On my knees 

You know, I hope to Jehovah nobody dimes me out to the geckos running my claim-denying, co-pay-jacking sickness-assurance provider.

Because if they ever find out how I produce this column, I’ll be hosed out of the risk pool quicker than `euphemism for their alleged “coverage”` through a talking goose.

See, it’s unhealthy, this writing. Leaving aside how it’s transforming my liver into hop-tinged foie gras (and my lungs into Santa’s boot soles), I usually do it on a stool at Joe Quaff’s bar. And about once a week, some headline or other will make me laugh so hard that I topple right off my hoochperch — whereupon Newton assumes jurisdiction and I crack Joe’s grubby linoleum like Karl Wallenda after his last walk. Painful, that sudden stop. Tough on the ribs, too.

Last week wasn’t different. The keys of my ash-flecked Dell offered no handhold when I read that Pastor Ted Haggard’s back preaching in Colorado again. Things went something like this:

“What? What th … Aaaaaaaaaahahahahahaaaa…” assdffcvbnmm,..////// - - BLAM!

Must’ve been fun to watch. But it hurt. And Ace bandages & Oxycontin ain’t free, man.

Anyway, latest tally of P.T. Gack’s new “congregants” (though I suspect P.T. Barnum would’ve used another term for them): 245. In his first month, mind you. And get this, from the Colorado Springs Gazette: “Haggard’s main theme at St. James has been that church leaders have become too judgmental.”

Awk.

Here’s the former head of the 45,000-church National Association of Evangelicals — who used to tele-conspire every Monday with Dubya, whose chosen Attorney General spent $8,000 covering the Spirit of Justice’s statutory tits — and now he-says-Yahweh-says the other carnie barkers who once anointed him Ringmaster are “too judgmental”?

Why? Because New Life Church chucked him when he got caught sniffing crystal off of every place his male prostitute’s Speedo momentarily covered?

I mean, geez, I’m not one to side with any Reverends or Shamans or whatever about … well, about anything, really. But if I had to cough up six-figure settlements and lay off 44 people on account of methTed’s refusal to keep his dinger in trou, I’d be a little judgmental, too. In fact, lack of a 501(c)(3) notwithstanding, I am. I hereby judge you “mental,” Teddy. So there.

In any event, the square-state faithful are lining up once again to hymn it up for Pastor Tweak and top off his tithe buckets. Shouldn’t be any surprise, I suppose. Jim Bakker’s back slingin’ on T.V. these days. (By the way, Jim, you cadge up the $6 million you owe the IRS yet?) So’s Jimmy Swaggart, much to the delight of street hostesses all over the Bible Belt. Warren Jeffs’s convictions got overturned, too (as my barstool nearly did again just now). Oy.

I’ll tell ya, Lazarus didn’t have nothin’ on a genuine major-league preacher.

And, really, I only laugh myself injured nowadays ’cause I can’t cry anymore.

Let’s face it. We Americans, by and large, are either too intoxicated or mouth-breathing stupid to be feeding turtles, much less electing the keepers of nuke-tipped Tomahawks. And that scares the bejesus outta me.

Take, f’rinstance, the drinkingest, gamblingest, topless-pool-havingest state we’ve got: Nevada. The last winner those fallout-victims picked, John Ensign, is the only Pentecostal in the Senate (where I’ll bet his snake-handling experience comes in quite handy). He was a screeching “Promise Keeper,” he berated Slick Willie over cigarring Monica, and he lived at the C Street Center … until he, uh, got caught pork-barreling an aide’s wife (and illegally scrounging lobbying gigs to keep the cuckold quiet). Oh, and as for the Silver State’s new Republican nominee for filibuster-protector? Sharron Angle? Well, when she’s not calling the unemployed “spoiled” or promising to dismantle the federal Department of Education (a boon for her ilk, that’d be), she’s yipping off about how we’re “one nation under God, not one nation under government.”

What the stuffed-to-brimming hell? Even Nevada — Nevada, where prostitution’s mostly legal! — won’t vote for anybody who’ll admit the Earth ain’t flat.

We’re screwed, baby. Kempis was right. Gouverneur Morris proposed in 1787, and Allah’s disposing now.

Just sayin’. If we plan on leaving “in God we trust” on our money and pewsful of Falwell-fellaters in charge of the missile codes, we’ll all need better health insurance. And the Quaff’ll need stronger linoleum. •


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