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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How To Apologise For The 21st Century. Just Like This…

Yep. We will fuck up in a style that denotes how we refuse to see what sits in front of us. A little bit like World War 1.

The difference is, this time it will largely revolve around sugar.

Apologies for the sugar.

I swear that all that diabetes wasn’t my idea- it sort of just happened.

Whoever’s idea it was to keep putting sugar into things- identify yourself!

Yes. Stand up, you owe use a great deal of our own teeth back, and I WILL COLLECT.

I don’t really want to, I’ve never been overly possessive of my teeth or other peoples, but I do love calling in a debt, particularly when it’s a righteous calling.

Most of that sugar could likely have been left where it was. I mean, sugar- there’s nothing quite like it to sprinkle over your- whatever you want to sprinkle it over (perhaps your missus/cereal/foot)- but I feel that for the most part it could have been ignored.

It’s easy if your try- that’s why you get people who are slight. ‘Slight’ the classy variety of skinny.

Only, we’ve been made to remember sugar as though it is an essential aspect of our lives. It goes beyond being considered an aspect of our diet- it is now a component of our social circles.

“Who’s bringing the sugar?” is a phrase rarely heard but fits in nicely owing to the regrettable fact that we all assume that sugar will be bought to our gatherings.

Think of a gathering- any kind- you will find sugar is present in the pockets, handbags and huge gaping holes in the hinds of the teeth of those gathered. Klan rallies will have some sugar beneath the hood, politicians in the throne rooms of dictators will have luxurious access to the famous white grain, and children will see it everywhere.

The access to it, the ubiquitous presence of sugar, is why you may have that feeling that “life is shit- avoid if possible”.

Avoid sugar- it will bring you up and throw you down, in ways that pale in pointless comparison to crystal meth or crack cocaine, but it will ruin your innards and, at the end of the day, what else do you really have? Be proud of you guts- aside from your actions, they sum you up.

Your body has a great deal more sway than you might like to believe.

For example, you don’t want to vomit…but…whatever- it’s happening anyway and it’s up to you to deal with the cold, clammy aftermath with a mop.

“Aftermath with a mop”- the sign of a body having taken charge.

Indulge the body a little more in the direction of what it wants so deeply, not in the direction of slowly dissolving it in sugar.

Sugar makes you dissolve slowly, whilst being fast enough to ruin your smile and remove you liver.

Instead- do a little back scratching.

Back-scratching, where the metaphor works.

It feels great because we should be doing it frequently, whereas actually we are neglecting our body’s physically-social needs.

Scratching our backs (which is actually most of our body- remove it and we’d just be necks bobbling about upon arses) feels tremendous in a sort of “where’ve you been all my life” way, because our body expects it to happen and the scratch is supposed to be by another person.

Your back being scratched by another, from your body’s point-of-view, means social interactions, which means safety in numbers of more than 1, which hopefully means procreation, which finally in turn relates to some kind of meaning- I don’t know what- but that’s irrelevant for now- I’m talking about backs and what they want me to do for them.

What’ll happen if we don’t indulge in a little back scratching? I don’t know that either- maybe it’s already happening. Maybe it’s global warning? Maybe it’s all that sugar we’ve been dissolving ourselves with.

I recommend that you withdraw all wall-hanging backscratchers from your environment and go and get some good sturdy people that won’t abandon you when the flood water rises and you need a rub on the back.

Rather than filling yourself up with that gross grain called ‘sugar’, go and negotiate some community with your neighbours.

I’ve said this before- but doing this will really help you in basically all that you do (aside from being lonely).

If we don’t start to go about these natural instincts with the gusto that they deserve, and instead distract ourselves with the ugly-ugly, then- who knows what will happen next?

I’m not saying that Hitler just needed a pat on the back more often, but…fuck- maybe he did!

Then again, maybe that back of his being caressed (as it just might have been) actually encouraged him to do all that he did.

In which case- perhaps FDR needed his back to be scratched in order to enter WW2 earlier. I’m sure he could have created an industry out of it- Mr New Deal and all.

Either way- if we ignore these healthy natural instincts then we’ll without a doubt start to become a funny shape.

Take the Catholic Church and the repression of sexual instincts in male-exclusive communities.

Evidently it doesn’t work.

You know what I’m struggling to do? Finding another example of natural instincts being withheld, that’s what.

This means two things.

  1. The Catholic Church should stop it… (“STOP IT!”)
  2. In all other areas, we know that not doing what’s natural is bad for us.

So, I think we should all apologise for the what’s going to happen, owing to what we’ve done (or haven’t done) thus far.

Sorry for the sugar kids.

Sorry for not scratching your ancestors backs.

My fault.

(P.S. As for creating an industry to aid natural instincts being fulfilled; as I mentioned earlier with FDR…some of you are going to start thinking about prostitution. Well…if you can pay someone to massage your shoulders with their thumbs, why can’t someone be paid to massage someone’s penis with their vagina? Answer me!

And…obviously don’t get an STD or hit a prostitute as that’s a serious hole in my argument.)