sins in a nearby Catholic church’s mainframe and the Library of Congress. The only way you can get your Sinulator cleared is by going to confession and completely purging yourself, at which point the priest assigns Penance before entering the daily calibrated, secret code that wipes your slate free of sin. Should you keep procrastinating confession, your sins will merely accumulate until it reaches the Smite Point, explodes and smotes you down on the spot.

Kaboom!!!

I imagine God already has a Smite app on his IPad, which He plays with in between Facebooking, tweeting and playing Grand Theft Auto IV on His Xbox-360.

However irrational it may seem at this point in time, the prospect of having a Sinulator permanently strapped around my ankle is enough to deter me from signing on to the Catholic Church. I often have visions of returning home from a weekend in Vegas, still coming down from the roofies slipped in the Molotov cocktail I drank Saturday night, and walking blindly into a sin intervention, or Sinnervention. I am not one for surprise parties or being the center of attention, so the thought of being surrounded by family, friends, Therapist Bob and the neighborhood Exorcist scares the hell out of me.

“The reason we’ve gathered here, T.M., is to help you confront your conscience,” Therapist Bob would say, taking the lead. “But first you need to take the first step and tell us about this,” he continues, pulling the remains of my charred Sinulator from a cardboard box. “Your neighbor heard a loud explosion coming from your house early Sunday morning and the fire department found this among the remains.”

That said, I must confess that I won’t be converting to Catholicism or purchasing the confession app any time soon. And the only piece of advice I have for any of you contemplating either of these is the following:

During confession, if you ever feel a priest’s foot tapping against your foot underneath the adjacent stall, I suggest you take a peek and make sure he doesn’t have a Sinulator strapped around either one of his ankles…

THE END Kaboom!

Pssst…Don’t Tell Anyone I’m Hetero

Never in a million year did I imagine myself agreeing with former Vice President Dick Cheney, but I confess dear Civilian, I recently found myself taking my first step into the Dark Side by agreeing with Cheney that the military should repeal its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. However, truth be told, which is not an option for gays currently serving in the military, it was Cheney who agreed with me — since I opposed this half-baked (but not exhaled) policy the moment President Bill Clinton bent over on his campaign promises in 1993 and let the homophobic Congress have their way with him. (I know: bad pun; but in my defense, I am not writing about the unwritten “Don’t Ask, Don’t Pun” policy.)

Now I entrust that you, dear Civilian, will not tell anyone about my dirty little secret, for public knowledge of my foray into the Dark Side will not only disrupt the unique conditions of my civilian service to humanity but will undermine the unit cohesion of my community, which includes but is not limited to my fiancé, three impressionable sons, extended progressive political family, fellow Cold War veterans, substitute mail carrier, the neighbor’s dog Pookie and my spiritual and economic adviser Therapist Bob. Most of these folks are still reeling from the psychological ripple effects from the day I jumped out of the closet and scared the crap out of them by outing myself by finally coming to terms with my repressed heterosexuality. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Since I served in the Army during the rear-end of the Cold War (yeah, yeah, sue me…the courts always side on behalf of bad puns) during the latter part of the ‘80s, before DADT kicked in and the wall in Berlin fell, I’m not sure what it’s like to serve under this policy now — especially while the current metaphorical war, “The War on Terror,” is being waged. You know, the kind of war where people actually get killed, rather than the metaphorical death by boredom while sitting around waiting, waiting for something – anything to happen.

The previous paragraph was underwritten by America's New WAR

Flash forward to today. One of the most commonly used arguments used by opponents against the repeal of DADT, including Republican Sen. John “What Happens in A Vietnamese War Prison, Stays in a Vietnamese War Prison” McCain of Arizona, is that it will disrupt unit cohesion and effectiveness. This, by the way, is one of the underlying arguments as to why the policy was originally implemented. Based on my firsthand experiences in the Army, if the military was genuinely interested in using a policy to keep unit cohesion intact, they would have expanded the DADT policy to include racists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, libertarians, Christians, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, atheists, fundamentalists, bestiality aficionados, Pastafarians and your run-of-the-mill assholes who don’t think their shit stinks.

Once the military has silenced everyone whose ideologies and/or lifestyles pose a threat to anyone elses’ comfort zone, thus threatening unit cohesion, our country would be left with an army of mimes to defend our freedoms. And the last thing we need is an army of mimes plopped into a theater of war, where, using their white-gloved hands, they’re left to defend Democracy by boxing themselves inside miniature fortresses fortified with invisible walls. Besides, if the disproportion of hate targeted at mimes in America is universal, sending mimes into battle will only fuel the hate of our enemies, who no doubt will have no reservations shooting a mime.

An Army of One: "Saving Democracy One Mime at a Time"

(For the record: let it be known that I do not condone any form of violence perpetuated on the mime community.)

Moreover, the last people we need making life-and-death decisions about what does and what does not define a cohesive unit is Congress, most of whom have never served in the military. The current deluge of bipartisanship that has flooded the Hill in D.C. has carved out a gulf so wide that the entire 8th Infantry Division, Mechanized (You heard me right, dear Civilian, I said Mechanized!) could plow down the center aisle of either chamber during a pivotal debate and nobody would even notice, their childish shouts drowning out the division’s slow, methodical advance:

Democrats: We got the majority, yes we do. We got the majority, how ‘bout you!?

Republicans: We got filibusters, yes we do. We got filibusters, watcha gonna do?

Democrats: (like an army of mimes, remain painfully silent — their painted frowns looking pathetic)

Fearing the Republicans will push the bipartisanship to the brink of going nuclear, the Democrats will inevitably concede and return to the dark recesses of the chamber closet, where they look for their teddy bears or a secret door to Narnia.

Instead of deploying an army of gay soldiers or mimes to the war front, maybe we should conscript our Do-Nothing Congress and ship them off to the front lines. However, I confess dear Civilian, the thought of dropping Congress on to the front lines of “The War on Terror” stokes more terror within the fiber of my being than the manufactured Terror that lurks in the shadows behind the Military Industrial Complex’s bloated budget.

But who am I to talk, I’m just a closeted mime. Please don’t tell anyone, dear Civilian. You know I won’t.

Originally posted on my Axis-of-Evil Step-Sister Site Confessions of a Cold War Veteran

Top Ten Signs You’re Obsessed with “Lost” (An Exercise in Futility)

LOST

I’ll be the first to admit that not only have I never been lost, but I have never watched the serial television show “Lost” as well. Regarding the former, I take the Buddhist approach to getting off course as not being lost, rather the beginning of a new, unchartered journey.Therapist Bob tells me I say that to mask my insecurities, to which I reference Odysseus as my role model. “Some role model, mon. Not only did it take Odysseus 10 years to find his way home from Troy, but he lost all of his men in the process.”

Regarding “Lost,” as a general rule of them I steer clear of serial television shows, so my life doesn’t evolve around the television programming. After all, who is programming whom? For millions of viewers ensnared by the serial formula, it appears “Lost” is in control, which leads to this week’s edition of David Letterman’s “Late Show” Online Top Ten Contest.

Due to the recent demise of voter turnout among SSF readers, my quest to win the Holy “Online Late Show” t-shirt has devolved from an obsession to an exercise-in-futility. That said, here’s my top-ten list of possible entries to this week’s Top Ten contest. Once again, I’m soliciting your help – or not. I’ve written ten possible entries for this week’s list, and it’s up to you to help me select the CHOSEN ONE from the list (for I can only submit one) that you think has the best chance of winning.

Just think, with your help, all of this could be mine

Just think, with your help, all of this could be mine

This Week’s Topic: Top Ten Signs You’re Obsessed with “Lost”

10. Wikipedia recruited you to edit its “Lost” page.

9. You’re following Dr. Jack Shepherd on Twitter.

8. Logged over 50,000 frequent flyer miles on flights between Sydney and Los Angeles with the dream of one day crashing in the South Pacific to be reunited with your newly, adopted extended family.

7. Sold all of your “Gilligan’s Island” action figures on eBay and replaced them with “Lost” ones.

6. Too proud to stop channel surfacing, consult your TV Guide, and openly admit you are looking for “Lost.”

5. You have a Fathead of Hurley mounted on ceiling over your bed.

"Good morning, Sunshine..."

"Good morning, Sunshine..."

4. Gave up life-long search of Atlantis to pursue quest for “Lost” island.

3. Legally changed your name to Sayid Hassan Jarrah.

2. Just in case of an emergency, you sleep with a conch shell underneath your pillow.

1. You actually get “Lost”

Don’t forget to indicate (in the Comments) which ONE of these I should submit to the Top Ten Contest.

A Bike to Work Week Survivor’s Guide (2nd Edition)

Every time I hit the streets on my bike, whether it’s commuting to work or riding downtown, I always get the sick feeling that I’ve forgotten to do something:

-Fill tires with air
-Check rider-side air bag
-Update last will and testament.

Regardless of how well I think I’ve prepared for my ride, taking into account every possible safety measure, I’m convinced there are legions of Motorist Muggles hell-bent on killing me and my biking brethren by any means necessary.

When I was learning to drive, my father drilled defensive driving into my head to the point that we rarely left the driveway during raccoon mating season in fear that I would back over a couple of coons in mid-copulation. He ascribed to the paranoid tract of the Defensive Driving School: “Now son, assume every vehicle is out to hit you and you will be prepared for the worst-case-scenario.”

I apply the same principal when bike riding, with a few slight modifications: “…Assume  every vehicle is out to hit kill you and your you will should be prepared for the worst-case-scenario two-tons of reinforced fiberglass trying to mow your ass down.” Therapist Bob thinks I’m being too paranoid, but between you and me, I think he secretly wants to see my body splattered across the pavement.

To help remind the Four-Wheeled Muggles that it is not open season on bicyclists, this week is nationally recognized as Bike to Work Week (BWW). However, Carbon Footprints Without Borders, contending every week is BWW, does not recognize any perimeters placed on the reduction of one’s emission of greenhouse gases.

This is my second year participating in BWW, and I’ve learned a few lessons from my rookie years, which I’ve applied to this year. With this in mind, I would like to impart some advice, hoping that you, dear reader and potential BWW convert, will not follow in my carbon footprints and make the same mistakes I did.

1. Preparation is the Key

This should go without saying, but I had to say it anyway. I will skip over the obvious (e.g., a bicycle) and focus on the three most important elements of biking attire: bike shorts, helmet and child bike trailer (no kid necessary). True, biking shorts may not be the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but on a pragmatic level they may one day save your life. Ask any proctologist.

Wearing a helmet should be a no-brainer, but Americans have always harbored a libertarian streak and choose to ride without helmets, thus grasping the delusional reins of freedom’s last ride. Whenever one of my sons spots a bicyclist or motorcyclist not wearing a helmet, he asks: “Dad, why aren’t they wearing a helmet?”

This prompts my patented response: “Well, son, it appears they don’t have any investments to protect.”

This year I’ve added a child trailer to my bike not only to haul all of my work stuff but to serve as a safety buffer as well. Hopefully, the Four-Wheeled Muggles still clinging to the premise of the seminal film, “Death Race 2000,” may think twice about taking me out, thinking I have a baby on board. Although this defensive strategy doesn’t pan out in some Death Race Leagues, which award more points for running over babies.

Death Race 2000 Car: "Double bonus: A biker pulling a child. Yummy..."

Death Race 2000 Car: "Double bonus: A biker pulling a child. Yummy..."

I’ve even considered putting a baby mannequin in the trailer, preferably a clown reminiscent of the one in “Poltergeist,” to help fend off would-be Vehicular Homicidal Maniacs.

2. Avoid Reading Online Comments Responding to Articles about Biking

I’m perplexed and shocked by how many people out there, especially in the anonymous abyss of cyberland, harbor deep-seeded animosity toward bikers. Reading these comments will only serve to exacerbate any fears a biker may have about being run over by a road-raged motorist, whose life may have been inconvenienced by having to temporarily slow down for a biker.

Here’s a sampling from last year’s Bike Haters during BWW (responses originally posted to various articles on the “The Des Moines Register’s” (online)):

Jules 1965 wrote: In the town where I live [Carroll, Iowa}, I have to tell you there are some days I would just love to tap a bicyclists and hope they fall over.…use the trails or get off the streets and roads as I don’t need to be hitting you accidentally of course…

SSF: But of course… “Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Bad!”

Bloghead wrote: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand stinking times: Bicyclists do NOT belong on the roads with 10,000 pound death traps…

SSF: So who is driving or trapped in these death traps?

Moreover, shocktheallah wrote: …You fools want to mess with 4000lb vehicles, then expect the consequences….

SSF: “Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Bad!” (sinister laugh here)

Given this wrath, bicyclists can only hope these commenters’ mothers don’t ever let them out of the basement. Better yet, they should stay locked up indefinitely, but for humanity’s sake, they should be allowed a monthly conjugal visit form the Geek Squad to have their computers fully serviced.

I’m not quite sure where all the animosity towards bikers comes from, but it appears that the hatred is spawned by anecdotal evidence of a biker who did not obey the traffic laws, therefore all bikers are evil lawbreakers.

Jules1965 wrote:  They don’t belong on the streets with cars, especially if they are not abiding by the rules of the road. There is always one cyclists in town who seems to think he can go through every stop sign there is and I’m waiting for the day he gets hit…

SSF: Now Jules1965, lest we forget the wise words from our predecessors:

“He who hath not committed a moving traffic violation, cast the first 10,000 pound death trap.”

3. Plan Your Route Safely, not Geometrically

In the geometric world, the shortest distance from point A to point B is a straight line, but this doesn’t always translate well in the bike world. For bikers, the quickest route is not always the safest route, especially since most of the main arteries are packed with 10,000 pound death traps on wheels, looking for a quick fix to suffice their blood lust.

5. Take the Pain

Unless you are already in decent physical shape, you will feel the pain, especially you know where. It’s best not to think about it and whether you will ever have the capability to reproduce again.

Appendix A: BWW by the numbers (in Iowa):

Number of commuting miles pledged: 61,464

Estimated gallons of gasoline saved: 3,414.70

Estimated amount of money saved on gas: $7,136..65

Appendix B: Lone Bicyclist of the Apocalypse Index (That’s Me)

Number of pledged miles: 48

Estimated gallons of gasoline saved: 2

Estimated amount of money saved on gas: $4.30

Anticipated Four-Wheeled hit attempts: 5

Anticipated unsolicited gestures from passing motorists: 13

Total carbon footprint reduction: Priceless

Anticipated legal fees for defending myself in Mastercard parody lawsuit: Priceless

Steal My Identity, Please

identity-theft-protection1

Finally, somebody stole my identity.

That somebody, or who I, not by choice mind you, now call the New Me, finally took the bait and stole my identity. Ever since I invested all of my hope inY2K (that’s “Year 2000” – for my fellow Acronym Challenged brethren out there) wiping the financial slates clean from microchip memory, only to be thoroughly disappointed when the anticipated crash did not happen, I’ve been praying somebody would steal my identity and the financial baggage that comes with it.

During the waning days leading up to the turn of the century, when I wasn’t thinking about what life must have been like in debtors’ prisons, I channeled all of my remaining energy into Operation Ground Zero – my little pet name for the impending Y2K crash. Often times these thought strands would merge, and I imagined the resurrection of debtors’ prisons in the post-Y2K era.

The First Rule About Operation Ground Zero is That You Don't Talk Aboutd Operation Ground Zero

The First Rule of Operation Ground Zero is That You Don't Talk About Operation Ground Zero

Ironically, I envisioned debtors’ prisons in an optimistic light – a trait I picked up through my mother’s umbilical cord while floating aimlessly in the womb, without any financial worries whatsoever. Ah yes, the salad days. Debtors’ prison: Where else are you guaranteed a roof over your head and three square meals a day? Moreover, debtors will get the opportunity to spend more time with their families, since they’ll be imprisoned alongside their loved ones instead of alone in an office cubicle, not to mention, debtors’ prisons will have the best education system, since most teachers are in debt up until they retire.

To help tempt and encourage identity thieves, I’ve been leaving my financial baggage all over the Internet, unattended, despite all the warnings circulating in the virtual airwaves via telecom:

Warning: Do not leave your financial baggage unattended, for bags may be stolen or injected with a virus that will virtually destroy your life. Please report any unattended bags to the Internet police or any behaviors that may be considered suspicious, including but not limited to persons fitting computer hacker profiles that demonstrate antisocial behaviors in public places, shoeless children offering to carry your bags in exchange for money and/or sexual favors, or mechanical dogs sniffing through your matching, leopard-skin luggage set.

Despite making wholesale security cuts and leaving behind a mixed-trail of computer cookies a hack hacker could easily digest, nobody had been tempted by my identity. They must have read the writing on the firewalls:

Keep Out! This Poor Cat Ain’t Carryin’ No Cash or Credit

Even so, I thought somebody would at least nibble on my identity before moving on to other, more reputable and potentially profitable marks, say AIG shareholders. Although I had never bought into the Fear Industry’s mega-marketing machine, I thought my revealing identity would lure somebody into its financial abyss. Exacerbated by 9-11 attacks and the “War on Terror,” the “War on Identity Theft,” has stepped up its measures as well, pumping paranoia into the market through fear generators – known as televisions and radios in less paranoid communities.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear some advertisement warning me about identity theft:

Voice Over: Did you know that paying with unprotected plastic is like having sex without a rubber? Whether it’s somebody stealing your identity or giving you an incurable STD, you’re putting your life on the line. Why risk subject yourself to a long, painful death, when you can protect yourself and enjoy the temporary gratification without having to worry about what or who’s on the other end? No more worries; now you can buy the best protection in the industry…

The Identity Protection Industry Racket has become the new Mafia in America, offering consumers protection from identity thieves in exchange for nominal fees.

"You want identity protection...I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse..."

"You want your identity protected? I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse..."

For me the key to fighting identity theft is making sure I don’t have anything worth stealing (at least that’s what I keep telling myself), including my dignity. Subconsciously, at least that’s what I tell Therapist Bob, I’ve taken this philosophy to an extreme by digging a financial hole to China, who by the way, already owns my debt by way of the United States. Hmmmm…maybe we should tempt another country to steal our country’s identity to help erase our debt and lift us out of the current recession.

Got toxic assets?

So I began leaving my identity laying around on the Internet, thinking somebody would quickly snatch it up, but no such luck. I even resorted to using reverse psychology: “Yoo hoo. Over here. Whatever you do, keep your hands off my sweet, little identity, big boy.”

But to no avail.

However, some sucker, the New Me, finally took the bait and hooked my identity last month, only to discover he had been hobbled by a rapidly falling credit score. The New Me is not banking too well. Worse, the New Me had the nerve to file a lawsuit against the Old Me, claiming I had entrapped him into a financial quagmire.

But I’ve vowed to fight the New Me, to the death if need be, and it’s no longer about the money, rather it’s about protecting my dignity – at least what’s left of it after amortization.

Fear and Exploding in the Real World: THIS IS NOT A BILL

Caution: contents may be hazardous to your health

Caution: contents may be hazardous to your health

Despite Therapist Bob’s new-age psychotherapy treatments, my fear of mailboxes returned last week. Albeit this fear may be irrational, since it’s not mailboxes themselves that I’m afraid of, rather what’s in them is what scares the living bejesus out of me.

Sometimes I feel blessed having stepped foot into the real world — leaving behind 18 imagined years of pain and suffering, frustrations stemming from having been exiled from the real world, a desire to run for the mere sake of running, a steady supply of hormonal Molotov cocktails calibrated by some sadistic power to go off at the most inopportune times (e.g. teacher calls on me to solve pi on the chalk board or stand up and give an impromptu speech on egg fertilization), and a misguided faith that the Cubs will one day win the World Series.

What a long, strange trip from the womb it’s been. Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster I had enough sense to wake up from this dream in time to register for the Selective Service on my 18th birthday.

Other times I regret having made the descent into the real world, especially when I’m shadowed and stalked by William (a.k.a. Bill) since my descent into the real world. Now the good William works in mysterious ways, often times sending out reconnaissance patrols to prepare intended targets for the eventual knock-out blow. He makes this clear with emboldened letters at the top of his message: “This is Not a Bill.” Not yet, anyhow.

Last week I received one of these non-Bills in my mailbox sandwiched between a stack of real Bills, which somehow, like me, managed to survive the imagined world. The difference between us, however, is that William survived adolescence with the express purpose of wreaking havoc on my reality, forcing me to long for the nostalgic pre-real world days.

The non-Bill in question was from my health insurance provider, Wellmark BlueCross Blueshield of Iowa and the heading of the recon-message read in all caps:

PREMIUM CHANGE NOTICE

THIS IS NOT A BILL

Given what the first paragraph said, the heading should have read:

BE PREPARED TO BE GREASED, WHACKED, OR SLOWLY BLED TO DEATH VIA WOODCHIPPER IN THE NEAR FUTURE

Welmark actuary caught on film crunching more numbers in woodchipper to help justify exponential premium increases

Welmark actuary caught on film crunching more numbers in woodchipper to help justify exponential premium increases

The Health-Insurance Syndicate wants to raise my monthly premium 17.3 percent from $529 to $629. My initial thought was that this was some sort of April Fools’ Day joke, since the effective change date is April 1. What reputable, LEGAL business can jack their price up 17 percent and still stay in business during an economic crisis? Reputability aside, the Big Health Insurance and Big Pharma are the only industries that can pull this off, while our employers, The Big Three Branches of Government, haggle over policy proposals as their bosses sit by and watch our savings accounts bleed to death, one painful payment at a time.

I plan on sending my Senators a letter voicing my concerns about the health industry’s price gouging and using the following heading:

PROFITTING FROM HUMAN MISERY IS IMMORAL

THIS IS NOT A THREAT

But my fear of mailboxes did not initially manifest with William’s Army, rather it stems back to 2002, when the community I lived in became a target for the “Smiley Face” piper bomber. In 2002, while living on a farm outside the small town of Tipton, Iowa, Luke Helder, 22, planted pipe bombs in peoples’ mailboxes. When later captured in New Mexico, Helder admitted to the terrorist crimes and said he did it, because he was angry at the the government.

To show his anger, Helder ironically planted pipe bombs across the country in a ‘smiley face’ pattern. Tragically, a bomb did explode in the face of one of the Tipton locals, Delores Werling, 70, who received third-degree burns. For the next week or so, we had to leave our mailboxes open at all times, thus ensuring nobody had tampered with them. Helder never stood trial for his deeds, because the courts labeled him mentally incompacitated.

Not only did this incident exacerbate my fear of mailboxes, but it led to my irrational fear of smiley faces. While I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart for several reasons, their smiley-face symbol helped solidify my self-exile from the Epicenter of Cheap Crap and Labor Exploitation. Moreover, I’m reluctant to go and see the new “Watchmen” film because of the smiley-face symbol with blood dripping from its forehead. Forget about all the violence, rape, and immoral activities in the graphic novel version, it’s the damned smiley face that will keep me away from seeing the comic unfold on the big screen.

Who is watching the Watchmen watching our mailboxes?

Who is watching the Watchmen watching our mailboxes?

While so many other Americans ensnared in the current economic crisis are afraid to open their Bills or investment updates, I imagine mailbox phobia is growing exponentially. If I weren’t one of them, I guarantee I would start my own mail-opening business and serve as the middle-man between the victim and the impending financial blow waiting to spring out of the envelop like a jack-in-the-box. Don’t worry, mom; I would wear a helmet.

But what I’m really wondering now is: If a mailbox phobia, like planting bombs in shape of smiley face, is a legitimate mental health issue and I never opened my mail, do I really ever have Bills?

I guess there is only one way to find out (sinister laugh here)…

mailbox-overstufffed

25 Random Things About Me That Will Secure My Spot in Hell

Therapist Bob was not convinced that I had kicked my addiction to virtual chain-letters that he forwarded me the following e-mail message to test my resistance:

Subject: FW: Bedfellows in Hell

Message: Face it, sooner or later we are all going to hell, so we may as well accept what we cannot change and revere our impending descent. But before all of us can get chummy down below while roasting marshmallows for Satan’s S’mores, we should break the ice by sharing 25 random things about ourselves that helped secure our place in Satan’s belly. With that in mind, comb through your tainted past and write out your own list and forward it with this message to 25 fellow heathens. Failure to do so will break the chain, thus guaranteeing you table-turns at the front of the burn-in-hell line.

Your BFF,
Satan

Lucifer (aka The Devil, Satan, Dick Cheney) strikes Thinker pose as he ponders his 25 Random Things list

Lucifer (aka The Devil, Satan, Dick Cheney) strikes Thinker pose as he ponders his 25 Random Things list

Damn you, Therapist Bob! You know me too well.

Unable to resist, I started transcribing all the files on my mental rolodex labeled under “See You in Hell,” “The Art of Blasphemy,” Partially Nude Photos — New Kids on the Block,” “Crossroads,” “You and Me and the Devil Make Three,” and “Crime Scene Tapes.” Once this monumental data purging was completed, I had the computer select 25 Random Things About Me That Will Secure My Spot in Hell.

hell-sign-2

(Note: since the following list is completely random, they are in no particular order, nor is the backward countdown intended to be symbolic of my descent into hell.)

25. Petitioned to have the Seven Deadly Sins framed and mounted next to the Ten Commandments when I was in Junior High.

24. I made a Faustian pact at the Crossroads bartering my soul for a career in comedy writing, and all I got out of the deal was this goddamn blog.

23. During my brief sojourn in church as a child, I managed to steal another kid’s Bible, because I had left mine at home and didn’t want to get into trouble.

22. The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” is my default ringtone.

21. In a satirical column, I accused God of being a Deadbeat Dad for immaculate conceiving His son Jesus, pretty much abandoning him at birth, and despite his Almighty powers, stood by and watched his very own creations crucify his son.

20. Bookmarked Dante’s “Inferno” on MapQuest.

19. Believe the Christian Right is oxymoronic and look forward to the day of reckoning when it cancels itself out.

18. Even though I don’t have a religious bone in my body, I plan on giving up Responsibility for Lent this year.

17. First cassette tapes I ever bought were The Bee Gee’s “Tragedy” & AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” Although vastly different in style and delivery, their underlying messages foreshadowed the beginning of the end for me.

16. Using the Lord’s name in vain (see No. 24).

15. Vowed I would never go to heaven after hearing “In heaven there is no beer” song at UI Hawkeye football game.

14. I have yet to cast the first stone…

13. Mark Twain’s “Letters from the Earth” — a book told through Satan’s point of view and observations about man — convinced me that Heaven is the last place I would want to spend my twilight years. Satan’s right, who would want to spend eternity living in abstinence and strumming a harp all day long as a means of relieving pent up sexual tension. No thanks, I prefer a feisty fiddle in hell any day of the week – including Sundays.

12. Started new category (see list on right) completely devoted to Blasphemous Satire.

11. Impersonated a Mormon for five hours during Army Basic Training, so I wouldn’t get yelled at by the Drill Sergeants for getting on the wrong bus. Spent all morning faking Mormonism in small classrooms at a civilian church off post, until they herded us into the church and had an hour-long community confessional. People took the microphone and spilled their guts for recent sins.

10. The only reasons I went to church service in Basic Training in the first place wwere to get out of bathroom cleaning duty, find a secluded place to sleep without getting caught, and the opportunity to ogle civilian women.

9. During Mormon open confessional, I had several impure thoughts about group of high school girls who confessed to drinking alcohol at a recent football game. (I was thoroughly disappointed when their confessions ended with that.)

8. I prefer listening to my Led Zeppelin reel-to-reel tapes backwards.

7. My eighth-grade English told me so, and if anyone has a direct pipeline to hell, it’s her.

6. I’m still convinced that Eve was framed in the Garden of Eden scene by a second serpent who ate the forbidden fruit on the grassy knoll, upon realizing that he and Eve were not sexually compatible and never would be.

5. My favorite movie feel-good movie is “The Omen.”

4. Pulled prank in high school involving the abduction of Baby Jesus from neighbor’s nativity scene and left traditional ransom note (letters from newspaper cut and pasted the old-fashioned way) that read: “REPENT ALL SINS IMMEDIATELY — IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE JESUS AGAIN!”

3. Recently accepted the Flying Spaghetti Monster as my personal Savior.

2. I keep my Bible, the one I didn’t steal, on the Historical Fiction shelf of my personal library — sandwiched between Homer’s “The Odyssey” and George Orwell’s “1984.”

1. Going public with this list of blasphemies – assuming of course that I don’t convert to Catholicism anytime soon — which would make this list my inaugural confession, thus absolving me.

Remember to copy and paste this list in an e-mail message, write your own, and forward it to 25 fellow heathens.

Thanks and see you in hell.