Choosing My Religion

I was born to be a preacher but no church would have me. I was a Catholic in the time of Paul Simon and Lebanon and liberation theology and I took to all of it like a fish to living water but what they never told you was those Lebanese and their liberation theology and their strange little fallen folk heroes from the sixties were none too popular with nice white folks out in the suburbs, and if you started talking that shit on youth retreats the stares got cold and people started having conversations about you out on the porch in some gut-wrenchingly beautiful stretch of Appalachia and when you woke up in the morning all the good girls were looking at you like you were the devil and all the bad girls were looking at you like you were Jesus and that was that. When you get home you gotta start smoking pot and chasing hippie chicks or start dating Protestants because you sure as hell ain’t getting invited to any sweet sixteen parties after that and you sure as hell ain’t becoming no priest which is just as well because the Catholics don’t let priests fuck anybody except in secret which isn’t really my thing.

I was still afraid of drugs at that point so I broke back toward Martin Luther, on my Grandmother’s German side, and away from the Holy See on my grandfather’s Irish side. Protestant girls are easy once you got the hang of it, just tell them you’re Catholic so you don’t want sex and hang around for a couple months. The Protestants have this great thing called the “personal relationship with the Holy Spirit” where you can square whatever it is you want to do with the Holy Spirit in advance. So before long if you’re willing to hash it out with a Protestant girl and put all your Catholic shit on the back burner you find yourself in her room one night after you’re supposed to have left and talking to her about the Holy Spirit and then you’re in.

Catholic girls are different of course because you can’t square a blowjob or really anything below the belt with the Lord in advance; you just do it and then you tell the priest about it. That means a lot of heavy conversations with a Catholic girl about what the hell you’re going to do after the act because neither one of you is telling the priest that’s for damn sure, so maybe you have to run away to New Orleans over spring break and never talk to anybody in your home town ever again.

Which is a harder sell, obviously, than the Holy Spirit thing. It’s like Eyeball says in Stand By Me, if you want to get laid you gotta get yourself a Protestant. A Catholic girl will kiss the hell out of you and let you feel her tits but that’s mostly it. 

Nobody told me about Episcopalians until later on, whose girls mostly didn’t believe in any of that shit and were just looking to go downtown and have a good time listening to some music. You don’t run into these wonderful cosmopolitan beauties on church trips, alas.


 Adam Short is a father, grocery store clerk, and small-time screen actor.