It never occurred to me that I was a hedonist, not until about a year ago. I’ve known for a few years now that I do not experience remorse, guilt, or feelings usually described as “knowing right from wrong.” I’ve been able to admit to myself for a while that the only reason (besides pleasure and pain, the subject of this post) that I don’t simply do whatever I want is that I am afraid of the punishment that could be inflicted on me. Some people might argue that this is simply not true. They would say that they know I am a good person, but I don’t think there is such a thing as a good person. No, there are people who do good things, or, at least, things the society they live in deems as good, but there are no good people.
My earliest memory is a happy one. I’m standing on a church pew, in empty sanctuary (which is what we called the church auditorium), and I am clapping gloved hands. They are making that sound hands wearing gloves make whenever you clap, that sound altogether different than the sound of palm against palm. It is less a clapping sound and more of a thumping, and I remember the sound and how happy it made that small boy, no more than two years old. And I remember, somehow, that I was not afraid.
I could ask the rhetorical, “What happened to that boy?” but I think anyone who knows me well could probably answer that. The same thing that happens to everyone. I learned to fear.
I used to believe that the Bible was the verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, perfect Word of God, factual in all aspects of morality, science, and history. I based my world view, my cosmology, and all of my core beliefs around what I thought was the perfect will of the Creator of the Universe.
Then I actually read the Bible for the first time. Continue reading
Dear President Obama,
My name is Lillian Carol Rogers. I have always wanted to meet you. There are even books about you in my school library. I like you because you are nice, strong, busy, and we have one thing in common: we both want no more guns!
Your faithful kid,
p.s. try to write back!
(Lillian is 8 years old. This letter will go into the mail on Monday.)
(The following was prompted by this post, in which it is asked, “If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?”)
It’s your first time in the city. The lights and sounds and smells are innumerable. With every step, something new comes into focus. Your senses can’t handle much more. You’re looking for a quiet café where you can catch your breath. Then you see a crowd of people huddled around someone. It’s hard to tell just who from where you stand, so you move closer. As you approach, you here an excited “Oh my God” followed closely by “How did he do that?” Continue reading
(The following was prompted by this post.)
The night of my sixteenth birthday, I had a sleepover party. I invited boys named Kevin and Rodney, and another boy, whose name escapes me. There was pizza and chips and Coke, which we ate entirely too quickly. We followed this up (also too quickly) with a game of tackle football in the back yard, and we only stopped when the mosquitoes got too thick. We came back inside, panting, and chugged as much soda as we could before succumbing to the burn in our throats. I opened presents, including a copy of NES Play Action Football (a four-player game requiring a special four-controller adapter, which was the only reason I invited what’s-his-name). We watched a VHS recording of CBS’s initial broadcast of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure while enjoying more pizza and Coke and, finally, my birthday cake–a homemade German chocolate my mom whipped up. No less than half the room spewed-while-laughing some combination of pizza, soda, and cake while watching the movie (it’s still one of my favorites). We fell asleep spread out across the living room floor, talking about girls and arguing about god. We slept the sleep of those who couldn’t possibly have done any more. Continue reading