Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No Coffee, Thanks. Please Pass the Downers

Sunday morning I step out on the porch and take a sleepy swipe at the paper and catch it by the end of the platic bag pulling all eight glorious pounds of it into the house. I'm not a huge newspaper guy as a rule, but there is something about Sunday morning a cup of coffee and a dog at your feet that just feels like home. It's a ritual that puts me at ease and while I don't go crazy if I'm too rushed to spend an hour or so flipping through the sections that interest me (Arts, Metro, Travel & the advertisements) it's a good part of my day anytime I can work it in. It relaxes me.

Fortunately, in case I wasn't going to be relaxed enough on my Sunday puttering around the house, the good folks at the Columbus Dispatch teamed up with Advil to help take even more of the edge off my morning.

That's right. Handily included with my morning dose of death, destruction, and half-assed movie reviews were free sedatives. Hot damn! The writing turned poetic. The sidebar detailing tips to stay comfortable, even on the longest of flights, was especially poignant. I giggled through the book reviews and managed a nappy guffaw at Family Circle. The Real Estate section changed my life. Oh, the colors, children!

That's right. I, like many other Central Ohioans, crushed my free Advil PM into dust and snorted it right off the Business section. From that moment on, I knew I would never read the paper any other way.

The rest of the weekend was great, although less chemically enhanced. We bought the new bikes we had our eye on. Jen got to bring her bike home, but they are waiting for mine to come in. Our little bike shop managed to get me the last Raleigh Venture 4.0 available in the manufacturer's warehouse. I can't wait until the great white death outside melts into puddles so I can go racing through them in a cloud of muddy spray.

The last thing of note from this past weekend was the introduction of Christianity into my home from a rather unexpected source. First, some background.

Until my father decided to run through a string of additional wives/pre-built families, he was a minister. In his early years our family was Nazarene, but over time he became less picky and would go to work for any church/denomination that would overlook his checkered past. This is not as rare a thing as you would hope. Anyway, the point is, I was raised in the church until the time I turned eighteen and left home at which time the church and I parted ways. While my father passed a little over a year ago, my mother and sister remain very involved in their respective congregations.

My brother and sister-in-law are looking for answers and seem to have found some with this Christian motivational speaker guy (sorry, forget his name). From what I can gather, the gist of his message is "Ask God for favor, and you'll be amazed at what you will receive". They are way into receiving, not unlike me. We just go about it different ways.

My wife also is looking for answers. She would like to believe in the traditional spiritual avenues the majority of Middle Americans travel, but in the end she just can't bring herself to buy into anything. As a result, she's moved on to philosophies, primarily Buddhism. While she doesn't claim to be a Buddhist, she is learning more and more about it and has started some meditation. It brings her a bit of comfort, and there is no way I would ever do anything to take that away from her. Plus, add the fact that I know very little about it, and I don't have too much to say on the subject.

This weekend Jen brought home a Buddha head just because it looked cool. The Buddha she got was not the happy "Let's have another cheeseburger and get high" Buddha I tend to love, but rather a skinnier more femininely serious version that I'm told leans more to the Thai model.

I like it. A lot. I like it because it doesn't fit in our living room (its new home), it looks aged and cracked, and I know that my father would have hated to see it. You know, false idols and all of that. You see, when I was a kid, the idea that people would even want a Buddha in their home was laughable. Who could believe such horseshit? These people need to smarten up and get down with a believable religion like Christianity. Right.

Well, she brought it home, put it on its shelf and we all loved it. Well, all of us but one.

Otis, my ten pound Silky Terrier, caught the fire of the Lord and rebuked that stone Buddha head all evening long. He would lean forward to sniff at its nose and growl. He would take two steps back and bark at it. When he walked away from it, it was always while throwing nervous glances over his shoulder. We thought he would let it go the following day, but no. He still had things to say to the passive hunk of ceramic.

If you had asked me before this, I would have told you dogs would make great Buddhists. They are all about living in the moment. On the other hand, apathetic agnosticism would probably be the best fit; they don't know and they don't care. What I never would have guessed would be that a dog would display such a visceral reaction to Buddha and it leaves me convinced that my dog is Born Again. So be it. If it brings him peace, who am I to criticize?

Still, I'm more curious than ever about his beliefs. I plan on getting busts of Obama, Freud, Stalin, Woodie Guthrie and George W so I can figure out exactly what I’m up against.

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