Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter - the Bizarro Christian Debacle

I guess given the rarity and complexity of someone rising from the dead is what sets Easter celebrations on their ears. Even as a kid I had serious questions about the ambulatory bi-ped bunny silently shown in cartoons and television ads running around with eggs. No catchphrase like "Ho ho ho", "I Am Who Am", or even "Up yer ass!" or anything associated with this quiet, menacing image.

My own Easter celebration was equally bizarre and not altogether unpleasant.

After a morning bike ride with my wife -- no, I was not smoking a pipe or wearing a cardigan sweater -- she went over to my mother-in-law's house, while I lay down to read some of a George C. Chesbro novel. Invariably, I fell asleep. I usually wake from such lapses after an hour or two, so no harm done. Yesterday was no exception, but for the fact that I wasn't wakened by a sound or my own natural coming-back-to-lifed-ness. No, I was wakened by a foul odor. Something like sulfur. Yes, the idea that I was waking in hell did, actually, pass through my mind for a few moments. However, when I heard a weird small explosion in my kitchen, I figured I was still an inhabitant of this world. Unfortunately, I was correct.

I went into my kitchen to witness a scene that can only be described as a cross between Peter Cottontail and Hamburger Hill. Seems my wife had been boiling some eggs and had left the house, forgetting that they were still on the stove boiling. They boiled themselves "dry" as my mother-in-law later explained the technical term to me. After boiling themselves dry, the eggs proceeded, one by one and in no particular order, to explode. It was the quintessence of "Not nice," as my grandmother's great condemnation would dictate.

Fast forward to my inlaws', all of whom I love and enjoy, but whose taste in TV and entertainment I cannot abide. Golf -- all the time. I hate golf. I'm nearly to the point where I hate people who like golf. Sitting in the family room with the giant TV tuned to golf and hearing my father- and brothers-in-law talking about their most recent golf games, I felt like I was being beaten by pillows that had been treated with a low-grade poison. However, they're good guys and often pause when they notice me turning green with boredom. We then speak and laugh about how I don't know how to hold a hammer properly, don't know the difference between a bolt and a nut, and that my wife is the one who installed our dishwasher when we moved into our house.

Then, dinner. Lovely, glorious dinner. No kidding. My mother-in-law, aside from physically looking like a fourth Charlie's Angel, cooks like Mary the Mother God. Spectacular food. Even had two pieces of carrot cake that my sister-in-law had somehow weirdly stepped in the day before.

The pinnacle of the evening was -- and always is at these family gatherings -- when my autoworker brother-in-law begins pontificating. He's a good guy, but an angry person. He informed us that "they" have a cure for cancer, but will not release it. He said much the same thing about fuel efficient vehicles (something I actually believe, as well). Oh, he went on to world politics, NAFTA, and invariably to his miserable job as a line-worker at an auto plant. People there earn $30/hour. There's a guy he knows whose only job is to wash and fuel executives' cars -- he earns $30/hour plus all of the lavish benefits autoworkers in my area enjoy. His reasoning why autoworkers do and should earn so much money? Because it's "braindead work." Funny, I always thought people should be paid well for using their brains.

This from the guy who once regaled us with his plans to murder his ex-girlfriend. No hyperbole, no figurative speech -- real, actual murder plans. As the writer and metaphysician of the clan, I couldn't even sit through that.

And so, with exploded egg-carnage awaiting me in my kitchen, and a confused and aggrieved cat waiting for me at home, I ducked out of my inlaws' house.

The origins of Easter celebrations may have their roots in the supernatural, the transcendant, the miraculous, but in the hands of human beings we'll bastardize everything and anything to the point of marking the day with chocolate eggs, hackneyed biblical movies on TV, and family rituals that fuel and amuse only satirists.

Instead of the Pope leading Roman Catholic Easter celebrations next year, I think we should have a southwestern Ontario autoworker take his place.

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