Saturday, January 28, 2006


...and more questions answered by

yours truly,
the Crabby Critic

Dear Crabby:

Do you think most people find religion because they want too or because they have to?


Dear Maxim:

That’s a very thoughtfully put question.
Permit me to speculate.

Organized religion has at once been the most unifying and disruptive force in the history of the world. Crusades…anyone?!?

Fanatics from Richard III to Pat Robertson feel that God is an omnipotent force that will strike us down if we dare step just two Psalms from the good book. Somebody should remind Mr. Robertson that many people today are doing a two step on the Bible and seem to get away with whatever they’re into without having the hand of God strike them down.

That isn’t to say that I think we should just have a Bible bonfire and forget about the ‘Big Guy upstairs. But it does seem to me that organized religion today is largely a product of man-made cultism – meaning: a bunch of guys, who are at least 150 years removed from Jesus and his disciples, have gotten together and started - oh I do I put this tactfully – ‘fudging’ around with the gospel according to Christ.

Let’s not forget that every Papal appointment and dear old King James have put their two cents in along the way – revising the scriptures to their own like, which may or may not necessarily have been the way the original authors intended them to be interpreted.

I think most people today want to believe in a higher power – although they don’t necessarily think He (or She, for those suggesting me sexist) is watching all the time or perhaps even cares about what’s going on down here – except to shake and bow his head occasionally in great regret over ever putting ‘man’ in charge of the planet.

Oh well, we all make mistakes.

I’m hardly what you would call a devotedly religious man. But from time to time I do contemplate the bigger questions. From that interpretation (and you may take it with whatever quantity of salt you feel it may require) I tend to look upon the crucifixion as the divining moment between God and man.

Hence, when people say “oh why is the world like this?” or “how could a just God let innocent people die?” of whatever ailment or natural disaster befalls us, I simply reserve the right to say to those people sitting in judgment of God, “Well, what did you expect? We murdered his son.”

Although I don’t believe that God is vengeful – I also don’t think He’s a doormat. Lessons need to be taught. If they’re taught by omission…well, they’re taught, nevertheless.

I also tend to get miffed at people who treat God as though he were some secular proprietor of wish fulfillment – like a genie or the tooth fairy. To those disinterested parties who only think of what God can do for them, or believe that God should be on ‘prayer speed dial’ whenever we decide it’s time to give him a buzz, I suggest the old adage: “God helps those who help themselves.” And anyway, nowhere in the Bible does it say that He’s obligated to fix everything we’ve screwed up.

I do find that most people turn religion inward, however – amplifying it to suit their own agenda. Churches employ it to fill collection plates. Politicians think they’ll win votes with the growing liberal wing nut faction by snubbing it. And we’ve all shouted “oh God” out loud while in the throws of passion at one point or another – hardly the purpose for which the phrase was coined.

If anything then – it’s a wonder God doesn’t strike more of us down than he has. Perhaps, he understands the inevitable – that we’re taking care of ourselves faster than Mother Nature ever could. We are – after all – a quite mildly idiotic species if you think about it.

We kill animals for sport; murder each other for greed or profit; we cultivate jealousies against people who don’t deserve them; we hear and believe lies practically every time the cable channel is turned to C-Span; we place our faith and trust in false profits (gurus, priests, Pope’s et al) and we continue to use the Sabbath for cutting the lawn, shopping at Costco or working that extra shift in overtime.

Do I think most people find religion because they want to? Sadly, I believe the answer is NO. God is an afterthought for most – something to turn to when all earthly means fail us. Do I believe God would cure everything down here if he could?

I think if we were to collectively get down on our knees and ask him to perform such a miracle, he’d simply reply, “What for?” And, of course he would be justified in that snub. We’d only mess things up again if we started from square one. Didn’t Eden prove the fallibility of our species?

To agnostics: those who think that my speculation in these last few paragraphs have been a colossal waste of time and space because God does not exist (though at least half of these same spiritual naysayers probably believe in aliens and ghosts – now there’s human logic for you!) I simply will conclude with the following:

To those who believe - no explanation is necessary.
To those who do not - none will suffice.

Thank your for your question, Maxim. It’s given us all something to think about.

Yours truly
The crabby Critic

Dear Crabby:

My names Bernice. My boyfriend Tom is way too into his car. He’s always cleaning it, fixing it or driving it somewhere. I want him to spend more time with me. I’m better than a car. I hate that stupid car! I want to tell him to sell it or else. What do you think?

Dear Bernice:

What can I say? Your boyfriend undoubtedly prefers the smoother of the two rides. If you give him an ultimatum it’ll be your butt that goes for the trade-in: not his car. If his obsession with his wheels is getting on your nerves, why don’t you go out there the next time he’s puttering around it and help give it (and maybe him) a good waxing? Couples carwash can turn playful – if you get my hint. And anyway, unless dude’s sleeping in his car, making love to it or calling it by the pet name ‘Christine’ I really don’t think you have any sincere worries.

Grow up!

It’s silly to be jealous of an inanimate object, Bernice. He’s not cheating on you with another woman. I’d also suggest you take up some hobby that’s as benign as his. He clearly doesn’t think his love affair gets in the way of his affections for you. Why not drive that hot rod around – I mean the car, Bernice. Or, if he won’t let you drive it – ride in it with him…do things in which you, he and the car are together. The vehicle should bring you two closer together – not drive a wedge between you and his stick shift.

Yours truly
The crabby critic

Hey, Crabby:

This one’s sort of embarrassing. My boyfriend, Kyle snores like a roaring lion. It keeps me awake. But then I talked to one of my girlfriends who said that if you slightly pinch the guy’s nose while he’s sleeping the snoring will stop. That actually worked …except that the other night Kyle wasn’t sleeping too well and woke up while I was pinching his nose and thought I was doing something freaky, like trying to suffocate him or something. He actually told his mother he doesn’t want to sleep in the same bed with me anymore. He sleeps on the couch now. Don’t you think it’s silly he thinks I was trying to kill him?

Brenda from North Carolina

Dear Brenda:

Were you?

At least it’ll be quiet for you upstairs.

You mean, even after you explained what you were doing to him, Kyle still thinks you might be after his money…has he got any money to go after? Why would a normal guy who snores a lot suddenly suspect his woman had turned rabid on him? It just doesn’t make any sense.

My guess is he was probably looking for an out to stop sleeping with you. Or he’s paranoid beyond belief and this isn’t the first time he’s suspected perfectly normal people from plotting to kill him. Ask him if the plate in his forehead has moved.

Then turn in for the night, Brenda – pray for brains!

- C.C.

Dear Crabby:

My girlfriend Tara thinks I’m cheating on her with her sister. I am, but what business is that of hers. We’re not married. Anyway, I think that’s her sister’s problem. Should I tell Tara the truth?

Kim from Hawaii

Dear Kim:

No, you should keep deceiving her until she comes home one night and finds you with a stiffy in her sister on all fours. Of course, you should tell her
- NOW!

You and her sister should have both been honest enough about your feelings for one another before the dipstick had been measured. It’s such a pity both your genitals matured faster than your brains.

Then – it would have been a painful experience.

Now – it’ll be nothing short of nuclear meltdown.

You disgust me on so many levels it’s hard to know where I should begin. What is it that made you think you could play fast and loose with any woman’s affections? An outsider would have been enough of a shock.

A relative?!?!? – you three belong on Jerry Springer.

But I must say that your betrayal ranks second to the gross ditch pig of a gal Tara’s own sister is in this equation.

You…you’re nothing.

Just an indiscriminant stud who figures he’d rather keep it all in the family then invest the time, energy, tact, and dare I even venture the word – commitment – to any one relationship. Who’s next on your list – her mother, her aunt, a couple of cousins…does she have any more sisters?

Best case scenario: you and Tara’s sister stay together, marry, settle down and raise a family - oh, now that's wish fulfillment times a million!!!

Don’t expect Christmas and birthday greetings and open arms at the yearly round-up. Worse case scenario: Tara has a couple of steroid abusing brothers and an ex-marine sergeant for a father. Hawaii’s an island, Kim, remember? There are just so many places to hide. I’d start the scouting expedition for them soon.


Dear Crabby:

How should I approach my mother-in-law about her constant snide remarks?
- Brian in Tulsa

Dear Brian:

With a crucifix and a pack of hounds. In my experience, the template for compatibility in any marriage should be a boxing tournament and pie-eating contest in which not even the most distant relation is spared.

Historically speaking, the mother-in-law is ascribed the same rights, privileges and access to the happy couple as that nattering little Pekinese everyone wishes they could step on…and quite often, should. But let us be serious for a moment – this woman is, after all, at some base biological level, responsible for providing you with your wife.

Mother-in-laws hate son-in-laws for a variety of reasons. Provided you’re track record – prior to hitching up with her daughter did not involve renting whores, embezzling money from rich widows, or multiple incarcerations for drugs, murder, etc. (translation: you’re an upstanding guy) it’s really not up to your mother-in-law to accept you or find you acceptable, unless she’s also sharing your marital bed. E-yuck, now there’s a nasty thought!

Riddle me this – did Mommie Dearest despise you prior to the wedding, or after all the rice had been pitched? The distinction is significant: sometimes the mother of the bride just doesn’t like the guy her daughter’s picked for herself. Maybe she doesn’t think he’s handsome enough, or financially successful or a combination: too young/too old: too short/too tall: too controlling/too stupid…you get my point. Bottom line: she had many months leading up to “I now pronounce thee…” to launch her litany of objections at both her daughter and you.

However, if everything was placidly acceptable prior to publishing the bans, your mother-in-law’s bitter rejection might be more problematic. Perhaps she and your wife were ‘a team’ so to speak, before you came into the picture. Maybe they hung out all the time and confided intimate secrets to one another.

Your arrival on the scene was deemed acceptable because – after all – you went home at the end of the night, leaving your wife to ‘dish’ with mama until the wee hours of the morning. Particularly, if your mother-in-law is a single woman, she might be feeling the pang of her daughter’s sudden absence from the fold and resenting you for it. If that is the logic behind why she has daggers for you now, there’s really not much you can do to change her opinion. If you try, she’ll most likely wind up hating you more. You’re already the interloper. Don’t become the ‘know it all’ too.

If you feel like making the concession of having your wife spend more time with her mother – then gradually tapering off her visitation, so as to wean Mom from her co-dependency – that sounds like an admirable plan of action. However, it should be decided on by both you and your wife. I also want to make it clear that you are under NO OBLIGATION to do anything of the sort. Newlyweds need time to adjust to one another and the idea of living together without immediate family sticking their two cents in.

I must tell you: this isn’t about you – it’s all about your mother-in-law. She needs a hobby or a guy of her own to keep her busy. And, have you considered that maybe there’s just a twinge of jealousy for her daughter, who seems to have found marital bliss where Mom otherwise has failed? Bottom line: her manure pile of resentment would have been heaped on any guy who married her daughter. So cheer up.

In most cases this ‘hell hath no fury…’ scenario will eventually cool and the bumps of discourse will heal – particularly if you prove to Mother that you’re not willing to bale out any time soon.

Yours truly,
The crabby critic


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