Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Merle and the Fetus Christmas Letter - Part 1

It's possible that I am the freak magnet.

It's been easy to blame it all on my parents. They're often responsible for the introduction of freaks into my life, but even without them around the crazy still finds me. I try to hide but the crazy sniffs me out.

Here is an example.

This week I received a month-late Christmas letter from my former neighbors in Atlanta. I haven't seen them since 2000 but we still send cards and they're nice people in spite of the fact that they scare the ever loving crap out of me. I can't chide them for sending their Christmas letter a month late because if I had five kids all a year or so apart I can't imagine that I'd even have the time or energy to get a Christmas letter together at all, much less actually send it to people in the real mail who I haven't seen in eight years. They get a lot of credit for that.

My issue was the content of the letter. When I opened it up I was treated to a disturbingly detailed rendition of the ten developmental stages of a fetus. As drawn by a six year old. No, for real. It is only a matter of a decade before this child blows up a federal building.

All I'm saying is that it's just kind of creepy to open a Christmas letter and see developing fetuses as envisioned by a child and when I read the letter, most of it was about "the unborn" which seemed to be a big theme in my former neighbors' 2008.

I don't write a Christmas letter. I am too lazy. If I want someone to know what the hell I'm doing I send them right here. And really, my Christmas letter wouldn't be particularly fascinating anyway. Mine would have gone something like this:

"This year I worked my ass off and so did my husband. Last May we went to see my grandfather for the last time and saw a horse die. Then we went to Philadelphia and ate it. A few weeks later my grandfather died and I went to his funeral. My sister got taken by a con artist and my parents hung out with hookers. After that I spent a month in Iowa. I had diarrhea for most of this year and finally learned how to spell it. Then we both worked some more and I went to Millpond for Christmas which sucked and now we're both back to working some more."

There you go. That's my Christmas letter, 100% free of fetuses, as it should be. See how boring I am?

But perhaps if you're to understand the "unborn" gracing my former neighbors' Christmas letter, you should get a little background on my former neighbors themselves. And by the way can I just add that when people say "unborn" all I can think of are vampires because it sounds like "undead" to me and is often said in the same reverent, weird tone normally reserved for bloodsuckers.

I moved into my house in Atlanta in January of 1996. Across the street I soon learned, was a boarding house of sorts for Christian male college students, which was owned by another, similar minded young man who had already graduated. Behind the boarding house was a Baptist Church and down the street from that there was a mosque. All of it fascinated me.

A few days after I moved in the owner of the Christian boarding house of sorts came over and gave me a big ass apple pie that he had baked himself and although it was a little sour and the crust had the consistency of cardboard, I of course, ate it anyway and was utterly endeared of my neighbor. His name was Merle, which is a strange name for a young man. He wasn't even thirty back then. He also looked exactly, in every way, like Kip from Napoleon Dynamite, although I didn't know that then because the movie was years from even being an idea. Here is a picture if you need one.

Merle was a Jesus Freak. I was already well acquainted with Jesus Freakery by then as I lived in Atlanta where there are several of these types and because I am related to many of them. But Merle was a new kind of Jesus Freak. I assumed he was a Baptist, living in front of a Baptist church and all, but he quickly explained that he was not. Damn those Baptists to Hell. They believe in free will. Merle was a hard-core, pre-destined Calvinist.

I had never heard such nonsense in my entire life. Nothing that Merle attempted to explain to me about the doctrine of pre-destination made a lick of sense to me. Finally I chalked it up to the fact that I was not one of the elect and that I was going to Hell. That at least was the one thing both Baptists and Calvinists could agree upon - that I was definitely, without a question going to Hell. I lived with my boyfriend after all. When I first moved in across the street my whore ass wasn't even engaged.

I think this started a major competition amonst the residents of the boarding house. They weren't all Calvinist Presbyterians like Merle. A couple of them went to Merle's church, but most of them were Baptists who went to the church in the backyard and they all just agreed to disagree about the free will issue and lived in Jesus-y harmony there together. But all of them, no matter their sect, wanted to be the one who finally converted me from my sinning ways. I think they all secretly wanted me to turn into a good Christian girl that they could marry.

I found this pleasantly amusing. I also found a lot of the Christian boys pretty good company. They often had big dinner parties where they invited all the single girls they were interested in courting and the girls would show up in big flower print dresses with bows and primly nibble at the food the boys managed to prepare. Then if a boy talked to them they'd blush and titter and the whole thing was just more entertainment than I could stand.

I lived with Evil Ex at the time and Evil Ex thought that the people across the street were the biggest pack of wingnuts he'd ever seen so he wouldn't have anything to do with them.

"You want to hang out with them go ahead. I'm going to play golf for three days straight."

Back then I thought golf games really took three days. What Evil Ex was actually saying was that he was thrilled to have a bunch of religious fanatics occupying my time because it freed him up to go spend three days at his girlfriend's house.

Merle and I got to be really good friends and he made it clear from the start that he was not interested in me as anything more than a friend (seriously my heart was broken over that) and that he was being a good Christian neighbor and that even though he had no idea what God's plan for my destiny ultimately was, that he felt it was his duty to be a good role model of Christianity for me anyway. Whatever. I thought he just liked hanging out with me all the time because I was funny and that he just didn't want to admit it. We used to go out to eat all the time, except Merle would only eat at greasy spoon soul food places. Sometimes we'd go run errands together. If Evil Ex was away and I needed something fixed, Merle would fix it for me. He rushed me to the vet when my cat got hit by a car and once he even took me to the hospital when I had food poisoning and then called into work for me so I wouldn't get fired. Merle was a good friend, but we used to get into some rip roaring arguments. This is because he believed in some ridiculous stuff. His side of the story is that we argued because I was a sinning heathen who did not have God's grace. But still, we had a good time arguing anyway. One of Merle's favorite arguments was against environmentalists whom he felt were sinning because the Lord had given us the earth to exploit, not to take care of. We were SUPPOSED to pollute and use up the resources because God intended this and DUH when Jesus came back in a couple years he was going to destroy the old earth and make a new one anyway so everything would be fixed. If you tried to save the earth you just didn't have any faith. Once we also argued over his notion that the only purpose that trees served was asthetic.

But the one thing that really troubled Merle was that he was nearing thirty and had not found a wife. He was lonely. He even bought a mini-van because he so longed to fill it with Godly children. He tried visiting many different churches scouting out the single, young girls, but either they weren't interested in him, there weren't any young girls or they weren't Godly enough. Merle lamented that he might remain a virgin forever.

Finally though, we managed to find him a prospect who had a lot of potential. But first we had to break her out of Christian college.

(More later on this story. I have to go run some errands.)


BluHipo said...

I am on the edge of my seat. I have to know how you broke a good Christian girl out of college to marry this guy.

drawer queen said...

Damn girl, I am going to move to Fl and run your errands for you so you can just write these stories!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

"The Unborn" is a name of a horror movie that was just released. Creepy, right?

Michelle said...

Aaugh! You always break when the story is getting good! Hurry up, hurry up!

MtnMama said...

As ever, I much enjoy your writing. Thoughts:

Six year olds that are not being brainwashed by their parents have no business caring about – let alone diagramming – the stages of a fetus. Talk about messing with their heads.

Just because the Evil Ex was evil – and I totally agree that he was – doesn’t preclude him from being spot-on that the people across the street were the biggest pack of wingnuts. Life is funny that way.

Why is it that ugly, socially retarded people are so attracted to religion? Down deep inside it must be comforting to them to think that there must be a Plan. Otherwise, God is just mean.

Dayna said...

A good friend would have called the fashion police and made him gone from looking like Kip to looking like Brad Pitt.

Why would he want to break a good Christain girl out of college.

Wide Lawns said...

I believe Mtn, that without religion, as I will write in Part 2, that Merle would have had zero chance of getting laid. Religion gave him at least a 25% chance that one day someone would have to have sex with him.

FreeDragon said...

I looked at the picture and OMG! it's Larry, the Jesus Freak from my work. So now we know they're born that way and there is no cure.

electricdaisy said...

"When I first moved in across the street my whore ass wasn't even engaged." hahaha. Love it. Can't wait for part 2, as always.

Joy said...

Oh my god. Jesus Freakery? AHAHAHAHA!!! I love that and if you will give me your permission, I would like to use that one. I'll give you credit every time I swear.

This one is a real good one. Looking forward to the rest of it!

Christi Lee said...

Yay! Another great read!

I feel like a stalker and I just made myself learn how to spell diarrhea. You are also evil.

KT said...

Can't wait to read the rest! Stories about breaking people out of Christian colleges (camps, too, I suppose) are always awesome :D

Emma said...

I can't wait for part two! I just *have* to know how you broke out the christian girl!

Thanks for the best laugh in ages!

Miss Kitty said...

Oh, AWESOME. I've known many Jesus Freaks, too...and now you've inspired me to write my own posts about them.

Can't wait for the next one!

nandy said...

Our sojourns in Atlanta (or at least, the Atlanta area) overlapped. I lived in Marietta from mid-January 1996 until December 1997.

"Born-agains", were all around, but my ex hung around with a lot of people from Little Five Points. Now, there was a completely different set of people for you.

More, please!

CC said...

I went to a college full of Jesus freaks. Most of them were nice, but some of them were downright scary. Maybe I'll write about them someday. They sure make for entertaining neighbors, though!

Renee in Seattle said...


Laughing my ass off, can't wait for the next installment!!!

Renee in Seattle said...

Oh too funny, my word verification on my last post was exhore.... the computer knows things....

Kali said...

Mtn Mama is right: Evil Ex was right about the Jebus Freaks. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

And I'm moving down to Florida to hang out with you. I have to see some of this freakery up close!

impatient said...

aaah where is the next part!

Joann said...

eewww, something tells me this is going to get ugly....can't wait..

Anonymous said...

I despise the annual letters. This is my response to one that really made my ass itch:

Dear Folks

I can't believe it's already almost Christmas and nearly time for the great annual "Tree Decorating and Tossing in the Yard" event held annually at my parents' home! Ah, Christmas... the smells of turkey baking and plates of dinner being hurled across the table accompanied by choruses of "fuck you, too"!!

Children screaming, my father yelling and my mother crying ... yes, folks, that time is upon us again.

So to bring you up to date on my life thus far I'm unemployed but have still managed to split the atom (or was that my pants? these drugs I constantly take and all that drinking sometimes leaves things a bit confused). My current activities are watching walls close in, dust gather and my toenails grow. I wipe my ass whenever nature calls ... AND, I'm happy to report that I'm not constipated anymore. Life is indeed grand.

To all of my acquaintances that sent cheery, bragging annual letters explaining how little Johnny won first prize in the 'Name the Gerbil' contest I want to assure you that I find you all pompous assholes and I do not GIVE a fuck about your granola crunching, tree hugging, sushi eating, brand-name wearing, white collar lives. Oh, and leave off with all the "!!!" too ... I *get* that you're really pleased with yourselves.

Merry Christmas, you pompous bastards.


JoeinVegas said...

Sounds like Earl and friends follow you around.

Missicat said...

How are ya coming on those errands??

Sauntering Soul said...

I really wish you would tell me what street this was on. Hot Brazilian and I will be moving in together when he gets back from Brazil and living in sin. Maybe we could move to your old place and give Merle a new project to work on (me). I currently live on an Atlanta street right next door to a half-way house for mental patients. Your wingnuts sound way more interesting than they have been for the past 4.5 years.

Sandy said...

Hello! What a delightful read! Miss Kitty sent me because I left a comment and my word verification was "impacted" and she said I should tell you. I can't wait to see what you do with that one. You are very funny. I was ROTFLMAO at "When I first moved in across the street my whore ass wasn't even engaged." I, too, can't wait for Part 2!

Laura said...

This has nothing to do with your current post, but I remember you wrote about how you were interested in polygamy in the FLDS. If I could recommend a few autobiographical books by women who were in the sect such as "Stolen Innocence" by Elissa Wall, and especially "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop. Carolyn Jessop's account was particularly amazing.

Kelly Hudgins said...

Oh, Lordy....Merle must be an "outlier," as all the Presbyterians I know think predestination means God loves everyone from the start.

Can't wait to read Part II

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