This is not the first draft. I deleted three other lines that used to be where this one is now. Ghosts fighting to confuse you as you read. What did they say, you wonder. Mediocre, perhaps? Well, they must have been or so I wouldn’t have erased them. They could have grown on me with time. Or maybe I was too rash—not realizing their splendor in their simplicity.
What thoughts did Kafka burn for fear of God not loving him? How many trash cans did Hamsun fill? How many nights unfruitful did Dostoevsky sit aside a window as he gained his breath from tossing up the room and ripping his work to shreds?
What of that amateur writer that turned left on a sullen street? His favorite color green. A bus with a banner of the same color distracted him. He almost turned right and would have met a young red-head to enrapture him and inspire him, thus indirectly, giving birth to one of the greatest writers of all time. He died of old age and a smile on his face: Grand-kids surrounding him the latter part of his life. Their arms in the air, screaming, singing, chanting,” Grandpa, Grandpa.” He would lose himself at breakfast sipping coffee and his wife would ask what the matter was. He would lie and say he was only daydreaming. He felt something was missing. But what? He would walk past book stores and have a sudden uncomfortable feeling he couldn’t describe. Where had the years gone, he wondered? Had he lived truly? Had he left a shifting stone unturned?
As he gazed upon his grey smoking eyes in the mirror, another person ( an elderly woman of sixty-three years of age ) was looking into her own eyes pondering the same dilemma. All the men loved her. Loved. She kept her long hair. It was no longer red. She undressed and stared at her naked body. All the parts were there except now time had taken toll. She had had many lovers; they all wanted to keep her—marry her. She never deceived an admirer; she was always free, honest and unattainable. Something was waiting for her out there, she thought—in the future perhaps. Or someone.
Now it was too late. For the both of them. For the mailman outside your window. For the carpenter hammering away in the distance. The housewife in a new shade of summer dress. The professional golfer in slacks no longer slender. The mechanic. The prostitute. The transvestite. The child molester. The priest. The eunuch. The ballerina. You.
Sing to me O death
Lines of choking neck like alabaster
Caress me O death
Let linger sighs of soft disaster
You beckon and I want to follow
Since childhood your call doth slither
Past marble slabs carved hither
Where is thy sting O death?
Where shall we meet?
How slow to summon honey milk upon your breath
Hell thy heaven hold grip slipping O so
This is a 1970 American documentary film about Anton Szandor LaVey and The Church of Satan. Ray Laurent directed, produced and released on June 17, 2003. The film was shot in San Francisco, California. It is a compilation of ritual footage and interviews with some of LaVey’s family, his neighbors, and a handful of church members. A priest gives his two rusty cents and a couple of Mormons, who looked like they stepped out of a 1950’s family film, babble about their wacky ways. Fun for the entire family.
I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy— you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do. You can’t prove that there isn’t an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word “elephant” includes mystery, order, goodness, love, and a spare tire?
So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The atheism part is easy.
But, this “This I Believe” thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life’s big picture, some rules to live by. So, I’m saying, “This I believe: I believe there is no God.”
Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I’m not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows, and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough,but it’s everything in the world, and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I’m raising now is enough that I don’t need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.
Believing there’s no God means I can’t really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That’s good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.
Believing there’s no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I’m wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don’t travel in circles where people say, “I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith.” That’s just a long-winded religious way to say, “shut up,” or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, “How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do.” So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that’s always fun. It means I’m learning something.
Believing there is no God means the suffering I’ve seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn’t caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn’t bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.
Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best
“Are you aware that “Blondes have more fun,” was the phrase concocted by the cunts at Clairol? Little did the hair-dying sages at the celestial strand headquarters know, that prostitutes in Rome were obligated by law to dye their locks blonde to separate themselves from honorable Roman brunettes with a blonde wig. It was common knowledge that blonde was the hair color of Barbarians to the North and slaves of that race of people often came to an end in whorehouses.”
“Do I know you?”
“No, but you might wish you never had in a minute or two.”
“Oh, yea,” she said with a smile and then took a small sip of her drink in the back of a urine-stenched bar. “Tell me more, big shot.”
“Well, historians of moralistic disposition have had the pleasure of painting wealthy Roman women of the period as emulating the whores by dying their hair to match the golden mane of money-seeking maenads.”
“This is the part where I should slap you, don’t you think?”
“No woman with any real dignity comes to a dive like this, dear. Let us not feign class tonight.”
“Okay, asshole. I’m in. What else?”
“Circa 45 A.D., Messalina, the wife of Claudius the Emperor, was implicated of tip-toeing out of the palace’s walls to hustle without bustle at an unseemly bordello. She was believed to have been hiding her dark hair under a blonde wig to enter a house of ill repute muggy and filthy from old and crusty bedspreads.”
“Is it? Do we not, all of us, do disgusting things from time to time?”
“I bet you say that to all the girls.”
“No? Just the blonde ones?”
“Maybe just the interesting ones.”
“Why, thank you.”
“Don’t you think I’m interesting?” she said glaring at him with her blue eyes and biting the cheap, red lipstick from her lower lip.
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Does this shit work on women? Be honest with me.”
“Jesus. I don’t see how.”
“Neither do I.”
“You’re a real gentleman, you know that? Well, now I want to hear the rest.”
“Are you sure, Goldilocks?”
“Sure I’m sure. When in Rome, right?”
“I suppose. The early Christian Farcers were vehement at the vanity and implied iniquity in blonde hair. The tosser Tertullian wrote, “I see broads dye their damn hair blonde by using saffron. They are ashamed of their country, sorry that they were not born in Germany or Gaul!”
“What?! Is that true?”
“He said the same of wigs: “Be ashamed of yak yak yak putting on your holy and Christian head the cast-off hair of some stranger who was perhaps unclean, perhaps guilty and destined to hell.”
“Ha, ha, ha. You are too much! That’s it, you’re getting laid.”
“Wait, you’re gonna have to buy me another drink first.”
“I’ll be hungry by the time we get out of here.”
“Then dinner also.”