Tag Archives: religiosity

Random Story Time–Pizza Voyeur

This story takes place in the early ‘90’s.  I was working at my first employer, a local pizza place.  I didn’t really have any experience of how work “worked”, and was just learning and growing, as young workers do.

So anyways, one day I come in to work and the I’m immediately stopped by one of the managers.  He’s angry AF.  I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was on time for work, and so the whole thing just caught me off guard.  My memory of the incident is a little hazy, but I want to say the other manager was behind him and she had not an angry expression, but had a really concerned look on her face. 

We’re still in the entranceway of the employee entrance and I don’t see anyone else in the store right then.  The manager orders me in a stern tone, “Show me your shoes.”  What?  I don’t think I actually responded but probably had an extremely confused look on my face.  He ordered me again, “Lift up your foot, show me your shoes.”  I don’t even think this second order sunk in.  It just sounded like a joke.  Maybe I laughed.  I’m just wearing black sneakers.  I just came in, so it’s not like I tracked shit around the store or anything.

Again, “I’m being serious. Show me the bottom of your shoe.”  And with complete confusion, I complied.  He looked closely at my shoes and with a somewhat relieved tone, said, “ok.”  He and the other manager went back to the office and I was left completely baffled.

And now, the rest of the story.

It turns out that a discovery was made in the back storage room.  Some bags of flour had been stacked up and apparently some shoe prints were found on the bags.  They were trying to find out whose shoes had a matching pattern.  The reason for this witch hunt was not any health or safety violation.  The bags were stacked up against the side wall of the bathroom, and the elevated position provided a viewing spot through a small crack near the top of the wall.

Yup, there was a voyeur in our ranks.  While my memory of the female manager is a little spotty, I clearly remember that at the time we had recently hired two other females to work phones and register during busy nights.  Otherwise, the place was all dudes.

It didn’t occur to me then, but looking back at it now, I wonder if I should be offended that I was accosted that strongly.  Was I that much of a suspect?  Or maybe everyone was treated like that?  I have no idea.  But, after the full story came out, there was one person that was the first suspect in everyone’s mind:  Bruce.

Bruce was the son of Jack.  Both Bruce and Jack worked at the store as delivery drivers.  Bruce was about as awkward and different as you would expect a peeping tom to be.  For what it’s worth, Jack was a Baptist minister in the town, so no telling what kind of upbringing Bruce had.  Although he was only the prime suspect in everyone’s mind, Bruce never worked there another day after that event.  An official ruling was never made.  The rumor was that his dad called him and told him not to come in, which is pretty outrageous, but nowadays, seems like it would be just normal.

And it was never discussed again.

The Mission

What are your thoughts when you read a company’s mission statement?  On first blush, it usually reads like bullshit.  It’s usually a bunch of feel-good words with a touch of fake humility and naïve optimism.  Mission statements are an easy target for people who want to attack a company for not fulfilling any promise they may or may not have explicitly made.

Who is the mission statement made for?  Cynics would say it’s for the owners and executives to make them feel like they’re changing the world.  Less cynical people would say it’s for the employees of the company to be inspired and motivated to do their best for the company – working for a higher good.  And then some people think it’s part of the company’s marketing strategy.

I was following a box truck for a company that had that particular viewpoint.  On the back of the truck, covering the entirety of the door, it read.

Our mission is to fulfill the specific needs of each customer by offering quality product, exceptional customer service and exemplifying Jesus Christ in every facet of business and life.

I have many issues with this.  First, I don’t believe a mission statement is a marketing statement.  Can you tell what business they are in?  No?  So, there’s your marketing success.  Then, the statement is so generic, it wouldn’t even inspire an employee or even an owner.  Every company wants to offer the best product and service, right?  Then, there’s the obvious.  You are putting your religious beliefs in your company’s mission statement.  Since there is nothing else differentiating your mission statement from any other company, and you are choosing to use your mission statement as marketing, your business proposition boils down to, “Do business with us because we are Christian.”  That’s about as compelling as saying, “Do business with us because we’re white.”  Oh wait a minute, that doesn’t make my point at all.

My primary point is that this is a dumb use of advertising space on your company vehicle, unless you feel the need to remind your employees of what they are working for every time they close the truck door.  What is their goal?  Be like Jesus.  No pressure, guys, just try to be the son of God while you’re on the clock.  And off the clock, too.  You did notice that little bit in our mission statement, didn’t you?

Stop This Shit


I don’t do many commentary posts, but this article really dug at me and it came on the heels of a response I had given somewhere about Mike Rowe.  The commonality in both of these is that there is a line, and it’s not exactly a fine line, where information becomes inflammation.

To start with, the title is “50 lies you learn in school”.  Before you’ve read anything, the article is implying that teachers, the people trained to educate you, are purposely lying to you.  In order to lie, you have to know the truth.  So the article is saying that your teachers know the truth and have intentionally told you otherwise.

If you go through this slide show, you will start with moments of, “Ok, I didn’t know that”, and “Huh, neat” but then, less than halfway through, you’re hit with “You can’t end sentences with prepositions.”  Whether or not you agree or not, does this sound like a lie?  By the definition, yes, it is a lie.  However, that statement is not what is taught.  You would be taught, “You should not end sentences with prepositions.”  And that is not a lie, because it is not being presented as a fact or a rule, merely a guideline.  The same thing with “You can’t begin sentences with conjunctions.”  A style guide is just that, a guide.

The other type of tactic this article uses is on display with “The tongue map”.  The slide says “The tongue map drawn back in 1901 is a lie.”  And this is what REALLY pisses me off.  It is not a lie when you do not know any better.  The slide immediately says, “Scientists now know…”  which means they were not intentionally hiding the truth back in 1901, they just had limited information at the time.  This is repeated over and over with “facts” that had to be revised as more information became available.  That does not make the original facts “lies”.

Another tactic is playing with words.  “There’s no gravity in space” is clearly a lie.  Why?  Because the proper statement is “There is not a substantial amount of gravity in space.”  The article proposes that not being explicit enough is a lie.  Then the slide show starts to get into fringe medicine, such as “You need milk for strong bones” which cites as a reason some potential cronyism by an executive.  There’s a couple of “facts/lies” I have never heard before in my life. “Blood is blue in the body”?

All in all, this is a terrible article, and let me now explain the Mike Rowe connection.  There is a growing wave of anti-intellectualism here in America.  It is dangerous as fuck and since about 2016, it’s been blowing up everywhere.  It is the absolute proof that Idiocracy is coming to pass.  It’s not enough that people are not taking the time to educate themselves, which is damaging enough, but now there is an active effort by some people to discredit other people who are intellectual.

Here’s the gist of how it works.  You find some information that used to be considered factual, but because of additional study, is now considered wrong.  And that former information is not labeled “obsolete”, but is instead touted as a “lie”.  The argument is that the “smart people” lied to you all these years with that incorrect information.  But the insane part of that argument is that it was the “smart people” who corrected the mistake.

The goal of this article and other examples of it (like Mike Rowe’s position on science) is to cause people to distrust information from learned sources.  They want people to ignore “best practices” because they are not completely proven yet.  Even if they are proven, what is proof?  They want everyone to live in a “We just don’t know enough yet to make a decision” mindset.  Conservative to to the point of regression.

Music Transcends Spirituality, Or Does It?

On my recent mega-thrift run, I picked up a particular CD from a thrift shop.  The thrift shop had one of those CD sections where everything was religious music.  The CD caught my eye because the title was “Portraits in Synthesis” and the cover was very new-agey, although the back design was a little chaotic.  The CD seemed like it would be a nice new-age synthesizer instrumental album, so I spent a couple bucks and got it.

When I got home, with my 19 other CDs, I took a better look at the back and saw the tracks were named all… uncomfortable names.  Things like, “Fairest Lord Jesus”, and “Lord Be Glorified / Spirit Song”, and the rest were similar.  Of course my reaction was, “Goddamn it.  This is a religious album.”  And I left it on the kitchen table while I cleaned up and cataloged my other finds.

The next day, I saw the disc sitting on the counter and picked up it again.  I read more of the back and realized, yes, it was a synth album.  It just had weird song titles.  I looked inside the booklet and there were no lyrics, so, yes, it’s instrumental.  What’s the deal with these titles?

I researched the label the album was published under and learned that it was a subsidiary of a religious music label.  This new child label was made to take advantage of the growing “new age” music popularity of the 80’s.  How weird.  When I think new-age, I actually think of “anti-religion”, not in any evil way, but you know, new-age spirituality. 

Think of the issues that come up when Christian music lovers can’t listen to new-age music because it conflicts with their personal beliefs.  “I can’t listen to this because it’s new-age, and that involves crystals and tantra and whatever a chakra is!”  Well, music finds a way, right?  We’ll publish the same kind of music, but we’ll use religious titles that invoke the names Lord and Jesus and then there’s no moral conflict!  What a genius idea!  It’s genius, but it’s sad, too.  Music doesn’t have any religious affiliation.  It’s agnostic.  And the sad part is that agnosticism isn’t good enough for devout believers.  If it doesn’t fully walk the walk and talk the talk, it’s evil.

I was testing out my car stereo after doing some work on it and the only radio station I could pick up was the local religious station.  Go figure, huh?  And some woman had called in to talk to the radio host and explain how she loved the station and how it gave her whole house a worshipping feel all the time.  That’s what you want your whole life to be?  Like you’re in church all day?

But I try to keep in mind the lyrics from NOFX’s Happy Guy, from Punk In Drublic (Something the devout would never hear anyway):

Don’t try to judge him, his theologian ideal
His hopes may be false but his happiness is real
Don’t try to judge him, he’s just a man

Bible Study

I was sitting at my little bistro table, eating some dinner – double-decker peanut butter sandwich and potato chips – and absently studying a snow globe in the middle of the table.  Inside the snow globe were “the three wise men” from the birth of Jesus.  My mind started wandering a little bit.

My first thought was AK’s nativity post that had four wise men.  And me, being the insensitive heretic I am, wondered, “was the fourth one Shemp?”  What were their names anyway?  Frank, Goldman-Sachs, and MIR?  And then I got thinking about the gifts.  I don’t know about the other things, but I know gold.  That’s a pretty fine gift, right there.  Of course, nowadays, you better be bringing bitcoin.  But, despite not having a 600% growth curve, gold is still useful.  You know, it could pay for a room at the inn, instead of being stuck in the stable.

And how about those lodgings?  I mean, you must be the son of god to survive being born in a stable.  There’s no incubator, no heart monitors, no nothing.  But I’ll bet there was a whole lot of blood.  The innkeeper was probably like, “When’s she due?  Oh, I don’t have any rooms for that kind of mess…”  So, you deliver the baby and now to clean up.  “Where’s the water?”  “Oh, just get some from the trough over there.”  “Good god.”  “Yes, he’s right here!”  “Put some clothes on him.”  “He’s a mess!”  “Well, don’t use the good clothes, use the… I don’t know… swaddling clothes!”

As I was making these horrible jokes, I started to get a little concerned.  Not because of the sacrilegious-ness of the jokes, but because I wanted them to be accurate.  You can only stretch the truth so far in a joke and then people will be like, “That’s not even funny.  That never happened.”  Of course we’re joking on a topic that some people take literally.  LITERALLY.  So for everyone’s benefit, I wanted to do some research before I do any more insulting.

Here’s the problem.  I don’t have a bible.  Funny, huh?  I was raised Catholic and went through all the sacraments until I became a free-thinking adult, but I don’t seem to have my bible anymore.  Nor my rosary, nor my crucifix.  I kinda miss my crucifix, it was actually pretty sleek and modern, despite the dead, wasting body of Jesus on it.  In fact, I think if I did still have it, I might actually hang it in my house, because I understand modern Christians – the ones that think they can do whatever they want and just say, “I believe in Jesus” before they die and get a free pass to heaven – find crucifixes creepy as fuck because of the dead body.  They prefer unadorned crosses instead.

Anyway, my lack of bible.  Ironically, all the Family Christian stores have recently closed down around me, so I couldn’t go get a top-notch bible.  I mean, yeah, I could probably buy a bible at Dollar Tree, but seriously, would you trust a one-dollar bible that was made in China?  Harreruyah!  My other option would be to get a hotel room for the night and steal the bible from the nightstand, but that seemed wrong.  And too expensive.

The obvious option was an online bible, but, even though I hadn’t shaved for a few days, I felt like I had a full hipster beard when I recoiled at the thought of accessing the oldest printed text in the world through a non-printed medium.  Reading the word of god online?  That’s how they get ya!  Goddamn liberals.  Oh wait, I am a liberal.  So I shaved off what whiskers I had on my face, opened my browser of choice (Vivaldi, now) and went to what I thought would be the most likely guess for a place to read the bible – bible.org.  Fucking shit.  There’s no bibles here.  This is a website where you learn about the bible.  Blah, blah.  Let us tell you about this or that from the bible.  No, I want to read the goddamn fucking… oh, there it is.  Never mind…

So, I checked out Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who are like the Ninja Turtles of the bible.  And I was surprised at the lack of detail I got about the birth of Jesus.  I remember stories about how Joseph and Mary travelled from inn to inn looking for shelter and the details of how they were turned away and how finally someone took pity on them and let them stay in the barn.  I don’t remember if they got charged for staying in there, but that detail, along with all the others I thought I remember, aren’t there.

I was also really surprised at how fast the plot moved along.  It was only a few minutes of reading and suddenly Jesus is like 30 years old.  Understand, I went to Catholic elementary and high school.  We did a lot of bible study.  I was even motivated enough to draw out the family tree from Adam to Jesus in elementary school, which impressed the hell out of my teacher (odd choice of words, that). So, I don’t know where I spent all my time studying.

But concerning the Jesus birth, I wanted a lot more detail.  Like, yeah, Jesus had a manger (which, BTW, if you search for images of “manger”, the ratio of baby Jesus pictures to actual farming equipment pictures is stupid), but where did Joseph and Mary sleep?  On bales of hay?  Sleeping bags?  And this guiding star that keeps getting mentioned.  I’ve gone geocaching a lot and there’s plenty of times I can’t find a cache with 15ft accuracy from nine satellites.  How can someone find a baby in a city with essentially one satellite?  Using a single star as a GPS unit is just a poor navigational decision.

In the end, it was all just a great time diversion.  I didn’t really learn anything and I did not attain a physical bible.  The lack of useful joke material in the bible kind of squelched my ideas, but the journey certainly made for a provocative post.

Coming Back

Recently, I’ve had a slight uptick in my interest in reincarnation.  Reincarnation is something I’ve believed in for some time now.  If you’re curious about it, you can read a few books like Many Lives, Many Masters and Elementary Theosophy, or read case studies of verified reincarnates at http://www.iisis.net.

The Internet is making rediscovery of past lives all the easier, and I was wondering if there should be created a website where a person could voluntarily submit their information to be discovered when researching past lives.

Some of the data points that could be recorded would be:

  • Facial photos at different ages
  • Birthmarks or significant scars
  • Phobias
  • Date of birth (and death if submitted by estate executor)
  • Natural talents or skills

I could see that someone could set up their own profile and set a “publish date”, so their personal information wouldn’t be searchable until after an expected death.  It seems like most people reincarnate between 50-100 years after death, so you could set a publish date far into the future.

One of the issues is, what will the website be in 50-100 years?  Will it be around and if so, it will be run on whatever the current technology is for the era.  Fascinating to think of that possibility.

The larger issue is, what would anyone get out of this?  It seems that reincarnates don’t really care about their past lives.  It’s probably a nice curiosity, and may be beneficial in working through irrational fears, but for the most part, your lives are not a continuance of a single life.

I think the broader message that needs to be made is that reincarnation is a real thing.  And by realizing and accepting this, racism, classism, sexism, and hatred should subside.  After all, you have no guarantee of what body you are going to come back into.  What if Nazis knew their next life could be that of a Jew?  What if Boko Haram or any other Islam extremists knew that they could come back on the other side of the fight?

Oh, There You Are.

Driving home late last night, I caught a glimpse of a billboard.  As tired as I was, I didn’t get a chance to read what was on the sign, but billboards being what they are, I noticed the image on it.  The image showed a standing pregnant woman, holding her package, and Michelangelo’s “hand of god” reaching out to her, complete with E.T. glowing fingertip.

Now, I live in Florida, which has a fair amount of religiousness, and I’m pretty much used to to the fetus billboards that say “Your baby’s heart is already beating!!!!!!!!”  However, this billboard got me pretty riled up.  It was broadcasting the message that now that you are pregnant, God is right there with you.

So where was God a few months ago when you were getting boned by some guy you met at a party?  Where was God when you were grinding on that guy a few hours earlier?  Who was there when you were downing shots like water that night?  Who was watching over you when you were picking out the hottest, sexiest outfit for the party?

If certain people are going to imply that being pregnant is a religious experience, then they have to accept that God either approved, condoned, or encouraged the manner in which the pregnancy occurred.