I got a call from my mother-in-law the other day. Peg asked me what a Druid was. I told her that Druids were an ancient Celtic order of pagans who lived in Britain, Ireland, and France, and are believed by some to have been involved in the construction of Stonehenge. It is not clear whether it was the northern climes that made them wear heavy robes instead of the contemporary Roman togas, or if was merely a fashion statement.
I asked Peg why she needed to know. She told me that her niece’s daughter is going to marry a Druid next year. On Halloween night. In Salem. During a hayride.
And I thought my family was fucked up.
Peg was concerned that the ceremony might involve “witch shit,” and/or human sacrifices. I told her that Druids were not witches, although their repertoire did include animal and human sacrifices. Best to bring an expensive gift.
Up until this particular phone conversation, I had thought Druids were as relevant to modern society as pharaohs, oracles, and those perfume spritzers at the Mall. I guess Druids exist and that they function like their fellow human beings, even though the sacrificing thing might compromise their role as zookeepers (“Hey, Stan, what’s with all the empty cages?”) and game show hosts (“Excuse me, Mr. Woollery, but do you plan on decapitating all the contestants?”).
The moment the two tie the knot, my life will change immeasurably. How immeasurably? Let me try to measure the unmeasurable. By doing so, you will see how immeasurable the unmeasurable is. Unmeasurably. Immeasurably. Unmeasurably. Immeasurably. I can’t tell these two words apart anymore.
Where was I? Ahh, yes, how the union of two youths with alternative religious beliefs will affect my life. Before I expound, I want to make it clear that Druids are people, too.
So what if their predecessors gathered each year at a lake in France, sacrificing animals in a three-day festival and throwing pieces of cloth, fleeces, cheeses, wax, and various foods into the lake? So what if they engaged in headhunting? I’m sure that modern Druids are kinder, gentler Druids, and have dispensed with the more unsavory rituals associated with their religion.
If they haven’t, once again, I suggest an expensive wedding gift.
At any rate, I mentioned that my life will change. I will be related, however distantly, to a Druid.
I can kiss my presidential aspirations goodbye (“A Vote for Pearson is a Vote for Severed Goat Heads!). My friendships will become strained (“Nothing personal, Dana, but I just can’t hang with a guy with ties to Dagda, the gigantic, grotesque, club-wielding, phallic god.”). And I’ll never be able to buy kitchen appliances without being hassled by salespeople (“Granted, sir, this is no Gundestrup Cauldron, but hey, what is?”).
Organized religion has always confused me. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Are older religions more viable than recent ones? Because nobody believes in anybody else’s religion, does that mean that everybody’s damned? Are religions promising immortality through salvation dreamed up by hopeful mortals or are they the result of divine inspiration? And who invented the collection plate?
These questions needn’t be answered. Faith, after all, is stronger when the supernatural and inexplicable are involved. I guess that’s what faith is – a belief in the unbelievable.
But I was talking about Druids. I’ll level here. They scare me. They belong in the undead world of the Romans, Babylonians, and Sumerians, not in my family tree. I pray to God (not Dagda) that I am not invited. If I am, you can bet your life on one thing: I am bringing a very expensive gift.