Sunday, September 27, 2020

RIP, Animal, Past Lives

Strange event to bring some of my past life to the surface of my now brain surgery / seizure damaged brain. Early in my IBM career, around the time of my marriage, my "team" (X.25 if I recall correctly) went to see the Road Warriors in Rochester, where oddly we ran into a very straight-laced corporatist 2nd line manager who had taken his early or slightly pre-teen daughter that loved the Road Warriors to the same show.  

I had more than a passing interest in lifting heavy things in those days -- 325 on the bench, 240 military. I had a lot of respect for professional wrestling -- "ballet for those over 250 lbs" as I saw it. 

I was also going through a good deal of "religious angst". Raised and Baptised a "Born again Baptist". Severely doubting the truth of God as I ardently pursued Computer Science and the almighty dollar, I was beginning my quest for "wisdom" -- theological, philosophical, technical, cultural,  and "whatever".  Complicated by falling in love with an even more conservatively raised woman. 

So how did we culturally decide that the "last night" of single life for a man ought to be a night of debauchery? 

Not that I really trust Time magazine, but their take is

The bachelor party, however, goes back much further than you'd expect. It's rooted in ancient history — as early as the 5th century B.C. It is believed that the ancient Spartans were the first to make a celebration out of the groom's last night as a single man. Spartan soldiers held a dinner in their friend's honor and made toasts on his behalf — with, one assumes, a Spartan sense of decorum. Since then, the events have generally grown more raucous. In 1896, a stag party thrown by Herbert Barnum Seeley — a grandson of P.T. Barnum — for his brother was raided by police after rumors circulated that a famous belly dancer would be performing nude. Before his wedding to Gloria Hatrick, Jimmy Stewart's infamous bash at the Beverly Hills hangout Chasen's included midgets popping out of a serving dish.

Having been raised in pietous past, my curiosity leads me to Luther's opinion on Mardi Gras. The internet is always helpful (if not always correct, let alone righteous!):

This is a temptation for any of us: focus too much on how much you’re not sinning, and the thought starts to creep into your mind that perhaps your own right living is the basis of your acceptance before God. And yet, this misses the essence of faith: not sin-avoidance, but Christ-reliance.

And so Martin writes Philip with words that are as compelling as they are controversial:

“If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and sin boldly, but trust in Christ more boldly still, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.

Luther isn’t recommending that Philip rob a bank or insult his mother. His point is that we should always take Christ and his mercy much more seriously than we take ourselves and our sanctity. “[Christ] became for us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor 1.30–31).

I'm not claiming to understand the Truth that we are BOTH "Saints and Sinners". I just understand that it IS truth!  

So my oh so helpful team in that distant past decided that I needed a Bachelor Party, and given that they knew of my pietous past, religious searching,  and impending marriage, they thought a stripping "nun" would be somehow appropriate (we were young). Apparently, as the "act" proceeded, cheers for "Road Warriors" rose to a crescendo, and I executed the "Road Warrior press" ( grasping under the arms, military pressing her to full height over my head) on said "nun". ( I'm not likely to get on the SCOTUS) 

I'm told that the event was marred by my quickly going to arms raised in triumph as her apogee was reached, oblivious to the fact that gravity would  return the spike heeled lass expeditiously to earth. Thankfully, she was young, agile, and resilient, so no injury ensued. 

My heart was gladdened to see in the article that: 

Both Mr. Laurinaitis and Hegstrand became born-again Christians, something which helped Hegstrand conquer his addictions. Nevertheless, he died from a heart attack in 2003 at age 46.
How long we hang on in this veil of tears is of very little significance. I'd like to imagine that we could have some great heavenly tag team matches. Perhaps they will be known as "The Legion of Grace"? 

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