I’m Such an Asshole
When Opposites Attract
These two friends of mine, a married couple, are the oddest pairing that you’d ever meet. How they ever came together or continue to remain is a mystery to me.
Sheryl is a corn-fed midwestern Jesus-loving hypocritical cherry-picking Christian of the highest order. She’s incapable of carrying a conversation more than 10 minutes before invoking the name of god – especially when a non-Christian is within an earshot. My brother (also a godless bastard) and I are constant targets of her unsolicited Christian rhetoric. But unfortunately for her, she knows little of her religion (just the warm fuzzy parts) and sucks at debating. We routinely beat her to a pulp to the point of tears. But religious delusion is a funny thing. It dulls short-term memory and renders some incapable of understanding futility, and so she keeps coming back for more. And I don’t feel bad about it.
Having said this, Sheryl is really quite nice. She’s a decent, moral person, a good mother, and a good friend – occasional religious annoyances notwithstanding. She bugs the shit out of me at times, but I’ve learned to make my peace with it. I bitch slap her only in response to her religious tic and never initiate a godless insurgence – well, at least until the day of this event.
Gordon is the nicest guy alive. Soft-spoken, very slow to anger, a real mensch, born into a nice Jewish family of artsy, liberal-minded parents. He’s a secular Jew in every sense but very culturally connected to the Tribe. I never asked him directly, but I’d wager my portfolio that he’s an atheist to the core. I’ve always been careful not to make his beliefs the topic of conversation because it would appear that her husband was siding with this evil godless bastard. A debate would ensue and he’d be pressured into defending his wife at the expense of his contrarian beliefs, and I just didn’t want to be the source of such martial drama. My desires have since changed.
Their three year old daughter Phoebe is the prettiest little thing. She loves her mother – but make no mistake about it, she’s a daddy’s girl. Gordon has been the hands-on parent since day one. My brother once asked her which holiday she liked more, Christmas of Chanukah. (Even I’ll admit that Christmas kicks Chanukah’s bagel-eating ass.) She looked at her daddy with a big smile and, well, you know what her answer was. This riled her mother to bile and tears.
When Opposites Retract
The two decided to raise her in both religions and let her decide which path to follow (or another or none at all) whenever that time came – or at least that’s what Sheryl’s ruse outwardly indicated. But know this: Sheryl was going make this girl a child of Christ come hell or high water. Bet on it. Gordon is well aware, and on some level I think he’s biding his time until Sheryl goes full court press with the girl as she incessantly does with my brother and me. I predict that the man will explode when it comes to pass. Right now he’s simmering to some triggering event – something seemingly benign, like putting crucifix earrings on that child.
Pawn to Queen Four
So one night when Sheryl was out of town on business for a few days, my brother and I met up with Gordon and Phoebe for some dinner at a local BBQ joint. My brother stokes the fire far better than even I do, and the topic came up after the second round of drinks. Of course we had to speak in code to protect the child from our alcohol-soaked mocking, but what ensued was inevitable.
The photo below is self-explanatory, but know that it didn’t take but a second and a nudge to get daddy to make this happen. And of course I was certain to send it to her phone so she could stew in it, hands tied and 1,500 miles away.
Even I’ll admit that this cross the line, goading a husband to mock and undermine his wife’s beliefs.
I’m such an asshole.