Whilst The “Engine” Idles

You’re there, at a downtown cathedral, attending a funeral. You’re sitting in the second pew closest to the pulpit. And you’re watching Father Boivin carry out all the necessary Roman Catholic rituals. And you’re thinking: This is what I should be doing.

The great escape into Ritual. Indeed, one possibly liberating—yet also possibly limiting—aspect of organized religion is the organization itself. One needn’t think, one simply does. God will fill in the blanks.

Time will not sink its claws, so long as one is occupied—with Ritual—with relevant Ritual. After all, nothing soul-destroys quite like hollow Ritual.

And the Religious Practitioner, of course (as opposed to the more prosaic rituals practiced by the factory worker, the stock-boy, or the book-keeper), is charged with effectuating ceremonies of Divine Magnitude. Thus, it is safe to suggest that there is next to nothing Holy about stocking shelves with Campbell’s soup—although, Sam M. Walton and Douglas R. Conant might disagree.

Another recurrent—albeit, perhaps, unrelated—matter of concern: people will work to tears to establish a rapport that never materializes—the degree of emotional, verbal, and material generosity notwithstanding. Could it be a pheromone deficiency? If so, why isn’t Pfizer or Merck working on an injectable or orally administrable synthetic?

What’s more, for most of your adult life you’ve surrounded yourself with gregarious reparteeists. And yet, you cannot count yourself a member of their club—not a true member—seeing that you cannot, in general, Keep Up. But, they pity you—which is why they tolerate you.

You are the human “Pinter Pause.” Rather, you can only hope that you are.

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