Post 134

Sock It: Reflections on Religion at the Garden Centre

Of course I need to write about my two Mr Bean moments. I believe that is precisely why such things happen to bloggers – God’s method of providing writing material.

Thanks God.


(He knows.)

(Thinks it’s funny.)

(Rasta smile.)

(He says, “Hey, no problem! Anytime.”)

The first happened yesterday morning. I basically punched myself in the face. For those of you who would like to repeat this in the privacy of your own home, I will tell you how to accomplish this. Prior to going to sleep, make a heavy (“heavy”) pile of blankets at the foot of your bed. Promptly fall asleep. The next morning, wake up and try to pull your blanket higher up onto yourself. Pull, and pull. Tug as hard as you can and then accidentally let go. Voila. Your hand will demonstrate the power of physics and keep going, towards your face. Boof. Are you awake now?

The second was a few days ago. There was a spider high up on the ceiling, where I couldn’t reach it. Now I know that the weaker types among you would have left it, but such a response is not what we strong (“strong”) types do. We must kill. A spider is entitled to life, provided that it does not enter my home. At that point, it is on enemy territory. It has trespassed. The part about forgiving the trespasses of those who have sinned against us (in the Our Father prayer) does not apply to those with more than two legs.

But I couldn’t reach it, so Fast-Thinking Blogger did the next best thing. I found a thickish sock and knotted it. That was my second Mr Bean moment. I was whipping this balled-up sock at the ceiling, trying to take it down. It was the kind of thing you are glad to be doing without spectators. Third try. Bull’s eye. I was rather proud, because I nailed him from many feet away at an interesting angle.

But then it was kind of gross because I stood there afterwards, suspiciously eyeing the sock yet too chicken to touch it and I couldn’t see the spider. Bleh. It felt like forever. Where is this thing? Dead or alive? I was pretty sure he was still alive, but now it was worse because I couldn’t see where he was. I kept standing there. Where was he?

Finally, he surfaced. He started up the wall and it was game over.

Don’t say, “Game over for who?” (And it’s even worse if you say “Game over for whom?”)

For the spider, of course!

My story.

So now you know. You can carry on with your day.

Or maybe not.

Maybe you’ve got Lots of Extra Time to be Reading Really Long Blog Posts.

Ah, then welcome! Pull up a chair and we’ll talk about Chesterton.

After all, everything always reminds me of something he said.

My Amazing Sock Sock-It Rocket-Sock story makes me think about the time Chesterton tried to describe how animals are nice and all that, but that if push comes to shove, and you have to choose a side, you’re supposed to choose the People, not the Animals. He so often chose interesting hypotheticals, and in that case he mentioned being on a boat with other people. You’re sitting there on your boat and suddenly a shark comes along, attacking the people. That’s your cue to be On the Side of the People. Defend your fellow passengers when the shark wants an arm and a leg. Defend your fellow passengers when the shark wants to bite the hand that feeds it. If you’re going to unite yourself with Mother Earth and do an ode in praise of Sharks in General, then I don’t want you to be my Lusitania cabin mate and I hope you never become a lifeguard. (And that goes for you too, Mr. Attenborough.)

This Mother Earth stuff is just so annoying and stupid.

Who is she anyway? Could everyone just stop talking about her please?

Mother Earth. Schmother Earth. I bet she lives on some Eco Island and likes listening to $13.99 tunes of waves crashing against rocks.


It makes me think of my recent trips to the garden centres. I went a few days ago and I left two places because the Creepiness Radar was in the red zone and I couldn’t keep shopping. I escaped with my life, but I didn’t get any plants. Oh well.

You should see these places! Perhaps you have. Some of the women at least will know what I’m talking about.

You think you’re going to a plant store but really you’re going to a I’m-Confused-About-Religion store. All kinds of weird statues. Some seem to be dedicated to this Mother Earth person – some kind of pagan sun made out of metal with ‘rays’ twisting out of it. What is that thing? Is that ‘art’ or is it a symbol of Something Really Important? Do I need that anywhere near my home?

I suppose that depends. How much is this place going to pay me to install that monstrosity?

Or, along with the petunias, I could purchase a Large Heavy Concrete Head.


Yes! For only two million dollars, you too could spend the next two hours of your life loading the back of your truck with Mr. Potato Head and then unloading it onto your unsuspecting front lawn. This “decoration” will now prove to the world that you are Entirely Confused about religion and paganism.

Not your style?

Then how about a bit of Ying and Yang? Ooh. This is for the Cultured Types. This is for those white people who have not a smidgen of Asian ancestry but who have become so entirely disconnected from reality that they go and PAY to have tattoos needled into their perfectly serviceable and unblemished skin with some stupid Asian phrase which is supposed to be Profound.

Oh puh-leeze.

This man doesn’t even know how to use a pair of chopsticks properly and he’s gone and gotten Asian words going up his arm. How does he know for sure that it says what he thinks it says? What if the translations got mixed up at Ye Olde Tattoo Parlour and it actually means something entirely different? What if it ACTUALLY says, “A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted” or “Tattoos Prove You Are a Follower Not a Leader” or “Too Bad This is Permanent.” Or what if it’s got a spelling error, as in: “Crap! This is Permamint.”

That would be funny.

But anyway – my point is that those Asian sayings don’t work for me.

Not impressive. A saying is not improved by being in Chinese or Japanese. That’s just pretentious. It doesn’t intrigue me because these sayings aren’t usually very content-rich in the first place. Give me a book of quotations. The ones from India or Asia aren’t the best ones. They’re just not.

I’m not saying they’re all lame, but they’re just not the best ones.

They’re not all that ‘Deep.’ They’re kind of empty and low on intellectual stimulation. They’re the kind of thing you could make up, if you had enough of those dollar-store Make-A-Sentence magnet things. Just make sure you have the word “Is” and you’re set.

Connect two unrelated words, typically abstract nouns, and you’re the proud owner of some new phrase, Author Unknown.

Go like this: “All Is Nothing” or “Life Is Absurd” or “Dog is Yummy” (and on the menu).




But back to the garden store, there’s more. Lots more. Plus some Fashionable Religion stuff is being trucked in from some other place and is on the way. After all, it’s May. (Catholics think of it as the month dedicated to Mary, Jesus’ mother aka Mother of God, but that’s nearly a secret.)

So nowadays a trip to the garden store means you can get an Asian temple that does the drip-drip-drip water-torture water-fountain thing, to serve as background noise while you have your Profound Thought of the Day.

Or you could buy some Cling-Clanging Hanging Whatever things that bonk against each other. (Forget what they’re called.) Oh yeah – ‘Wind Chimes.’

And don’t forget your tunes! At some garden places you can pick up that CD you’ve always never wanted of “relaxing” nature noises that you never hear anywhere except at the garden stores and at the Reiki-esque massagity places.

The choices are endless. What will it be?

Give up?

Can’t decide?

“Garden” store schmarden store. Just give me some plants, people! I can barely remember what I came here for.

You walk in thinking you want a new perennial but you leave with a new religion, or two. Or three.

What does it matter?

The content of these pseudo religions is so minimal that it really doesn’t matter whether you follow half a dozen of them at a time. They won’t make any significant demands on your life or your time and you’ll barely have to think about them at all. Getting a new dog would change your life more.

So I guess you can just go wild. Fill the cart.

How about one of each?

Get a Buddha, a gigantic Aztec head, a sundial, a metal sun, a few ceramic red-hatted gnomes, a Japanese temple thing and put them next to that Hindu “goddess.” Nestle them in.

Go ahead. Sure! Buy that statue of a half-naked lady who has a few extra arms yet is sitting around. You’d think she’d test-drive those arms and bake you a cake while she folds up some clothes but apparently – no. She’ll just sit perfectly still on her behind, waving those extra limbs around.

Useless chick.

And rather gross.


Reminds me of that spider.

Hey lady! I got a sock. Let’s take you down.

Dodgeball anyone?

(Let’s start with an ‘ectomy’ of arms numbered 3 through 8.)


On the other hand, spiders are yucky. Think I’d rather punch myself in the smiley face.


Good morning world!