Holinesser Than Thou: My Ability to Offend Everyone

Look! There were nuns at Woodstock!

I’m not sure where my whole life went horribly wrong, but somehow I ended up living in Alabama and it was absolutely not on purpose. The craziest thing—aside from the wide variety of road kill (seriously, National Geographic should do a special)—is that my husband has so many family members, nay, kinfolks, that I still haven’t met them all in the seventeen years that we’ve been together.

At the last family reunion-slash-bridal-shower-slash-swap-meet we attended, I got to meet the Holiness side of the family. Those of you from this part of the country automatically knew what I was talking about, but those of you newcomers are picturing a papal procession. No, holiness is a catch-all term here in the South for anyone who looks like the Duggar family…long hair, no make-up, requisite denim skirt. I don’t have a clue what the men are supposed to be hatefully stereotyped with, I think they’re supposed to blend in with society so they can covertly spread their message to the masses. I could be wrong on that last part.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: I happen to know some very lovely, intelligent people who fall into the above category and since they read my blog I would like to take this opportunity to point out how non-weird and non-irritating they are. Thanks for reading, y’all! But these holiness relatives were not those people.)

These technicality relatives like to hide out at their compound so they don’t get corrupted by the backsliders they happen to be genetically linked to. They mean us. In my case, they’re not even genetically mine, they’re only legally linked to me, so they were fair game for the picnic that is my sense of humor.

THEM: And where do you go to church?

US (I mean, me): Why?

THEM: We would just like to know where you worship. (They can use the royal “we,” why can’t I?)

US: Worship? Worship what?

THEM: (sharp collective intake of breath)

US: I’m completely kidding! I knew what you meant. But why do you need to know where I worship while we’re in line for more potato salad?

THEM: We were just wondering if you’re our kind of people.

US: It’s a little late to worry about that. I’m already having sex with your cousin.

THEM: That’s not polite to talk about in a church.

US: We’re in the church gym, doesn’t that give me some wiggle room?

THEM: You must not go to church.

US: Fine. I’m Catholic.

THEM: (blank stare until finally one of the junior members of the gaggle spoke up) What’s that?

US: Oh, it’s this crazy offshoot religion where we have to dress a certain way and live away from society.

THEM: (pause, narrowing of the eyes) Like those Amish folks?

US: Yeah. Totally like those other people and not anyone we actually know.

THEM: But what do those Catholics actually believe?

US: Well, ya know. Stuff. Human sacrifice, baby eating, things like that. It’s kind of like Satanism.

THEM: (whispers behind hands) Isn’t Rick Santorum a Catholic?

US: WHY do people have to keep bringing that up?

THEM: Don’t y’all believe that abortion is a sin?

US: So is running a stop sign. Look it up.

THEM: Don’t y’all believe that the gays are gonna burn?

US: Don’t y’all believe in arranged child marriage and obliterating all references to evolution?

THEM: Pleasure to meet you.

Why do people always walk away from me backwards? Do I leave them feeling like they really shouldn’t give me a clean shot at their spines? Good…