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God kicks back

You can’t call yourself a Catholic until you’ve wondered who was the original April Fool. He or she may have done quite well out of it. The most successful idiots of history have all been intelligent. You have to be clever to get away with being stupid.

by Michael McGirr

The crisp evenings of autumn can mean only one thing in the serene community of Inner Springs. People start pulling their jumpers out of moth balls and, in many cases, notice that their winter woollies seem a bit smaller than they did last year. A loose fitting sweater is a rarity; we are a close-knit community.

We are also close nit. An outbreak of head lice at Inner Springs Primary has seen the students scratching their heads. My neighbour, Cardinal Shallots, who works as a crossing attendant outside the school, was the first to observe the phenomenon. He thought for a moment that perhaps the students had been taught something baffling and thought provoking.

Shallots was overjoyed that they may, at last, have set out on the road of wonderment, the only road, according to Shallots, which can lead to contentment. He says he spent most of his years at the Vatican scratching his head. It was the only way he was able to survive. According to Shallots, the cardinals are all given little red caps to disguise the bleeding that often results from vigorous head scratching as they listen to confusing pronouncements. One of the positives of the pontificate of Pope Pepsi Max is that the cardinals learnt to kept their finger nails clipped short.

When the kindly cardinal saw the kids scratching their heads, he assumed that their teacher, the subversive Eileen Itherway, was persevering in her reckless path of introducing children to the infinite wonder of life. The mayor, Howard Winston, would be happier if she just taught values. Itherway has made trouble by arguing that knowledge has a role in education. Winston says this was never the case in his day and look at him. He is an example of a fool who has been smart enough to go a long way in life. He has gone so far, in fact, that he has never needed to leave the district. He has just celebrated 10 years in the job, a decade of sorrowful mysteries.

Sadly, the kids were scratching their heads because of lice. Being so close nit, it wasn’t long before we were all doing the same. Winston took advantage of the situation to bring his new sexual relations legislation into immediate effect. Couples who had never agreed on anything were suddenly forced to sign sexplace agreements with each other. Husbands turned up for bed and were given the sack. They were instructed to put some clothes in the sack, use it for a pillow and sleep in the shed. Marriage unions were to be rendered meaningless. When reporters drew Mr Winston’s attention to the number of citizens who were scratching their heads in the streets, he explained there had been an outbreak of nits at the school.

Winston had written to the federal minister asking for the school to be placed under quarantine and excluded from the commonwealth. That way, Eileen Itherway, could be arrested for not having a visa the minute she left the premises to get something out of her car. Eileen, on the other hand, approached the department of education for the appointment of a head master. A head master is a teacher with responsibility for the heads of the students. He or she looks after haircuts, hats, nose piercing, dandruff allergies, hair dye, facial jewellery, lost sunglasses, dental hygiene, broken jaws and, of course, nits. Under Mr Winston’s new policy of ‘values in education’ the head master is concerned with what goes on a child’s head. He or she has no responsibility for what goes in it.

April is also famous in our area for April showers. Chaucer loved April showers and said that they are a sign that pilgrims will be getting itchy feet and want to start walking to Canterbury. In Inner Springs, April showers tend to be cold showers. They are a sign of itchy boots. Local weather experts, who comprise 90 percent of the population, can tell you that cold showers will follow every football training.

The Inner Springs footy team, The Chainsaws, is in a difficult period of its august history. August is when the finals are played and we haven’t been part of those since the days of the great Rydon Moer. Rydon was never considered a great intellect and, as a result, he made a modest fortune out of football. Rydon Moer lived up to his name. He liked to cut the grass with his opponents. Unfortunately, the blood rule caused him to lose interest and forced him out of the game. He could see no point in a sport whose aim was anything other than providing work for radiologists and orthopedic surgeons. Rydon’s most recent moment of fame was a brief appearance on Who Wants to be a Millionaire where he would have done well except for the fact that he refused to answer any questions. Rydon had spent a bit of time talking to police over the years and found that old habits die hard.

As we enter a fresh season, The Chainsaws are lacking a coach. The last coach was fired after a scandal involving a defensive strategy of kickbacks to Saddam, the team’s fullback.

Cardinal Shallots compares the Chainsaws to the Catholic diocese of which Inner Springs is part. Last year, the archbishop offered his resignation because he had reached the age of retirement. His resignation was accepted but the poor man, who has had the job for more than 20 years, is still stuck at his post. No successor has been found.

The problem, according to Shallots, is a lack of unsuitable candidates. A number of priests have been considered, but they have all been rejected because, on closer scrutiny, it was found that they all had at least one worthwhile recommendation for the job. Some were men of prayer, others were good administrators, some were people of pastoral vision and initiative, still others were good communicators. Just as the Vatican was about to name somebody, it would be discovered in a nick of time that there was actually some reason to give this person the position.

The Vatican was not prepared to depart from its policy of only appointing bishops without anything to recommend them whatsoever. Unfortunately, this diocese has a tradition of wise and compassionate priests. The Vatican may have to look further afield. It is rumoured that the ageing Rydon Moer, a staunch Catholic with a bible belt in karate, might be approached to take up the cudgels for a few years until somebody less suitable can be found.

As for the Chainsaws, the word is out that they have asked Cardinal Shallots to coach them this season. It is a foolish idea. But none of the team’s good ideas have ever worked, so it might be worth a try.  ‘I’m just taking it a week at a time,’ said the cardinal when approached for comment. He sounded like he had the job already.


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