Christ in stitches
The best way to begin an uplifting and awe inspiring story is with a funeral.
I’m walking, stoically, down the aisle with my Auntie Debs on one shoulder and a sprinkle of dandruff on the other. Doing my best to appear solemn. Which can sometimes flirt between looking bored and the expression one might have when accidentally walking in on your Mum deep throating your Dad; Frozen. Incredulous . . . Blinking . . .
When Mum first asked if I would like the honour of carrying a dead body I immediately started having premonitions of the worst case scenarios that might play out.
Sobbing uncontrollably, nostrils going full snot drop as some stranger a family member disturbs my dandruff with a consoling hand. Telling me to be strong.
Laughing uncontrollably. All heads in the church turn and stare at me with sex doll mouths.
And the most vivid.
Tripping, slipping to one knee. The Casket slides down the lid flips open and my dead Aunt springs out like an ironing board.
My fears were allayed as soon as I picked up the Coffin. Light as a feather. Not surprising when the good Lord gifts your final weeks of suffering with a Skeleton draped in a veil of tired Yellow skin.
If this was an American or Canadian Funeral we would be carrying Aunt Deb by the handles around waist height. Our knees knocking the sides, the casket lost at sea, swaying and our Debs wondering what the fuck is going on.
My dead Aunt isn’t the only thing I’m carrying on my shoulders. While she was in hospital I . . . Well . . .
Who wants to remember someone as they died and not as they lived?
My ignorance was swiftly invaded by another stranger, a cousin, just before the procession, holding up a photograph of Aunt Debs from when she was in hospital. Life sucked from her cheeks and the sparkle stolen from her eyes. The blood relative put the photo in her purse and nodded, sympathetically.
I’m looking ahead to the altar. There he is hanging around as usual. His hipster beard and crown of thorns. And he’s laughing his crucified head off at me.
We lay the Coffin down like some ancient Egyptian artefact. My fat cousin, who is my Pallbearer familiar today, is looking right at me with glazed eyes. He could be sad or he could have just eaten an entire box of donuts.
My eyes are as dry as my Aunts probably were right before they stitched them together for the Wake.
Funny name – Wake.
Who’s waking up? Maybe it’s us. Waking up to the fact that we all have a personalised registration plate on a hearse on its way to a funeral home that is never coming back.
The Minister Of Ceremony’s stands in the pulpit and takes a deep breath before he begins his stand up routine. One of my favourite opening lines is the one where they talk about how the guy we tortured, humiliated, nailed to a crosss and left to die in simmering heat, still loves us all – unconditionally.
Sounds like an insecure and needy fucker to me.
My second favourite is the one where they say he went through all that ball-ache to absolve us all of the sins we committed before we even came into existence.
Destroy freedom of will.
Convince us we still have it and blame a Woman for expressing it. Alls our Eve ever wanted was to Make sure Adam was getting at least one of the recommended five a day.
If we’ve been doomed by Him before our birth then what’s the point of worshipping?
The idea of ancestral sin has inspired me, or if I’m being honest, has cleared my conscience on many occasions when coming to a cross roads of moral quandaries. If we don’t sin then the poor immortal Bastard would have suffered in vain … right?
So max out the credit card. Be decadent and dangerous. Cross the line and snort the next one.
Embrace the flesh!
I went to confession once.
Stood in a darkened booth and waited for the honourable truth. Expecting some deep insight, advice, anything. I asked the priest person about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Entropy. How, in a reality where erosion and disorderliness increases with time, is it possible not to fall out of Gods good grace?
He only took interest when I told him I had tossed off thirty seven times that month over my high-school form Teacher, Miss. McCormack. What did I get? Three Hail Marys for Our Fathers and a suspicious pat on the backside.
I wasn’t even Catholic. Just curious.
The faces in the room that seem closest to actual last breath death suddenly perk up like hand puppets when the Minister starts banging out his greatest hits collection of hymns. Just a low hum of sadness echoing around the church. The rest of us quiver our lips like stoners trying to get the first word out after an epic bong hit.
The song to be spoiled for all eternity today is some shite by Westlife. Something about defying gravity without wings. Well, for every cloud.
We stand at the burial site as the coffin is lowered. My eyes are still dry. Mum stands near me. Her eyes are also dry. We all take turns in dropping a pinch of dirt on Auntie Debs until Mum and I are the only ones still stood here staring down into the six foot hole.
It’s a beautiful day. Cloudless Blue summer sky. My eyes are still dry, but I think it’s the dust-dirt holding them together.
Mums eyes are still dry.