All I Want for Christmas is No Tube

If your garland starts producing pearls, call your health care provider.

I was informed by a reader that last week’s column about the Absolute Worst Christmas Tea & Bazaar was decidedly Grinch-like and that I should really get with it Yuletide-wise. Unfortunately, this week I was hoping to relay a certain awkward aspect of my post-surgery recovery. Nonetheless, in keeping with the festive directive, I will do my utmost to deck my prose with boughs of holly.

As is normally the case when a man has his sugarplum surgically removed, I was sent home from the hospital with a garland inserted in my Yule log. The garland connects my punch bowl to a stocking that hangs by my thin leg with care in the hopes I don’t leak in my clean underwear.

All day long, the stocking gets filled with Christmas cheer. Then I drain the Christmas cheer in the toilet.

It’s really no fun having a garland in your Yule log. In fact, the very thought of it is enough to make most men cry out, “O holy night! What child is this!” There’s also mild swelling of the Jingle Bells, but that’s a whole other matter.

Unpleasant, yes, but when I left the hospital, I assumed, as I’d read, that the garland would remain in place for only 10 to 14 days, which is roughly half an advent calendar. I could handle that. Plus, they gave me drugs.

But then I received a message from the North Pole. My garland was to stay inserted until December 18, not 10 days, not 14 days but 26 days. Twenty-six days! What the silver bells!?!

I decided to phone the North Pole myself and speak to Santa Claus, who had removed my sugarplum, but all I reached was his personal elf. “There must be a mistake. That’s like three and a half weeks wearing a garland,” I said. “Am I on some kind of Naughty List?”

The elf explained to me that, no, it was simply that Santa Claus was on vacation.

“Isn’t there someone else who can extract the garland? Mrs. Claus? A resident elf? Anyone?”

Alas, everyone was busy making toys for all the good little girls and boys or performing hysterectomies. I’d have to wait.

Frustrated, I went about living day to day with my garland, based on the limited care instructions I’d received. What they didn’t tell me was what to expect — punch bowl spasms, feeling like your Yule log is stuffed with the holly and the ivy, the burning urge to spread Christmas cheer, pain in the figgy pudding.

Then there was the day when I was home alone and started to feel my Yule log burning. It got stronger and stronger, and then up the chimney it rose until my whole lower abdomen was in excruciating pain, like there was a partridge in my pear tree. I could barely move. I celebrated the birth of Jesus by loudly calling out his name over and over.

I managed to phone an elf, and she suggested I better call for a one-horse open sleigh. So I dialled 911 and waited for them to dash away, dash away, dash away all the way over to Pierce Street. But just as it’s beginning to look a lot like passing out, I finally noticed that my garland was terribly kinked. I’m all backed up with Christmas cheer! I quickly untangled the garland and all that cheer started draining out of me into my stocking and I was singing the Hallelujah chorus. Of course, I immediately cancelled the one-horse open sleigh (yay!).

But those are the things they don’t warn you about. Nor do they tell you that, as my daughter so delicately informed me, when I walk it looks like I’ve filled my pants with lumps of coal.

So if you see me, I’m walking that way not because of post-sugarplum pain but because I have a garland wiggling my Yule log. It’s preventing my return to normal life. With it, I’m no dasher or dancer and certainly not a prancer. I definitely can’t go a-wassailing. I can’t even settle down for a long winter’s nap. Until this thing is gone, I’ll have a blue, blue Christmas (and still a bit black-and-blue, to be honest).

Of course, once my garland does come out, I’ll have quite a few weeks of being the Little Diaper Boy. What a pain in the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.

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Absolute Worst Christmas Tea & Bazaar

This but with more despair.

Come one, come all, come those paying in hoarded pennies to the Annual Christmas Tea & Bazaar this Saturday at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Ennui. We’ve recently lowered the ceiling of our fluorescent-lit basement hall to allow a greater sense of intimacy and poor posture. Smoking is encouraged!

Admission is $4.41 and entitles you to enter your name in a raffle for a romantic weekend for one at Tepid Falls Spa & Resorts, which recently received the all-clear from the Health Department and no longer turns up in top results for the query “Korean tourist nozzle death.”

Proceeds to benefit the church’s Gratuitous Alcohol Fund (“Jesus Drank; So Should We”).

The hall will be decorated in festive garlands lovingly crafted from depleted Keurig pods, haphazardly carved Styrofoam and wintered-over parsnips. Guests are invited to hang a turkey giblet on the Christmas tree, which will be lit at 2:00 pm and then extinguished and dismantled at 2:09 (sharp!).

Over 31 vendors and artisans will be on hand throughout the day selling their wares and making aggressive eye contact. Highlights include:

  • Rhonda Parker’s tea cozies featuring prints of bald rock stars (Billy Corgan, Michael Stipe, Moby, Sinéad O’Connor). Available in sets of three ONLY.
  • Homemade bath bombs by Suds Buds (formerly My Soapy Little Friend), featuring an assortment of scents such as Angst & Asparagus; Rainbow Rendering Plant; Take A Bath, Grandma!; and Sweet Cinnamon Hockey Gear.
  • Pre-warped artisanal cutting boards by local letter-to-the-editor writer Hans Roitmann hastily crafted in a variety of woods (firewood, driftwood, floorboards, twigs) and finished in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
  • Baked goods by Abelaide von Strundt, prepared by hand and then touched by fingers on the part of every one of Abelaide’s five grandchildren, some of whom will be present to put the finishing touch on your purchase (open-mouthed coughing).
  • Stocking-stuffers aplenty courtesy of Jack’s Sundry Pencils! Pencils of varying lengths, all pre-sharpened or lovingly dulled. Choices include eraser/not eraser. Stop by to take a gander at the pencil once gnawed by actor Steve Zahn (Saving Silverman) at a truck stop in Tallahassee, Florida! (No photos!)
  • Asymmetrical doilies, non-absorbent hand towels, scratchy socks that must be hand washed and 12 separate kiosks featuring candles, candles, candles! You’ll find all this and more at this one-day Christmasvaganza!

The ladies will be serving tea all day. Come early if you want it hot. Tea includes a selection of sweets along with dirty looks from Abelaide von Strundt.

But what’s that we hear! The sound of a 4-wheeler roaring around the church! Why, it’s Santa Claus! The jolly, slightly damp elf himself will be here from noon to 1:00 to greet all the boys and girls with untameable coffee breath. Each child who sits on Santa’s lap will depart with a small gift of cleaning product samples and low-grade PTSD.

There will be other special guests as well (not to mention the oppressive presence of overzealous security guards) who will provide entertainment throughout the afternoon.

The Scratchy Bracken Elementary School Choir of Coerced Singers will be on hand to perform their rendition of Mariah Carey’s holiday classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” non-stop from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. They will be accompanied on xylophone by toddlers from our church playtime group who didn’t have time for a rehearsal, though, honestly, would it really have made a difference?

Local author Dale Woznick will be on hand from 2:00 to 2:45 to read without a microphone a selection of his works, including “The Poem That is 12 Minutes Long” and his special Christmas short story “Gifts My Mother Found Cheaper at Walmart, So It’s No Wonder Downtown’s Going Out of Business.” He will also be selling copies of his photocopied novel Assorted Grudges.

3:00-4:00 pm: Close-proximity bagpiping.

Moms, who said Christmas shopping had to be stressful! Give yourself a break in our special massage chair! Desmond Schwartz will be bringing in his “lucky” recliner and will be offering complementary foot rubs with light moaning.

Finally, members of our local youth club, Main Street Miscreants, are ready to guilt you into allowing them to wrap your gifts in festive paper despite their clear indifference, questionable spatial skills and audible frustration with tape dispensers.

We hope to see you this Saturday in the poorly ventilated hall of Our Lady of Perpetual Ennui! Christmas is in the air! Along with flaking asbestos insulation.


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One More Night, Gimme Just One More Night

Cupcakes by Annie and Clough Street Cakes. Ain’t they sweet?

The last thing I want is to be a bore. (Not true; the last thing I want is another biopsy, but I think I made that pretty clear already.) However, I did leave my post last week on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I thought I would give an update on my medical progress before returning to regular programming.

First of all, hello, I’m still here. So that’s good news.

I reported to surgery last Thursday at 6 a.m. where I joined a group of about seven others scheduled for various procedures. We changed into our gowns (not together, obviously) and were escorted en masse to a staging area with numbered chairs and beds.

We each sat in our assigned place, and one after another we were approached by members of the surgical team who asked questions and then darted away. It was like speed dating but without the wine.

Eventually they called me in. I lay back on the table as everyone busied around me. A mask was placed on my face, something was injected, and I felt my soul being sucked out of me. It was just like when I watched The Girl on the Train a couple of nights later.

I woke up with six holes stapled shut across my abdomen and a tube inserted where no tube should ever be.

At the end of the afternoon, my doctor came by to tell me he was pleased with the surgery and that everything around my now non-existent prostate looked good. He also told me I didn’t have many lymph nodes to remove. So this: did you know people had varying numbers of lymph nodes? That seems a pretty imprecise way to run a human body.

I was released the next day. I’ll say this about hospitals: you don’t have to worry about a thing. They bring your food and pills, they check your vitals, and there are buttons to call for assistance or to adjust your position just so. By the second day, the nurses were quite interested in whether I had passed gas, but given that they discharged me before my having done so, maybe that was just personal curiosity.

So when I got home and had to do all these things myself, along with Deb and her amazing, patient care (in both senses of the word), I’ve tended to have had some down days.

Little things dragged me down. Fatigue, pain in my shoulders, not being able to do what I wanted, Phil Collins’ “One More Night” going through my head for, like, three straight days. The !$#?*! tube. General worrying about things. Have I passed gas? Have I passed too much gas? Is everything sterile? Is that even possible in this house?

Many kind and beautiful people read last week’s column and congratulated me on being brave, optimistic and good humoured about it all. Indeed, I should be ecstatic that the cancer is out of me. And I am certainly relieved. But I think I may also be in a kind of mourning for my old body before it betrayed me, my old life before it changed for good. Just because it’s good news doesn’t mean I’m not sad.

I actually hesitated putting my story out there, but now I’m so glad I did, because I’ve received so many messages of support, so many stories of people who have kicked cancer’s ass. And these never fail to revive me from my funk (a good shower also helps).

Emails, texts, comments, people stopping by.

Annis sharing her story about how leaving the body behind leads to greater faith in the spirit.

Sarah who offered to send me dried seal jerky “because nothing is as bad as that.”

Mark sending me a pic of his planned reading material (Hemingway, vintage Mad).

Altan confirming that the Western way of saying “no” by shaking one’s head back and forth has no meaning in Turkey.

Kim and Annie sending funny videos.

Andy popping in.

Mike dropping by with a card from my co-workers that made me tear up.

Steve and Karen knowing what fun can be had with helium balloons.

Rebecca openly cussing cancer.

Laurie calling me (more cussing).

My lovely family familying.

So many others, too many to name, so many kind thoughts and wishes from near and far. This has given me cheer. My body may have let me down, but my friends haven’t. This has been the best medicine.

And that is all.

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1 in 7

Try not to think about it.

It’s rare you can put your finger on the precise moment your life changed. In my case, it involved an actual finger.

In late July, I had an appointment with my family doctor before she skittered off to Abitibi. Near the end of the exam, she said, “Okay, let’s do it,” so I dropped my pants, lay on my side and took a deep breath.

And then I (uncomfortably) felt that finger hesitate, as if to say, “Wait a sec…”

“You have a bit of hardness on one side of your prostate,” my doctor reported. “It could be nothing, but let’s do a blood test.”

The blood test revealed a high PSA, and for the first time we were saying the word “cancer.” Prostate cancer. Of course I would get the most comedic of all the cancers, perhaps the only comedic one. It’s highly curable, so it’s okay to joke about; men grow goofy moustaches to raise awareness of it; and it involves the big three of physical comedy: incontinence, impotence and rectal probing.

“Well, there goes your sex life,” Deb joked when we got the news. Yeah, I thought and chuckled ruefully. Hang on: what did she mean “your”?

Weeks later, my urologist confirmed (even more uncomfortably) my doctor’s findings, and in early September, I had my biopsy.

A prostate biopsy is essentially a test to see how much indignity and discomfort you’ll be able to manage as a cancer patient. The day began with me drinking a dose of Monurol, “an antibiotic medicine used in adult women to treat urinary tract infection.” Side effects include dizziness, runny nose and vaginal infections. I’m relieved to report I suffered none of those.

We then headed to the hospital, where, as we walked past the helicopter landing pad, I tried not to let the limp windsock get to me.

Inside, I changed into a gown and sat in a hallway with three other men who clearly remembered the Great War. The orderly tried to be reassuring. “Ça va bien aller,” he kept saying as we each took our turn. “Notre sacrifice…” muttered one of the gents.

As for the procedure itself, it was like a nail gun up the rear, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

And then I waited. Once I recovered from the horrors of the biopsy, I went about my life, feeling fine, though every now and then I would think, “Oh yeah: I might have cancer.”

On September 28, I was sitting in a golf cart at Orford. It was a beautiful fall day, made more glorious because I wasn’t actually playing golf. My cell phone rang. It was my doctor. There was cancer all right, a Gleason scale of 8, aggressive, likely to spread rapidly.

Okay then.

Let’s cut to the good news: a bone scan and an abdominal scan revealed agonizingly later that the cancer had not spread. But in the meantime, I had to tell my family about what until then Deb and I had kept to ourselves. Telling the children has by far been the worst part of this whole ordeal. Parents spend their lives trying to protect their children from worry, and here I was being the source of it.

It’s gotten better as we’ve learned more about treatments and prognosis. But it’s still cancer. Even though 1 in 7 Canadian men get prostate cancer, even though it has a high survival rate, even though there are many, many people worse off than me, just the word “cancer” strikes fear. (Cancer has by far the worst PR of any disease. They should try calling it “Krazy Cells!”)

But it’s a tyrant, this cancer. Because of it, I feel I’ve lost control of my narrative. I’m not “fighting cancer”; you can’t fight a plane crash. Nor am I “living with cancer.” That’s like saying I’m “living with cats”: I had no choice in the matter and it’s terrible.

I have cancer. It’s in me. Doctors are getting it out. I’m just along for the ride.

Cancer may be calling the shots but I won’t let it define me. Does this mean I’m living life to the fullest? Hell, some days I’m not even living life to the halfest. But for every bad day, there have been more days when I’ve been overwhelmed by kindness or a piece of music or laughter with friends or the tartness of a tomato, which I’m supposed to eat one of a day, God help me.

This morning, I’m having my prostate removed. I’m writing this a few days prior, not yet having undergone the mortifications of pre-op enemas and extreme manscaping. In the coming weeks (months, years), I’ll deal with the psychological loss of my manhood, although honestly there wasn’t much manhood to lose in the first place. But today, we close the chapter that began with a finger. Hopefully everyone washed their hands.

Tomorrow, a new chapter begins. It turns out I haven’t lost the narrative. It’s simply an unexpected plot twist. I’ve been writing my family’s stories in these pages for years. I won’t let scary old Krazy Cells silence me. I plan to be well. And I plan to tell what happens next.

Warning: it may involve catheters.

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Why Don’t We Review It in the Road?

None whiter

“[The Beatles’ White Album] might be called the greatest record ever made […] a top-to-bottom reinvention of the band as pure abstraction, the two discs, like stone tablets, delivering a new order.”
–  “The Accidental Perfection of the Beatles’ White Album,” The New Yorker, November 10, 2018

This month, The Beatles’ White Album turns 50, as do we all, for the world was not yet fully formed until this audacious, pangyroscopic perfection of pop was unfurled in all its cumbersome beauty and chin-bristle prickliness. I’m sorry if you were born after 1968; you’re 50 now.

To understand where the White Album falls in the cultural timeline and who we were and why we wanted it and how we do that thing with our tongue, we need to look at what came before the White Album (tea time).

In April 1968, John Lennon and George Harrison had just returned from India, and had separately decided, at last, to bathe. Symbolically, it was a washing away of their celebrity trappings, though practically, it was a washing away of the lingering scent of the Maharishi’s pungent cologne.

At the same time, Paul McCartney found himself in the complicated and soul-wrenching depths of balancing his chequebook, while Ringo found himself in the pub.

It was in this crucible of casting off within the nexus of polyreligiosity coupled with a bearing down on the zeitgeist as the sixties spiralled to their ghastly conclusion along with several pints of Guinness, that the Liverpudlian troubadours — a formerly Fab Four, a currently quixotic quattro — turned their backs on the palatable pleasantries of Sgt. Pepper and began to concoct a five-bean salad of musical complexity that was simultaneously rococo and so Yoko.

“The Beatles” (as the double-album was officially known, and don’t you forget it, bucko!) is a manifesto writ large in bold marker on Bristol board held up for the world to ponder, but actually on four sheets of Bristol board because they underestimated how much they had to write, and the last bunch of words are squeezed in with tiny letters that you really have to get close to to make out, and honestly it’s just gibberish (“Revolution 9”).

Like magicians, The Beatles pull a variety of tricks out of their quadrangle chapeaux — here a music hall ditty, there a guitar-slashing rage, here the ace of spades that you swore was shredded in the blender, there the floating head of Busby Berkeley — until we are left numb by such masterful illusion and the fact that we have been sitting cross-legged for 30 straight songs.

As John Lennon told The Polynesian Praxis on the 10-month anniversary of the White Album’s release, “Mblmmm mmmblbm mmffbbblmm mblmm, mmbbbll MBMFFMLM mbmm.” (John was face down in a pile of cushions at the time, participating with Yoko in Pillows for Peace.)

From the opening “Back in the USSR” that eerily predicts the success of the Russian airline industry, we are thrust into a world that recalls William Blake’s globe-encompassing plea: “O Where Art My Car Keys!” Reflecting the calamitous dichotomies of the cultural moment, the gentle optimism of “Dear Prudence” quickly degrades through the caustic “Glass Onion” into that cloying original earworm, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” where we seriously consider for the first time ending it all. “Wild Honey Pie” and “Bungalow Bill” reinforce this feeling of hopelessness until we are lifted soaring on guitars gently weeping, as are not we all. Because, seriously: “Bungalow Bill.”

Etcetera for 23 more songs.

Like a boomerang flung inexpertly into the wild not knowing whether it will return or take out the eye of a bystander or, if luck will have it, a kangaroo, the White Album is a metaphor. It challenges us. It makes us ask questions: Is it the fractured nature of the collaboration that indubitably makes it a masterpiece? Does its solipsistic insistence ironically serve as the essence of every cultural and living thing that was to follow? What does kangaroo taste like?

It would be presumptuous to say that “The Beatles” (perfunctorily known as “The White Album,” you supercilious git) is the greatest album of all time. Because, of course, there are all the other Beatles albums as well. But I am here and you are here and now and this and that, and we are saying words like “pantheon” and “brennschluss” while evoking Ezra Pound and Rimbaud and Somewhere Over the Rimbaud, all because of The White Album, are we not? Yes, we are. Or at least I am.

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Fear of phone

Whenever I’m feeling old (AKA any given day), I like knowing that I can phone myself at the office, let it go to voicemail and hear the youthful tones of myself from 13 years ago telling strangers that I will most certainly phone them back as soon as possible, and then telling them all over again in French.

I recorded that message in 2005 (when I was still in my glorious, barely creased thirties), and perhaps it was the lingering trauma of trying to get that one good take (see the aforementioned “French”) or simply laziness or perhaps a sort of auditory hoarding, but I have never summoned the wherewithal to update it.

Even when my job title changed last year, I hung onto the message, now officially obsolete. But, honestly, was anyone who was looking for the director of communications really going to hang up because the message was instead from the communications coordinator, even a surprisingly youthful sounding one? If my title had changed from “communications coordinator” to “vision navigator,” then perhaps I’d have cause. I will never be called a “vision navigator.” No one should be.

But this week, our office phones are all being replaced, and my voicemail is the least of my concerns.

The new phones are running not on good old Bell lines but over the internet. I don’t know how that works either but I expect it won’t be long before I’m receiving phone calls from Single Women Looking For Love In Your Area.

That also means our IT Department is involved. I love my IT people. They help me out all the time, and I feel IT and the Communications Department have a lot in common — people aren’t quite sure what we do but they want us to do it right away.

But it’s IT. IT people see the world with greater complexity than you and me. It’s like those lines of streaming code in The Matrix: to IT people, that’s like reading the Sunday funnies. And then they laugh and pass it to you and say, “Get it?” Actually, no, they assume you get it, even though you don’t even know what “it” is.

So when IT’s involved, I worry that it will be overwhelming. There have already been four emails from IT about the new phone, plus one earlier warning us the new phones were coming. Each email has instructions and/or a link to further instructions. There’s also a sheet of instructions on my desk along with a thin blue strip of paper with instructions on how to call 911 that I’m not sure what to do with. Maybe it’s in the instructions. I have not got around to reading any of this yet, which really I can’t blame IT for, but I’ll try.

I much prefer staring at the phone. Wondering about the phone. Imagining what kind of trouble I’ll have with the phone. Whether I’ll receive calls from Nigerian princes looking to move money out of the country on the phone. Worrying my voicemail will sound 13 years older on the phone and that will freak out the people who regularly leave me messages on the phone (AKA no one).

It’s an impressive phone, with a slew of buttons to ignore, far more than the buttons I ignored on the old phone.

For example, there is a column of eight lights down the side. The top one is lit green, then three dark, three more lit, and one last dark one. If I light up all eight, do I get an extra life? Or does it mean I’ve run out of Internet toner?

Why are there directional arrows on my phone? Can I drive it around my desk? Is it also a drone? I want a drone! All the cool kids are droning.

One of the buttons has a little book on it. Will my phone read to me? That’s nice.

I’m sure the instructions, once I get around to reading them, are completely reasonable and easily comprehensible, even to someone who is 13 years older than he used to be.

But still I have to ask myself: will I record a voicemail? Yes, of course I will. But will I really? Yes. Really?

This is a smart phone (not a Smartphone); it has a generic voicemail message that I’m sure will get me through many, many weeks of procrastination. But I really will get around to recording it (really). And if I do get in a jam, I’m sure IT will help me out.

Unless they read this first.

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Don’t be such a martyr, it’s All Saints Day!

Collect them all!

Saint Tarafa the Putrid
The Holy Hottie of Hungary, Tarafa the Putrid was named Saint of the Year in 1089, winning over the critics and plague-ridden alike with her hit song “Jesus May Have Come to Me (But I Wish You’d Go Away).” She also served as a celebrity talent judge on “The CrucifiX Factor” along with co-hosts Agotha the Vacuous and Mada the Execrable. Tarafa’s entire right side was covered in oozing sores that, though initially off-putting, proved to have the power to heal gerbils, so you just had to angle yourself to see the left side, in which case she was actually kind of cute, for a saint. Among her many divine miracles, Tarafa scored 14 points from outside the key and was 7 for 8 from the free-throw line to earn the Budapest Mole-Rats their first (and last) championship in the NCAA (Necrotizing Crippled Athletic Apostles). Tarafa was martyred in 1090 when she was stoned by an angry mob upset about all the gerbils.

Saint Bourguignon of Fez
Bourguignon was born in 447 in northern Morocco through no fault of his own. He was a prodigy of the Rabat School of Clerical Learning and Light Welding and quickly became a scholar of the Gospels, especially the Gospel According to Luke, whom he described as “wicked cool” (“impius frigus”). Bourguignon was the first to suggest the Holy Bible could “use a few more pictures,” which earned him a brief audience with Pope Hilarius – brief because Bourguignon tactlessly blurted out, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He later retreated to the desert where he dedicated himself to getting to know camels, you know, like, really getting to know them. His teachings and writings were widely spread across North Africa, including the popular tracts, “Holy Father in Heaven, What’s the Deal With the Humps?” “I’ve Tried Passing A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle and It Ain’t Easy!” and “Seriously, What Kind of Name is ‘Hilarius’?” Bourguignon is the patron saint of cartoonists, sous chefs and drama queens.

Saint Dahlia of Bruges
Born in 1872, Dahlia Chlgfllaffaghhmmen was born to a Welsh mother and a Flemish father, making her Welfish. At the age of 13, Dahlia was participating in the traditional Belgian pastime of avoiding old men with cheese when she had a vision of the Virgin Mary along with the Virgin Mary’s close friend Doreen. Dahlia reported to her local priest that the Virgin Mary was dressed in blue robes and was so beautiful as to be impossible to look at for more than a second. She also reported that Doreen wore a leopard-print pant suit and offered her a smoke, which Dahlia accepted. Miraculously, the cigarette was smoked but never burned down, and is now a religious relic known as the Butt of Bruges. These visions appeared several more times, with the Virgin remaining silent while Doreen advised Dahlia to repent, pray and never trust a man with more hair products than you. In the final visitation, Doreen transformed water into wine, telling Dahlia, “It’s always 5 o’clock in heaven, honey.” Word of the miracles spread, and Christians began to make pilgrimages to Bruges, with Dahlia eventually earning sainthood and the site of the visions becoming a bingo parlour.

Saint Alice the Non Sequitur
The daughter of a professional plate spinner, Alice the Non Sequitur grew up in the tiny village of Porchetta, Italy in the late 1400s. A child of little resources and fewer teeth, Alice became a novitiate in the Nunnery of Saint Stroganoff of Fez (Bourguignon’s kid brother). It was while praying before a statue of the Holy Virgin that Alice began to spontaneously bleed from the palms of her hands. She was rushed to the local priest, who examined the wounds, declared that it was not in fact blood but red corn syrup and prepared to send her on her way. “I’ve got corn syrup oozing out of my body,” argued Alice. “I don’t think this is an everyday occurrence!” Good point, said the priest, and declared it a miracle. “In fact,” she continued, “that’s a stigmata.” “What’s a stigmata?” asked the priest. “Nothing. What’s a stigmata with you?” And that’s when they stoned her. And rightfully so.

Posted in Holidays, Never Happened | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments