Died In The Wool

September 10, 1999

What do cartoon characters, hot sauce bottles, barracudas, Albert Einstein, bikini-clad women, piano keys, DNA, the Three Stooges, and famous paintings all have in common? Answer: they’ve all appeared on neckties. Now we can add infectious diseases to the list. A new line of ties features various diseases including herpes, bubonic plague, smallpox, and others. There are, of course, all kinds of advantages to these neckties. In meetings, if you’re sporting a snazzy hemorrhagic fever design, your boss might turn to you and say, "Johnson, this idea is almost as infectious as that tie of yours." Or you could intimidate a client by unbuttoning your double-breasted suit to reveal that you’re sporting none other than the common cold, or the slightly less common hantavirus. The late great comedian Lenny Bruce said tuberculosis was one of the hippest diseases you could get (right below pellagra). Now you can be hip by wearing tuberculosis without the risk and expense of getting it.

The company improved on their idea by expanding their line to scarves and, believe it or not, boxers. Although there are more romantic things you can wear under your clothes or to bed than gonorrhea, consider this: botulism can take you back to that would-have-been-romantic honeymoon in Mexico, cholera can be a memento of a harrowing stopover in Laos, and then there are all the "romance diseases." Mononucleosis is also known as "the kissing disease", in Shakespeare’s time syphillis was called "the French malady", and the word staphylococcus is so suggestive it doesn’t need any other names. What’s the next fashionable move for this company? Maybe a whole line of children’s clothing called "Babies With Rabies". But the malaria necktie will always remain the greatest achievement. Like the corporate drudge job that forces you to wear a silk noose around your neck every day, malaria isn’t fatal; it just makes you miserable for a very long time.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, He asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions. Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions.

1. How did you find out about your Deity?
___ Newspaper
___ Bible
___ Torah
___ Book of Mormon
___ Koran
___ Divine inspiration
___ Dead Sea Scrolls
___ My mama done tol’ me
___ Near-death experience
___ Near-life experience
___ National Public Radio
___ Tabloid
___ Burning shrubbery
___ Other (specify): _____________

2. Which model Deity did you acquire?
___ Yahweh
___ Father, Son & Holy Ghost [Trinity Pak]
___ Jehovah
___ Jesus
___ Krishna
___ Zeus and entourage [Olympus Pak]
___ Odin and entourage [Valhalla Pak]
___ Allah
___ Satan
___ Gaia/Mother Earth/Mother Nature
___ God 1.0a (hairy thunderer)
___ God 1.0b (cosmic muffin)
___ None of the above; I was taken in by a false god

3. Did your God come to you undamaged,with all parts in good working order and with no obvious breakage or missing attributes?
___ Yes
___ No

If no, please describe the problems you initially encountered here. Please indicate all that apply:
___ Not eternal
___ Finite in space/Does not occupy or inhabit the entire cosmos
___ Not omniscient
___ Not omnipotent
___ Not infinitely plastic (incapable of being all things to all creations)
___ Permits sex outside of marriage
___ Prohibits sex outside of marriage
___ Makes mistakes (Geraldo Rivera, Jesse Helms)
___ Makes or permits bad things to happen to good people
___ When beseeched, doesn’t stay beseeched
___ Requires burnt offerings
___ Requires virgin sacrifices
___ Plays dice with the universe

4. What factors were relevant in your decision to acquire a Deity? Please check all that apply.
___ Indoctrinated by parents
___ Needed a reason to live
___ Indoctrinated by society
___ Needed focus in whom to despise
___ Imaginary friend grew up
___ Wanted to know Jesus in the Biblical sense
___ Graduated from the tooth fairy
___ Hate to think for myself
___ Wanted to meet girls/boys
___ Fear of death
___ Wanted to piss off parents
___ Needed a day away from work
___ Desperate need for certainty
___ Like organ music
___ Need to feel morally superior
___ Thought Jerry Falwell was cool
___ My shrubbery caught fire and told me to do it

5. Have you ever worshiped a Deity before? If so, which false god were you fooled by? Please check all that apply.
___ Mick Jagger
___ Rajanish
___ Baal
___ The almighty dollar
___ Bill Gates
___ Left-wing liberalism
___ The radical right
___ Ra
___ Beelzebub
___ Barney T.B.P.D.
___ The Great Spirit
___ The Great Pumpkin
___ The sun
___ Elvis
___ Cindy Crawford
___ The moon
___ TV news
___ Burning shrubbery
___ Other: ________________

6. Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in addition to God? Please check all that apply.
__ Tarot
__ Lottery
__ Astrology
__ Television
__ Fortune cookies
__ Ann Landers
__ Psychic Friends Network
__ Dianetics
__ Palmistry
__ Playboy and/or Playgirl
__ Self-help books
__ Sex, drugs,rock and roll
__ Biorhythms
__ Alcohol
__ Tea leaves
__ EST
__ America Online
__ Mantras
__ Jimmy Swaggert
__ Crystals (not including Crystal Gayle)
__ Human sacrifice
__ Pyramids
__ Wandering in a desert
__ Burning shrubbery
__ Barney T.B.P.D.
__ Barney Fife

7. God employs a limited degree of divine intervention to preserve the balanced level of felt presence and blind faith. Which would you prefer (circle one)?

a. More divine intervention
b. Less divine intervention
c. Current level of divine intervention is just right
d. Don’t know…what’s divine intervention?

8. God also attempts to maintain a balanced level of disasters and miracles. Please rate on a scale of 1 – 5 his handling of the following:
(1=unsatisfactory, 5=excellent):

flood 1 2 3 4 5
famine 1 2 3 4 5
earthquake 1 2 3 4 5
war 1 2 3 4 5
pestilence 1 2 3 4 5
plague 1 2 3 4 5
spam 1 2 3 4 5
AOL 1 2 3 4 5

rescues 1 2 3 4 5
spontaneous remissions 1 2 3 4 5
stars hovering over jerkwater towns 1 2 3 4 5
crying statues 1 2 3 4 5
water changing to wine 1 2 3 4 5
walking on water 1 2 3 4 5
VCRs that set their own clocks 1 2 3 4 5
Saddam Hussein still alive 1 2 3 4 5
getting any sex whatsoever 1 2 3 4 5

9. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for improving the quality of God’s services? (Attach an additional sheet if necessary.) If you are able to complete the questionnaire and return it to one of our conveniently located drop-off boxes by October 31 you will be entered in the One Free Miracle of Your Choice drawing (chances of winning are approximately one in 6.023 x 10 to the 23rd power, depending on number of beings entered).

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