|I hesitate to be contrary, but I think i just used this for free. It will probably be unceremoniously yanked in the near future, at which time I'll scour Google Images for another white blood cell icon.|
This morning I was asked to perform as a last-minute fill-in for a violinist at at third-year medical school student's wedding. I finished the job just a short time ago.The violinist originally contracted by the bridal couple was the bride's cousin, and his flight from somewhere on the east coast was grounded due to inclement weather. If anyone had asked my opinion -- which no one did -- I would have told them to forget about the violin parts, and I would have asked me to fill in for the keyboard artist, whose skills could most charitably be described as atrocious at best.
I'm not quite sure under what rock the hired organist/pianist was found, but it was clearly a stone that would have been best left unturned. My initial assumption was that she was most likely a relative of either the bride or groom, as no one so unskilled would have possessed the utter gall to ask for compensation to make a mockery of someone's wedding. I was wrong. She was paid what she said is her usual fee of two-hundred-fifty dollars for the privilege of butchering every song she attempted. (The fee would have been modest had she been able to scratch and claw her way at least to an absolute minimum level of proficiency.) What I don't understand is why someone didn't realize after hearing the woman mangle one song after another at the rehearsal (which she did, I was told by the best man) that she wasn't quite up to snuff. Whoever knew of my violin-playing ability and gave my name to the bride would also have known that I play piano and organ. The songs were less painful to hear because I played along on the violin, but they would have been better still had I just played the piano and organ myself. I did my personal best to cover up the other musician's incompetence, but the world's greatest violinist (which I am not) is powerless to camouflage all the wrong notes of a pianist or organist who is determined to be heard at all costs.
From the perspective of the bride and groom as I see it, the sole consolation is that there doesn't appear to be much if any correlation whatsoever between the quality of music at a wedding and the longevity and satisfaction of the marriage. The late Vladimir Horowitz might emerge from the grave to perform for a wedding, and the groom could still very well turn out to be a controlling, wife-beating, child-molesting thief of women's undergarments who has wives and children in seven states and three Canadian provinces.
The professor to whom I refer as Larry Bakman [because of his physical and auditory resemblance to the faux TV judge] was in attendance and spoke to me after the wedding. After complimenting me for not sucking as much as the organist did, and amidst a thinly veiled solicitation for music lessons for his progeny, he asked me about my church -- not the Roman Catholic Church, or even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but the church I told him I plan to found as soon as its tax-exempt status has been granted. Initially I was caught off-guard and didn't know quite what the hell he was talking about, but I recovered quickly enough. The man invited himself to my church's Sunday morning service tomorrow. I told him that at my congregation's next service will consist of watching YouTube videos because I plan to be both too busy and too exhausted to throw together anything more substantial this week, and that, furthermore, my followers do nothing so bourgeois as to attend Sunday morning services. If he truly desires to see the inner workings of my religious society, Professor Larry Bakman will need to drag himself there on a Wednesday afternoon as all the rest of us do.
Of course we do not actually meet for religious purposes on Wednesday afternoons or at any other time, because the religion exists only in conversations with Professor Larry Bakman. We will, however, make a single exception and meet on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 3, for the sole purpose of satiating Professor Larry Bakman's curiosity. I'll make it a point to pass a collection plate. I'm undecided as to what form of deity we will pretend to worship. The flat Earth and the Flying Spaghetti Monster have already been taken, so I'll have to come up with something vaguely original. People from at least one of my study groups will show up. If Larry Bakman fails to appear, we'll study. For that matter, we may just study even if he does show. Maybe we worship the God of Medicine. Perhaps we even worship the human immune system.
In any event, I'll pick up a carton of extremely tasty flank steak burritos from a taco truck that sells them midway between the medical school and my condo. Professor Larry Bakman will not be offered a burrito because the burritos will be a part of our Eucharistic rite, and we do not have an open table; only believers of whatever it is I decide that we believe will be allowed to commune with us. I happen to know that Professor Larry Bakman would offer up his own child in a ritualistic sacrifice in exchange for one of the flank steak burritos from the taco truck to which I allude if such a burrito were not otherwise made available to him.
Even if Professor Larry Bakman professes to believe, he will not have professed his belief prior to the deadline for being granted inclusion into our Eucharistic ritual. He can drool until he dehydrates himself, but he will not be given one of the coveted burritos. And I'll buy so many of the damned things that the taco truck will be out of flank steak by then if he tries to pick one up on his way back to the campus.
In the past thirty seconds I have inadvertently stumbled upon a deistic focus for my religious society. We shall worship the white blood cell. Such allows for and even lends itself to the eventual schisms so inevitable among religious groups. My followers can ultimately regroup themselves depending upon whether they deem the true nature of the Supreme Being to be more closely aligned with neutrophils, esinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, or monocytes. The possibilities for further fracturing among my band of religious zealots are limited only by the bounds of the knowledge of biology and by the human imagination. The possibilities for schisms, divisions, wars, rumors of wars, and hosts of other conflict far exceed anything of which any Abrahamic religion ever conceived. Profound, isn't it?