Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Security Alert

Today, the St Andrews police (i.e., the real Scotland Yard) reported that someone was rubbed by a gang of ruffians somewhere on campus. They therefore warned students to be extra careful when walking home late at night from the ‘library’ (which is one of the many Scottish words for ‘pub’). Try as I may, I can’t bring myself to take their admonition seriously. Can you imagine leaving Harlem, New York only to be mugged on the mean streets of…Fife? How would I ever be able to look at my own reflection in the mirror knowing that I was held up by three men wearing plaid skirts? But let me not make light of the affair, since gang violence of any stripe is always a serious matter—especially when kilts and bagpipes are involved. What’s worse, according to the police reports the entire ordeal took much longer than was necessary since halfway through the mugging the assailants had to break for tea, returning to finish up the crime a full twenty-five minutes later. This was of course a great inconvenience to the victim, who had to wait the entire time in the cold dark alleyway until the bandits returned. But at least one of the hoodlums was thoughtful enough to bring the muggee back a scone as a token of apology for making him wait.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Prudent Omissions

There are many things that are better left unsaid. For example...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Immoral Minority

It’s hard being the minority, especially since one often finds oneself outnumbered. This is no less true in the sphere of religion; and when it comes to the flock of God, atheists are clearly the black sheep. But I haven’t always been a member of the god-hating atheist minority. On the contrary, I was actually quite religious as a child. When I was only six years old I decided to enter the priesthood. Of course my parents assumed that it was just a childish phase I was going through, especially when I began holding mass for my Lego blocks and G.I. Joe action figures. But I approached my ministerial aspirations with the determination of a wine stain on a silk blouse. At once I implemented a strict spiritual dietary regimen consisting of the Old and New Testament scriptures, the writings of the church fathers and Veggie Tale videos. My bedroom wall boasted a signed pin-up poster of Mother Theresa and next to my closet stood a life-size cut-out of the pope. Each morning the sun peeked over the eastern horizon I could be found at my desk, wrapped in earnest prayer, bible study and mediation. I became so well known for my piety that in my school yearbook I was voted most likely to move to the Midwest, found an ascension cult and die in a shootout during an FBI raid of the cult compound.

However, things took a turn for the worse when I began asking sceptical questions for which I could find no satisfactory answer. Questions like: if God is benevolent, why is there so much suffering in the world? Or, if we believe there must be a God because everything must have a cause, then who caused God? And most perplexing of all, how could a merciful God allow Madonna to put out another album? I grew disillusioned. Unable to find the answers I was looking for I turned to a life of debauchery. Soon I was experimenting with drugs, imbibing copious amounts of alcohol and waking up each morning next to a different woman. Then I turned seven years old and I decided that enough was enough. There must be some intellectually honest way of relating to the world, a way of living that does not involve telling yourself lies like there is a life after death and Jared really did lose all that weight by just eating Subway sandwiches. It was then that I discovered atheism—a faithless belief system that emphasized personal responsibility, open rational inquiry and the eating of the raw flesh of Christian babies. (Of course I’m only kidding about the last bit; we atheists prefer our Christian babies steamed with asparagus in a light vinaigrette.) Ever since my conversion (or is that unconversion?) to atheism, I have grown to appreciate that the world really is as fucked up as it appears. No more cheerful fairytales about Baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Big Foot and the other fanciful characters of Christian folklore. Now it was just nature red in tooth and claw, or sometimes white depending on who’s your manicurist. Now, thanks to atheism, I have no problem admitting that life is unfair: that sometimes good people do suffer, sometimes wicked people do prosper and yes, video really did kill the radio star.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Diane Revisited

Diane and I have been going steady for a month now. However, it turns out that she has several faults I was not aware of, the chief one being that she is much too pretty to be seen with in public. Whenever we’re seen walking along hand in hand, onlookers typically sport a “how does a guy like that get a girl like her” look on their face. I expressed my concern about this fact to Diane, but she glibly brushed it off by saying she didn’t care much for penguins or people’s opinion of them. Which brings me to Diane’s second fault—she never seems to care about the things that are really important. Personally, I live and die by other people’s opinions, especially when they have to do with the various species of aquatic birds. Diane says she likes me mainly for my mind. But this comes as little consolation since I recently overheard her telling her best friend how silly she felt dating a guy who didn’t speak English. Basically, she assumes that all my utterances are either unintelligible gibberish or some private idiolect I’ve invented—but as of yet she hasn’t determined which. I tried to explain to her that I did speak the Queen’s language but she just nodded her head and smiled in the same manner one would when listening to a non-Native speaker one couldn’t understand. I contemplated breaking up with Diane, until I learned that she has ties to the Scottish Mafia and that she had a hit put out on the last sorry bloke that broke up with her. I can see the newspaper headlines now: "Death by haggis!"