Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cousin Buster and I Get God Mad

Observant Jews often face conundrums about everyday activities.  You can't work on the Sabbath; does that include pushing elevator buttons?  You need separate sets of dishes for dairy products and meat: what about eating in a restaurant, where the dishes are all mixed up?

When I was growing up Nazarene, we faced similar conundrums.  Preachers and Sunday school teachers had to apply the law with the sagacity of a Talmudic scholar.

You can't work on Sunday.

1. Does that include yardwork?  Yes.  What about mowing the lawn on a riding mower?  Yes.

2. Does it include performing CPR on someone who has had a heart attack?  No.

3. What if you work in a restaurant where your schedule occasionally requires you to work on Sunday?  Politely refuse, and if you are forced, quit.

You can't go anywhere near alcohol.

1. What if your college roommate wants to drink in the room?  Change roommates. He's evil.

2. What about if alcohol is being served in one room of the building, but not in the others?  Don't go within ten feet.

3. Can you take a job in a drug store that sells beer, among other things?  No.

You can't dance, not even in the "guise of folk dancing or physical education class."

1. Can you watch folk dancing? No.

2. What about jazzercise, a very popular exercise of the 1970s?  No.

3. Can you just sway?  No

You can't go to a movie theater.

1. Can you go into a theater if your car broke down and you need a telephone?  No.

2. What about if it's a school field trip?  No.

3. What about a movie on tv?  No.

As a result, I was in a movie theater only a few times before college, and then always with guilt and fear as I waited for the heavens to open and God to strike me dead.

But my Cousin Buster found an loophole.

Buster lived in the trailer in the deep woods, next to my grandfather's house just outside Garrett, Indiana.  His parents were lapsed Baptists, but he went to a Nazarene church and learned the same restrictions that I did.

The summer after sixth grade, when we were visiting, he said "There's a monster movie marathon playing at the Drive-In.  Let's go."

"A drive in theater?"  I didn't remember any rule about that, but I still dubious.  There was no building, just a field, but there was still a big screen.  "You're still watching a movie."

He grinned.  "Uh-uh.  Movies have pictures and sounds.  We're just going to see the picture.  With a monster movie, it doesn't matter what they're saying, anyway."

It wasn't the building or the big screen, because we couldn't watch movies at home on tv, either.  It must be the combination of pictures and sound!

"No sound, no movie," I said.  "It might work.  But how are we going to do that?  Leave the little speaker thing off the car?"

"Just wait and see."

Buster told our parents that we were going to go star-gazing, and we rode our bikes down the dusty country roads to Route 6, to the theater.  But instead of going inside, we walked our bikes across a field of summer corn to a little knoll beyond last row of cars.  The screen was far away, but still visible, especially with binoculars.

We lay on blankets on the rough ground, shivering in the breeze, eating potato chips and watching something about Frankenstein fighting Godzilla.

And we managed to see a movie without getting God mad, unless He was miffed by the lying to our parents, trespassing, and theft.

Best night ever.

What?  You were expecting a hookup?  I did think about things other than cute guys once in a while when I was a kid.

But here's a group of cute guys to tide you over.

See also: Looking for Uncle Edd's Gun.

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