Author’s Note: essays like this are a result of the creative energy fostered by the amazing Atlanta performing arts community, none more relevant to my life than the talent of Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Homeless for over a year thanks to the scourge of commercial construction progress, Dad’s has recently found a potential new home in a vacant church in Atlanta. Now all it needs is a bunch of money to buy it. Please donate to the Dad’s Garage Kickstarter today.
What’s that you’ve got there? Oh, right. One of those. An online minister certificate. Yeah, I’ve seen them before. A bunch of you have one of ’em. It’s trendy. It’s fun! You can perform weddings and stuff like that.
But you know what else it is? It’s lame. Okay, I get it; I’ve been hearing it for years now. You’re technically a priest. Congrats.
Well guess what. I can top that. In fact, I have topped that. So to all of you cool kids who think you’re so hip with your Universal Life Churches and your mail-order official licenses, I’ve got you beat. My paperwork came in this morning, and as of today, I am officially a Trappist monastery.
Well, I mean, not personally; that would be silly. I can’t declare myself a Trappist monastery. It was going to be my apartment. But I rent. And since my landlord Tzafy purchased the property partially with his pension from the Israeli Defense Force I felt asking him about it would be sort of rude. So instead, I am just a humble devoted monk of the Trappist monastery formerly known as my 2003 Chevrolet Aveo.
I bet you’re thinking this was a difficult process. It’s actually surprisingly easy. If you want to join an existing monastery, you have to go through a lot of interviews, discussions with Vatican representatives, and fill out a LOT of paperwork. Or, you can do what I did, which is exploit a 12th century loophole in Cistercian Doctrine that obligates one to take up the service of another monk should he be rendered incapable of fulfilling his full commitment due to death or incapacitation… which is what this monk explained to me last month when I accidentally ran over him with my 2003 Trappist Monastery.
For the record, he’s fine, and I only plan to take care of this while he’s recuperating, ironically in the Traction Ward of Fulton North Regional Methodist. But the Vatican’s okayed it; I got their letter of recognition just this morning. It reads as follows:
Dear Father Augustine:
Okay, I should probably point out that I slightly embellished my paperwork on this–I thought it would be more impressive to say I was “Father Augustine” instead of August, and I PhotoShopped the registration on my car to say it had 64,729 parishioners instead of miles. Whatever. What are they going to do, revoke my license now? “Oh, we’re so sorry, Mr. Pollak, it turns out the Pope was fallible on this one.”
Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae [that’s Pope-speak for Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance] welcomes you and the Monastery of the Hunter Green Hatchback to the fold of the highest dedication, servitude and obedience to God. May you be blessed as you follow the three tenets of the Rule of Saint Benedict. Firstly, Stability.
Now I thought about this one before I started the process. This is a big responsibility, you know? But I ran the numbers and I think my situation is stable as hell. Christ, Dad’s Garage is trying to buy a church for two million; I paid off my monastery like, three years ago, and it has an extended warranty.
Second, fidelity to the monastic life.
This was actually the hardest one since I didn’t actually know what monks did before I Googled them. Monks pretty much sit around all day wearing robes and being really Catholic and not getting laid. So I’m a third there from the get-go. But this was tough for two reasons: first, I’m not Catholic, but, again- Pope’s blessing, check. Mate. Second, I do not have a robe.
But I have a Snuggie. The Robe With Sleeves™.
Finally, remember the greatest tenet of the Rule of Saint Benedict: ‘for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands.’
In other words, the most important part of being a Trappist is I have to devote my time to producing goods that can be sold to benefit the improvement of the monastery, which works perfectly because my monastery has needed a new air conditioner condenser since April.
So I Googled this to understand more about Trappist monkery–see, I did research; I’m faithful to the service as fuck. Basically they make a bunch of stuff, like beer, cheese, what have you, and then sell it.
So you all have the first chance to purchase these artisanal used DVDs and Xbox games. These are going to be priced to go, and I’ll throw in forgiving all your sins with any purchase. I also have a few authentic artisanal big candles with weird shit etched on ’em. These were acquired at various Holy Sites off of I-85, mostly the Duluth Farmer’s Market, and available at only the most religiously humble of markup.
Now, I realize this looks like a very bizarre combination of sacrilege and a yard sale, but I will remind you, this is officially a devout cause. All proceeds go toward the restoration of my monastery. Also, my monastery is for sale, so if you’re interested please email me directly. In fact, feel free to make an offer for any of these DVDs. We might, and this should entice you here… we might also just have a Snuggie for sale.
Guys, my rent’s due in two days.