"Derailed"  

a brief ride on my train of thought

musings of the homebound mind by jim "shu" carroll

  • jim "shu" carroll

what do you desire?

i don't watch a lot of TV. before covid i rarely entered the room. maybe a seahawks game now and then. slow-binged a few series. mrs. maisel. british baking show. outlander. queer eye. you know, typical guy stuff. for a while we landed on a show called lucifer, probably mostly because tom ellis was too gorgeous to ignore. i mean, you know, for my partner christina. i was just there in support of her. taking one for the team. i'm just that kinda guy.

i'm not a religious person. i had my experiences growing up, like most people. my mom took me to methodist sunday school when i was little. probably the place i learned to love to sing, and who can say enough about that? the theology never crossed my mind. as i recall it didn't suffer too much scrutiny anyway. so i didn't bother. i just played with friends in the basement of the church and sang songs and watched filmstrips. remember filmstrips? viewmaster for a group. that was a bit of genius, eh?


religion didn't play any role in my life as a teen. as a leo/dragon with a pretty potent processor in my head, as confimed by my grades and my peers, i wasn't looking for any competition. things were going just fine. go away, god. you're crowding me. and then in my early 20's i met a young lady who was a "jesus freak". it was OK to call them that then. they walked around with smiles permanently plastered on their faces and praised jesus for their every little success and moment of joy. i probably started out mostly going to meetings with her as a means to eventually show her my definition of heaven right here on earth, but somewhere along the way i got caught up in the flow. i read the bible diligently and prayed to the ceiling of my little studio apartment. more than once i mused that the one-way nature of these conversations might just be due to the cinder-block construction of the building. either that or i just wasn't fooling the intended recipient, who may have suspected that the only hosannahs i wanted to hear would occur while eve and i explored everything that apple had to offer in my waterbed. so as you may suspect, that didn't last. i think i was found out, but i really don't remember.


a decade or so later i found myself with a drug habit and a (not surprisingly) dysfunctional marriage. when the mormon missionairies came to the door my then-wife had finally found her home. her tortured soul found peace in the presence of the first certainty of her life. who was i to argue? the mormons got me off cocaine so i gave them a decade. i worked in the nursery during services because the basement congregants were more rational to me. i sang in the choir. i played on a kickass volleyball team. and i built shelves in our garage to hold enough food to survive the apocalypse that never came. well, maybe it's here now but a lot of good that'll do me. those guys kicked me out decades ago. it was like that thing where you've had enough and you make an appointment to talk to your boss to tell him you've decided to leave, and before you make your big announcement you find out you were just fired? yeah. that's how it was. 


i'm free of the curse of religion now, though i have flirted outrageously with other kinds of beliefs. if i had to check a box i would settle on buddhism, because clearly all we have is this very moment. and the buddha would have laughed heartily at all the silly trappings of diety and religion that have been hung on him. we have a kinship there. i always thought the oz curtain was semi-transparent.


so lucifer. remember lucifer? this is a writing exercise that purports to be about lucifer. but i felt like you needed my background before i got to the main thrust. i mean, it didn't work with my shapely young acolyte all those years ago, but perseverance has its reward. here's yours: lucifer was set up. the thing was a con job from the beginning. really, if moses or whoever had had a better editor this thing would never have seen the light of day. it's a preposterous story, riddled with plot holes you could drive a bulletproof popemobile through. most atheists like to gag on the details, like who did the boys marry? hadda be their sisters, right? eeeeew! or how much rain would it take to flood everest? did noah and his family need supplemental oxygen there at 29,000 feet on mt. ararat? 


you can watch folks explain these things away one at a time, like a trump voter excusing the don's casino failure. fine. whatever. but dolly back a few meters and let's take a look at the basic plot line: dad decides he's going to create a world for his children to live in. apparently he and mom (never mentioned because she is too sacred to be blasphemed, and soon to be replaced in relative importance by his mistress mary). sorry. so dad and mom have this army of spirits who the parents realize are pretty much spoiled rotten. manna all day. no work. no pain. no suffering. presumably no incest, but who can say? so dad decides its time for the kids to get outta the house and see the world. so he makes one. 


world ready, dad has a meeting and tells the kids what he's done. because one of the things he thinks is important to resolve their stagnation is "free will", he decides he's going to let them have a choice about whether to go or not. of course there is a group who is always ready for anything and mostly do what dad tells them to do, there is a sizeable group all set to go. and as you may suspect, there are those who look about at all tha manna and free robes and comfy clouds and stuff and say "hell no, we won't go!" i mean really, can you blame them?


then dad adds the corker: when you go down there it is going to be hard. painful at times. you're going to screw up and be bad and as a result i won't take you back when you have lived out your years. oh yeah, did i mention disease? so here's the deal, since yahweh here seems to be the most excited about going, and you all have always admired your golden-boy brother, i'm going to give him a special assignment. (tell you about it later, yah. help me get these kids on the bus.) 


"uh, dad?" lucifer. from the rec room with a couple billion of his closest siblings. "what about us? i mean, i know you always had a special place in your heart for yah, but there's quite a few of us here who a) really don't want to go, and b) want to ask a couple more questions about a few of those things that were mentioned in the brochure but not really explained. what's a flood? and who is cancer?"


well, you know the rest. authoritarians don't like to be questioned, and their favorite sort of discourse with dissidents hasn't change much over the eons. thus: hell. and guess who gets to be in charge, lucifer? an eternity of boring colonial managment and torture. thanks for speaking up and employing your "free will".


no parent creates a hell for a single one of their children, no matter how obnoxious or unruly. we just keep trying. and we learn early that fear and despotic terror do not change behavior. i'm with lucifer. 


holy shit. my laptop just burst into fl