Attn: Bill Cope,
You're the last person in Boise I ever thought I would be writing to, seeing as how you are awful. You are every bit as bad an influence on our community as those naked women down at that Erotic City place, only they get dressed now and then while you are always the same. I try to practice Christian cheek-turning when it comes to you. Hate the sin and not the sinner, that is what I always say. But in reality you make me so mad I could spit!
Every single good Christian thing there is to be against, you are against it. The Ten Commandments in the park-you are against it. The "one nation under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance-you are against it. Having a good Christian man like George W. Bush be our president-you are against it. You are such a stinker!
You are so mean and nasty to good Christian peoples like Reverend Falwell and that lovely Swindell girl that I sometimes put myself to sleep at night by slapping your face silly in my imagination. One slap, take a deep breath, two slaps, take a deep breath-it is like counting sheep, only a lot more satisfying. After the column you recently wrote about the good Christian people trying to save poor Terri Schiavo, I got all the way up to slap 267 before I drifted off.
Then the Pope passed on and millions of good Christian people went to his funeral, which should show people like you that there is no place for people like you. So many good Christian people came together all over the world, do not you see? There are millions of our kinds, and just a few of you kinds. Does not that tell you something, Mr. Cope? "Duh!" as my granddaughter always says.
Of course, I am not a Catholic. One Thursday a month, I play pinochle with a very nice Catholic lady, but I am not one. In fact, my preacher tells me that the Catholic Church is actually the Whore of Babylon, though I never bring up that fact at the pinochle parties. Mrs. Ybaurangoitio always brings the most scrumptious guacamole dip and I would hate to hurt her feelings.
But from the way I look at it, Pope John Paul was more like a good Baptist man than the Whore of Babylon, anyway. Or at worst, a Methodist. So just as millions of others did, I watched every second of his funeral and how all those good Christians stood in long lines to see his Earthly remains, and I wept along with all millions of them. I believe it is a miracle that God chose to kill John Paul now so that all the good Christians from Boise to Poland could show how many of us there are to so few like you. You must be very disappointed that there are so many of us. That makes me feel better to know. I could not stop myself from writing to tell you I feel better because you must feel so bad.
Signed: Anonymous in Christ
Dear Sister Anon,
Sorry to disappoint, Sweetheart, but its Bob Berserquier you're talking to, not Cope. I can see you were hoping to rub his nose in something like you'd do to house-break a Labrador pup, but he turned weenie and handed your letter off to me. "Jeepers, Bob!" he says. "I don't want all the Catholics pissed at me, too! Besides, if I have to do one more column about rampant religious fervor any time soon, I'm gonna puke my brains out my ears!"
Just remember, them's his words, not mine. So if that offends you, lady, don't blame me. Hate the message, not the messenger, that's what I always say.
Anyway, who cares what Cope thought of John Paul? As for myself, I considered him a pretty decent feller who did more good than harm. Of course, since I'm not a female whose career opportunities in the Catholic Church are still slimmer than a bacon bit's chances in a JB's salad bar, or a recovering alter boy looking for institutional justice from a monolithic child abuser protection ring, I can afford to be more generous to the old Pope than others.
But I sense it's not the old man as much as the sea of mourners that has snagged your fancy, and that suits me fine. It fits a little theory I've been working on since back when everyone and his pet monkey thought they had to have a CB radio and talk like they were in a Burt Reynolds movie. I call it the "Makin' the Scene Syndrome" in social behavior, and it has to do with the fact that most people can't stand to be left out of something that appears to be a big deal, whether it is or not. Doesn't matter which area of human endeavor is considered-pop culture, politics, fashion, religion-you name it, once people are told there's a groove going on, they'll stomp all over each other like teenage lemmings at a new mall's grand opening to be a part of it. How else do you explain the popularity of everything from golf to text-messaging?
Understand, this isn't the same thing as the herding instinct, which implies no conscious decision whatsoever. With "Makin' the Scene," people definitely choose to take part, simply because they are either too vacuous, too directionless or too frightened to define themselves in any way other than in relation to a mob of other people.
Are you still with me, Dearie? What this means, if I'm right, the world is full of purposeless, personality-deficient, ectoplasmic bobble-butts who wouldn't know what to say, how to act or what to believe without an enthusiastic crowd sweeping them along. It's like a big snowball of people, get it? And the hill they're rolling down is whichever event or phenomenon or trend the 24-hour media decide to pad the news with next.
And, Sis, if you're thinking Christianity is above all that, don't tell Mel Gibson or Dan Brown. Truth is, Christianity is currently on a rave, driven by a marketing machine that makes General Motors look like a mom 'n' pop outfit, a fawning media too intimidated to ask real questions, and a couple billion bobble-butts who would stand in line for days just to see a dead guy, mostly because everyone else is doing it. Trust me, in another 20 years, those folks will be bragging about how they made it all the way to the Papal corpse, just like some old friends of mine are still bragging about how they dropped acid at Woodstock.
So enjoy it while you can, Girlie. For the time being, you're in with the In Crowd. But who knows? By this time next year, your set's Next Big Thing might be collecting vintage Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls or recovering lost memories of alien abduction. As for me, the only use I have for a crowd is to find whatever direction they aren't headed in and take it.