On Sadness

“Why is it that men enjoy feeling sad at the sight of tragedy and suffering on the stage although they would be most unhappy if they had to endure the same fate themselves? Yet they watch the plays because they hope to be made to feel sad, and the feeling of sorrow is what they enjoy. What miserable delirium this is! The more a man is subject to such suffering himself, the more easily he is moved by it in the theatre. Yet when he suffers himself, we call it misery; when he suffers out of sympathy for others, we call it pity. But what kind of pity can we really feel for an imaginary scene on the stage. The audience is not called upon to offer help but only to feel sorrow, and the more they are pained the more they applaud the author. Whether this human agony is based on fact or is simply imaginary, if it is acted so badly that the audience is not moved to sorrow, they leave the theater in a disgruntled and critical mood; whereas if they are made to feel pain they stay to the end watching happily.

This shows that sorrow and tears can be enjoyable. Of course everyone wants top be happy; but even if no one likes being sad, is there just the one exception that, because we enjoy pitying others, we welcome their misfortunes, without which we could not pity them? If so, it is because friendly feeling well up in us like waters of a spring. But what course do these waters follow? Where do they flow? Why do they trickle away to join that stream of boiling pitch, the hideous flood of lust? For by their own choice they lose themselves and become absorbed in it. They are diverted from their true course and deprived of their heavenly calm.

Of course this does not mean that we must arm ourselves against compassion. There are times when we must welcome sorrow on behalf of others. But for the sake of our souls we must be ware of uncleanness. My God must be the keeper of my soul, the God of our fathers, who is to be exalted and extolled for evermore. My soul must guard against uncleanness.

I am not nowadays insensible to pity. But in those days I used to share the joy of stage lovers and their sinful pleasure in each other even though it was all done in make-believe for the sake of entertainment; and when they were parted, pity of a sort led me to share their grief. I enjoyed both the emotions equally. But now I feel more pity for a man who is happy in his sins than for one who has to endure the ordeal of forgoing some harmful pleasure or being deprived of some enjoyment which was really an affliction. Of the two this sort of pity is the more genuine, but the sorrow which it causes is not a source of pleasure. For although a man who is sorry for the sufferings of others deserves praise for his charity, nevertheless if his pity is genuine, he would prefer that there should be no cause for his sorrow. If the impossible could happen and kindness were unkind man whose sense of purity was true and sincere might want others to suffer so he could pity them. Sorrow may therefore be commendable, but never desirable. For it is impossible to stab you Lord God, and this is why the love you bear for our souls and the compassion you feel for them are pure and unalloyed, far purer than the love and pity we feel for ourselves. But who can prove himself worthy of such a calling?

However in those unhappy days I enjoyed the pangs of sorrow. I always looked for tings to wring my heart and the more tears an actor caused me to shed by his performance on the stage even though he was portraying the imaginary distress of others, the more delightful and attractive I found it. Was it any wonder that I, the unhappy sheep who strayed from your flock, impatient of your shepherding became infected with a loathsome mange? Hence my love of things which made me sad. I did not seek the kind of sorrow which would wound me deeply, for I had no wish to endure the sufferings which I saw on stage; but I enjoyed the fables and fictions, which could only graze the skin. But where fingers scratch, the skin becomes inflamed. It swells and festers with hideous pus. And the same happened to me. Could the life I led be called the true life, my God?”

Saint Augustine, CONFESSIONS
Book III; Chapter 2
Translated by R.S. Pine-Coffin

Just in time for St. Augustine Day, June 15. Laboriously, lovingly transcribed by yours truly. This, like much in “Confessions” so true and impossible at the same time. At least for the heart today. “Could the life I led be called the true life, my God?” Got a better question? Let’s hear it.

“Once you are alive, you can never be dead.” – Tim O’Brien*

Somehow, I have expected to see more about 521 out there in the general culture. I have seen a couple copies of news articles from mainstream media; “Christian sect plans for end of world” type of thing, and one article from a San Francisco newspaper; an interview with HC (Harold Camping) that starts “HC chuckles when asked what he thinks about the prediction that the world will end in December 2012 with the end of the Mayan calendar.” Or something like that.

And I heard Garrison Keillor last night on the assiduously broadcast Prairie Home Companion do a skit about the rapture. “Theological Mystery Theater”. He always does something about the Christian faith. This show also included “Do Not Pass Me By” (an old gospel tune), and Brad Paisley singing one of his own ‘gospel’ tunes.

I do not know if it was an old show, or if it was in any way influenced by HC’s prediction. Probably not. In fact I only heard part of it. But I was struck by his interesting take on who was taken and who was left. Seemed like all the liberals were taken; and the narrator ironically aghast that they were raptured and the conservative Christians were left behind. I’ll have to listen to the repeat of the show today and see if that was the drift. I’m probably right. But anyway, it seems kind of like what CS Lewis was trying to get across in The Great Divorce, where a character in the book finally makes it to heaven and is met by someone he knew from life on earth to bring him across, and refuses to go with him because he felt that he was better than his heavenly guide; who after all had been guilty of manslaughter on Earth, and he wasn’t about to go to heaven with a, a murderer.

Goes to the point about God saving who he wants to save, I guess, and “man judges by the outward appearance and God by the inward”. Another mysterious epigram that has discomfited me ever since I heard it as a youth.

We’re getting so close now that the date is starting to crop up in schedules. I have already mentioned my wife’s retirement date falling after 521, and what a disappointment it will be to her to be cheated of her retirement, one way or another. (I think she is saved, though.)

Yesterday I was talking with my daughter and planning a party for C’s retirement. Guess what date is looking like the best date for the party? When I gave an audible snort at the mention of the date, my precious daughter, so sensitive to her crazy daddy’s every nuance of expression and mood, said “What? What about May 21?”

“I didn’t say anything about it.”

“You snorted. You made that little snorty noise you make when you think something is funny or annoying.”

“Yeah, well, that’s the date that HC has predicted for the rapture.”

“Oh brother.”

And that was the end of it. She is a highly intelligent and educated young woman, and has decided by now (she is 30) to not delve into her daddy’s curious and sometimes troubling preoccupations. To her credit.

So what does one so convoluted as I do when that date comes up as a possibility to schedule something? Do I believe or do I not, that the rapture of the saints will occur on 521? If I really believed it, I don’t think I would bother to schedule anything. In fact, if I REALLY believed it I guess I would be “blowing the trumpet” with Camping’s troops. So, like everything else in my life, I am of two minds. At least. In fact, do I believe or not in Jesus Christ, in the gospel as presented in the bible? Yes, no; yes with qualification. “Lord I believe, help you my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

Then there is my brother M’s scheduled flight (with his wife) to Mexico on 521. His daughter is getting married there; a ‘destination wedding’. Don’t know what that is? I didn’t either. It’s an idea popular among the well-heeled young, where the couple picks a romantic spot to tie the knot far away from home, and guests are invited to the exotic (the more exotic the better) location to celebrate with them.

The only destination available at the time of C’s and my wedding was the austere little Baptist family church, where we were lucky to make it on time, with vicious hangovers from a night of wedding party carousing on the eve of our nuptials.

I have read, but cannot attest positively as to the authenticity of this quote, that Jung, when asked by some smug grad student if the great psychologist and thinker actually believed in God, said “No.”

The interviewer was pleased with this answer; until Jung went on to say “No, I do not merely believe in God. I know him.”

That strikes a very deep chord in me, and I reflect on the two occasions I have had in my life when I felt I actually knew God, occasions when I was so helpless and crushed that upon crying out to God for mercy and help, the presence of a loving power so much greater than micelf made Himself very much known to me. And, frankly, it is the recall of those two experiences that give me the most comfort, the most assurance, if you will of the possibility that I may escape damnation.

A fear of damnation is, I admit, not the least thing on my mind as the date approaches. I wonder what Dr. Johnson would have said about Judgment Day being so specifically predicted and so close at hand? I know he had this to say about damnation:

“Dr. Johnson surprised [Mr. Henderson] not a little, by acknowledging with a look of horrour, that he was much oppressed by the fear of death. The amiable Dr. Adams suggested that God was infinitely good. Johnson: “That he is infinitely good, as far as the perfection of his nature will allow, I certainly believe; but it is necessary for good upon the whole, that individuals should be punished. As to an individual, therefore, he is not infinitely good; and as I cannot be sure that I have fulfilled the conditions on which salvation is granted, I am afraid I may be one of those who shall be damned” (looking dismally). Dr. Adams: “What do you mean by damned?” Johnson: (passionately and loudly) “Sent to Hell, Sir, and punished everlastingly.” Dr. Adams: “I don’t believe that doctrine.” Johnson: “Hold, Sir; do you believe that some will be punished at all?” Dr. Adams: “Being excluded from Heaven will be a punishment; yet there may be no great positive suffering.” Johnson: “Well, Sir; but if you admit any degree of punishment, there is an end of your argument for infinite goodness simply considered; for, infinite goodness would inflict no punishment whatever. There is not infinite goodness physically considered; morally there is.” Boswell: “But may not a man attain to such a degree of hope as not to be uneasy from the fear of death?” Johnson: “A man may have such a degree of hope as to keep him quiet. You see I am not quiet, from the vehemence with which I talk; but I do not despair.” Mrs. Adams: You seem, Sir, to forget the merits of our Redeemer.” Johnson: “Madam, I do not forget the merits of my Redeemer; but my Redeemer has said that he will set some on his right hand and some on his left.” He was in gloomy agitation, and said, “I’ll have no more on’t.”
Boswell: Life

I hope you read that carefully.

Now, if I am to understand HC, there is one thing in his system that sounds sort of like an escape hatch for the unsaved. Just this; that the unsaved are not doomed to an eternal torment in hell, as orthodox Christianity seems to teach, but simply that they will cease to exist.

Oblivion. Of course, this is hell for Johnson, the thought of oblivion is a hell on earth for him: “No wise man will be contented to die, if he thinks he is to go into a state of punishment. Nay, no wise man will be contented to die, if he thinks he is to fall into annihilation: for however unhappy any man’s existence may be, he yet would rather have it, than not exist at all. No, there is no rational principle by which a man can die contented, but a trust in the mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.” Boswell: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

Others, such as my brother M. have offered this opinion about that: “Oblivion doesn’t sound too bad to me.” I guess it all depends on how you value life on this plane; if you feel cheated by this little brief fling between two great darkness’s being all there is, like my friend Bobby Ray.

Me, I still ain’t sure.

OK, next time, then, the The Lamed-Vovnik, and their possible role.

*Tim O’Brien is the author of several books about his experiences in Vietnam. This is a quote from “The Things They Carried”

Final Thoughts

If 521 really is the day of judgment, then it is the biggest  thing in the history of the, well, I was going to say universe. Bigger than creation? I dunno. But big. Really big. I was surprised to see the signs in NYC. NYC! Not really so much surprised as disappointed. I was kind of hoping for a respite. The wondering; wondering if it is true at all. What if it is a few days off? M says that it would be just like “that jolly old jokester” to come back a day earlier or later than predicted.

Camping does seem like, that is to say when I hear him and watch him, as I did on TV in NYC, he seems like, well, if not crazy, at least something seems off. He almost seems dangerous.

He is not lovable, at least in the media. I have read that he has a gentle, humble appearance. One thing I was thinking was that he seemed frail. And old.

And then I think that maybe this whole thing – all his years of study and developing this theory – comes from his own fear of death. Then I read just that on some blog somewhere.

There are a lot of people fretting over this thing. Whatever is going on, it is spiritual and it seems imminent.

So. Four days off. I will say that it is cause  to inspect one’s own internal spiritual landscape. I would not as I told J today, talk to anyone in an evangelical sense about this. I guess that is an indication that I do not really believe it. I certainly would not want to be among those using it as an evangelical tool (“tool.” Ha.) And if 521 passes and nothing happens, then what? It does not mean that the hope of Christianity is over. I will still believe in the work of Jesus to save humanity.

I belive His work is universal, not only for those who believe in a certain way. There is the rub. Nobody can quite agree on what the Bible has to say about that. Just how is one saved? And from what? I know the PFEC community I grew up in was/is sure that they have it right. And there is pretty widespread agreement amongst the varying divisions of that following on certain basic tenets – that Jesus is God, that He came to save us, that He did it by dying on a cross and being resurrected from death; He conquered death that had been imposed on us (the human race) as a penalty for our sins; our mistakes, our utterly depraved hearts.

There is a lot of scripture slinging that goes on on all sides. “Read it for yourself” I am told. I have. I do not read the Bible much lately. I do read scripture almost everyday. It comes to me in the email. I do find comfort in scripture. There are also a lot of what I call hard teachings that do talk about hell. Those make it seem that there is a strong likelihood of pretty much everyone going there except some very few true and very righteous believers. But there are plenty of examples of God’s mercy and love too. I am depending on the mercy and love part. Give me Mercy over Justice any day.

So, C has retired and she is pretty cute about it. Clearly she would be pissed to have that cut short on 5/21. But wouldn’t one as a true Christian be rejoicing in the thought that instead of slogging through another 15 or 20 years of life here on the planet, she  (and I, hopefully) would ‘be caught up in the air to meet our Lord’?

I am not too eager to meet Jesus because I feel like I have been such a bad guy. So unfaithful, so weak. So doubtful. I guess I am not alone in that. I was reading about the apostles in Gethsemane and Peter’s lack of faith. It is wearying, trying to be good. Look, I may not live long enough to get any better. Let go and let God?  I do want to but there is a sinew in me that resists it for some reason. Pride? Have I just too many fatal flaws?

God, please show up. I give. I will not question you any more. I will not question that you are in charge of my life and in fact of the whole universe. Give me the peace to rest in the comfort of your love. Let me know your love. Anne Lamott says she has only three prayers: PLEASE. THANK YOU. And WOW. I got three too: Please, show me how to do this. Thank you, Jesus. And – I am so tired.

The end of the day, the beginning of the evening. Writing to nobody. Looking through piles of scrap paper that represent what I jokingly refer to as ‘notes’. Pieces of paper that I think are important, that contain thoughts I have had or notes I have taken and mostly forgotten what they mean. Names and phone numbers written down that I can’t remember anything about them. Some I look up: one such piece of paper held the words scrawled at the top “SIMNEL CAKE”. Looked it up on BING. It is a fancy almond paste marzipan type cake used for celebration in England. I wrote it down when talking to L, who told me that she was making one for Easter, I think, and made me promise to “tell Mom”. I didn’t, but I think she did. You get the idea. Trash. Here’s a couple:

What if I AM taken?

Who will take care of Dylan?

Not going to talk much about these lines. Except to say that JD told me today that he saw a headline in the local paper that said “Atheist Will Care For Raptured Saints Pets: $350 In Advance”.  You can’t make this stuff up.


This is from PW. A worship and meditative web site. Taize. That too. Check it out. As Art said “I cain’t describe.”

Talked to M.

Bottom line for him he said, was he hoped that “ God heard that little chubby 9 year old that prayed the sinners prayer. Just like the little skinny 9 year old Hindu boy who prayed the same prayer.”

“I’m not Hindu.” I said.

Then he said he was going to break one of his cardinal rules.

“Which one?’ I said. “Never take a shit in the  mens room at a bar?”

“No” he said. “Never tell a joke on a cell phone.”

Then he proceeded to tell me a joke about a moth who went in to a podiatrists office. The moth was mentally disturbed. The podiatrist said why me, why not a shrink? Punch line the moth: “Your light was on”.

We laughed til we choked.

I told him about thinking a lot about John Cougar Mellencamp’s line “life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” He sang a few of the other lines. I said I really liked the part of life being a thrill. He said sometimes it isn’t. I said it is a choice.

Then I told him about the Zen story I heard where life is like a river falling over a cliff – in the waterfall the separated droplets represent conscious life, while the river before and after the cliff represent the flow of all life.

He liked that.

Zen. I hear a lot of purported ‘Zen’ and ‘Buddhist’ crap quoted and talked about. Like what I just wrote about. I think it sounds really great and insightful and ever so spiritually in-tune. And then I think: hey! Aren’t those the guys in the orange robes who set themselves on fire?

Today on the way back to the shop, I was listening to a show on radio – the “Mutual Fund” show – And the guy said in signing off – “There is a fella who has spent his entire retirement – $140K on billboards announcing the end of the world next week, Saturday May 21st, 2011.

Of course, as a follower of that irksome prediction, I know that 521  isn’t the EOTW but rather Judgment day; the EOTW isn’t until October. ” So if this guy is correct”, he said. I will not be on the air next week.” He said it pretty deadpan, although I could tell he didn’t really believe it, nor was he a student of it, like I am.

I called M. I told him about the guys comment. I wondered if he heard it too, because he listens to the same show sometimes.

“No, I didn’t hear it. I’m not surprised though.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I am.” I am surprised at the extent that it – the prediction – has seeped in to the culture.

Practically everyone you talk to has heard about it.

Then I told him the joke about what Japanese men do when they have an erection: They vote.  He liked that one.

I told him about my dualism, my belief being on a switch that I sometimes control, sometimes don’t. How this morning making tea I heard myself humming the lyrics to Lennon’s “God” – “I don’t believe in Buddha, I don’t believe in Jesus”.

Interesting that I should be humming that instead of some praise song or hymn. But does it really indicate the state of my belief? I think not.

I speculated about the angels ratting me out to the Lord: “Lord, Lord; guess what SD is doing now? That’s right, humming heretical songs! By John Lennon!”

M talked about how he is reading “His Utmost for His Highest”, a devotional book by some famous preacher. And today’s reading said something about belief not being enough to get you into heaven.

What is enough I said? Maybe trust. Total submission. OK God I give up. I think that is much more important. I can’t add anything to the process of salvation. If I could then I would be god.

There was a pause I the conversation.

I said: “I have to say something.”


“His Utmost for His buttmost.”

Gales of laughter.

“Ok, that’s it. We have determined your spiritual condition.”, he said.

I said,”Yeah the angels have another one to report me on.”

“Oh that one’s skipping the angels entirely, and going directly to the Lord.”

There was also the  reference to “sitting in the seat of the scornful.”

I told him the  Helen Keller Joke; why does she masturbate with one hand? So she can moan with the other.

I think that is where we left it.

OK, I’ve had it:

New York’s View

The Tri-State Area will get two opportunities to see Endeavour flying with the ISS. The first will come on Saturday The Tri-State Area will get two opportunities to see Endeavour flying with the ISS. The first will come on Saturday morning, just over 9 and a half hours after both vehicles have undocked; so they will still be relatively close to each other. The two spacecraft will emerge from out of the Earth’s shadow at 5:21 a.m. EST, at an altitude of 18-degrees above the north-northwest horizon. morning, just over 9 and a half hours after both vehicles have undocked; so they will still be relatively close to each other. The two spacecraft will emerge from out of the Earth’s shadow at 5:21 a.m. EST, at an altitude of 18-degrees above the north-northwest horizon.

From http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/blog/tags/space-shuttle

This after reading some citizen’s blog that they thought it a possibility that the shuttle, knowing that 5/21 was, well, what Camping says it is, is actually carrying “mother Nature’s silver seed” as NY put it, to “a new home in the sun”.

Really, I think this will about do it for me. Probably won’t get another post in before 521.

I am chairing at my meeting Saturday, so we should know by then. HC says the earthquakes should start about 2:00 AM EST, in Australia, and work their way around the world. By meeting time they should be about to Israel.

I kid you not.

It’s All Part of The Plan

I told my brother today about the End Of The World (EOTW). Specificially “The Rapture” as predicted by Harold Camping. Of “Family” Radio.

“So what’s gonna happen if C (my wife) is raptured and you ain’t? It’ll be like, ‘Hey! Where’s C? Hey! Don’t leave without me! Come back!’”

“Yeah, very funny.” I said.

OK, maybe I have decided that I will get a new car before 521. At least if something does happen, I will have the car for a few weeks and then I won’t have to pay for it. From the sounds of it, though, that will be cold comfort. Here’s what happens to those left behind according to Harold (henceforth ATH). This is rough:

The Non-Elect Who Are Still Alive on May 21, 2011
“This group of people, which is very large, normally would have heard the warning that the end of the world is almost here. Yet they paid no attention to it. They paid no attention to it because they did not believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Or they paid no attention to the warning because they implicitly trusted the teachings of their church, that is, Christ would come as a thief in the night, and therefore, they need not be concerned with what they believed were false teachings about the return of Christ. Or more likely, in their love for this world, they paid no attention to the warning because they did not want this world to end.
For more than 1,900 years, the Bible taught that Christ would come as a thief in the night, and He has not come. Therefore, many people think it is reasonable to believe that He will not come to end this world for at least another 100 years or more. Thus, they can be assured that they will continue to enjoy this world throughout their normally expected lifetime. But when an exact date is given, a date that is only a few years in the future, that is completely unacceptable to them. Therefore, they absolutely do not want to listen to the information we have now received from the Bible.
As additional punishment for the people who have heard the warning and refused to heed it, this group of people will enter, physically alive, into the horrible five-month period called the Day of Judgment, which begins with the rapture of the true believers on May 21, 2011. They will see people being raptured while they are left behind. They will be weeping and gnashing their teeth at God in anger. Moreover, for a period of five months, they will be subject to grievous pain caused by plagues that will begin with a huge earthquake that will occur on the first day. If they die during this five-month period, and a great many probably will, their dead bodies will litter the ground. Finally, on October 21, 2011, the whole universe, including the earth and all its works, will be burned up, and they will never again become alive.”
-From Chapter 5 of “To God Be the Glory!” by HC

I told you this would be rough. I do have, not surprisingly, a few comments about this selection. I am intrigued about HC’s use of the word “normally” in the very first sentence. “Normally” they would have heard the warning? As if they just weren’t paying attention this time (were there other times?)?

The reasons he gives are really not simple distractions, like being stoned – clearly Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show will have missed the warning – or having to work, or falling asleep during that part of the show. The reasons he gives are much more deliberate and arrogant: disbelief, listening to the teachings of that great whore, The Church, and simply, love of life and this world.

As if it were not enough punishment to be left behind, to see all (some of) your friends, and maybe people you would have never imagined in a million years be among the elect and get taken up to heaven in a cloud of glory; did you get the part about the left-behinds having to endure a 5 month period of the worst kind of nastiness, with “grievous pain caused by plagues that will begin with a huge earthquake that will occur on the first day.”?

The earthquake is a nice touch and a little bit freaky in light of the number of online references to the New Madrid Fault, the recent increasing seismic and other weird activity along that fault line, and the plans FEMA has for a mid-May 2011 “earth quake disaster exercise”. I’ll leave you to follow your own path of misery in the search engines and to wade through the stuff you find, and to determine for yourself what to make of it.

Potentially even more disturbing is the stuff that HC lays out in a section of this pamphlet (available online; go getcha one – http://www.glorytogod.co/) that sounds a whole lot like zombies:

The Resurrection of the Unsaved Dead
“We have learned that when a non-elect person dies, he is dead both in body and in soul. Moreover, he will never again come to life. The Bible nowhere speaks of the unsaved who have died as ever living again. But there are a few verses that at least infer that they will live again so that they can further experience the wrath of God. We should carefully examine these verses. We will learn that these verses show us how shame on the unsaved continues all the way to the last day of this world’s existence.”

He goes on from here with a bunch of Bible verses that don’t really clear things up for me as to what the unsaved dead will be like when they are resurrected, or if (in contradiction to the header of this section) they will be alive at all. Mainly just that they will be “shamed” by their corruptibility. If you’re dead, how can you feel shame? I have heard of “dying of shame” and being “‘bout shamed to death.” Usually accompanied by a back of the hand to the forehead and a rolling of the eyes, but I don’t think that is what is in view here.

I also want to say that it is kind of funny how spell check wants to change ‘raptured’ into ‘ruptured’.

Still want to get to: The Lamed-Vovnik, and their possible role.

Toledo Man Big Fat Liar

Obsessive compulsions distress friends – ruin holiday

(June 28, 2002) – A vacationing man from Toledo, Ohio has caused heartbreak and distrust among his family and friends, ruining what was otherwise an idyllic OBX holiday. His misrepresentation of facts regarding a tragic accident in Rodanthe has left several Columbus, Ohio couples and their children in a state of shocked disbelief.

HS Derkin, 42, of Toledo, Ohio reportedly lied about the incident as he and two Columbus, Ohio couples were wrapping up their stay at a summer cottage in Rodanthe.

“We all had seen the helicopters flying over the beach and seen the rescuers searching for someone the night before we had to leave. All we asked Derkin to do was check at the realty office next day when he dropped off the key to see what had happened.” said TF, 65, of Columbus.

Apparently the report Derkin got from the agent (later proved false as well) was unsatisfying and he felt compelled to embellish what was already an untruth.

“Yeah, well, Derkin – if that’s his real name – came back with this story about two guys down the beach having a beef and challenging each other to a swimming contest.” said Mrs. TF. “I should have known. The man is incapable of telling the truth – like most men. The day before he had told me that a man who had been pulled form the surf almost drowned had his legs bitten off by a shark. I just don’t think that is funny in the least.”

Mr. F. was almost apoplectic as he made the following comments: “When Derkin came ‘clean’ and admitted that the real estate agent had indicated the rescue activity was due to a report of a floating body in the area, I was enraged at the waste of taxpayer dollars being spent in such a wasteful way. Let the damn thing wash up on the beach! It was probably just a porpoise, anyway. When I heard the truth, I was so upset I couldn’t control my bowels.”

The agent, “Swinging” Dick Peters of Duck, NC is a well known local figure. He is president of the social club, ‘People of the Marsh’, and organizer of the local Marsh Pride Parade, an annual event. What his motivation was in lying to Derkin about the incident is unclear. He was charged with malicious perfidy and released “OR”.

Derkin had never visited the area before, and apparently was unaware of the local regulations regarding dissembling and prevarication. A bench warrant has been issued for his arrest, should he ever return.

Derkin’s wife, C, reached by phone at the couple’s home in Toledo, Ohio said “I’m so ashamed. He does this everywhere we go. He has made my life a living hell.”

Derkin himself was unavailable for comment. “I can’t seem to wake him up.” his wife said.