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Joe, the eyebrow thing, God, Starr, Sophia, Sophia and Sic

Sic’s neighbor Joe -- not to be confused with Luigi -- was having an after-work drink in a local bar when a gorgeous woman entered. Joe couldn’t help staring. The woman noticed this and came directly toward him.

(Don’t be nervous about reading on -- this is a family newspaper.)

“I’ll do anything for you, absolutely anything you want, for $100,” she says. “But on one condition: You have to tell me what you want in just three words.”

Joe, mesmerized, slowly takes his wallet from his pocket and counts out five $20 bills, which he presses into her hand. He looks deeply into her eyes and says, “Paint my house.”

* * *

Those who think orthodoxy or even holiness might be reasons Rome makes certain people bishops are wrong. Eyebrows are the litmus test. Next time you meet him, look your bishop in the eyebrows -- if they’re big and bushy, you know he’s the genuine article. (Someone should write a thesis about this.)

* * *

More cute letters from cute kids to God:

“Dear God: Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.” (Danny)

“Dear God: I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions.” (Ruth)

“Dear God: I bet it is very hard for you to love everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family, and I can never do it.” (Nan)

“Dear God: If you watch me in church Sunday, I’ll show you my new shoes.” (Mickey)

“Dear God: I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.” (Chris)

Dear God: We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said you did it. So I bet he stoled your idea.” (Donna)

* * *

Dan Brown from Fullerton and Italy sends the following comment on Augustine’s Confessions from one of his classes: “This book contains the often quoted passage ... ‘Give me chastity and contingency, only not yet.’ ”

* * *

Are you sitting down? A message from cyberspace and, we think, an entity called The Onion goes: “In a historic reversal of its nearly 2,000-year-old pro-meek stance, the Catholic church announced Tuesday that it is permanently rescinding the traditional ‘blessed’ status of the world’s meek. ... ‘Screw the meek,’ the Vatican is said to have said.

“Citing ‘two millennia of inaction and nonachievement’ by the world’s impoverished and downtrodden, the Vatican contends that the meek’s historic inability to improve their worldly status constituted ‘bad faith’ on their part. ... ‘For years the Catholic church has made every effort to help them, but enough is enough. We are patient but we are not saints.’ ”

* * *

When This Space reported some time ago that a new novel of dubious merit called Papabile by the person on page 2 actually contained sexual material on page 64, only two doughty readers wrote to correct us. Jim O’Leary of Corpus Christi suggested page 41 instead, while Fr. Joe Gallagher of Baltimore said page 94. Sic now confesses telling a lie, not believing anyone would read the book in the first place. (But now we know who went looking for the sexy stuff!)

* * *

A year ago the pundits were saying Kenneth Starr had spent $40 million on the Clinton debacle. The pundits are still saying $40 million. Are the Starr persons working pro bono, or could some mathematician cast the necessary light?

* * *

Patrick Marrin, editor of Celebration, contends it’s not the bishops’ eyebrows: The litmus test is the ability to “walk” that crosier with the left hand (you don’t just carry a crosier, you know), dispense apostolic blessings with the right, while walking in procession all the while. Try it sometime. The ability simultaneously to chew gum, while a definite sign of versatility, is not conducive to the red hat.

* * *

Sic cannot decide whether various lawyers actually said these things they are alleged to have said to witnesses:

“Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?”

“Did he kill you?”

“How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?”;

“How many times have you committed suicide?”;

“Are you qualified to give a urine sample?”;

Q: “You were shot in the fracas?”;

A: “No, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.”;

Q: “All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?”;

A: “Oral.”;

Q: “Doctor, is it possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?”;

A: “No.”;

Q: “How can you be so sure?”;

A: “Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.”;

Q: “But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?”;

A: “It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.”;

* * *

Sic’s Pet of the Week section has had its moments. This week’s appearance by Sophia the Pug, roommate of NCR’s John Allen and his wife, Shannon, may not be one of them. But if even 10 people write to defend this beast’s reputation (recall the biblical reading about 10 just -- yes, men), Sic promises to buy the suddenly beautiful animal a bag of kibbles and stuff like that.

* * *

Sophia from Farmington, no relation to the pug above, writes, “Dearest Sic: How could you? You can’t blink on the matter of infallibility.”

This is a reference to Sic’s throwing in the towel on infallibility some months ago. We had for a year or more worked ourselves into contortions of angst trying to squeeze a few infallible drops out of the deposit of faith, but the well was dry. Everything we felt vaguely infallible about didn’t seem worth pronouncing on, and vice versa, or something.

Then, adding insult to injury, the pope got cocky and went on an infallible rampage. In the past few weeks he has dragged everything faintly resembling faith and morals into his infallible tent accompanied by threats of anathema.

Don’t bother taking out one of those full-page ads in The New York Times: Sic is not planning an infallibility comeback.

* * *

A July letter from Boston’s Bishop William Murphy, moderator of the curia, to the priests of the archdiocese is full of housekeeping items such as which lectionary they may use. Then follows an endearing paternal admonition: “This is the fourth year I say to all of you: Please make sure to take time for vacation, rest and renewal. We all have had a busy year. I see too many priests who are oversextending themselves ... ”

National Catholic Reporter, August 28, 1998