Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Intellectual Middle Finger

After the sermon the pastor went to the door. As the flock proceeded out, he leaned to each and whispered something in their ears. Emil averted his eyes. He was only here to impress his Catholic girlfriend and felt awkward enough before looking into the eyes of a guy in a skullcap and dress.

The pastor leaned in, face full of aged freckles. Emil tilted his head to one side and the pastor whispered to him.

“God bless you.”

“I…” Emil began to respond, then lost his sentence. The pastor didn’t move, and suddenly he had to say something.

“I don’t actually believe in God.”

He could see the pastor’s body. He imagined the guy’s face contorting in disgust, but his shoulders didn’t so much as tense. The pastor whispered again.

“May an unusual number of good things happen to you for what appears to be no reason.”

The pastor patted him on the shoulder with one hand, and waved for the next person in the procession over. Line etiquette forced Emil to walk away, though he stared at the man as he descended the steps. Had that old man given him the intellectual middle finger?


  1. I liked this too. It's always wryly amusing when it dawns on one too late that he has been dismissed by a polite and casual turn of phrase from someone more intelligent or more at home in a given situation.

    You, of course, expressed this much more elegantly and sensibly than I just tried to do.

  2. Not only is it really clever, but I love that the pastor could perfectly honestly have just given him the only kind of blessing an atheist would accept! It's funny and sweet.


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