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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Irresponsible

The following events occured on the morning of April 16, 2011. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.

11:29 am

I've been way too responsible this week. And I already did like two responsible things this morning. I gotta' rest....

11:47 am

Finalizing my plan for my life changes that I planned to implement in January before I lost my list of life changes I was gonna' make for 2011.


11:51 am

So, the mere prospect of rain makes me feel better about my plan to be irresponsible all day and I'm moving ahead with my plan to eat cereal until dark and watch cartoons and paint my toenails and draw pictures of things that make me want to stab people in their thoraxes. Oh..wait...darnitall...I see a ray of sunshine. Shoot. Now I have no excuse to be irresponsible.

1:21 pm

OMG. Daniel's just standing there staring at me. Why is he staring at me?

1:22 pm

So, now I'm hiding beneath my cloak of irresponsibility (woolly blanket), but apparently it doesn't make me invisible. And, beneath my cloak, I'm doing responsible stuff to counterbalance my irresponsibility guilt like researching innovative ways to make homemade candles and mentally making a plan to reorganize my closet.

1:33 pm

Daniel's looking at me like,"Are you just gonna' sit there all day?" I've gotta pretend I'm doing important work on my computer like researching instructionally sound pedagogical practices which impact linguistically challenged individuals or determining the outcome of using research-based strategies versus common sense stuff that works.If I'm quiet maybe he'll forget I'm underneath my cloak of irresponsibility.

1:35 pm

Daniel's still looking at me.

1:38 pm

So, I'm all snuggly and tingly and happy beneath my cloak of irresponsibility, mentally planning my week of leisure during Spring Break. Clams couldn't be happier. Until....Daniel comes back in the room and says, "What would you do if your baby was switched at birth?" Bummer. Now, my brain that's wired to think about 50 irrelevant things at once as a means of task avoidance has now left its happy place.

1:40 pm

Daniel's looking at me again. And shaking his head.

1:44 pm

Oh, and I just did my third responsible thing of the day. I ate a banana. I could've had a Nutty Bar. But, I didn't. I ate a banana. Maybe I could go to Target. That would be responsible. Or, I could knit a shawl for a homeless person or rescue some kittens from underneath a condemned house. But, then I'd have to get dressed. I'll do more responsible stuff tomorrow. I'm pooped.

2:04 pm

Geez, Daniel's in a mood. All I asked for were llama shaped pancakes, a chicken quesadilla, and a foot rub. Maybe I should do one more responsible thing today. Or, I could deflect and watch "Hoarders." Yeah, that would make me feel better.

Now Where Do I Keep My Keys?

So, I recently modified a body part that has thrown off my equilibrium for decades. Let's call them smoobies to keep this blog kid-friendly. What I'm actually referring to are the two asymmetrical (yep) lumps of flesh and tissue which hang precariously beneath my chin and are above my belly button (unless I'm bending over). So, after endless appeals to the male-dominated insurance company that makes decisions about the female anatomy even though they have different parts, I decided to suck it up and fork out 7 Gs for a more proportionate pair. When my amazing doc was able to bend them in half to show what the end result would be, I was utterly convinced that I had made the right choice.

But, alas, I have a problem. Where on earth am I gonna' house my cell phone, keys, and tic tacs? I know what you're thinking and, no, that totally won't work as I've tried it. So, my dear friend Vanessa has suggested a new device. We haven't named it yet, but it's like a bra with little baby pockets and zippers maybe. I was thinking of calling it the "Brocket". Sort of like those pouches that some folks wear around their hips to make for a hands-free day of sight-seeing or shopping. Except, they won't come in neon colors and won't contain a large unipouch in the front.

So, the day of surgery arrived and I'm like, "What the hay?" As I came to from my anesthesia induced fog, I became immediately aware that things were, indeed, quite different. I refused to get in the car with Daniel, as I felt that he was way too irresponsible to handle my care and wanted to stay with the lovely nurses who had the pain meds. Plus, for a brief moment, I thought I was a Ninja and planned to use my saddled unicorn to fight off the random zombies that I might encounter. Days later, I began to enter that completely overrated place in the time-space continuum known as reality and thought, "Ouch. This hurts like the dickens." Refusal of additional pain meds so that I appeared in complete control of myself unlike the drugsters on Cops was not a great plan and one that I deeply regret to this day. I wanted to appear totally cool and collected, although my smoobies were screaming, "We have teeth and we are biting you. We can't punch you in the eyeballs when you run anymore, sister, but we will surely get back at you for the whole dismemberment trick you just pulled. We've got your number and we're DIALING!" Needless to say, I look like a Frankenstonian experiment gone terribly wrong, and was only able to milk being incapacitated for a week. But, my bikini top will never again resemble a pool tarp or tent for the 9th regiment. I'm excited about the new "me." I just gotta figure out what to do with my funnel cake change (that one's for you, Jen).

Kudos to the amazing folks at Wilmington Plastic Surgery and Dr. Morgan who rocks....and to my family and friends who had to deal with weeks of whining and flashing. I love you guys. Bless your hearts.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gynecologist

From the muffled shuffling of files outside the door, to the pungent smell of alcohol---the gynecologist's office mantains a certain air of mystery. If you even hear your lady doc speak these words, run screaming from the building and never look back:

"Tonight, I'm wrapping up my last online class. As of tomorrow, I'll be an official graduate of JOCKS2DOCS online lab of simulated learning. This pap smear was for a grade. Would you mind scoring my rubric?"

"Darnit, Robin. You forgot to change the paper again. Mrs. Jackson appears to be stuck."

"We're gonna need a bigger speculum."

"Why do your feet smell like hand sanitizer and raspberries."

"Have you been using those scented bath salts again?"

"Don't mind those posters on the wall. I'm sure YOU'RE just fine."

"You know, good hygiene is the key to good health. Why don't we try to unlock that door, shall we?"

"Now, where did this come from?"

"Gloves? Hello? Can you say O-V-E-R-R-E-A-C-T?"

"So, a sperm and an egg walk into a bar..."

"Here's another one. What do you call a ring of red, inflamed pustules? I don't know either. Hang on a sec. I'm gonna google this one."

"If I promise to change your name, can I share this on Facebook?"

What Not to Say to the Highway Patrol

"Tag. You're it."

"I don't know officer. How fast were you going?"

"I may not be a lawyer, sir, but I happen to know what entrapment is. If I were you, I'd just step back to that patrol car of yours and call it a day."

"You really think that badge makes you tough stuff, dontcha' smokie?"

"Go ahead. Try to give me a ticket. I know people."

"I see what you're doing. Profilin'...white women in minivans...uh huh...that's why you're all up in my grill."

"Isn't the speed limit part of a continuum? I thought 55 was the lower part of the limit."

"As a matter of fact, I never speed. And, those children in the back seat are complete liars."

Centaurs--the Other Mythological Creature

So, riddle me this. What's so great about vampires? Everywhere you look, there goes another vampire signing a movie deal. And, what a large groupie following they have. Fan clubs galore, with women exposing their large jugulars left and right. I don't get it. Vampires are way too pale and must have the breath of Methusela with all of the blood drinking and their being dead for like a jillion years and whatnot. I've never seen a vampire brush his teeth. Have you?

And, hopping on the old gravytrain are the werewolves. But, I can sort of get the whole werewolf attraction, what with the body hair and those muscular hind legs and that bushy tail. But, I'm afraid to imagine what their feet must look like. I mean, if they're hopping from treetop to treetop in mist covered forests they must have some form of fungal infection on their paw pads. Plus, werewolves don't wear tennis shoes. What about all the forest poo out there?

So, in a nutshell, I think that the vampires and werewolves need to stand back and let the unicorns and centaurs have a chance at some press. Zombies, you've had your 15 minutes, so zip it.

Unicorns are just plain fancy, what with the glittery manes and fluffy tail and all. Plus, that singular banded horn radiating from their foreheads really sends a message. It screams, "Look at the horn. I don't need two horns to carry off my look...unlike the caribou and elk. I only need my unihorn. I can move mountains."

Which leads me to centaurs. Never have I seen a centaur snag a leading role in a movie or get a book deal. They seem to be nice enough---well-mannered and attractive considering they only have half a human body. Not quite sure how they wipe with the hooves and all. Not thinking about it, though. I'd probably go out with a centaur if I had the chance. I really would. My sister-in-law, Kiyomi, and I recently had a conversation about the virtues of centaurs and unicorns, but she's sticking with the vamps and werefolk. She finds the mystery of the aformentioned creatures of the night most appealing. How do you know, for instance, that the person sitting next to you is really not a vampire or werewolf? You just don't. If you were with a centaur or unicorn, it would be a dead giveaway. Your unicorn peeps would have, for example, a very tall hat and, well, the hooves...it would be nearly impossible to find a pair of shoes that fit.

Cyclopses? Can you say, "Ewwww?" That one eyeball in the forehead just throws off the symmetry.

I'm Gonna Live!

Hey guys. I am not dying. I'm thrilled, because I thought I was. Apparently, I have anemia which makes me feel like total poop. After the doctor explained how totally screwed up my red blood cells (or lack thereof) were, I thought she was gonna give me a yucky diagnosis like leukemia or something that would make my hair fall out (heaven forbid), so when she said "Anemia" I was like "Awesome." Well, my mom is convinced that I may have a terrible disease like leukemia (as she is an online pseudo medical researcher) and Jacob, who hears bits of conversations, thinks I have bulemia and is totally grossed out by it. Daniel has told his mother that they're draining all the blood out of my body to give me some that's fresh and healthy, so she's totally freaked out. My sister, the nurse, keeps trying to drag my limp body to the hospital because she thinks everyone is understimating the seriousness of my jacked up blood cells and I'm refusing to go. Fortunately, I am a mere lump of flesh and bones and she is too petite to get my dead weight into the car. So, if you happen to be in the greater Surf City area and see a mere shell of a girl laying in the yard, pick me up and throw me in your car so I may get a few moments of peace and quiet at your house. I promise not to fight.
So, the bad news is that I'm likely to get a blood transfusion in the next day or so and that's totally grossing me out, as it could be the blood of a raving lunatic or a Duke fan, whichever is worse I have no idea. The good news is that my brain and my heart and the rest of me have slowly been depleted of oxygen over the past several years and the surgery just finished me off. So, that means that my absent-mindedness and lack of clear and objective thinking has had a physical source. In three months, I'll be totally normal like you guys. YIPPEEEE!

I'd love to send a big thankyou to my GP---Heather Downs at Island Family Medicine in Surf City. She figured me out and actually thinks I could be normal. Imagine that!
Anyway, I'm having a strange craving to tackle a baby deer and eat its liver. Gross, I know, but I would prefer it (almost) over the transfusion.  Now I know how the vampires feel. And werewolves, too, I guess. And, possibly the zombies as they always look a little pale and move way too slow. Thanks for all of your kind words and well wishes. I love you guys dearly and hope you have a blessed Easter and relaxing Spring Break. I am now going to go and take advantage of my incapacitated state with a chair in the sun and a David Sedaris book!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Brush With Catholocism: Am I Catholic Now?

My Catholic friend Rebecca has a Catholic kid who had to have a Catholic christening at the Catholic church on the Catholic beach (just kidding...the beach isn't Catholic). Anyway, I was under the naive impression that the christening would involve naming and God blessing the official Godfather of the Catholic kid who had to be a Catholic himself. I know that there are Catholic rules out there about who has an "in" and the whole Godfather business is serious. Apparently, the Godfather is an extension of the family, a sort of big daddy type who buys the kid presents and serves as the guardian, heaven forbid, should the biologicals make like a tree and leave. We Baptists do it the hard way, I suppose, by having legal documents like wills drawn up to determine who gets Dick and Jane. So, imagine my surprise when Rebecca asked my husband, the guy who is as far from Catholic as the ocean is wide, to be her son's Godfather. I wondered if they knew something that I didn't about my husband, like maybe he had a secret Catholic upbringing that he refused to let me in on. Either way, my husband (he has a name and it is Daniel) was completely honored to be little Garland's Godfather. I imagined him dressed in a pin striped suit, hair slicked back, looking slyly from left to right to see if anyone was tailing him. He was nervous about what to expect at the christening, but Rebecca assured him that he could follow her lead and that all the Catholics would just love him to pieces.

At mid-service, my saint straddling Baptist daughter decided it was time to go potty, so we snuck out the side door and carried on with our business. Upon reentering the church, I noticed a long line of folks with no Godfather or Catholic friend in sight. What to do??? Being a team player, I decided that the best course of action would be to join right in and get in line behind them. Being ever so observant, I watched as the priest placed a cookie in the mouths of the folks in line. This looked vaguely familiar to me, so I just did what the other, more experienced people in line were doing. Besides, it was almost high noon and my stomach was growling like a wild boar. Lindsay's bag of Teddy Grahams were history, so I was sure that having a little snack for her wouldn't hurt. As we approached the priest, he placed the cookie (which really wasn't) in our mouths and I attempted my best sign of the cross (still backwards because I hadn't learned the right way yet). Feeling as pleased as punch that I was really starting to fit in, I looked to my left and saw Rebecca.  Her face was red and her head bowed low and I really thought she saw me wave (she didn't wave back). Only after the service did I realize that I did something really bad. I, a non-Catholic, accepted holy communion...and so did my Baptist kid. Apparently, this is a really big no-no in the Catholic circles. I kept my non-Catholocism on the down low the rest of the afternoon and ,when my daughter Lindsay did anything wrong, I responded with a loud, "Stop that Mary Catherine," just to be on the safe side.

Advice for a Successful Marriage

Rules to Live By for a Successful Marriage
Actual Events from the Life of Gina Hill

  1. If you leave your clothes on the line for more than a week, check your underwear for spiders. Ouch.
  2. Rule #1 also applies to bees.
  3. Cats are flammable.  Enough said.
  4. Hairspray is also flammable.  If you accidentally catch yourself on fire, stop, drop and roll.
  5. If your husband “accidentally” catches you on fire, stop, drop and roll.
  6. Okay, suppose you are so proud of yourself for baking cookies that you immediately place the hot pan on your husband’s bare chest before letting it cool.  Don’t worry.  The scars will usually fade after a year.
  7. If you leave the propane on for more than a minute, just get your husband to light the grill.
  8. Keep a bottle of aloe in the refrigerator at ALL times.
  9. Your husband may think it’s cute to place your “feminine” products in his nose and pretend like he’s a walrus.  It’s not.
  10. Don’t thump your husband’s privates.
  11. Hide the credit card bill.
  12. Don’t pass gas in front of your spouse.  If you must, make sure there is a cat or a small child close by that you can blame.
  13. Milk pregnancy.
  14. Do not iron in the nude if you are more than six months pregnant.
  15. Don’t pluck your eyebrows when you’re bored, especially if you have a tan.
  16. Don’t highlight your own hair.
  17. Acts of revenge are silly and immature.  But, they feel great.  Writing mean messages in your husband’s underwear in black permanent marker and hanging them throughout the house is a good starting point.  Painting your husband’s toenails with a paint pen while he’s sleeping is lots of fun, too.  You may also want to change his cell phone banner to read “No Service” or “I like men.”
  18. Suppose you’re stuck in the snow and your husband is pushing you out from behind.  When he says, “Okay, floor it,” make sure the car is NOT in reverse. 
  19. Peel the price tag off of your salon purchased hair products.  He really doesn’t need to know.
  20. Fight fair.  Play nice.
  21. Remember that you are always right.  Maybe that’s not the best advice, but it works for me.


My Brush With Catholocism: The Almost Final Chapter

My nephew Nico was on his way to being a full-fledged Catholic. His christening day began as my sister spent an hour stuffing him into a white suit with a three-inch black tie that looked like it was meant for a fifty-year old, highly fashionable elf.  Basically, she had to fork out $200.00 on a spread of highly stainable fabric that he would wear only once.  Oh, but did he look cute and the christening went off without a hitch.  In fact, after my nine-year-old Baptist son finished playing in the fountain of holy water, I pulled my four-year-old Baptist daughter away from the statue of a saint she was straddling and loaded up the entire family in the mini-van. We high-tailed it out of the parking lot, straight to the Golden Corral where we gorged ourselves on every variety of chicken and pudding you can imagine.  So, with all due respect to my Catholic friends, bless their hearts, I think I'll stick to being a baptist.

My Brush With Catholocism: Part V

Entering a Catholic church as a Baptist is pretty much like entering a nationally renowned museum for the first time. You become a bit awestruck by the grandness of it. The big Jesuses, the stained glass, the huge organ pipes which sound, oddly enough, like the background music in "The Exorcist" when the priest is giving the demon the ole' heave-ho. The first time I entered a Catholic church was for my nephew's christening and I suddenly had the urge to make the sign of the cross (I'd seen it in movies like a kabillion times).  I wanted to drop on my knees before the priest with a barrage of "Hail Mary, Full of Grace"s.  Taking my seat to witness the pomp and circumstance was, at the least, intimidating as I scanned the cathedral and observed this group of Catholics. Surprisingly, they looked alot like me. I suppose that I'd imagined a church full of twenty-member families with gold crucifixes and rosary beads dangling from their necks, a sprinkle of nuns interspersed to balance the equation and watch out for the interlopers. Nope, these folks seemed, to my relief, pretty normal. They also had pews just like the Baptists, with the exception that their pews had footrests (no fair). I honestly tried to keep up with the readings and responses but, apparently, I found out later that I was doing the sign of the cross from right to left, which is totally backwards from the way the Catholics do it. It just felt comfortable to me, but I imagined the nuns that I couldn't see but know were there watching felt otherwise.  I could see myself with a huge red "B" emblazened on my forehead as my footrest became a kneeling post for those in the know. Surely, they were onto me and I wanted to shout, "Hey, I was invited. I'm related to the guest of honor (to my nephew, not Jesus)."  Of course, I kept quiet and mouthed "Watermelon" instead of the appropriate Catholic response which the priest evoked from the faithful, a trick I learned in junior high chorus. It was obvious I wasn't one of "them" and I was fully prepared for the priest to walk down the aisle and smack me on the head with a crucifix. I began thinking about all of the sins I'd comitted and knew that my soul was an open book. I even started feeling guilty about bad stuff I had only thought about doing. I began to think that, perhaps, I should become a Catholic myself just in case. And, then I remembered that I was sitting in church on a Saturday night.  Thanks, but no thanks.

My Brush With Catholocism: Part IV

So, my nephew Nico is destined to become a Catholic because of his birth to a non-practicing Catholic father and the fact that his father was born in Italy and was touched by the Pope, which makes him ultra Catholic. At worst, he gets an early "get into heaven" card and, just in case our "End of Days" friend decides to pop in early, Nico's covered.  Plus, the worst sin he's committed in his two years on Earth is calling his pediatrician a "Chuckwagon."  Nico, I'm sure, is in the clear as far as the Hail Marys and rosary beads are concerned.  We like to think of it as a little early damnation insurance. Besides, we've been singing "Amazing Grace" to him since birth, so he's had a pretty good infusion of Baptist which should last him until he's at least five.

My Brush With Catholocism: Part III

Instead of Hell, the Catholics get this cool-sounding place known as Pergatory which, pardon my limited Catholic vernacular, is a somewhat "meet in the middle" kind of place for Catholics.  Rebecca tells me that its the place where you go and hang out until you are purified, sort of like an arthereal juicing of the soul. I envision the medium-bad Catholics floating around on comfy rafts in a sea of dark clouds, an occasional fallen angel or fanged demon popping by to keep them on their toes.  Another really cool thing about Pergatory is that you can get on the fast track to Heaven if lots of Catholics pray for you on All Souls Day.  My advice to you...make lots of Catholic friends. It sure wouldn't hurt. I suppose that Pergatory is a bad place relative to all the perks you might get in Heaven, but it sure beats the Baptists' hell with all the fire and brimstone and screaming and whatnot. I mean, there's really no "gray" area with the Baptists when you're talking eternal damnation.  It's black or white--saved or lost. Darn it.

My Brush With Catholocism: Part II

My devoutly Catholic friend Rebecca, who's married to the non-practicing Baptist, has certainly given her betrothed some hoops through which to jump. Her husband, who is in no way prepared to duel with the devil at this point, does have the opportunity to attend one redemptive Sunday service at the Baptist church of his choosing and he'll be fully charged and ready to roll. You see, the Baptists are a forgiving group. You can do pretty much what you'd like and then, BAM, like magic you're forgiven and you can ease on down the road. But, the Catholics are a tougher bunch.  Catholic parents are clever in that they infuse a certain level of guilt within their kids from the womb and, before Michael Patrick can utter his first coo, he's already face to face with a priest, sprinkling him with holy water to avail him of his yet to be committed sins.  Then there's the classes.  From what I understand, Catholic kids have to go to alot of special classes and, to add more fuel to the hellfire, the classes are on Saturdays!  So, instead of watching Sylvester the Cat plot on Tweety, the Catholic kids have to go to school and remember stuff that they learned.  But, that's not all. The Catholic kids have to tell a priest about all the terrible things they've done, even the horrible thoughts they've had like mentally cursing in church, so the priest can then serve up some soul-cleansing punishments to make their hearts as good as new.

I've learned alot about Catholocism through Rebecca and via my incessant viewing of horror films such as "The Exorcist" and "The Amityville Horror."  Let's just say that I know who to call should a demon decide to inhabit my body or home.  Which brings me to another point which I personally feel is a blatant show of "one-upmanship" on the part of the Catholics.  Apparently, Catholic trumps Baptist when it comes to the eternal possession of the soul of a kid born into a mixed marriage--mixed meaning one Catholic parent and one anything else but Catholic parent.  For some reason, the Catholics have some sort of heavenly advantage relative to the race for the soul of the kid.  My nephew Nico has a non-practicing Catholic father and a Southern Baptist mother who happens to be my younger sis Carrie.  I guess there's a "once a Catholic always a Catholic" rule that provides an invisible ring of grace that can never be broken and puts the Catholic kids in the front seat on the train to eternal life.  I suppose it's like the law of physics that states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Once you're in, you're in.

My Brush With Catholocism: Part I

I'm a Baptist by trade, title, birthright, or whatever. But, not only am I a Baptist, I'm a Southern Baptist which basically means I'm really special, in some Scarlett O'Hara kind of way. You bet I've got relatives named Louise and Janie and have aunts and uncles as far as the eye can see. It's a pretty straight-forward religion I suspect-services at eleven, traditional hymns, and the passing of the collection plate towards the end which, if the preacher nailed the sermon, was filled with ones and tens by 12:01.  There's nothing really fancy about the Baptists, unless you count the food, which consists of fried anything, vegetables swimming around in meat juices, and about ten different versions of banana pudding. It's really quite a charmed, unpretentious religious upbringing compared to other groups like the Pentecostals or the Holiness folk who have to kiss snakes and make up their own languages right off the cuff. Now, that's some pressure, brother, set far apart from my Baptist buddies with our predictable routine of hymns, prayers, hymns, prayers, hymns, preaching, and more hymns right before the collection plate comes 'round. Oh, and then there's the hugs and "bless your hearts" before heading out to a two-hour gorgefest at the local Golden Corral where you have to hug and do the "bless your heart" thingee with the other Baptists across the county that you haven't seen in a "coon's age." But, there is some comfort in knowing that about 2,000 fellow Baptists are praying for you as you battle that nagging stomach ulcer or prepare for the knee replacement that's kept you homebound for the past six months.

At best, my knowledge of other religious cultures is limited and, in my egocentric mind, I know that I'm heading straight to heaven with a fast pass to Saint Peter himself. But, it really doesn't matter what's happening in the world around me, as the "End of Days" is always looming around the corner, giving me a mischievous nod and a knowing wink that shows he's got me covered when all hell breaks loose. There's quite a bit of comfort in knowing that I've got God on my side while the rest of the world's heathens  are eating my dust as I sprint toward the pearly gates. So, you gangsters out there can have it for all I care with your signs and drive-bys and pretty pictures on the sides of trashcans. We'll just see who ends up on top.

Such has been my existence until a Catholic entered my life. Rebecca is my very good friend and a devout Catholic girl who has met every stereotypical expectation I've ever envisioned about the Catholics. Rebecca is one of seven kids who, as generations before her, is Catholic through and through. She's raising her two children in the Catholic faith as well, despite the fact that her husband is a Baptist, albeit in birthright only. I guess you could call him a non-practicing Baptist, which basically means he doesn't go to church on Sundays but has several King James versions of the Holy Bible on display at his house.  So, the other day Rebecca tells me that she and her non-Catholic husband were required to participate in marriage classes prior to the wedding to make certain that he could be a potentially viable non-practicing husband of a Catholic and an acceptable father to the destined to be Catholic as yet to be conceived kids.  What a clever gate-keeping tool this is as it not only keeps out the riff-raff, but also ensures plenty of fodder for the priests as they drink in the utter "Baptistness" of the grooms and brides to be. Then, there's this compatibility test before the wedding that the non-Catholic has to take and PASS before getting the proverbial nod of the priest. Talk about pressure. I guess marrying a Catholic is sort of like jumping in a Wisconsin lake in December. It's the getting in that's the hard part.