Monday, March 29, 2004
I'm not a Catholic, but I play one on TV.
OK, so I don't. I was, however, accidentally Catholic for a while. It all happened when I accepted communion at my Aunt and Uncle's (Catholic) wedding, mostly because it seemed like the thing to do. (Everybody else lined up for a snack and I didn't want to be left out.) Later that day, when I admitted my transgression, I was informed that "taking communion means you're Catholic now." I was shocked! I asked about a possible 'statute of limitations' on my newly acquired condition, when would something like that wear off? "4 years" I was told. I don't know if I was just being jerked around, but at the time, I was a bit concerned. I was 10 or 11 years old. I'd be Catholic until....Dang...15...I even attended mass (once). What a workout that turned out to be...
Fast-Forward to 2002.
Andy, who had worked at the Agency for a short while, was all set to marry his fiancee, Andrea, in September...They're both from Pennsylvania, but had planned a Colorado wedding since Andy WAS working here. They were, in fact, planning on LIVING here, but Andy eventually got the axe in the only round of layoffs we've ever had. After a fruitless employment search, he moved back to Pennsylvania. Planning for their blessed event was so far along already that the Colorado wedding couldn't be canceled. The show, as they say, must go on.
The wedding was held in a beautiful stone chapel in Cascade, which is in the mountains outside of Colorado Springs. There was a string quartet playing wonderful music, the day was beautiful, the ceremony was beautiful. Everyone genuflected and transubstatiated and responded and stuff exactly when they were supposed to during the Catholic ceremony. Everyone, that is, except for me. I had been selected, due to a cancellation, to perform a reading at the wedding. "Pinch hitting," as it were. (I'm told that responsorials and readings are quite common at Catholic weddings). My particular job this day was to perform a tight little number that had to do with Jesus and marriage and such. I was pretty well prepared, I even knew my cue to take the podium. When the ceremony started, however, I couldn't help but notice that everyone who went up in front of the church made a little bow toward the image of the crucified Jesus on the back wall. I was told that THIS, indeed, was genuflecting. Everyone was doing it, I figured I should as well. When it was my turn, I rose from my pew-seat, walked toward the front and attempted to 'genuflect.'
My show of respect for our saviour ended up coming off as more of a 'hey, howareya' point and nod. I may as well have given our living God a wink, a smile and a thumbs up.
"Hang in there, buddy..."
Overall, this was bad, I'm fully aware of this. Luckily for me, it wasn't AS bad as what the best man had done during the rehearsal the day prior...
Brent, Andy's best man, is a pretty funny guy. He and Andy are rockers from way back and can be found headbanging and quoting metal lyrics as often as not. Brent is personable and as instantly likeable as Andy. Collin and I got a pretty good insight into his personality during a trip up to Denver to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe a few days before the wedding. Music is the order of the day for both of them, it's never TOO far from the top of their minds...
The rehearsal was held at the chapel the day before the ceremony...The Priest ran through all of the pertinent details with us, we got to practice all of our cues and kneelings and such. (In retrospect, I really should've asked for a genuflection coach. Maybe next time). After the rehearsal, Andy and the Priest headed to the grotto for a confession session and most everyone else headed outside to chat. Brent and I were at the front of the chapel, chatting about whatever, when he noticed the microphone on the podium. "Think it's on?" he asked. "Nah." I replied. Armed with my assurance that the mic was nowhere near live, Brent leaned toward it and shrieked
"FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK!"
Contrary to my earlier assumption, the mic WAS, in fact, on. Brent's spontaneous homage to the Devil's music echoed loud and proud through the little chapel, reverberating majestically off of every individual stone in the walls...Brent jerked back from the microphone, white as a sheet...He quickly looked around and ran up the stairs, out of the chapel, like a frightened rabbit. I was left standing all alone, next to the microphone, with AC/DC lyrics still echoing in the distance. I, too, ran. I wasn't gonna take the fall for such blasphemy, even if I did think it was one of the most awesome things ever.
Postscript: Some friends of ours baptized their little Catholic baby here a few months ago and we were invited. We didn't quite realize that we'd be sitting through an entire mass for that, but it turned out as such...I'm not sure why, but I was compelled to once again join the line for communion, just to see what would happen. Apparently, much like a dog sensing fear, the priest in this case could sense my non-catholicness. He initially balked at handing over my wafer, but acquiesced when it became obvious that everyone was watching...I'm 'back in the fold' as it were.
At least for 4 more very special years...