WE NOW RESUME OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING, EVEN IF YOU’D RATHER WE DIDN’T

(Editor’s note…my last two posts here on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog were so serious in nature, so dark, so foreboding, so chilling, so perverse, so, oh, sorry, that I decided to write a SPECIAL EDITION post that is actually humorous (I hope), in keeping with our comedy tradition. Oh, and this one is dedicated to Sarah K, the pixie girl.)

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic, and by no choice of my own on either account I might add, and when I was a kid (back in the Jurassic Era, but before the Park), I attended a Catholic parochial school in my neighborhood, Our Lady of Perpetual Motion, where I learned, interspersed with studying things like Arithmetic, English, Geography, Psychiatry, Phrenology and Medieval Sewing, that certain activities and actions perpetrated by humans are sinful.

Oh yes, Holy Mother Church had a real laundry list of sins back in those days, in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

Like all good organized religions, the Catholics are “people of the Book”, so we used the Ten Commandments that are found in the Bible in the Book of Excretions, err, sorry, Book of Genesis, as our template for “what constitutes sin”. (Actually, it was my experience that “sin” was whatever the nuns said it was, including such peccadillos as nose-picking, late assignments, pulling the hair of the girl that sat in front of you and calling your 7th grade teacher “Leadbelly” behind her back. Yeah, I almost got busted for that one…her name was Sister Mary Agnes of the Holy Ruler (her favorite weapon) and she was, at once, fat…and ugly. Sorry, but she was. Hands down she became a nun because she realized that her chances of finding a halfway decent guy with that face and build were pretty slim. She drags me out into the hall and says, what do you know about Leadbelly, and I looked at her with these wide, innocent eyes and said, nothing Stir, why? She said never mind and gave me a shot upside my head, just for good measure, and then sent me back inside.)

Okay, so here’s the Big Ten, paraphrased:

#1- No side gods…one is enough

#2- Don’t screw over Mom and Dad

#3- Church on Sunday, heathens

#4- No golden calves (see #1)

#5- No swearing using god’s name…say “shit” instead

#6- No killing

#7- No funny business with Mrs. WhatsHerFace next door

#8- No stealing…if it ain’t yours, leave it alone

#9- No lying (even if you are, especially if you are, the President of the United States)

#10- Don’t be looking greedily at Mrs. WhatsHerFace or her new BMW

Beyond the above, which we heard about frequently (daily), there were three other really heavy hitters for the nuns…”having impure thoughts”, “touching yourself impurely” and “eating meat on Fridays”. Pre-age 12 or so, the two “impures” were no big deal; by the time I was in 7th grade, however, pretty much all I did was have impure thoughts and then touch myself impurely. Hell, by the time I was 13, all I had to do was have a slight breeze blow past me and I got a hard-on; nowadays I can’t wake up my johnson with a trombone and a hand grenade.

These things were MORTAL sins, not to be confused with lesser transgressions, known as venial sins, we learned from the sin arbiters, but the worst of all, we were told repeatedly, was EATING MEAT ON FRIDAYS. (Actually, the “impures” were way worse, but the nuns always got all mystical and vague when referring to them, due I’m sure to lack of practical experience on their part.)

For some reason the nuns at OLOPM had a real thing for meat-eating on the last working day of the week. AND WE WERE TO REMEMBER THAT A) IT WAS A BLACK, BLACK *MORTAL SIN* AND B) IF YOU DIED WITH THIS SIN UNCONFESSED ON YOUR SOUL, YOU WOULD GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, WITH NO DETOURS TO MIAMI OR ROCK ISLAND. (Of course, we drove Father Heftybags, the pastor, nuts with our hypothetical questions during his weekly visit to our classroom to teach that day’s “Religion” class. “So Father,” says Steve Taylor, one of the “slower” (moron) kids in the class, “if I start to eat a baloney and marshmallow sandwich at 11:56 on Thursday night, and the barometric pressure is 30.59 and I’m using a left-handed framitz wrench, if I don’t finish my sandwich until after midnight, which is then Friday in the Northern Hemisphere, is that a sin?”)

Be gone, Satan, get thee behind me.

Then it happened.

Back in 1995, Pope John Paul George and Ringo quietly decreed that, whoa, it was now all right to eat meat on Fridays, unless you didn’t have any of your own and had to steal some from Mrs. WhatsHerFace next door, which was a violation of both #8 and #10 (above), although by the new Papal decree at least you were okay on the Friday meat-eating sin.

Wait, are you kidding me?

Boy, I gotta’ tell you, if I’m some poor SOB languishing in the fires of Hades, parched and in despair, begging for just a drop of cool water but still having impure thoughts and I suddenly found out that I had been railroaded like this by the Church, I’d be some pretty pissed off. All I did was stop off at Mickey D’s for a Big Mac on the way home from work, totally forgetting it was Friday, I get home, eat my burger and then I have a major coronary event, bite the big one, stop in front of St. Peter on the way through, who tells me, hey, special sauce lettuce cheese, buddy, you’re on your way to Perdition, have a nice trip, say hi to Lucy Fur for me when you see her.

And now all those Earthbound jerks still walking around up there can eat porterhouse steaks, lamb chops, burgers, the firm, up-turned young breasts of chickens, llama spleens, pork roast, gizzards, filets and carburetors on Fridays and it’s okay? Friday meat-eating is no longer a MORTAL sin? And I’m still stuck down here with Hitler, that roving asshole Jeffery Epstein, my ex-mother-in-law and Richard Nixon? What the hell is that all about?

And worst, there’s no recourse, no higher Court of Appeals to hear your case, you’re hosed, happy fiery eternity, loser.

To say that I would not be a 100% completely satisfied customer under these circumstances would be the understatement of the millennia.

So the Catholics gave us no/no, wait, it’s okay on Friday meat-eating, the Mormons have “magic underwear” and an Italian patron saint, Martin Luther was probably certifiable and the Amish are still stuck back in the 1800’s and organized religion is surprised it has a credibility problem? Really? The same organized religion that had the Spanish Inquisition back in the 1500’s, flame-broiled “witches” in Massachusetts during the infamous trials of 1692 and has a rank of pedophile priests that have been giving “special dispensations” to young altar boys since who knows when, that organized religion?

You have to figure that Satan is probably not happy with no longer getting new inmates from the ranks of the Friday Meat-Eaters Society, all the while he’s laughing like crazy at the poor assholes already in his custody on a First Degree Friday Hamburger conviction.

If you’re one of those assholes, that sucks, even worse than having Donald Trump as President, although not much.

I miss being a Catholic, about the way I’d miss root-canal surgery or having my car repossessed.

BREAKING NEWS!! THIS JUST IN FROM OUR NEWS DESK…

Dateline Rome…Pope Francis today announced that, due to frustration, depression and anxiety over the Covid-19 pandemic, all of the Ten Commandments have been temporarily suspended until further notice, and then further declared Donald Trump to be the Anti-Christ.

Francis also reaffirmed that eating meat on Fridays is still not a sin, but that being a Republican is.

Love and holy water,

Cap’n John

Post Script…speaking of the pandemic, I saw this headline on a news website the other day…

“How States Rank in Coronavirus Cases”

And I thought to myself, since no one else was there at the time, can I get a further clarification of the word “rank”? What was the criteria, best looking? Largest? Loudest? Best smelling? Most disgusting? What?

Hey, I just wanted to know, it might be important someday, all right?

Post Post Script…more Covid-19. So a bunch of cities got “flyovers” recently from various precision flying squadrons like the U. S. Navy Blue Angels, who fly the F/A-18, or the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds, flying the F-16C, as recognition for all the folks out there on the front lines busting their butts and risking their lives during the pandemic…nice gesture.

So what did the Tampa area get as recognition from our good President and his Armed Forces for its “essential workers”? MacDill AFB, our local military base, gave us a flyover by a single KC-135 StratoTANKER.

A flying gas station.

Gee, guys, thanks, what a thrill…I think I might have wet myself a little.

 

A LETTER TO COVID-19, BUT FIRST, YOU CAN TUNE A GUITAR BUT YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH

(Editor’s note: The following letter was posted by Cap’n John Krissongs on his Facebook page back on May 7th; the editors felt that the message and style were of the same high quality of writing for which the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog has become renowned throughout the blogosphere and decided to make it a permanent part of the WATRUK experience.)

But before we get to the letter…

Now I want to clear up a few things about seafood…first and foremost, eating creatures from our rivers, lakes and oceans is, well, how can I say it best, ah, gross? Yeah, gross works fine. No, I’ll pass, sorry, I’m okay without most seafood.

I’m no vegan/vegetarian goofball advocating for the rights of animals or deploring the slaughter of innocent wombats or whatever, although for my money, if you mistreat an animal, you oughtta’ be hung up by your balls. No, I’m okay with oink-oink piggies and moo-cows and the firm, supple and up-turned young breasts of chickens, but no, not most seafood. Hey, I have a couple of pieces of catfish in the freezer as we speak, purchased in a nice container from the store, and I’m all for an occasional piece of blackened orange roughy from one of those seafood places that sit right on the shore and serve whatever they can hook off the back porch with a rod and reel, drag it in, smack it on the head a good one before they toss it in a big, black cast-iron skillet. That’s all fine, but for the most part generally, eating seafood is, as I said…gross.

Okay, you want examples?

I’m reading again (for the umpteenth time) the excellent novel Straight Man by world-class author Richard Russo; in it there’s a scene in a bar where two of the minor characters are eating oysters, her for the first time with instructions from him. Let it slide down your throat, he tells her, after a three minute dissertation on the proper preparation of the oyster sauce. Down they go, slurped up by the dozen by these two drunken oyster-slurpers in between copious amounts of beer.

Eeeeyeew…yeah, sure, I’m going to let something that looks the result of a sea lion sneeze slide down my throat. Sea lion expectoration. (After seven years of college with a Bachelors in Social Distancing, I refuse to write the phrase “sea lion boogers”.) You don’t even chew the damn things, you just swallow…bleah.

Or crab legs…oh, like I’m really going to eat the legs from an animal that looks suspiciously like something that should live on a web. No, no fucking way, no. We sell fresh crab legs from the Seafood Department of the Publix grocery where I work part-time, and every time I bag up a bunch, all I can think is, those were carrying a large spider-like creature down the beach sideways just last week. Creeps me the fuck out. And yeah okay, ground beef was “on the hoof” once upon a time as well, but there’s a BIG visceral difference between a pound of ground chuck in a celluloid package and a plastic bag of what looks like the hacked-off legs of an arachnoid that has been eating nuclear waste.

And lobsters? Really? You want me to have as my dinner an animal that was alive and ambulatory until right before you tossed his innocent little butt into a POT OF BOILING WATER, YOU SADISTIC FUCK?!? Are you kidding me? I mean, couldn’t you at least give them a quick one to the noggin with a meat tenderizing mallet and knock’em cold first? Geez.

Or eels…there are no words descriptive enough, at least not in my vocabulary, to even begin to do justice to the grossosity of an eel. (Yes, grossosity…look it up.)

I am literally getting goose-bumps sitting here writing this…creepy, slimy disgusting damn things.

I’m thinking pizza.

Okay, time for the letter.

                                                             ######

An open letter to Covid-19:

Let me state here at the outset that, sir or madam, I don’t like you. (If you’re male, you’re a jerk, and if you’re female, you’re still a jerk.)

No, Mr./Ms. Covid, I don’t like you at all; you’re vile and you’re deadly and you’re creepy and your mother dresses you funny. You snuck into all of our lives a few months ago and things have pretty much sucked ever since you showed up. You’re making folks sick, you’re killing all kinds of innocent people, you kicked the economy in the nuts so hard that all it can do now is sit in the corner and make little mewling noises, you’re making those of us who you haven’t infected a little (a lot) nuts, you’re causing ALL kinds of angry arguments and debates over shit that, prior to your arrival, we wouldn’t have given a second thought to. (Wearing a mask in public? Only if it was Halloween or I was robbing a bank.) You’ve got some of the people in charge so paranoid that they’re telling everyone to stay home and remain in their bathrooms, cowering in fear while they spray disinfectant over their morning bagel, and then some other leader types saying, hey, fuck it, it’s time for full tilt boogey, the cure is worse than the problem, let’s go get a burger.

For me, and I suspect this is pretty much universal for most folks, I’m scared because I don’t know who to believe, I’m stressed out from the worry (am I going to die without getting laid at least once more?), I’m frustrated, I’m kind of dopey looking (okay, that one isn’t your fault) I’m confused about how to stay safe and I want my life back like it was before you came up on everyone’s radar.

And damn soon, thank you.

There’s been much speculation over the years among humans as to whether or not there’s intelligent life on other planets (there’s been some debate from time to time as to whether there’s any on our planet); if there are others out there, couldn’t you have landed somewhere else in the Galaxy and bothered them, like the Planet Zatox maybe? I mean, shit, I hate to wish any ill on the Zatoxians, but you know, hey, that’s their lookout.

I’m pretty sure I could get everyone on Earth to kick in five bucks (or rubles or francs or pilasters or douche-bags, you know, the German thing) and give the proceeds to you just so you would go away. Hell, I’ll kick in ten if you’ll take President Trump with you when you go. (You don’t have to make him sick, just drag his big butt out the door with you as you vacate the premises.)

It’s been so long since I shook someone’s hand that I’m not sure I remember how. (Yeah, I suppose it’s like sex, you know, a bike-riding thing. I hope anyhow.) And hugs? Not on your coronavirus, you prick, not these days.

You’ve made me angry, and I hate that; you’ve made me experience stress, and I hate that as well. You’ve made me afraid, and I REALLY hate that. Tell the truth, you’re not scoring a lot of points with me at all right now.

So, tell you what, Mr./Ms. Covid, do us all a favor and make like Apple stock and split, okay? Pack your bags, say your goodbyes and get on down the road. ‘Cause I’ve got several friends out there that owe me lunch and I’m getting tired of baloney and Clorox sandwiches. And I’d sell my kid sister to a band of itinerate nomads to be able to go to Walmart once again and make fun of all the rednecks. (Okay, I don’t have a kid sister, but you know what I mean.)

Go away, Mr./Ms. Covid, please…oh, if I make it $20 would take Mitch McConnell with you too?

Love and tartar sauce,

Cap’n John

I LEFT WORK EARLY TODAY

I left work early today…I came home, sat down here at my desk and I cried. Only for a few moments, only a little. But I cried.

I can’t say whether this is a blessing or a curse, but throughout my entire life, I have always worn my emotions on my sleeve…I cry easily, I laugh easily, I get angry quickly, I get frustrated in a trice, I love hard and hate even harder. It is who I am, like it or not.

As you may be aware, I work part-time for Publix Supermarkets, a large regional grocery chain here in Florida and across the Southeast; my official title is “Front Service Clerk”, which is Publix’ corporate jargon for a “bagger” (a ten dollar word for a three dollar job). I’m at the store where I work between 20 and 24 hours every week, and for the most part, it’s a good gig.

Or at least it was until the advent of the coronavirus and Covid-19.

Now it’s a minefield, it’s a disaster zone, it’s a potential death-trap, a place of stress and tension and somewhere I’m terrified I’m going to die. Between being half-nuts from the constant fear, low grade I admit but always there, and the on-going battle to keep our customers happy and yet safe, in spite of all their attempts to thwart our best efforts, our cozy, warm little store, a place where our customers could come, buy their groceries or their pick-up meals or whatever and be greeted by and interact with a staff they know, get called by their names and have a “visit” that is pleasant, quick or leisurely (their choice) and get a smile and some kind words as they leave with their bags of joy, is no longer.

That all disappeared with the advent of the coronavirus and Covid-19.

I don’t need to work; I’m retired and I wouldn’t starve without the money. But the income that I get from Publix makes my car payment and after that, I bank the rest (actually I’m buying up Publix stock as fast as I can with the surplus). And I promised myself when I took my Social Security at 62 that I would continue to work part-time at some brainless, minimum-wage job until I had all the $$$ I felt I would need once I actually hang them up for good, and it’s a promise I intend to keep.

Up until recently, my job at Publix has provided me with an opportunity to be out with folks a few days every week, increase my retirement fund, lease a new car and make some excellent friends.

Despite the occasional asshole customer or a frustrating new company policy, it was, as I said, a good gig…but that is no more. It was gone with the advent of the coronavirus and Covid-19.

Where I was once the funniest guy in the place, I am now constantly tense and on edge, afraid at some level, overt or subtle, all the time. I’m frustrated because I feel like the “blue line cop” from asking people to please practice social distancing and stay back until I’m finished bagging their order. I’m worried about my fellow associates, who are, with a handful of notable exceptions, good, decent people just trying to get by each day; some of them need their jobs and come to work even though I’m sure they’d stay home if they could afford to do so; some of them continue to work based on a strong sense of dedication; some of the older associates work there a few hours a week so their lives don’t become stagnant, and some of those folks have left, promising to return when “things get back to normal” and I’m very concerned for all of them and for those of us still clocking in regularly.

Because nowadays, “normal” is the coronavirus and Covid-19.

I don’t sleep worth a damn these days…I wake up to pee just about every night at some point, usually around 2:00am, and then lie there wide awake, worrying. Did I remember to disinfect my wallet and car-keys, did I wipe down the light switches and counters, shit, I forgot to boil my mask (disinfect over a boiling pot of water), is tomorrow going to be the day that I win the big Mega-Covid-19 Super Lotto and end up dead in a month, is my family okay, who’s going to take care of me if I get sick, how the fuck did I get involved in this horror picture that is currently showing at a theatre near every damn one of us every minute of every damn day, gimme’ an “F” and what does that spell, kids?

It’s a word that rhymes with “truck” and that’s exactly what I wish I had right now so I could drive my fat ass off this picture and escape to someplace safe.

Someplace where my life won’t be impacted by the coronavirus and Covid-19.

I cried today because I’m afraid, I’m tense, I’m worried and I’m slightly disgusted with myself for being all of the above.

But like so many people, maybe everyone, I’ve never been through anything like this…I’m overwhelmed.

I’ve never experienced anything like the coronavirus and Covid-19.

And besides being worried and scared and concerned and whatever, I’m also damned angry…I’m angry because of the way my life has been turned upside down by the coronavirus and Covid-19.

I’m fucking angry.

I am one of the strongest persons I know…I bow to no one and I fear little. But this awful bug, this horrible, disgusting disease, this motherfucker has me bowing down in terror before it, groveling like a shivering dog standing with its tail between its legs in front of a cruel, sadistic master.

I hate being afraid, hate it, and that’s what the coronavirus and Covid-19 have made me.

So I sat today and cried a little…I’m not ashamed that I did nor to tell you about it. And the worst? Now that I’m done, I feel no better…I’m still afraid, I’m still angry and I don’t see this ending very soon.

I don’t let anyone intimidate me, anyone or anything. I fully intend to survive coronavirus and Covid-19. (I know that sounds like “whistling while you walk past the cemetery in the dark” but if someone has a better attitude to have to cope with this mess, please share it with me.)

I told my boss, a truly wonderful lady named Katrina, that I was also taking off tomorrow as well and that I wouldn’t be back until Tue, my next scheduled day to work; she not only understood, she encouraged me. (I’d walk through fire for that woman and enjoy the stroll.) I need some time to process all that’s taking place in my life right now.

The coronavirus and Covid-19…two phrases it wouldn’t break my heart if I never heard again in life.

To all the folks who have lost a loved one to Covid-19, to anyone who is battling this horrible disease, to all those who have lost jobs, either fired or laid off, and are now struggling just to eat and pay the rent, to all the other “essential” workers out there busting their butts to accommodate all those who depend on them and especially to all those people, like myself, reeling from the impact of Covid-19 on their lives, to all those poor, scared persons, I cannot tell you how much my heart goes out to you all.

I have been there and done that and you have my deepest sympathy and empathy.

If we ever get back to normal, I’m going to have a shirt made up…over a drawing of the coronavirus it will say “I Survived Covid-19…” and underneath it will say “…And All I Got Was This Lousy Tee-shirt!”

And my life back, without fear and anger, I so sincerely hope.

Love and vaccines,

Cap’n John