Saturday, January 30, 2010
WARNING: If you're looking to engage me in a serious discussion regarding the legal dealings of Satan, I can only do my best not to laugh directly in your face.
I should have posted that warning on my forehead two seconds before I chose to engage in the rather interesting conversation I had with a co-worker yesterday.
Nancy and I were working off site yesterday (sounds offical huh?) and she offered me a ride back to the office, which was lovely cause it's cold as shit in DC (currently, my children are playing hide and seek in 3-4 inches of falling snow) and I really didn't want to take another seven city-block hike back to the metro. Minutes later, we're in her car and I, very openly start judging her based on her CD collection. Like most Americans, she owns several Jay-Z albums including his last sub-par opus "Blueprint 3."
That's when she hits me with:
"I love Jay-Z but I'm a little worried about him."
"Those rumors that he's a devil worshipper."
(Didn't hear those rumors? Go here for the madness)
At THAT moment I should have kept my mouth shut or changed the subject, but I didn't. I couldn't. I was compelled to stay. Compelled to disobey (movie fans should know that line). I had the overwhelming desire to expose Nancy's belief in the devil and leave it ruins along side other broken myths like Santa Claus and good Maxwell albums. So . . . I continued.
No need to recount each line of our back and forth -- her insisting upon the possibility of Jay-Z's Satan worshipping and I speaking sanely -- since it all ends up at the turning point, the question I couldn't resist and the answer I knew was coming.
"Do you," I asked, "believe in the devil?"
"Yes," she said without hesistation.
"And, I assume, you also believe one can actually sell your soul to the devil?" In reality, I'm sure my face did not ACTUALLY look like Count Dracula licking his chops over some poor peasant girl's neck, but, goddamn it, it felt that way.
"Yes I do"
Oh god yes
"Why, you don't believe in the devil?" She shot back.
And that's when I let her have it. The whole kit and caboodle, the whole nine yards, the two piece and biscuit. It was the "I Have a Dream" speech for heathens. Oh, you should have BEEN there.
To put it mildly, she was flabbergasted and responded with the usual litany of half-questions:
"What do you . . ."
"How do you . . . "
"Where do you get your morals . . . "
"Well," she said, "you DO believe in God right?"
A good question that I don't have a clear answer for. If I do believe in "something" it's a universal force barely withing human comprehension -- like gravity. But mostly that question is about my belief in a paternalistic, Christian God -- something I do not believe in.
"So you've never been brought to your knees, huh?" She posited, somewhat smugly.
What she meant was, you don't believe in God because you've never had to. If the conditions were just shitty enough, I would become a believer. It's the spiritual equivalent of "you just haven't found the right guy yet." Sounds like a bad proposition -- "You'll love God when you've lost your hands in a dangerous pinocle game and your wife leaves you for Steve Buscemi." It's the "last resort God" or the old testament God who fucked over Job's life to prove to the devil (who God MADE) that he still was loyal to him. All in all, not the best pitch to make when slinging faith.
To be clear, I felt a little aggressed upon and shot back.
"You mean like losing my father last May?"
That shut her up.
I can't be sure why I was so intent on arguing over the merits of faith, but I was a dog with a bone -- quite rude considering she was giving me a ride. But I couldn't help it. I almost felt the need to apologize, but I didn't.
If there's a prayer circle in my office on Monday, I'll know I should have said "sorry."