No subject is terrible if the story is true and if the prose is clean and honest

“You can’t prove a negative.”

Some guy said that. Plato? Jesus? Einstein?

Whoever it was, I’ve got to believe it, whatever it means.

Is the title of this post a negative? It’s got a “no” right at the start. Sounds negative to me.

But hang on. “You can’t prove a negative.” That’s got a “can’t” and a “negative” in it. So you can’t prove that either. QED, as my old Economics teacher would say. What a nut that guy was. He got hit by a car in the student parking lot, but he was OK. That could have been a terrible subject if he’d been killed or something.

Do you ever think that some of these wiseguys who dream up stuff like “No subject is terrible” are just sitting around bullshitting us? Go have a drink in a bar around Bunker Hill in L.A., the financial district, and the bullshit just piles up. These guys. “In a pig’s eye,” Mickey Spillane liked to say.

Hey, I don’t have to prove anything. Name me one terrible subject where the story is true and the prose (writing, that means) is clean and honest, and don’t name my wife haha.

I’m thinking of about ten terrible subjects right now, but they’re not clean, if you know what I mean. You keep them clean, you’ll come up with a million boring subjects, but that don’t make them terrible. You might have a terrible time reading them but that’s your problem, moron. I’ll give you an example. You’re sitting in church and the reverend is going on and on, you think you’re going to lose your f**king mind. So you pull the program out of the hymnal holder in the bench in front of you and you start to read the announcements on the back of it. These things are worse reading than the side of a cereal box but the deal is, you’re so f**king bored that the terribleness of the program somehow helps cancel out the terribleness of the sermon. Get it? It’s the silver lining in the cloud.

Let’s go right to the source of terrible: Hitler. You’ll read or hear that the first person to mention Hitler in an argument loses. Wrong. Think of something terrible that Hitler might have done. He kicks his dog. He’s doing it with Eva Braun and he gets off and leaves her unsatisfied. Something like that. Then you write about it, using some big words like “kudgel” or “rectified” to make it prose. How terrible is that? The Bible’s got Judas and the soldiers who crucified Our Lord a la Mel Gibson. That’s terrible and it’s in the Holy Scriptures. What with all the Jews and Muslims around these days, I should also provide examples from the Torah and the Koran, but my Hebrew and Arabic are non-existent. I do know a kid studying for his Bar Mitzvah, but he’s too busy with that to help me, even if I throw a couple of shekels his way.

4 Responses

  1. There’s a Salinger story where the main character repeats the same prayer over and over and finally goes crazy. (Maybe that’s not exactly what happens, but it’s what I remember.) Without the announcements, that’s what would happen to most people who had to go to mass as children. The only thing besides the announcements that made the whole thing bearable were the somewhat bewildering stories (like why not take the devil up on his offer when the whole damned thing is spread out before you and also who rolled the rock away from the tomb? was it heavy? or made of plastic?) and the slight possibility that there would be a kid from your school who had to go too and he sat two rows up and you could tell that his mother was really mean, while your mother just had a terrible voice, but wasn’t mean at all.

  2. being a kid in church. good times!

  3. I joined one church in my life, because they were right around the corner on Michigan Ave. and they have a professional choir, and my then husband worked in the exhange building, it was his idea, it must have been the thing to do. My husband wore a suit for the join up meeting, I wore a dress, they were all wearing suits and dresses, everyone wore black shoes (very Chicago) they Baptized me with a little holy water, then we had a feast. It was a good place to make connections with the high rollers. The children had child care somewhere else in the church and were having fun, and eating great snacks, someone probably read a few childrens bible stories, I never heard them crying. None of the children from where I lived in Chicago cried. We eventually had to quit going to church because the woman who gave the sermon was a ‘screamer.’ from the south. They kept track of how much who was putting in the basket and preferred checks and a promisary note to tithe a certain amount a year, the suggestion was 10%. With all the sinners from the Chicago exchange going there for redemption, it was a wealthy church. They fed and tutored the poor kids from the other side of town in the afternoons. Those were the good old days.

    • Hi, Sandy. I used to put buttons from my mom’s button jar in the basket. The church guys never complained, but my mom conked me on the head. She loved her buttons but she couldn’t get up the courage to go and ask for them back.

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