Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ugly Betting

Church Wager Was, Um, At Odds With My Nature

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I can just picture the scene. There I am, genuflecting in front of St Peter at The Utimate Portal Of Immortality, and he’ll be staring disapprovingly at me, clicking his tongue and shaking his head.

St Peter (sternly): You once said the word "arse" in church, during Mass?

Authorblog (stuttering): Er, yes, but can I explain, please?

St Peter (totally ignoring my pitiful attempt to justify such a shocking act of indiscretion): And you once placed a bet in church, during Mass?

Authorblog (ready to make an eloquent appeal to the members of the jury): Er, yes, but can I explain, please?

St Peter will raise his eyes to the heavens. Well, forgive my use of the metaphor, but I guess he won’t actually be raising his eyes to the heavens – for the simple reason that we will be IN heaven. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ll be there very briefly, just for the interview and no doubt for the banishment that will follow. He’ll be in heaven and I won’t.

St Peter will hand me over to the Patron Saint of Dungeons who will lead me to the Fiery Nether World.

But I’m not kidding. I must explain. So allow me to state my case here …

I was brought up to show respect to all and to show special reverence in church. Some of my earliest memories of reading relate to being able to read the brass commemorative plaques in St Nicholas, the Missions to Seamen church not far from Dumayne Avenue, where I grew up in Calcutta. As I grew up, I became an altar boy in that church and on one memorable Sunday morning I was told I was finally old enough to ring the bells before the service began.

My older brothers and I knelt when we were supposed to kneel, we sang when we were supposed to sing, we stood when we were supposed to stand, we sang hymns when we were supposed to sing hymns and we bowed our heads when we were supposed to bow our heads.

You get the picture, right? I'm not a yobbo who picks his teeth in church.

But last December, while I was briefly in Singapore, an old friend (and former colleague) stated, hand on chest, that the only time he has spluttered with mirth in the silent, hallowed confines of a church was during a wedding of another colleague of ours.

Let's call my Singapore-based friend Mister Northbridge. According to his recollection, he and I were standing (reverently) at the back of the church, waiting to usher the latecomers in as the nuptials began. At that point, Mister Northbridge and I both espied someone we knew rather well. He wasn't someone we fraternised with, either by choice or by necessity.

He was kneeling. Nothing unusual about that. But he had left his pew and was kneeling - very theatrically - in the middle of the aisle of this wonderful church. Not the sort of thing you'd do unless you wanted to draw attention to yourself.

Really draw attention to yourself. And as we watched him, he began to bow, so far that it seemed his nose would touch the cold flagstones and he would completely surrender to every gravitational force known to man.

It was exhibitionism like we'd never seen before and will probably never see again.

According to Mister Northbridge, I put down my hymn book and took out my wallet. According to Mister Northbridge, I pulled out a tenner. According to Mister Northbridge, I gave him the tenner. According to Mister Northbridge, I whispered out of the side of my mouth: "Give ya odds of ten to one the daft pillock falls on his arse.''

I have to say, it's all true. I'm so sorry, St Peter.

It ain' every day you see Kneel Armstrong in church.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

39 comments:

Mary said...

Well, did he??? Fall, I mean. Thanks for the laugh.

Personally, I think the company will be much more interesting in the alternative to St. Peter's digs. Maybe I'll see you there!

jennifer said...

Church isn't a bad place for laughter around here. And you could also say Arse in my church cause no one would know what you meant.

Take Care!

Jennifer

74WIXYgrad said...

Don't count yourself out yet. there are people who have done worse and are with St. Peter.

And who's to say he didn't have a hand in your winning the bet.

Akelamalu said...

Did you win the bet? LOL

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I wonder how many people were thinking the same thing as you.

CJ xx

San said...

Kneel Armstrong, my butt. HILARIOUS.

Your St. Peter episode and the one with Stretch Armstrong.

And thank you for clarifying that "looking to the heavens" bit. That kind of insistence on the truth should get at least one of your elbows through the pearly portal.

imac said...

Well, David this is different,and it cost you a Tenner.

Great post, Amen.


Pop and see my R post.

Ida said...

I guess St Peter will let you get away with this fabulous story! ;)

John said...

Wonderful post David! LOL
Great shots too.

Judy said...

I'm still laughing and wondering. Did he fall?

womaninawindow said...

Ya, I just wanna know if you won the bet. See you in hell!

Jamie Dawn said...

Ha, ha, tee, hee, guffaw, snort!!!

Great post!
What an enjoyable read this is.
I can just see that pompous arse - I'm not in church as I say arse, so St. Peter will forgive me.
I laughed as I imagined that guy kneeling in the most theatrical way.
I surely hope he fell. If he didn't, I'll wager that you would have loved to helped him topple over with a swift kick to his arse.
:-)
Nice photos also.

Katney said...

A wonderful story and I'm sure St. Peter has a sense of humor.

Momma said...

Brilliant! Love it!

Peace - D

lime said...

right mate, so here's our story...

the practice at our church on holy thursday is that at the end of the service all lights are extinguished and the congregation sits in the dark. during that time anyone who wishes may start a hymn and the rest will join in quietly. after several had been sung a boy's voice was heard from the back to begin the first words to 'christ the lord has risen today' only he got just a few words in and then became flustered and stopped and said, 'oh poop...oh nevermind.' so on this most solemn night our entire family is sitting in the pew and shaking violently trying to silently stifle guffaws and watching the youth pastor two pews in front of us doing the same thing.

lime said...

and then there was the christmas eve service when my oldest set her hair on fire and i started beating her head to put it out. (she was fine)

Hilary said...

Oooh how creative is that? An arse for the R's! You could have used the same story for next week's letter.. only you'd have had to bet that he'd land on his S. Clever you. :)

Sandi McBride said...

Okay, who won the bet? Was there any pants or side splitting going on? You can't just leave us in suspense this way David. It simply isn't fair...and I'll bet St Peter would agree with me, too!

Picturing of Life said...

great post...

Will you visit mine Thanks

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

No ifs, ands, or butts about that wager!

Gary said...

Very good, and great pictures too!

Gary

Maggie May said...

Pictures wonderful!
Tale convincing! (at first!!!)
Kneel Armstrong....hilarious!

One day a friend & I were stuffing paper hankies into out mouths to try to stifle convulsive giggles as a giant spider approached some unsuspecting and reverent person in the most solemn of services. Was one of the hardest things we had to do & we got some disapproving looks!
So I shall be meeting you there!

RuneE said...

s an alien to the English language, I admit that I had to search the comments to find what your R was supposed to be. Let us say that it was a very colourful (and under the circumstances very fitting)representation of the subject.

For a while I thought you had made a mistake with the Reflecting Rolls Royce in the post above this one...

My R is quite different...

CrazyCath said...

What a story! And did you win the bet? Was it worth the risk of damnation?
I'm sure you'll be forgiven - I am quite sure God has a sense of humour. Where else would we get it from?

Wonderful shots and a great post. Had me laughing out loud.

PS. Was the pillock related to anyone in the nuptials?

holly said...

1) i totally love that shot of the (um...thingie? this: qrevquebec.jpg) thing. i want one on my door.

2) i am pretty sure you *are* going to heaven.

3) if you already know you're not going to heaven, be sure to get your name on the sign-up list for the potluck. i'm bringing nachos.
and cards. that will be one hell of a game of spades...

4) why did i feel the need to enumerate this?

Louis la Vache said...

Your post had "Louis" ROTLHAO:
Rolling
On
The
Floor
Laughing
His
ARSE
Off!

"Louis"is sending the link to some Pastors he knows....

mrsnesbitt said...

David, what an account! The mere seriousness had me howling with laughter.

aims said...

Yes - the question is whether you won the bet or not!

nitebyrd said...

St. Peter may not nail you for the "arse" or the bet but He'll definitely get you for the "Kneel Armstrong" joke! LOL

BRUNO said...

"Kneel Armstrong"---now, THAT'S "DRY"! You've been takin' lessons from somewhere....!

leslie said...

I better prostrate myself and beg forgiveness for laughing so hard at this post! ROLFLOL and ROTFLMAO just like Louis. :O

Best "R"s of the day.

nonizamboni said...

What a story! You didn't??!
Great fun--thanks for sharing your wit.

becky voyles said...

Oh, this is just too funny! Thanks for the laugh. I really, really needed it!

andrée said...

OH what a groaner of a pun! Great story! St. Peter will let you in just for the chuckles!

Lana Gramlich said...

Lovely stained/leaded glass. I'm a sucker for funky glass of all kinds.

Dragonstar said...

This should take the prize for sheer inventiveness! Beautiful post!

Am'n2Deep said...

okay, so I'm obviously waaaay behind, but as I was quickly scrolling down your blog, this one caught my eye for some reason, and I read it.

Dare I say, I laughed my (arse) off? Sorry for the irreverence. It was one of my favorite posts that you've written. What does this mean for me? (I'll be in good company?)

Anonymous said...

I am impressed by the rigorously uniform and well-mannered nature (yet sycophantic) comments from all others.

This "Ugly Betting" is the deadliest, dull, stifled stiff-upper-lip private school prepubescent tittering I have read in a very long time.

You can only have been trying for such a monstrously and sexually repressed effect.

Besides which, you use "English" from several continents.

Blleeuughhh!

edison said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.