"For a Saint, Everything is Holy." Rasputin
Saturday 9 -
Gregory of Nyssa, a Cappadocian Father
One Saturday Afternoon, a friend of Roedy Green's named Bertie Vaughn was working on a Project. Actually, he'd just finished it. See, the way some dudes sit around and think about how to insulate a historic house or something, Bertie had made a discovery that he was trying to figure out how to get out to the people who could Make something of it. It fell into the realm of Humanitarian Discoveries. And for it, Bertie thought, he should or might actually probably win the Nobel Peace Prize. Or something.
It seemed that Bertie had made a Discovery the likes of which only come along once at the Transit of some Rare Comet, or even less frequently than that. See, there are these trees, or really, they're bushes, he was telling Roedy long-distance over the phone. They're called Hydraberry Bushes. And a single hydraberry is filled with a watery substance that tastes a bit like Evian, y'know, real clean & clear, right, that Can and Will hydrate a person for days! It's a chemical thing, Bertie explained. But Man, the Implications! All those people in 3rd-World Countries dehydrated and dying from diarrhea and all? I'd save them! Except it's just a concept that's hard to get people behind, like those people in California who get paid by the Government to destroy the Cranberries so they're won't be a Surplus. Because the Berries are Clear, like Water, so you can't see them. But man, they're there! And they're Resilient, they'll grow pretty much Anywhere, even in the Middle of a Desert, probably, but it's just that not that many people know about this, see.
Well, Roedy, Saint that he is, and Blessed by God, well, he saw, sure Enough. As he told Bertie. Over the phone. Long Distance. Late at night. He was prescient enough to see the implications of this for Humankind and damned it he wouldn't help Bertie Get the Word out, too. 'Cause ounce you see a Hydraberry Bush, they start popping up everywhere! Yes, indeed. This is what Roedy was saying he called the "Volvo Effect," and what Bertie, who lived in Colorado Springs, called the "Saab Effect," meaning, of course, that once you see one, you start noticing them all over the place. But it was more than that, insisted Bertie. See, once you see a Hydraberry Bush, you actually somehow call into Being like, millions of other ones, so the more you travel, the better! It was like spreading the Gospel, Bertie was saying. To the Four Corners of the Earth. And in the Garden of Eden, well, the damn place had been filled with the fucking things, but now, it's all a desert out there in Africa below the Tirgis and the Euphrates and shit 'cause we just stopped loving each other, and stopped seeing them!
The two men were crying together, by this point, about.
All of which was Well and Good. A Swell Idea on which to build a New & Better World. But Bertie, though, see, Bertie wasn't gonna be the man to get it done any more than the Lord would allow Moses to be the One to lead the People of Israel into the Promised Land (Joshua had to do it, and he fit the Battle of Jericho, and the walls came a'tumblin' down, go read your Bible, Otter Breath) because he had this Problem. He had a friend (if one could call him that) named Gregory, and the two men liked to get together in the late afternoons and smoke this Herbal tea called Damiana, which was reputed to have Aphrodisiac Qualities, out of a Tab Can, until they were Half Dead. And they couldn't stop it. They just couldn't Kick the Fumes. And then, and then, they'd take part together in the Rites of the Siberian Khlyst sect, of which the man Quoted in the Epigraph had been a Noted Member, in which they'd flog themselves with Birch branches and then plug each other to the very depths of sin so that their souls would then be sated and Purification would follow, in the Spirit, making it possible for them to see things like, say, Hydraberry Bushes!
Made it kinda hard to hold down a Steady Job.
But Roedy was saying to Bertie, Bertie, look! You can overcome your Addiction by coming to see it as a Preference, see! That is the way you overcome it. For instance, you can't quit shooting Coke? Well, you have to Get to the Point where you realize you simply prefer to shoot it, or, in your case, and Gregory's case, smoke Damiana out of crushed-up Tab cans, and then, it's no longer an Addiction, see?
Well, Bertie saw, and he saw hard. It all made Perfect Sense! You know it, Brothers and Sisters under Heaven!
And so it was, that this particular late-night phone call and the Realizations it Inspired was the Beginning of the Salvation of all Humankind. It's just that not all that many people saw it, see?
And, God Bless, they Still Don't.