“And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make clothes for themselves.” – Genesis 3:7
“God said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked?’” – Genesis 3:11
Is the little church dilapidated because the congregants can’t tell it’s dilapidated? Or is the little church dilapidated because there is just no way to work outdoors under the Houston summer sun while naked?
I was pondering this while we were walking up. Dana and the kids and I, walking up. And to tell you the truth – the God’s honest truth – I still don’t know the answer as I sit here writing to you about it today. But Missus O’Malley, she read from her index card that the learning of answers is not always what it is all about. That many times, it is all about the un-learning.
And that is one of the things I learned at the Church of Adam and of Eve Redux.
By now, I am sure you have heard about Dana’s religious kick. About her quest for meaning outside of law books. Her search for a God who does not hate her. And Dana is a Catholic, but we have still been going around checking out the competition, as they say.
So it has been a strange couple of months. And it got even stranger when Missus O’Malley greeted us at the door of the dilapidated little Church of Adam and of Eve Redux. Missus O’Malley, you see, was about five-foot-two. She was about two hundred pounds. And she was blonde and she was smiling and she was naked. Probably still is to this day.
She had bulbous nipples that always looked downward. She sort of drooled a little wherever she went. I did not think much of that until later, the nakedness being what caught the attention, walking in.
Out back of the church, there were apple trees. Date palms. Common fig trees. Full to the bursting with fruit. You could tell no one had so much as laid a finger on them. Branches hanging low, apples rotting right there before your eyes.
And inside, outside, lolling all around. Everywhere, congregants. Smiling. Drooling. Naked as jaybirds. Pieces of them a’hanging down like the fruit on those trees out back.
And according to them, all PERFECT in God’s eyes.
“In the Garden of Eden,” Missus O’Malley read from the index card, starting to explain, only it sounded like she said “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” because Missus O’Malley slurred her words a lot because all of the congregants slurred their words a lot.
But Missus O’Malley read, “In the Garden of Eden.”
She read, “We don’t know much about that tree!”
She read, “But we do know what eating that fruit did. Eating that fruit made them see that they were naked. Eating that fruit made God angry!”
Then she tapped at her forehead, at the surgical scar. She smiled. She winked at us. At Dana and the kids and at me.
You see, Missus O’Malley could just barely manage to read that card she held in her hand. But Missus O’Malley could not tell you what “naked” meant. Not even a clue.
Not since the baptismal surgery.
Because ever since the baptismal surgery, it’s like the Fall never happened at all! Not to smilin’ Missus O’Malley.
(And the drool came falling down…)
And Doctor Banjeer explained. As well as he still could explain, anyway, Doctor Banjeer not being a licensed medical doctor anymore. Not since his own baptismal surgery, I mean. Since the surgery, Doctor Banjeer might have been more pleasing to God, but he was less of a doctor, and he had to read words off of cards that he had written to himself long before.
Doctor Banjeer pointed at his scar. His scar looked like Missus O’Malley’s scar, which looked like the scar of everybody else who was lolling around drooling around in that little dilapidated Church of Adam and of Eve Redux.
“It’s not a lobotomy!” Doctor Banjeer read off his card.
“It is an extremely targeted and precise operation,” he read.
He read, “It targets only the part of the brain that would recognize…”
Then he flipped the card over…. “when the self is naked.”
Doctor Banjeer did not know what “naked” meant, either.
While he sat there before us, reading his index cards to us, our girls, Rachel and Angela, they looked sort of grossed out. I thought it might be the drool grossing them out, but I now think it was probably the balls.
The thing is, if Doctor “Lefty” Banjeer had covered his balls, he’d have been kicked out of the church right then and there. Because at the Church of Adam and of Eve Redux, there’s no greater sin than the sin of covering your bits and your pieces.
Thinking to cover bits and pieces was the sin that started all sin, as the folks at the Church of Adam and of Eve Redux say. Or it is, more precisely, what their index cards say.
And the naked church choir can’t sing on key. The naked church treasurer can’t count up the weekly collection plate. And there’s no need for Jesus if there never was a Fall.
And that, my friend, is some more of the things I learned at the Church of Adam and of Eve Redux.
“They are starting over! They are starting fresh!” Dana insisted later on, insisted when we were safely back out in the sinful, fallen world. “They’re giving themselves a second bite at the apple – and they’re NOT taking it!”
“They. Are. Drilling. Out. Their. Frontal. Lobes!” I yelled back. While I yelled this, I tapped at my forehead, at the place where my own baptismal surgical scar would be, were I to keep going back to the Church of Adam and of Eve Redux.
And then there are the kids. Rachel and Angela, at least, because Mascis is still too young to remember, thank God. And the kids, well, the kids might just be scarred for life. Scarred mentally for life from what they have seen, I mean. Not scarred like Missus O’Malley or scarred like Doctor Banjeer was scarred.
“Kay-Kay, do we have to go back to that place?” Angela asked me, to which I replied a resounding, “No!”
Talking loud, so Dana could hear me, I said, “We never have to go back to that place. Because you and I, we have FREE WILL!”
I said, “You and I, we are going to sit here and we are going to eat some fruit. Because-s-s-se it is-s-s-s good for us-s-s-s-s!”
I said, “Now go put some clothes on, Angela. You’re going to catch a death of cold.”