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Monday, December 21, 2020

Finding religion

Recently I made mention of the gods I fear and subsequently the closest thing to a religion I follow. This admission must seem heretical coming from a professed atheist like me, and yet, what can I say? I am getting older and mortality looms like a glove compartment full of unpaid parking tickets. It is not uncommon for an older person to find or rediscover religion as their grey hairs whiten and drop to the ground along with their dreams. Besides, with all the recent emphasis on religious freedom giving people so much legal leeway to do whatever the fuck they want and just claim, “it’s my religion” as justification, I figured why not get in on that scam? It’s a good racket......simple, legal, and with a hint of incense-scented respectability. Still, I have no use for those traditional gods I have long denounced. No, I needed something different....something more………’me’.

Celebrating foolishness the old fashioned way. My belief is that it's time for an upgrade.... from occasional distraction to sanctioned religion......especially if it gives you not only fun, but added legal protection.

I realized that I always felt a sort of inner gratitude whenever someone fed me a straight line, or some situation manifested out of nowhere with comic potential. Maybe there was a divine source to all this? A cosmic straight man feeding us set-ups. Now the idea of having a god of humor is not new. In the past there were several like Comus and Thalia. But I wanted something I could call my own, maybe partially borrowed here and there, but updated to fit my own prophetic vision. So, in the ballsy manner of Joseph Smith, or even St. Paul, you can trust me when I tell you that I have received divine guidance in the form of revelation visible only to me on a simple roll of toilet paper. As such, I am now a prophet of the gods, and preach their sacred words, laying out for us all the true path for those who wish to take their humor religiously.

Joseph Smith transcribing his 'golden book on loan' before having to return it to the angel Moroni. I love that the angel in Smith's account is named MORONi by the way. You can't make shit like that up.....or maybe you can? Conversely, I did not have to return my toilet paper roll and during the Covid toilet paper shortage, with its message already transcribed, I was able to put it to good secondary use. Where did this mystical roll come from? I cannot say. It may have materialized divinely, it may have been purchased at ShopRite, or it may have been placed among my other rolls by an angelic emissary of the gods.....an emissary I will call, "Farciculle" ......which to me is WAY more angelic-sounding than "Moroni" if not equally moronIC.

My religion is called Humorism and it flows from the divine inspirations of a pantheon of pagan idols, the “gods of comedy”. Now the gods of comedy as I mentioned elsewhere are a numerous and mischievous lot, blending both major and minor gods................except that to these gods themselves, there are no such distinctions. So while you and I might feel that Rhyetwyste, the goddess of sharp irony is superior to Bazoolakazinkle, the god of silliness…... others will feel differently and thus enable each god to feel superior in any given situation. 

The timeless Rhyetwyste, who I consider 'queen of the comedic gods'.....

and  Bazoolakazinkle whose antics are more appropriate for toddlers.


Like all gods these entities seek two things above all else: appeasement ( in the form of jokes told) and adoration (in the form of laughter that hopefully ensues). Honoring them is merely a matter of recognizing their random gifts of comic opportunity and taking advantage of them. It is the refusal to take one of their divine opportunities and turn it to comic effect that incurs their ill will. These gods smile upon the jokers in the deck and make the humorless the butt of jokes. So it is better to use these gifts to inspire laughter in the moment, than to ignore them and maybe be laughed at later. Besides, telling a good joke is both cheaper than buying a goat, and easier than finding a virgin, for ritual sacrifice. You have to appreciate the superiority of gods whose appeasement is also to our own benefit as opposed to those traditional gods whose demand for sacrifice ended in depriving ourselves of things we probably could have made much better use of. I mean really, what the hell does Allah need a dead goat for? Especially when so many of his people are always starving? And what's up with Yahweh and the whole 'Abraham & Isaac' thing? That was just sick.

Abraham and Isaac........I'm never quite sure if this was Yahweh's idea of a good sacrifice or his idea of a killer practical joke. Even if Abraham passed this cruel test, I can't imagine Isaac ever having a peaceful night's sleep after this ( and I always wonder what their Father's Day was like that year?)

And speaking of tales of sacrifice, what religion would be complete without inspiring mythological stories to explain who these gods are and how they came to be? Humorism is no different and the stories are numerous. One of my favorites is how Heinderthrall, the primitive god of butt humor got so tired of the superior attitude of Drole, the refined virgin goddess of satire, that he decided to take her down a peg. Drole was such a tightass that she suffered chronically from constipation. One day Heinderthrall cajoled Ghacha, the demonic god of practical jokes, to infuse her morning tea with laxative and then nail the bathroom door shut …..of course after inviting all of the pantheon to watch the inevitable hilarity. Caught in an embarrassing situation, the usually aloof Drole banged desperately on the door to no avail until she could hold back no longer. But being a god meant that the result for her was far more mystical than the foul mess it would be for mortals like you or me, and resulted instead in the divine birth from her rear of the impish twins: Toot and Feekle, thereby ushering in the new funny business of bathroom humor. Rhyetwyste was particularly pleased that Drole’s offspring were the polar opposites of their mother’s style of humor. What muse whose efforts inspired Voltaire, could be happy that her own children made their mark on the world with fart and poop jokes? But such is life…...and comedy.

This cave painting shows just how far back Heinderthrall's influence goes. Butt humor and especially butt trauma humor is ageless!

Ghacha, the patron of practical jokes has never seen a lapse in popularity and is revered by many the world over on April 1st.

Compare that tale to Christianity’s virgin birth story. In one you have a practical joke resulting in a few laughs and inspiring centuries of mankind’s ability to laugh at gas and excrement, and in the other you have a father sending his son on a mission so he can be killed and then brought back to life, thereby inspiring genocidal crusades, homophobia, and Christmas cards that shed glitter that then sticks to everything for weeks. A clear win for Humorism if you ask me.

The tale of the birth of Toot & Feekle is but one of many idyllic stories that show that humor was always being enhanced with new forms inspired by new gods. While some deities like Hedbang (the ancient god of slapstick and pratfalls) existed from the very beginning of human development, others like Cyttekahmm weren’t born until the 1940’s, making her mark on public television first in the UK before literally becoming a household name in the U.S.  Even more recently, new gods are being introduced. Did you ever wonder why those pictures with captions you see online are called “memes”? You guessed it, Meme is the newest god in the humor pantheon! ( yeah? Just try and tell me “Meme” doesn’t sound like a god’s name and that there’s a better explanation!)

Hedbang in all of his magnificently violent, comic glory. It is rumored that every time an anvil was dropped on someone's head, his horns grew another millimeter.

A scene from "Pinwright's Progress" which marked the first time Cyttekahmm exerted her influence.

Actually, besides memes and sitcoms, several forms of humor have gotten their names from the gods themselves like Limerick & Parody. It's interesting how these vain types always seem to be of the less talented variety. Conversely, some gods like (   ) the god of the well-timed comic pause and expression don’t even have a name, let alone try to impose it on their artform. Not only does ( ) have no name, but no one even knows what (  ) looks like, or whether ( ) is male or female or something else entirely. And yet some folks like John Krasinski and Jon Stewart, owe nearly their entire careers to the mysterious (  )’s benevolence.

Humor without words is (  )'s domain.

Drole, goddess of satire, comforting her underachiever brother, Parody, assuring him he is still loved even though he is not nearly as clever as she is.

But just as new gods are always entering our world, others can fade almost to obscurity, and then with rediscovery become popular again. Consider Zing, who inspires one-liners and other forms of quick wit. Once very popular, Zing sort of receded from the limelight for a while but now is back with new material.  Yet  lesser forms, like the awkward snicker-inducing faux pas, inspired by Zing’s cousin, Blert, can, with less effort, remain popular throughout….appealing to something so basic in human nature that it simply can’t be dampened. It has also been theorized by comic theologians that, like Prometheus giving mortals fire, Blert created and bestowed Tourette’s Syndrome upon individuals he felt were deserving of what he saw as his gift to humanity. Recipients however never felt particularly blessed.


The sightless, thoughtless, Blert is all mouth and no finesse, making everyone uncomfortable......and yet we often still chuckle....or want to.

Some gods however, will lose so much popularity that they simply go back into the ether leaving their inspired jokes to be told only by young children and the most desperate of comedians. Case in point, Kweerie, the goddess of riddles. When was the last time you heard a new and clever riddle, or heard a stand-up comic ask one? Other gods lose ground due to cultural movements in human society. For decades, Threemen, the god of the ethnic and religious joke, reigned supreme. His material infiltrated everything from the professional stage to the workplace cafeteria, and yet, with the introduction of PC culture, it is rumored that in the celestial plane, Threemen has been on a kind of divine life-support, barely making it through each day with a joke in his honor being told infrequently and only then with cautious secrecy. A cruel fate for a god who only wanted to make us laugh and succeeded for a long, long time.

Here a youngster ponders " what's black and white and 'read' all over?" having never seen a newspaper herself. Kweerie's philosophy might well be: " let the little children gather unto me" but even then her inspirations are getting dated and stale. 

Being a god is obviously not without risk. Further proof shows that humor gods can be as vicious as Mars or Kali, with dark tales of murder and usurped humor. Insults have been around for centuries, but think of how they have changed. From ancient flyting in verse (for more on flyting) to the scathing put-downs of wits like Dorothy Parker, to the roast-like digs of a Don Rickles…..all the way to dueling urban rappers competing for applause on stage, the only remaining consistency is the disparaging intent of the remark. Yet why are these styles so different? Well, because one god did not inspire them all. Instead, Yomamma killed Puck, who killed Quip, who killed Flyte, who probably killed some unknown ancient who started it all, each taking over the comic form from their predecessor and changing its style. Ugly business. (How ugly is it?.......)

When did Rickles stop being funny? The day Yomamma killed Puck. Is it any wonder why no roast today ever seems as funny as those old classics? The day of the roast is as done as a chunk of beef left in the oven too long.

In all, there are probably too many gods to even name. As revealed, sometimes new ones are born, dropping out of the sky ( or ass), others die, some go dormant only to be resurrected later, and others have seemingly been around forever. We've already covered a bunch, but there are so many more. Morbydde, the dark god of gallows and black humor resides in stark contrast with the 'sexual sisters'  Hoompty, the raucous and bawdy bimbo of sexual jokes, and Smarmiwink, the subtle goddess of innuendo. There’s the enigmatic Fxz7ikle, god of nonsense and the absurd, Doh, a newer god who inspires the ‘fails’ we see on YouTube, Retch, the outrageous god of gross humor, and the ever-groan-inspiring Fungi (Fun guy), purveyor of the pun. Perhaps you know of others?


Morbydde, appealing to our darker sides.

Fxz7ikle amusing itself. Fxz7ikle has existed for millenia and still no one is quite able to explain why its antics are funny. This strange being is the one deity all of the others are wary of. 


Newcomer, Doh, uses a combination  of his divine power and technology to ensure that when something funny happens, there's a camera nearby ready to capture it.

Truly it is a vast, colorful, and sometimes sordid assembly. Often without our awareness, these deities work in collaboration and other times alone to bring something important to us all. As human beings, where would we be without them? We need them just like they need us. And so, just like with any belief system or religion, isn’t that why we ( or in this case, I) invented them, creating them in our own image? Once conceived we then can keep their names and influence alive with our best efforts to make others laugh? What’s even better is that because there are so many of them, you can pick and choose the ones you prefer and avoid the others. My personal favorite of course is Rhyetwyste, but my fondness for the rest keeps them all somewhat content with my attentions to them. No one wants just one spice in their pantry. Life and humor are best served with variety.

A bronze statuette depicting Retch at play. In humor there really is a time and a place for everything.

So consider converting from whatever you believe to my religion. I can’t promise you a happy afterlife but I can say that with Humorism as your religion, you may have more fun in this one. And what the hell…..if it makes you feel better, I’ll do what the other religions do and promise you that afterlife anyway. Sure. Why not, right?  I mean mine is just as likely to happen as theirs, and what are you going to do if it doesn't? Sue me?  So now you should have everything you need to comfortably switch over, but if Humorism still seems too different, too alien and unfamiliar as a religious form, to make yourself more comfortable you could send me money. Let me hear an “amen” to that!




10 comments:

  1. Can't focus today, but enjoyed what I did read.

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    1. Thanks, dear. Take your time, it's not going anywhere.

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    2. Yes! I like this quite a bit! Thank you 😊

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    3. Thank you, dear. I'd be lying if I claimed it was effortless. LOL

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  2. The title reminds me of my favorite REM song, "Losin My Religion", which has nothing to do with religion.

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    1. While not necessarily a fan of the song, it popped into my head too when I put up that title. I guess we are all conditioned by pop culture to a degree.

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  3. This is an extraordinary piece and I think would have an excellent chance at being included in a magazine.

    Also, if you can figure out how to get it to Neil Gaiman and he read it he would resonate as it is aligned with at least one of his novels.

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    1. Why thank you, Tomy.

      Not sure about sending this out, but again, I thank you for that encouragement.

      (BTW, did you ever see the two emails I sent you? It was a little troubling when I didn't hear back. I thought I was being shunned. ;-) LOL)

      I hope your Christmas is merry.

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  4. Personally, I hate to see that much work; creativity, humor, and insight, limited to a small audience (comparably) I picture it being submitted without the images, of course. But hey, it's your thing. Wonder if I am alone thinking this. Oh and Ho Ho Ho tonight's the night.

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    1. I appreciate that more than you might think. Thank you. One day we will "talk" about this.....probably via email. There's some history to this.

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