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A cruel and monstrous god

When I was a kid, Sunday mornings were wasted in Sunday School, where I was brainwashed by child molesters of the mind, and forced to recite insipid moral lessons from an extremely immoral book called The Bible. After that, I had to squirm through an hour of "worship services," which amounted only to more Bible boredom.

At 18 I moved out of the family home, and except for a few visits to please my mother (when I still cared about pleasing my mother) I've never attended church since.

When I pause for a moment and remember how Sundays used to be, having Sundays for myself lifts my spirits. Thank god there's no God! The believers carry their scriptures — and their kids — to sacrifice their souls, and I say to myself, what a wretched world this would be, if we were under the thumb of God or Allah, Jehovah or Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

♦ ♦ ♦

My pretty good spirits were punctured almost as soon as I slipped into the green cape and stepped onto the sidewalk to hand out flyers for the shop. The third guy walking by shunned me, then stunned me by turning and asking, "How can you be so cheerful when my friends are dying?"

He wasn't being an ass; the hurt was in his eyes, unmistakably. He walked away before I could come up with an answer. Typing this hours later I'm still looking for an answer, but this is the best I've found.

First off, I'm glad he left me speechless. Being me, my instinct would be a smartass retort, which would've hurt us both.

Second, sorry for the cheerfulness, but trust me, it's mostly fake. My job is to force flyers on people, and pretending to be happy helps, but please don't take it personally.

Probably every living soul in this city knows someone who's HIV+, or a friend with AIDS, or knows someone who died of it, or someone who will. I'm lucky to be somewhat removed from it — I only know one person who's HIV+ — because I have so few friends and never have sex, but it's impossible not to know, not to ache. I see the suffering every day, especially now that I'm working in the Castro.

And something else… It wasn't my intent to bookend tonight's entry with this morning's, but let's be blunt: If AIDS is part of your god's marvelous plan, then your god is cruel and monstrous. If you love and worship a cruel and monstrous god, well, you and me got nothing to talk about.

If I could relive that moment from this morning, I'd offer that guy a hug. Even if I never see him again, though, it's a big city with a lot of sick people in it. Something similar will probably repeat. I'll try to keep a hug handy.

From Pathetic Life #11
Sunday, April 2, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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