Last year when the Wife and I traveled to Germany and went to Koln (Cologne), where we had to see the Kolner Dom. Started in 1248, the Cologne Cathedral is one of the tallest in Europe.Cologne’s medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as “a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value” and “a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe”.
No matter ones religious beliefs, being inside one of these medieval cathedrals is a total other worldly experience. And if you are fortunate enough to be there during a church service, as we were, you’d swear you were in heaven at the foot of God’s throne. When the massive organ stated playing, the whole place reverberated with a sound that shook you down to your inner being. That was pretty cool. But what was even more better was, for a small fee, you could go under the cathedral and into the church’s treasury. Talking about vows of poverty, these monks may have looked like a bunch of rabble, but certainly had well funded 401k plans in them catacombs.
Not only were we able to see the golden Reliquary of the Three Kings (the box which contained the bones and clothes of the Three Wise men of nativity fame); but also the chains that bound St Peter when he was taken to Rome (the holy handcuffs), along with his Holy Staff. And speaking of the holy staffs, what we weren’t able to see was the sepulcher of the Holy Foreskin which is reported to house the remains of Jesus’ circumcision. [I shit you not, there is really such a relic.]
Relics and shrines were really important during the Middle Ages, as they served as a source of revenue for the Church. When the coffers got a little low due to all the gold that was being inlaid on stuff, they trotted out the holy relics and took em throughout the countryside, where miracles, healings and visions were reported to have occurred. And of course miracles, healing and visions aren’t free. No sir! You gotta pay to look at that stuff. And the dumb peasants fell for it every time.
Well, being an old relic myself, I felt it time to dive into my archives and resurrect an old post ( no metaphor intended ), so maybe like myself, you too can have a miraculous vision after reading it.
Back in the day when I was attending Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, one of our favorite activities was to participate in a “chop-fight”. A non violent affair which consisted of hurling insults at one another. Whoever bested his opponent by uttering a completely humiliating invective for which the other had no response (‘what no come-back, it’s all stuck in the back of your mouth’) was the winner. These were serious matters, for ones reputation at school hung (and speaking of being well hung, I hear your sister has a pair bigger than yours) on how one fared in these duels.
These events usually ended in a draw however, for known to everyone was the ultimate put-down for which there was no come-back. When one was going down for the count, and “so low ya had to look up to see down”, you had no choice but to hurl the ultimate weapon and respond with: “Your Mama”. That usually ended it. Everybody was wise enough, even at this young age, not to pursue the “Mama” thing much further. But, “Your Mama”, or “Joe Mama” depending on which ethnic persuasion you preferred to be, sometimes took on a life of its own. When both participants were really into trashing each other (“and speaking of Trash, How’s Joe Mama?”), things began to roll (“Your Mama; I hear your mama is so black she needs a license to buy white bread”) It usually ended with both fools wishin’ they was orphans or cutting each other up with knives pretty badly.
Well I think it’s time for Your Mama to come back. Not literally, because most of us old guys’ Mamas are up in Heaven where they are enjoying their own chop-fights; where their ultimate put-down is “Your Son”. Instead of always yelling ‘bullshit’ or the ‘F’ word when watching something especially tweeksome on TV; just utter in a low voice “Your Mama”. When Bill O’Riley is going on about some uber right-wing nonsense, don’t get upset, just softly utter “your mama” and you’ve refuted his whole argument. What more can be said. Some politician trying to explain away how they got their hand caught in the cookie jar. Don’t yell motherfucker. Nope, “Your Mama” says it all. You know, I think that I’m gonna stop using the word ‘bullshit’ altogether (might have to give up television to be successful), and instead just mumble “Joe Mama” when a witty repartee is needed.