elizabeth: I don’t want anyone to think I am being disrespectful of religions. Let’s just say I feel that religions separate people. God, Buddha, and the Universe can unite people, but organized religion can create the, “my religion is better than yours. And are you planning on wearing plaid in hell?” mentality. So I steer myself away from the formal handbooks. But as a wandering former Catholic who left the church at sixteen (with my parent’s okay although I do feel the weight of my mother’s novenas on my shoulders at times) some things still pull you back in. And I have the United States Postal Service to thank or curse.
About a year ago someone died that my family knew. I can’t recall the person (what a nice fallen Catholic I am). But I sort of thought the family was expecting a mass card. I had always depended on my mother to give me one or 12 depending on how the year was going. But then she informed me that I could get them through the mail. So I did. And the heavens opened up and the mailman’s back was thrown out by the amount of mail I got from every imaginable Catholic organization known to man. God—if you are reading this, can you please put me on the do not disturb list?
Laurie: Politicians ran amok this year campaigning for the local primaries. Mailboxes were stuffed with glossy, heavy weight booklets (anybody out there taking care of the environment?) on an everyday basis. So much so, that a group of us whining in the lobby decided we would vote for the person who sent us the least amount of campaign documents. Little gray-haired ladies snuck into our heavily-secured building and knocked on doors asking if they could tell me about their candidate. Only the name please, so I will know who not to vote for. Yes, I am holding your intrusion into my busy day against “your candidate.” Recorded messages flooded my machine (whatever happened to the no-call list?). And the result? I was so disgusted that I didn’t bother voting at all. Good job, boys and girls.
elizabeth: You didn’t vote? Tsk tsk. Okay, now back to me. So all of a sudden I am getting pleas for help from every saint that was ever canonized. And who the hell is St. Odilla? I really don’t want to know but she is showing up in the mail. I now have enough St. Anthony medals to guarantee that I will live to be over 1000 years old. Yeah, like Botox is going to help me in my mid 700s. Well maybe death will call me home sooner because I never send money back. What would St. Bernard do?
But my real dilemma is that I can’t throw out the medals, the little prayer thingies or the real “pass heaven’s gates and go directly to hell” rosary beads. Stop it! I keep all the stuff together but it has gotten to the point that, if St. Anthony skipped town and I got hit by a train, people would think I was a closeted religious zealot! What am I supposed to do with all of it? And can Catholic guilt really work on non-Catholics? Apparently so. But if you are going to keep sending me them, please make the ones that used to glow in the dark. Those were cool. But don’t tell my mother. She’ll be so happy.
Laurie: How about catalogs screaming that THIS IS MY LAST CHANCE? If I don’t order as soon as I open the door to my apartment, I will never get this particular catalog again. Promises, promises. Credit card applications and blank checks, neither of which I requested, cannot be ignored. They must be shredded (when did a shredder become an essential household item?) in an attempt to protect my identity. Prospectuses for one paltry investment require two hands and much tugging to get it out of the mailbox. How many pages do you need to tell me that I once again lost money? And who reads that stuff anyway? The only upside I can see to all this is that my postman probably has fantastic pectorals and will always be gainfully employed. So keep ‘em coming. I’m going to go oil my shredder.