Irrelevant Reverence – St Roch And His Dog

In times past, my writing has been referred to as “irreverent” and this infuriates me.

My writing is not irreverent.

It is IRRELEVANT.

And that matters.

As follows are some other statements of things that matter.

Testosterone is qualifying.

Flying liquid is frighteningly free.

And capitalism is sexier.

Decreasingly important to people however, is faith (bear with me; even if you’re not a bear).

I’ve been toying with the idea of Catholicism. Not that I wish to be a part of the family of utter horrors for much of Europe’s history, but rather more because I do enjoy the pageantry.

Nice outfits.

Hats that have forever out-done their protestant competition (a protestant hat might be more suitable for a job interview though).

‘Carnal sin’ (the good kind) and ‘Cardinal purple’ both outstrip (literally) the Protestants’ ‘Stop smiling!’.

There is something very assured and cool in the gaze of a senior catholic priest that suggests: “You know all that fucked up shit outside the cathedral door? That was us.”

My dog and I walk one another when either of us is in the mood and is prepared to do what they’re bloody-well-told by the other.

We walk through orchard and bramble, flushing out the rabbits and restraining one another from giving chase because that would just count as snacking before our evening meal.

It was on one of these dashes that I saw a glare of silver in the mud, and stooped to examine.

The shimmer was a saint, Saint Roch, winking at me with his knee exposed; as sultry as you like.

“Pray for us, Saint Roch, Italy”, said the small pendant, likely inadvertently dropped by one of the European pickers in the orchard.

A man flashing me with his knee, whilst his own dog watched on irresponsibly, had been found in the orchard and I could not leave it there, nor at that.

So I pocketed St Roch, and took him home for a bath.

A little further research disclosed much about the canonised fellow, chiefly that he apparently posed for many a painting with his trademark sultry pose of leaning on his staff, hoisting his lower robing to reveal the revelation of a rather smashing knee.

And a dog.

Still further research unveiled that St Roch is a patron saint of many other reasons I wish to become Catholic.

Knee wounds.

Dogs.

The falsely accused.

Bachelors (as he lifts his robe to share his knee with me, I always imagine him saying “Hmm. A bachelor hmm?” I wish I didn’t).

Istanbul.

Surgeons.

And many more.

The dog as it turned out, favoured St Roch during his plague days by bringing him bread (not the Jesus-body kind), therein earning him the title “Good boy”.

At some point there was a baker, burgled by a dog soon to be immortalised as the saviour of a saint, but that just doesn’t put money in the till, particularly during paltry plague times.

According to the Golden Legend, a compendium of these stories, this same dog licked St Roch’s unfortunate knee wounds, undoubtedly adding just that little bit of extra flavour to the pilfered loaf.

His popularity and legend caused Roch a sainthood, a brotherhood, a mass following, and before all of these, his death by starvation in a jail cell. I presume dogs were not permitted visits. Nor were loaves.

And I found him in the mud of my local orchard.

I don’t know how regularly he is idolised these days, particularly considering the lack of truly species-ending plague that we used to handle so poorly, in addition to the fact that those with knee problems are unlikely to bend onto them to begin praying.

Perhaps St Roch is making the underdog (sans bread) come back – ala St Rocky of Philadelphia?

I’m not a Godly person, but perhaps it’ll help to worship something I feel sorry for, such as St Roch and his dog. I could end each dedicated prayer with “Awwwwmen”, but then again my knees are dandy and I’m not a bachelor, though I do pity diseased cattle.

I just feel I need some religion in my life.

Not spirituality though, because that amounts to an unseemly mix of both being haunted and bullshit, and I’ve no time in my day for either.

I need religion, a quiet place to be, a solemn thought to think, a good thing to remember, and preferably a view.

I need a saint, someone in the ‘something’ category of people that I can send good wishes to. Although, unlike the archetypal prayer maker, I don’t really want for anything, nor doing I fear eternal damnation as I’m already a Crystal Palace fan. Therefore, it would be nice to send a prayer to someone, such as St Roch, just to check in on them and see how they’re doing for a change.

Do they need anything? What have they been up to recently? Did they catch the match (bloody Palace)?

All before signing-off with the aforementioned “Awwwwmen” and then returning back to Earth with a sense of civic saintly duty done, and hopefully with less diseased cattle (if you ever find yourself with cattle, now you’ve got something to hope they’re not).

And that’s why I’ve really brought you here today; pity.

Have a little pity and give an irrelevant writer with an irrelevant saint a break and give us both a Like and a Follow. Just think of that poor little dog, unable to woof properly owing to being corked with bread, just wanting you to Like and Follow the Lateral Column.

Awwwmen.

Sam

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