Pray your brains out, but don’t hold your breath


Grief made me so crazy I prayed to God for help. 

I prayed for two years after my wife died. There is some unfinished business I need to talk to her about, to explain, to apologize for. I sat in the dead room in the house we lived in, the house she died in, and waited for a sign, a signal, a beep, a bop, a ping, a bing, a ringadingding, anything to indicate receipt of said prayer.

Beep! Your prayer has been received and will be duly considered. Due to the large number of prayers received every nanosecond we cannot guarantee a response in your lifetime. Your prayer is number nine hundred and ninety nine godzillion in the queue. We appreciate your patience.

You feel like saying fuckyou but you don’t because you don’t want to aggravate the Supreme Bozo in Charge of Prayers. Even thinking that might be enough to put the kibosh on your prayer. So you play along with the beatific bureaucracy — I’m sorry I called you a bozo, your Sublimeness, just kidding, you know me, just foolin’ around, I’ve always been a kidder, me and Margot. 

Me praying for two years is nothing. There are untold millions of people who pray all their lives, years and years without an answer. Even their dying breath is a prayer. And then it’s too late. Then it’s just a deep dive into darkness.

I’m done. I am all through praying to God. It’s a waste of time. Does “He” take me for a fool? Well, I’m not a fool. I can be foolish and I can act like a fool and be guilty of tomfoolery, but when it comes to native intelligence I’m a regular aborigine. 

From now on I will address my prayers to someone I have more faith in, someone who is actually visible and whose achievements are a matter of public record, and who, in fact, is almost as powerful as God, with super powers that include creating life. Check them out.

I am referring of course to the Silver Surfer.

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Billy, the Silver Surfer and a girl named Sue


I haven’t heard from my wife in 17 months — 17 months and 11 hours as of this writing to be exact. I call her name, I try to summon her spirit. Not a peep, not a hint of a presence. I crawl into the crawlspace looking for her ghost, I look in the liquor cabinet, the closets, under the bed, all I see under the bed is the cat who gives me a look that says, You is crazy, Cat God. She thinks I’m the Cat God like people think God is the God God.

I don’t want to get into that, all I know is I don’t know where my wife is. For answers I pray in my own way which is not so much praying as sending out fervent psychic energy reaching from heaven to oblivion. I even engaged the Silver Surfer to look for her but so far he has come up empty.

I need more time, he told me. There are more than two trillion galaxies in the universe.

In other words, I said, she could be anywhere.

Or nowhere, he said.

What do you mean?

Oblivion, my friend.

But what about the indestructible atoms that make up the human body and the mind? They’ve got to end up somewhere.

That scientific theory may have been overstated, said the Silver Surfer.

I need something, man. My friend and spiritual advisor Renata de Dios tells me to have faith in God, that my wife is in Heaven — Renata’s words, not mine.

Listen, I’m out there, dude, and I’ve yet to see any evidence of God, but that doesn’t mean your wife’s not somewhere in those two trillion galaxies. 

That’s what I’m counting on, because if the God of Love that Renata de Dios believes in does exist, he sure as hell’s got it in for me. He has taken everyone in my family. My wife was all I had left. And he had to take her too.

All I can tell you, man, is don’t give up hope. If you give up hope, you’re dead. Now, hand me a shot of that whiskey you’re drinking and I’ll be on my way.

You’re a good friend, Silver Surfer.

I try. Get some sleep, Billy, you look beat.

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Welcome to World War III


Hell, man, we were all expecting a nuclear conflagration. But T.S. Eliot was right when he wrote: This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.

Damn, the World Powers have spent years and billons of dollars building up an almighty arsenal of nuclear weapons that would blow the whole planet to Kingdom Come.

But who’d have guessed it — a creepy little microbe, so small you need a microscope to see it, comes along and begins wiping out the human race.

And it’s not even close to being over. Like the two world wars which lasted four years apiece, this one will last at least that long.

Four more years of this. Wearing masks every time you go out — if you’re even allowed to go out in this new police state nightmare — social distancing (what a farce), not being allowed to go to the beach or a baseball game or a musical concert or shake hands or kiss a girl or a guy without fear of catching the goddamn bug.

Holy hell, man, life ain’t worth it. No wonder suicides are up. That’s one sure cure for Covid-19 — a shotgun to the head.

It’s okay for guys like me in our seventies, we’ve lived our lives, but to be a little kid just coming up, or a teenager, or a young married couple with children, what a nightmare scenario lies ahead.

And it’s no use turning to God for help. Oh, He may love you to bits and all the rest of it (strange way of showing it, but whatever), but he sure as hell ain’t gonna save you.

You’ve got a better chance in summoning the Silver Surfer. In fact the more I think about it (on this my sixth gin), he is our only hope. Meanwhile, the shotgun is loaded.

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