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The OK mullah
Religion, for example, is one thing I have problems with

July 26, 2002
The Iranian

In my old age, I have no tolerance for bullshit anymore. I say it like it is and I expect a bit of hurtful honesty from those I come in contact with. If I didn't want a candid answer, I wouldn't be asking the question. I have learned that anyone telling what I wanna hear is selling something. Well, I ain't buying.

It's pretty cool when you develop skills to incorporate sarcasm, cynicism, and rudeness in your everyday life. Some call it mid-life crisis, I call it awakening. I simply refuse to believe anything unless I'm presented with clear facts and evidence that match my intellectual capacity. Since my intellectual capacity is not above a twelve-year-old, I just refuse to believe anything I can't clearly see.

Religion, for example, is one thing I have problems with. I personally don't believe that God, who has created the entire universe and everything in it, needs a smelly, puny, punk like me to worship her four times a day. Unless of course, she is an egotistical S.O.B, which is highly unlikely.

I also don't believe you need religion to be a good person. I know plenty of atheists who are plain good individuals and I know plenty of religious folks who have the morality of a tennis ball.

Another thing that bothers me about religion is the eagerness of its followers to preach. If religion were such a good thing, wouldn't it make sense to keep it to yourself? I mean, everybody knows that once you expose a good thing to the general public, it will be ruined on the spot.

Speaking of religion, a friend of mine, Jamal, was killed in a car accident a while back. He was living the high life before he ran his BMW into a tree, killing himself -- and the tree -- instantly. He was high on drugs and drunk out of his dope. If it's any consolation to his family, at least he went happy.

His family held a funeral service and reluctantly invited me to attend. Knowing my past history of running around on a short fuse, the family warned me to stay in the back and keep my mouth shut during the sermon.

I hate funerals. It reminds me of my own mortality. The whole idea of being buried under tons of dirt is not appealing to me. What if the county examiner screwed up and I'm still alive? Perhaps I'm in a coma and they think I'm dead.

It would suck to come out of a coma and find myself trapped in a box under 10 feet of mud. That's why, when I die, I would like to have a cell phone placed right next to my body -- just in case. ("Hello dude, it's me Siamack. Listen, would you come down to the cemetery and get me out of here. I really need to go to the bathroom. No I'm not dead. I was just in a coma.")

Jamal's body was rapped in a white sheet and placed in a wooden coffin. The coffin was placed on top of a metal holder dangling over a big, dark hole. It was a somber moment. The crowed was gathered around the coffin. I stayed in the back as instructed.

A middle-aged mullah walked towards the coffin and stood right next to it. He looked emotionless. It was business as usual.

"Jamal was a gift that was given to his parents by God and God took Jamal back from his parents." The mullah said.

"Oh brother." I whispered in the back.

The mullah turned around and looked at me. Few people coughed and looked away.

"Did you say something?" the mullah said.

"Come on dude." I exclaimed, "you don't give somebody a gift and then turn around and take it back. That's considered rude. Why would God do something like that? That just doesn't make sense."

The mullah stared at me momentarily. He then turned his attention back to my dead friend and continued, "Right now, Jamal is been met by two angels. He will be asked, 'who is your god?' and he will... "

"Give me a break," I interrupted the mullah. "You talk like you have been there. How do you know? Have you been dead before? Maybe he is being met by two midgets with bad teeth or a gang of nasty lesbians. Has anybody been dead and back to report all that? Did I miss something?"

The mullah looked clearly irritated. Jamal's family was looking at me with their eyes wide open. Other people started to distant themselves from me.

The mullah swallowed hard and continued, "When you are ready to meet your God, last words that come to your mind before you die are: God, I am at your mercy."

The mullah stopped and glanced at me as if he was waiting for a comment. The crowd looked on with anticipation. I was not about to disappoint the flock.

"I'm sorry, but If I'm driving at 120 miles-per-hour and I'm about to hit a tree, last words on my mind would be more like: 'Oh shit!'"

The mullah walked toward me, grabbed my arm, and whispered in my ear, "Listen man, I do this part time. I'm a gym teacher at the YMCA and I drive a cab. Why are you sweating me like this? My wife's cheating on me, my son just told me that he's gay, my daughter ran away with a motorcycle gang, and I have a hemorrhoid the size of a watermelon. Would you shut the fuck up and let me finish?"

I was taken aback by the mullah's honesty. He was just another drifter, hustling to make Franklins like the rest of us. The mullah was OK. I kept my mouth zipped and let the man finish his job. Honesty can inspire people -- or in my case, it can certainly get me to shut up for a change.

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Siamack Baniameri

By Siamack Baniameri

Baniameri's features index



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