"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling


"I am of the Devil's party."

I have a number of t-shirts which I like to wear to work. Each one has a slogan or somesuch message being delivered to the denizens of my always-fair-in-the-movies-but-rather-strikingly-less-so-in-the-reality city. Here is one of them.

Another shirt I wear has a picture of Hellboy. Created by Mike Mignola, Hellboy is a demon from Hell sent during WWII to destroy the earth. However, things go awry; he's raised by a kindly scientist instead and is now the world's greatest paranormal investigator.

C'mon: How can you not love that? Hellboy is the star of comics, a couple novels, the calendar in my kitchen, and next summer: a movie.

Anyway, I wore the Hellboy shirt to work a few weeks ago. A woman I was checking out videos to noticed it and said, "Hellboy? What's that?" Not one to miss a chance to promote my favorite storytelling medium, I replied.

"Hellboy is a comic book character. He's the world's greatest paranormal investigator, who just so happens to be a demon from hell."

"Oh, I don't think I like that."

I smiled, and my tone was pure helpfulness.

"Ah, there's nothing to worry about, m'am. He may be from Hell, but he was raised by a good family; so that's all right."

"I don't think you should wear that. You know I'm a Christian and warm tapioca pudding for brains. You can tell from the nonsenical natterings pouring from my mouth that I haven't had an original thought since Carter was in office."

Okay, you got me. The woman did not say any of the above after the word 'Christian.' She might as well have though.

Yesterday I wore a different t-shirt to work. This one is black with a lot of laughing skeletons on it. It's a Mexican 'Day of the Dead' shirt. Fine, right?

Wrong. The same woman shows up. She reminds me of our previous exchange, and hands me a flyer that she made herself.

It was a photocopy, and the original was written in pen. Presumably she wrote it, but it might have been hashed out by some other imbecile. The flyer (which I do not have beside me) proclaimed that we should: Boycott Halloween! Boycott the Devil's Day! and then a whole lot of crap about how Satanists sacrifice animals to the Devil and try to get our children and we need to put the Devil out of business (as if he has a storefront operation), etc. and so on.

She was going on about all this verbally as well while backing out the door. The other people in line were laughing at her.

It occurred to me that in my entire life I have never been proselytized to by a Satanist. No one has ever approached me and extended an offer to attend services in worship of Their Satanic Majesty. Ever been invited to an orgy by a Satanist or a Midsummer's Midnight Picnic of Evil (B.Y.O.V.)?

No, you probably haven't and neither have I. Which is too bad, as the picnics sound particularly memorable.

I am so sick of Born Again Christian doorknobs accosting me to tell of their Big Jewish Superhero. What, do they think I've never heard it before? That I'll mistake the bovine gleam in their eyes for the spark of intelligence and a novel way of looking at the world? The point of view they present on a regular basis is like a McDonald's Super-Sized Anathema Shake, and I'm not having any.

By the way, has anyone seen the t-shirts, stickers, etc. with 'Real Men Love Jesus' on them? Am I the only one who immediately pictures a big Mexican with oiled muscles and a leer getting all the man love he can handle? Maybe.

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