Thursday, December 16, 2004

An Athlete?

Happy Holidays!

My friends, I have something most unnerving to share with you: I have what is known as "the athlete's foot."

While wholly dissimilar from "the diabetes" and having nothing to do at all with "the cancer" the athlete's foot is a common affliction among, well, athletes. True to its name, I have literally athlete's foot: it's on my left foot and not my right; were I to have it on both, I suppose I'd have to call it "the athelete's feet" which lacks entirely the nice ring of "the athlete's foot." This is such an amazing find, really, and just fitting with the end of my first semester as a Jesuit: I've discovered I have "feelingS," I like to cook, and I've gone to the gym where I seem to be on good footing in my quest to be an athlete.

Now, if my use of "the" preceeding the afflictions listed above is unnerving, you have Wilfred Brimley (Quaker Oats fellow) to blame for it. As I referenced several months ago, not only did he change the pronunciation of the word, I believe he added the definite article (the) to it. Damn you Wilfred Brimley!

Though some of you thought I was joking about teaching kindergarten, I am deadly serious. Last Friday I met Debbie, the teacher and we really hit it off. On Monday we went in to tour the school and I fell in "love" (New feeling!!) with the class. They certainly seem to be a receptive group, and I am already planning a curriculum and a syllabus to accompany my catechetical exploits.

Note: I walked into a classroom without knowing which one it was and, by scent alone, was able to identify the year. Spoiled food = 6th grade. You really ought to try the scent test. While I wouldn't recommend randomly approaching a child at the mall and taking a mighty whiff of him or her, I would suggest savoring the aroma of one of your children or their friends. A biologist could write a dissertation on the three levels of stank one can find in Junior High.

On an academic note: I'm reading Theresa of Avila's "Interior Castle." In an attempt to make it more contemporary, I've converted the "castle" into a "Condo" and replaced God, the fountain of all goodness and holiness, with Martha Stewart. God might make you feel good, but only Martha can roosh a lampshade, bake you a cookie, and shiv you with a homemade knife while your back is turned to her in the shower.

Ryan's childhood memory: When I was little, I remember reading about St Nicholas and his generosity. I also recall reading that good children could put out their shoe and that they'd find something in it in the morning. With great excitement and nervous anticipation (I was seven or so) did I put out my shoe. The next morning, after a fitful night of slumber, I arose and clambered to see what the jolly saint had left for me and I found...........lint. Ever since then, I have had no expectation for Christmas.

Now, since doing something nice for me helps to ensure you a free ticket to heaven (think indulgence) I'd like to offer my Christmas list here. I know my family will probably do something special for me this year, like burn my books instead of a yule log, or give me a cross or a holy card (yeah, like I don't get enough of that already) so I'll let EVERYONE know what I want. I can't have money (send small un-marked bills) but I can drink (yellow tail merlot is both delicious and inexpensive). I can't travel too freely (yet) but I can eat (pop-tarts are delicious). I can't use my cologne to be coquetish (but I can always use Axe deodorant, the gel, please) but I can dress nicely (yeah for the GAP).

I have little hope that anyone in my immediate family will hearken to my anguished cry for help...they will just continue ignoring me as they have done for 25 years. I still find it ironic that I had to join a religious order (in case you forgot, I'm at Jesuit camp) AND move to Michigan (looks better in the rear-view mirror) in order for them to FINALLY buy me a birthday cake.

I'm off to do something holy, like pray or meditate. I hope you're all doing well. Mike and Brian, I expect you at the party on the 26th with your whistles for our entertainment. Later this week, I'll post the address to the retreat house where I'll be living so that those of you who care (Meaning:everyone except my family) will be able to send me cards or baskets of fruit or Pez or a puzzle while I spend 30 days praying and retreating.



(AKA Raul el gato rojo. "Ryan the Red Cat")

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