[lit-ideas] Re: A Very Merry Unbirthday

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "LIT-IDEAS" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 31 May 2004 23:47:42 -0500

Thanks for the photos, Erin.  That was fun.  I used to be young once, you
probably don't know that, but it's true.  Only I wasn't having fun when I
was your age.  I was praying.  I was in the seminary studying to be a priest
and would pray all day, every day for a wet dream -- the only sex we were
allowed, now doncha know.  Grand Silence started at 8:00 pm with lights out
at 10:00 pm.  We didn't get to do very much partying.  No pyramids were
allowed at all.  No way.  We were awakened at 5:00 am, had to be in the
chapel by 6:00.  I was almost always 5 or 10 minutes late and late folk had
to kneel at the Communion rail as a form of punishment, it was a humiliation
supposedly and supposedly a deterrence against future slackardness.  But I
never felt any humiliation -- in fact, I liked the attention.  Don't try to
beat a masochist into submission is the moral of that story.  Grand Silence
remained in effect until 7:30 am (except for singing Gregorian chant, of
course), that is, until after grace was said for breakfast.  We would march
in single file and in silence from the chapel to the refectory -- four
hundred and something men from 18 to 22 years old behaving as docilely and
obediently as elementary school children.  Fear of God, now doncha know.
Any way, after of a couple of years of liturgizing wet dreams, I decided I
believed in women more than in God and so I left good old St. Mary's
Seminary in St. Mary, KY (now a women's prison -- oh, the irony!) to embrace
shy debauchery.  That was exactly 40 years ago this month.  I've never
looked back though I've often looked as dead as you and your friend Carrie
do in the morning-after photos.  God, kill me now!

Btw, June 16th may be your birthday, but it's not the anniversary of James
Joyce's death.  That would be January 13th.  June 16th, besides being your
birthday is also Bloom's Day, the day portrayed in _Ulysses_.  And since
we're talking of birthdays, Joyce's birthday is the same as mine, Feb. 2nd,
Groundhog's Day or, if you're a good Catholic, Candlemas Day, the day on
which candles are blessed for use during the coming liturgical year.  It is
also the Feast of the Purification, a Jewish custom of decontaminating a
woman after having given birth.  The Feast commemorates the occasion on
which Mary, the blessed virginal mother of God, presented herself to the
temple for said purification after birthing Jesus.  I wonder did she have
labor pains?  She shouldn't have, having been conceived outside the
consequences of original sin.  When I was a kid, I'd ask my father questions
like that and he'd say, "I don't know.  You'll have to ask God when you're
dead."  It used to make me look forward to dying.  But right now I want to
know why are women always having to be decontaminated in male religions?
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?  I mean, I don't know much about female
uncleanliness, but from what I know of the habits of males, I'd make male
purification the number one Feast day of the liturgical year, bigger than
Christmas or Easter.  But back to the point of this paragraph, James Joyce
was waked in 1941, 3 years before his yet to be recognized successor (moi)
entered the building.  Since Joyce is dead, why not celebrate his birthday
next February by sending me a present?  Or would you rather be
decontaminated?  Or overshadowed by a groundhog?  Or burned to death with
holy candles?  The choice is yours.

Remember what Casey Stengel said: "If I'd known I was going to live this
long, I woulda taken better care of myself."

Fun pictures, thanks again,
and a very merry Unbirthday to you,
Mike Geary

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Erin Holder" <erin.holder@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 8:03 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] A Very Merry Unbirthday

> It's come to my attention that I don't know what any of you look like.
Well, I know what a few of you look like.  So this is me endeavoring to
initiate some sort of picture thread.  These are some shots from my
Unbirthday.  I'll explain via the invitation I sent out...
> "Indeed, that time of year is approaching.  June 16th.  Erin's Birthday
and the anniversary of James Joyce's death.  I'm all for celebrating people
who are alive.  In any case, this year's birthday celebration has been
tainted by the irksome smoking ban that is being implemented on June 1st.
This is why I have decided to bump the festivities up to May 29th (a
Saturday).  Now, I know what you're thinking.  You're wondering why it
matters when I can sit on a patio, in June, and smoke my little heart out.
Ordinarily, I'd say you were right.  However, with my luck, it will rain and
possibly downpour.  I wouldn't put a hurricane past my birthday luck.  For
those of you who were privy to last year's entertainment, don't worry, I'm
leaving the "The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion" book at home.  I won't
knock myself unconscious and start singing in my sleep, I swear, and
hopefully Alex will not wake up in a puddle of his own vomit.  Hang on to
this e mail."
> So I did go out for my birthday on Saturday, and this is some of what
> http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeoN3Ddq3bO-g
> Erin
> Toronto
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