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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mea Culpa, My Bad

As I sit down to write, the sun is setting. Ordinarily, I don't give too much of a shit about this particular, ever day occurance. A couple of weeks ago, though, when my wife and I were vacationing in Maine, we went to the tippy-top of Cadillac Mountain and watched the sun set, and I gave much more of a shit about the sun setting than I had in quite some time.

Tonight, I give a shit about the setting sun because I know it's going to be the last time I'll eat a drop of food until it sets again in twenty-four hours.

Yes, it's Yom Kippur, and I ask your forgiveness.

I know I can be an insensitive, brash bastard and I have an incurably big mouth, and I have no doubt that, at one time or another I've said something in the inglorious archives of this blog, or the last one, that upset you. Maybe I even did it deliberately, because sometimes I can be a spiteful, snarky little bitchwhore. Maybe you were put off by my urging you to rally around the cry of "Keep fucking that chicken." I don't know. I know I pissed some random person off about my post about staying in love. Well, I ask your forgiveness for all the times I've set you off, or made you cry, or that time where you got so incensed at what I'd written that you kicked your poodle down the stairs.

My wife and I atoned for our personal wrongs tonight, and we kissed and we hugged, and that felt really good. I hate having to atone to my wife, because that means that I haven't been the perfect husband, but then, of course I'm not. And she's not the perfect wife. The crumpled tissues I find in between the sofa cushions tell that tale. She told me that, in the true spirit of Yom Kippur, you are not supposed to say, "I'm sorry," you are supposed merely to ask for forgiveness. It's not an easy thing to ask for, like a dime or a piece of Juicy Fruit, but it feels good and humbling and warm to do so. You should try it, at the risk of sounding like your rabbi. Or your mother.

Sometimes I think that my heart will fall apart if I think too much about all the rotten things that are littered through the past of my life, even the very recent past. There aren't so many misdeeds, just mostly bad words. My tongue is sharp and cruel when it has to be, and sometimes when it wants to be, and it has always been my primary means of defense. And offense.

Yom Kippur can be dangerous if you really let it get to you. Your mind can take you to all kinds of unpleasant places, if you let it. Not only will you start to get extremely sad by thinking about all the people whom you've wronged, upset and angered over the past year, but you'll also inevitably start amassing negative thoughts about all the deedledicks and whorebuckets who have hurt you, too. And then it starts getting all cyclical and negative and just plain bad. Yom Kippur, if well observed, though, can be like flushing the toilet after a violent, vitriolic shit. It's pretty fucking cleansing. It's Roto-Rooter for the Jewish Soul.

There a certain person out there to whom I should be asking forgiveness, but I won't be. I wonder how God feels about that, if He notices at all. My boss randomly asked me if I believe in God and I just stared at her. I suppose, if I do believe in God, I believe in a God who thinks you're a shit for not asking forgiveness from your former best friend, and loves you anyway. I believe in a God who looks at streaming web porn, too. I believe in a God reads blogs, because they're funny and inconsequential and mean and sometimes better than the newspaper columns. I believe in a God who thinks it's okay to sit on your ass watching TV and be sad on a rainy afternoon, even when the rest of the street is out mowing their lawns and trimming their hedges. I believe in a God who knows that Yom Kippur is better in principle than in reality, but fasts anyway.

I believe in a God who wears a shirt and tie on Sunday, even if he has no place at all to go.

I also believe in asking for forgiveness, even though it's hard and messy.

I hope God can forgive me for not asking for forgiveness from my friend. He probably will. After all, He created humans, and nobody knows how fallible and petty, stubborn and stupid they are more than He does.


  1. Man. Wow. First of all, um, I don't know what the standard salutation for this holiday is. Somehow Happy Day of Atonement doesn't seem proper.

    Second, you've pointed out yet another flaw in Christianity- they don't atone for shit, ever. The closest they come is the whole "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" bit. I haven't trespassed in years. I'm a judgmental and greedy bitch, but I'm not the type to violate private property. Anyhoo.

    If you're not ready to ask someone for forgiveness, then God is probably more irritated with them than with you. Just sayin. You're a pretty reasonable guy.

    As far as my trespassers? I'm glad they haven't asked for my forgiveness. I like letting their guilt eat at them while they sleep at night. They'll get theirs. Someday, a few years from now, and I probably won't even know that it's happening. I'll just wonder why I'm compelled to walk around with a shit eating grin on my face. ;)

  2. Well... we have it easier than the Muslims, that's for sure.

    A whole MONTH! Hah!

    Happy Yom Kippur, my brother. Glad you had a good one.

    I wish I could say something sensible about religion, but it's hard. Um. I'm sure you atoned more than most other people/heretics, and so if God really does hold our lives in the balance, you're likely to be one of the favoured!


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