Monday, October 10, 2011


Have I ever prayed? Yes. I grew up in a church, so we prayed a lot.

There was the formal prayer that we said every week--was it before or after communion? The Lord's Prayer. There were sung prayers--the Doxology, which we sang every week. Hymns either took a position about life--e.g., "Count your blessings"; tried to teach us how to be Christians--e.g., "Have thine own way, Lord"; or were about hanging out with Jesus--"I come to the garden alone", but quite a few were either prayers or designed to teach us how to pray.

We prayed at Sunday School. In movies, we saw images of people who prayed before meals, although in my family, we only said a "thank you" prayer, a grace, on Thanksgiving.

One of my childhood books was a book of prayers which included that bizarre poem (at least to a 20th century kid) "Now I lay me down to sleep" since it was about children dying before we woke up.

And during one years-long OCD-infested period, I prayed every night for everyone. It took 45 minutes. Breaking free from that prayer was as useful as finally coming to terms with my lack of belief. Life became simpler after that.

Last week at my temporary job, a temporary colleague said, when she saw my wet hair, "No wonder you have a cold." I told her that it was an old wive's tale that you could catch cold from having wet hair, and she disagreed. I know better than to do the research that would prove her wrong. I've tried that tack before. If she is 50-something years old and still chooses to believe in the fantasy that going outside with wet hair will give you a cold caused by a virus, she isn't going to change her mind now. That's the way belief is--it's like a bad cold that keeps you from thinking clearly because your head is stuffed with nonsense.

The idea that asking for something from a non-existent being could change things--it's nonsense that I outgrew a long time ago. "I'll pray for you" or "I'll pray about that" or "God answers prayers" is such nonsense, but at least it gives you a clue about the person who makes the statement, and warns you away from revealing your true self to the one who prays.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dinosaur, Schminosaur

If this doesn't work when you try to play it, turn off the auto option.