Heavenly jokes and a brush with a church bus
“He’s as quiet as a Baptist at an orgy.”
As soon as I said those words on television, I wished I hadn’t. Not only was it only marginally funny, it was marginally cruel, and in fact, not true. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never encountered a Baptist at an orgy – at least not one wearing a name tag. Normally, I’m not afraid to venture over the good-taste boundary occasionally, but lately I’ve been test riding a new on-air persona. I’ve been hosting a semi-serious news show, attempting to be less ribald and sophomoric, while continuing my practice of butchering the English language.
My mistake was beginning a sentence not knowing where it would end.
When I said, “He’s as quiet as S” I had no notion what was next. That’s when “Baptist at an orgy” came to me. Though I felt bad for the Baptists, or orgy participants watching, I did not take the time to have the director edit out those words. The entire process would have taken more than an hour, and I was anxious to leave. So, rather than take the time, I took a bicycle ride.
What happened next proves that God has a sense of humor.
Only an hour later, I was bicycling up a steep, windy, mountain road. Traffic was light, with only a few cars periodically passing. The air was unusually fresh and scenery spectacular, yet thoughts of my faux pas still lingered in the “guilt” part of my brain.
Either the vehicle approached silently, or my mind was elsewhere, but in an instant, a big red bus flew past, missing me by mere inches. I was forced off the road onto a soft shoulder, barely managing to stay upright.
When I risked a look to see if I was clear of danger, I saw the lettering: “Praise the Lord Baptist Church” (I’ve changed the name.)
I’m here to tell you, the good folks from “Praise the Lord” got their wish; as the bus nearly was brushing my elbow, I did, in fact, scream “Oh my God!”
Once the bus safely passed and I was able to regain the pavement, I waved both hands skyward in a gesture of anger and supplication: anger that a poor pilot nearly killed me, supplication asking God and karma to keep me safe. As soon as my pulse rate returned below 400, I was clear-minded enough to realize the operator was not malevolent but only trying to steer clear of ongoing traffic. For some reason, it made me feel better having someone almost kill me by carelessness than with malicious intent. That said, I wanted to speak to the operator; I knew where he was heading.
My exchange with him was cordial. I explained what had happened and that the last time I was that close to death was when I ordered tofu at an NRA rally. He said he remembered passing me, but thought he had given me enough room while still avoiding the oncoming traffic. I suggested that, with the roads so narrow and his bus so wide, perhaps next time he could wait a few seconds and pass when there was room for all – he agreed. He patted me on the shoulder and said something to the effect of, “I’m sorry brother. Be safe.”
As I left the churchyard, I considered the irony. I wondered if God was reminding me that words, like a wide vehicle, should be used with caution and prudence, because each inflict its own type of suffering. I wondered whether, had I taken the time to edit the offending comment, would I have missed my brush with injury?
Or, might have I encountered another driver with worse results? I’ll never know. One thing is undeniable – roads, like the planet itself, must be shared with consideration and forethought. Because, intended or not, pain hurts. Whether inflicted by a thoughtless comedian or a Baptist in a big bus S
Biff America can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA and KYSL radio, and read in this and other fine newspapers.
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