Sunday, October 06, 2002

A list of lesser gods we can control

        “Right-wing fundamentalist Christians” are causing all the trouble in the world, a reader wrote in an e-mail the other day. Just eliminate religion altogether and the world would be a better place, he sermonized.

        His understanding of religion is as thin as a communion wafer, but he's not alone. Many people are hostile to faith. And I think I know why.

        They feel left out.

        Once upon a time there was a god for every occasion and a temple for every god. Greeks and Romans could shop for designer gods that fit their desires like custom-tailored togas.

        Then Christianity came along and ruined all that. Zeus was exposed as a low-voltage humbug. Neptune was a drip. Bacchus joined AA, Mercury is selling cars and Pan is peddling piccolos on the Home Shopping Network.

        There's nothing left for the do-it-yourselfers who want to run their own universe with occasional help from little small-g gods.

        I say if the federal government can hand out personalized license plates and surplus cheese, why not cheesy personalized gods?

        What we need is a modern lineup of all-star gods. Such as:

        Mercedes, the silver, 300 horse-power, fuel-injected god of material greed for all the people who are going nowhere in a hurry and flashing their lights if you don't get out of the way right now.

        Cosmeticus, the wrinkle-free god of plastic surgery for aging baby-boomers who will pay any price for a 30-year-old face on a 50-year-old body.

        Cyclops, the god of television, is already more popular than any church. Millions worship at his shrine for hours every day.

        Laborius, a muscular god for slackers, works mainly to demand more pay and benefits for doing as little as possible. Every office has slugs who act like work is against their religion. Now they get their own god to prove it.

        Faximus is the god of middle managers who sacrifice their marriages and families to their careers, foolishly hoping they will be rewarded in the afterlife by Mercedes. Faximus is the only god who has an office, but no real power to do anything without permission from his boss gods. And the other gods blame him for raising the co-pay on the dental plan.

        Litigio, the smooth-talking god of crooked lawyers, can twist the truth so that right sounds wrong and wrong sounds right. Democrats often appeal to Litigio when they can't win elections (see Sen. Bob Torricelli, Al Gore, etc.).

        Mediacrates (sounds like mediocrity) is the god of news. He can stretch trivial things until they appear to be huge, and make important things shrink out of sight. This god thinks he knows everything, and is a fierce defender of free speech as long as it is politically correct.

        Pacifuss, the god of anti-war, is represented by a little clay protester with his head in the sand. Some of his most fanatic followers hate America so much they denounce their own country from an enemy capital, like Congressmen David “Baghdad” Bonior, D-Mich., and Jim “Jane Fonda” McDermott, D-Wash.

        Pornocopia is a little pot-bellied god that looks like Larry Flynt. He's naked, but we're not supposed to blush. He is the second-favorite god of the entertainment industry, right behind Profitus, who can turn garbage into gold.

        CAUTION: Commandment No. 1 from the Big God says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

        So use with caution. Little gods are manufactured for personal convenience only and are not intended to answer the big questions in life.

        E-mail: Past columns at


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