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5:44 a.m. - 2001-09-10

MY...WHAT A BIG DEACON YOU HAVE

So yesterday we had the ribbon cutting ceremony on the new addition to our church which has been functional for about six weeks or so, but we waited until yesterday for the big dedication.

The day started with a breakfast where one of the oldest gents in the church shared his recent trip to Normandy, France after not visiting there since he hit the beach of Normandy in WWII.

I love this old guy. He's a great old man, spry, fun, still has most of his brain cells intact and is ALWAYS in a great mood.

And he can tell a story. Boy, can he tell a story. Boy, does he tell stories that can go on and on and on and on. And boy, can he forget a lot of details that can make the stories drag on and on for what seemed like hours.

Breakfast started promptly at 7:30. Ed started speaking at 8 a.m.

Ed was "supposed" to talk about his trip and how it made him a stronger, more spiritual man.

Instead, he told us funny stories of stuff that happened in France and had to end his tales abruptly before he got into the whole spiritual thing because it was time for Sunday School to begin.

Did you know that Ed can't eat shrimp? Me neither! Now I do!

Did you know that Ed gets violently ill and has to have strange French women hold his head while he vomits when he eats shrimp? Me neither! Now we do!

Did you know that a strange French man let Ed drive his car, even though Ed's older than Bob Hope? Me neither! Now neither one of us care!

I sat in a position where I could see everyone's faces while Ed spoke. He was lucky to have maybe ten people listening to him. The rest of them were dozing off with full bellies early on a Sunday morning.

Let me point out again, Ed is alright in my book. He's just a super, super guy.

But damn. Don't ever get him started on a story after a big breakfast. It's nearly impossible to get him to shut up afterwards.


I was approached about the strange letter I received last week where I had been nominated to serve on the diaconate at church.

"Strange" because I had no idea what a "diaconate" was.

As it turns out, I will be a deacon at the church.

Me.

Uncle Bob.

A church deacon.

Now I KNOW nobody from church can ever see this website. If they see this and find out what a cynical bastard I can be, I'll be demoted back down to normal churchgoer in a heartbeat.

I accepted. I think it'd be a cool thing to drop into a conversation with total strangers.

TOTAL STRANGER: "So...what do you do for fun?"

ME: "Oh...I like playing with the computer, downloading MP3s, watching movies, I'm a deacon in my church, I surf the web for funny photos, play Solitaire".

TOTAL STRANGER: "You play Solitaire?? Me too!"

ME: "Yes, I'm a church deacon, alright."

TOTAL STRANGER: "So where's a good place in town to eat?"

ME: "Well, when I get through deaconing my ass off, I like to go to McDonald's for a frosty shake."

TOTAL STRANGER: "Aren't you mad at them about the whole 'Millionaire' scam?"

ME: "Yes, but as a church deacon, I have to be forgiving."

TOTAL STRANGER: "Do you think Al Gore would have been the wiser choice?"

ME: "I think he'd make a good church deacon like me, as long as he shaved that scraggly beard."

TOTAL STRANGER: (Sigh) "So...you're a church deacon?"

ME: "YES! How did you know??"


So yesterday, after the ribbon cutting, the wife of the guy whose construction company built the new addition cornered me.

"I love your columns!" she said. "You are so funny and I especially love the ones about your baby!"

"Well, those columns aren't there anymore," I said, thinking I had caught YET ANOTHER slacker who read one or two of my columns, memorized my name and then thought they'd be all cool gushing over me when I don't even write a humor column anymore.

"Oh, I know and I really miss them," she said, not missing a beat and making me think she might actually be a real fan.

...And not a bad looking one at that. If it had been kosher to take a visitor to our church into a cloakroom and give her a big deacon...I woulda done it.

Sadly, I would have broken more commandments in one single act than anyone ever before me.

So I politely thanked her and grabbed a crying Andy out of the nursery and showed him off to her.

She thought he was very handsome (like his hot Daddy) and I walked away.

I still feel bad about that conversation almost 24 hours later. I told Susie I felt like I had blown the woman off. Usually, when I meet an adoring fan, they're ugly as a corpse. This woman was hot, she dug my writing, and technically I could have at least initiated some playful but erotic flirting between two married strangers in church.

I mean...is that so wrong?

Heh.

I KILL me.


I was watching a VH1 documentary on Aerosmith last night and whenever there's a documentary on Aerosmith, it's not complete unless you mention what a bunch of fuck-ups they used to be.

The cocaine, heroin and drinking days.

And it reminded me of the time I saved lead singer Steven Tyler's life.

It was 1982 and Aerosmith was in bad shape. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had left the group and Steven had hired two fellow smackheads to go on the road with the band in their place.

I was working as a concert security guard at the Knoxville Civic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee while going to school at the University of Tennessee. The job paid ten bucks a night and you got to see the concerts from either backstage or the pit down front.

I was assigned to work backstage during this concert and found myself outside the band's dressing room.

It was showtime and the door to the dressing room opened. The band was all walking towards the stage and other security guys were leading them there. I was waiting around to see Steven.

Two big guys, bigger than me, were carrying Steven. He was whacked out of his mind, messed up beyond belief. He had an arm draped over each guys shoulders and his feet were dragging the ground.

"Get behind us," one of the guys barked at me. "If he starts to fall, you catch him."

Great. It's my job to catch the junkie.

So I followed the guys all the way out there. Steven was babbling incoherantly and doing some of his trademark screeches, but they were hoarse and sounded like someone was breaking off a live chicken's legs.

We got to the stairs to the stage and the band started playing the opening to "Back in the Saddle". The guys carried Steven up the stairs with me a step behind them.

We got onstage and there were about 10,000 people screaming our way and getting pumped up.

It was pretty electrifying. The stage was still dark so nobody could really see me and go "UNCLE BOB!! ROCK ON!!!"

Those guys took Steven's arms off their shoulders, attached his hands to the microphone stand and left him there. They gave me a sharp shove signalling we needed to get the hell off the stage.

We rushed off the stage and stood on the side as the lights came up and Steven yelled "I'M BAAAAAAACK!!!" into the microphone and performed a flawless show.

Nobody in the crowd would have ever guessed that he was limp as a rag doll for the last several minutes, body racked by heroin and cocaine abuse.

It was truly amazing and he put on a helluva show that night. And these days, it's really cool to see the band all sober and healthy. Because I saw just how bad they were at one time.

Ummmmmm....

Okay...so I didn't really save his life. But had he slipped or tripped over his lips, I woulda been there to catch him and possibly save his life.

And that should count for something.

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