Crazy Old Man on Laurel Street



Religion is man’s feeble attempt to explain the unexplainable.

I hammer this nail over and over again. When I was four years old my grandmother took me to the Baptist church on Laurel Street in Shreveport, Louisiana. I’d sit in the pew and the preacher would scream at me, saying that I was hell bound. I’d try my best to crawl through the pew to get away from God’s wrath, even though I couldn’t see God. I didn’t have to see Him. The man screaming was enough, and I reasoned in my little head that if this guy was that mad at me how much madder could God be since this fellow was only an employee.

My grandmother bought into all of this. She wasn’t evil, she was a Louisiana grandmother, and that’s what you did to your grandkids back then to set them on the right path. If you’ll note I didn’t say my mother was with us, and most certainly my dad wasn’t. I would only learn after his death that dad had been very religious in his younger life, with people telling me he would often come walking through the pines singing gospel songs. That is until his little Baptist girlfriend turned out to be a whore. He walked away. He never talked against religion, he just didn’t buy into it. My mother, on the other hand, was a member of a street band for the Salvation Army. She went from Shreveport to the east coast playing her clarinet and collecting money in a bucket. After granny scared the hell completely out of me, I’d come home and mom would set me straight.

My mother belonged to something I called the First Church of the Human Brain. She believed that the Jews completely screwed up the Old Testament, and Jesus came down and put everything back on track. There were no Adam and Eve, the Red Sea never got parted, pork chops were just fine, and don’t listen to that fool down at the First Baptist Church on Laurel Street. She did feed me catfish on Friday, but we were Cajuns, and Cajuns do that stuff anyway.

After my accident that blessed me with my limp, and a terrible marriage to my first ex-wife, I went down to the Memorial Baptist Church in Killeen, Texas and got saved. Now, I didn’t understand a word in the Bible, couldn’t even recite the Lord’s Prayer, but I was saved! Didn’t save my marriage, however. My wife took off with her sister’s husband. The last time I saw her car at Fort Hood, I noticed a white Bible on the passenger’s seat in the front. I took comfort in that.

Time, tears and ex-wives went by, and I finally settled on a woman I couldn’t run off. She had two boys, and I had two boys. She insisted that we go to Memorial Baptist, and we did. For some reason she put a lot of stock in Rosaries, and by and by I met Father Ev. Father Ev was All American, Notre Dame 1954 and had almost exactly the same views my mother had. I was confirmed on December 26, 2008 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church down on Rancier Ave, Killeen, Texas.

Brothers and sisters, I was a Hail Mary Catholic. I was a defender of the faith, and would argue tooth and nail with anyone who dared to challenge me. I wrote a book! In “Sharon” I intended to expound the towering theology of Catholicism and its dominance over all other faiths. Didn’t end up that way. Mom’s ghost and Father Ev’s conversations kept coming to me, and that led to the closing scene of the book. In the book a Bible beating revivalist preacher meets a girl, Sharon, who exposes her beliefs to him in a series of five meetings, under a tree beside a church. I intended these meetings to be a huge revelation of the truths of the Catholic Church. The only problem was that Sharon wasn’t talking to the preacher she was talking to me!

In the end of the book, as the preacher lay dying, she comes to him one last time. When he tells her that he still doesn’t understand, she responds with, “The Greeks called me ‘Sophia.’ The Rabbis know me as ‘Shekinah.’ Ibn al Arabi met me during his circumambulations around the Kaaba, and he called me ‘Nizam.’ I whispered into Solomon’s ear when no one else could hear, and I’m the one who knelt before that angel in that little room in Nazareth. For I am the Wisdom of God, and anyone who seeks me with a pure, and diligent heart, may hold me in their arms.”

I have no idea where that statement came from and it only took me twenty years to understand it myself. I began to have questions. I have been called an atheist, but that’s not true. I believe in God. I just don’t believe in man! When man takes quill in hand and tries to reduce God to the pages of a book it never works. If you will note, Jesus didn’t write anything. He spoke! Only centuries later did men take it upon themselves to write those words, and by then the words were shrouded in opinion. Same thing happened to Mohammed. Man couldn’t write a grocery list, but there were enough fools around after his death to codify his desert ramblings for posterity. Joseph Smith could write, and write he did. Got himself blasted out of a window in a county jail by other devout believers with their own book of rules.

If you insult Mormonism you get an argument. If you draw a picture of Mohammed you get your head cut off, and if you insult Born Agains they show up at your funeral and call you a queer. Christians can be obnoxious, but Islam is crazy. Yeah, I just said that. Wanna know why? Because Arabs have not evolved to the same point as Western Culture that’s why. Racist enough for ya? Day after day I see ISIS coming up with new and inventive ways to kill infidels. I’ve seen so many I have begun to critique style. From simple beheadings to suspending the elect about a fire and slow roasting them into eternity, ISIS is the master at human misery. The end product of man putting words in God’s mouth! The only difference between them and that crazy old bastard at the Baptist Church down on Laurel Street in the fact that we in the west have developed a frontal lobe, something Muslims simply do not have!

Wanna irritate a Muslim? Just say the name Aisha. She was Mohammed’s little five year old child bride. Now, I’m not getting jellyfish about this. Marrying a five year old is a little left of center, but folks, let’s admit it, all Arabs are left of center, ok? They don’t play with the same cards as the rest of us, and they certainly don’t play with a full deck. To be honest with you, little Aisha was probably the only Arab in history who had a frontal lobe and she proved it by advising and leading the Muslims to the compiling of the Qu’ran. Do I approved of marrying a girl in diapers? Of course not. Do I consider the society that allows this sort of thing? You betcha!

When people try to explain what they do crazy things where marriage is concerned It gets well, crazy! Actually, I fully understand political “marriages” between tribes of Neanderthals trying to weld a connection that will stop continual fighting. Arranged marriages between royalties happened, also. Do I understand a wedding night with Shirley Temple on the Good Ship Lolly Pop? Uh, I’m from Texas. We hang those people down here. I am a product of my culture.

I don’t try to make fun of little religious traditions. From funny little boxes on foreheads, to holy underwear, to beanies in heads, It’s not what’s on the head, it’s what’s inside it. That fella, Jesus said something about that. Whited tombs, I think. Seems He was always right. Just Him and Rush Limbaugh. If your attire makes it for you, fine. Wanna stone a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader for looking good in shorts, problemo!

I break down Bibles, Qu’rans, and Books of Mormon like this: If it’s stupid, or mean, then God had nothing to do with it. Man did that. God created man and woman to support and enjoy each other, and make children. Does God hate homosexuals? Why? They’re not making any babies. If you think they’re an abomination then they’re going to hell. Abortion? God creates life. It’s not man’s providence to judge, or destroy. Seems that same guy from Nazareth said that, too. I can never bring myself to say that there is no God. We still can’t make a leaf! As we discover more about the universe we see that something was involved a bit smarter than a man wandering in the desert, a farm boy, or a crazy old man on Laurel Street in Shreveport, Louisiana!

The Butcher Shop