Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

My Photo
Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Island of Unloved Saints

While many of us go to holiday parties surrounded by loved ones, enveloped in the season's cheer, it's also a time to remember the less fortunate. And in this post I would like to draw your attention to the most neglected people of all: saints who have their feast day on December 25th.

That's gotta suck. You serve the church, you die, they promise to beatify and remember you...and then you get tucked away in the shadows beneath The Biggest Feast Day of All. It's like holding a poetry reading on Super Bowl Sunday, or a down-home taffy pull during Mardi Gras. It might be a great show, but no one will ever see it; counterprogramming is a bitch. I mean, St. Theodoric might be a dull saint, but he still sees a few candles, because his only competition is a groundhog. (Ditto for St. Flosculus, who's even duller. But at least he's fun to say.)

The neglected saints are as follows: St. Eugenia, St. Adalsindus, [St. Anastasia III], St. Alburga, and [Blessed Michael Nakashima]. (Not a saint, but he's technically feastable.)

I put Anastasia in brackets because technically she is mentioned by name in the second mass of Christmas. But the others get diddly. And Michael Nakashima is bracketed because he's not a saint. He is, however, particularly timely to mention, because he died in the 17th century for converting and helping out Christian missionaries in Japan. Which means he's directly related to the weird form of Japanese Christianity I read about only a few posts ago. What a shame he isn't ranked higher.

My favorite, however, is St. Eugenia. Only one more in a vast line of Catholic cross-dressing saints, Eugenia fled her pagan father's house dressed as a man, and while still in drag, she got baptized, entered holy orders, and eventually got promoted to abbot. Then one day, she went to a woman's house and cured her of a disease. The woman made advances to her, Eugenia refused, and the woman, in revenge, accused her publicly of having committed adultery. She was sent before the judge...and the judge was her father! During the trial the full story came out, she was exonerated, and her father converted as well. It's such a fun story I don't care that it's all made up. Surely a story like that is worth a fifty-cent candle! Anyone?

As a final caution, I should point out that when that kid in Italy got his name legally changed, they went with the saint whose feast day he was born on. So another lesson for all of us is this: if you're male, and from a strict Italian family, don't be born on Christmas. Look at those options again.

(Sidenote: If they'd pulled that "name equals saint's day" on me, then because I'm a twin, I'd have probably wound up with the name Ewald. Ewald the Bald, they'd have called me, and my brother would be Ewald the Taller, or Ewald the Gainfully Employed.)



Post a Comment

<< Home