Something I wrote on Superbowl Sunday, February 2, 2015. For newcomers to the blog, for those of you who know me only as a writer of humor pieces and dark fantasy, the revelation may come as a shock that my day (and night) job is that of a clergyman. You have been warned.
The following story is true.
Last night, cursed with a TV that no longer receives a signal and an Internet provider that is so slow it takes two days to download a one page text file, I found myself unable to watch the Super Bowl for the first time in many years. I wandered about bored and listless until my wife told me to go do the biweekly grocery shopping. So with shopping list in hand, I drove to the local supermarket.
I should have known by the scarcity of vehicles in the parking lot that something was amiss, but when I walked into the store I discovered to my complete surprise that I was the only man there.
Dozens of women stared at me in consternation mixed liberally with surprise.
As I made my way through the fruits and vegetables, I could hear their whispers … “What’s a man doing here in this store tonight?” “Think there’s something wrong with him?” “I bet he has leprosy.”
It was when a young mother told her young daughter. “Don’t look at him, sweetie. He lost his Man Card” that I spun about and stared them all down.
“I’m a church pastor,” I said in a firm no-nonsense voice. “I don’t have television and I have no social life.”
I heard audible sighs of relief and then the ladies went back to doing what they were doing before I entered the store.
And gentlemen, I received an education tonight. While we men watch football, hurling epithets at the screen and clogging our arteries with delicious chunks of fat, our lady folk are down at the local supermarket lounging in the aisles, painting their nails, sampling the bruschetta, and debating the subtleties of Edam versus Gouda. Oddly enough, there was a pillow fight going on in Aisle 6, but when they caught me staring, they made me move on.
As I came to the end of my shopping, once again, a sudden hush came over the women. I looked up to see a nervous man standing at the entrance clutching a shopping list in his trembling hands. “My TV broke!” he said to them in explanation. “And … and I have leprosy!”
The ladies, relieved at his explanation, then proceeded to ignore him and went back to their activities.
I wandered over to the man and gave him a once-over. “Forgive me, sir,” I said, “but as a former missionary to the leper colonies in New Jersey, you don’t look like you have that disease.”
Nervously looking about, he leaned close to my ear. “Well, you see,” he whispered, “… the truth is … I’m really a pastor.”
Later we chatted while freely sampling at the pickle and olive bar and compared notes and came up with a game plan.
Next year, we’re taking a lesson from the ladies. We’re going to get all the pastors together and party hardy at a nearby coffee house while our parishioners are either watching Super Bowl XLX or lounging at the supermarket.
Much fun will be had. Much coffee will be spilled. Many donuts will be consumed.
And it’s my job to bring the pillows.