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Authors Guest Posts

It’s the End of the (Real) World as We Know It

by author Susie Lloyd

used with permission by Sophia Institute Press

Years ago my friend Maria came back to the Church. It was the end of the world as she knew it.

In her youth, Maria was a heavy-metal fan; born, like a lot of people in the Sixties, with a deaf wish. But even though rock is now part of the mainstream, and even though liturgical music had it goin’ on in the Seventies, and even though Bob Dylan did a papal concert, there is still no Church-sanctioned version of Ozzy. So she kissed him goodbye.

After that it was goodbye modern TV and movies, goodbye to certain fashions from Trends R Us, goodbye to checkout-lane magazines and commerce on Sundays.

She came to me in a moment of despair and asked when it was going to stop. When, when was life going to seem normal again?

I broke the news: never.

I’m a cradle Catholic who considers being in a coma the only valid excuse for missing Sunday Mass, and I’m still not done saying goodbye to the world.

First it was goodbye to electronics, shoes, clothes, and toys made in Communist China.

At the same time, there was the Disney boycott. Remember that? It wasn’t that their latest princesses were feminists who could “take care of” themselves and routinely rescued men in distress with an agility that was almost cartoonish. It wasn’t that Cinderella’s and Snow White’s torso had been digitally enhanced for the purpose of advertising. It all fell apart when their subsidiary companies started making movies that brought Catholics out to protest with signs and rosaries.

That was the year the kids got underwear for Christmas.

Then I saw a special on PBS about underwear manufacturers who, in league with the World Bank, are driving third-world nations into insurmountable debt.

An underwear boycott is clearly called for here, but just how long can it go on?

Then there’s the problem of eating. Here you are, reading every label to find out what dyes and preservatives are added that might make your offspring sterile in twenty years when you are safely too dead from cancer to file a lawsuit. Naturally you start shopping at health-food stores. On your way in, you see a giant poster of a swami. Great. The store is New Age. Your conscience says there is another health-food store across town. Ten miles. Not far to go to do the right thing. Of course it is likely that it will also be New Age. You decide to ignore the swami. Where else can you go to get products that look and taste just like the poisonous originals? They cost twice as much, but that’s okay. You should really eat less anyway. Thus far, you’ve got it all worked out. You’re proud of yourself.

Then you tell a friend all about it, and she informs you that one hundred percent of the profits from these products go to organizations whose sole mission is to uproot all traces of Christianity from the planet.

In a frenzy, you run out and buy seeds. Then you shop around in six stores for the best price on a chest freezer.

On your way home, you are exhausted. You pull into a Burger Bits franchise. Your conscience reminds you that you’re supposed to be boycotting this one, due to the fact that last year it was an official sponsor of the NAMBLA Olympics. It prods you to go across the highway to the competitor. Just a half-mile down the road, then loop around in the U-turn, a half-mile up again, and ten minutes later you arrive at the competition across the road.

Uh, wait a mainute. Maybe this is the place you’re boycotting, and it’s the place you just left that’s in the clear. You pull slowly up to the window, trying to ignore the smells seeping into your car. You toy with the idea of asking the cashier if the name Donald Wildmon sets off any buzzers. Right.

You ask yourself, WWJD? That’s a tough one. He’d probably opt to go hungry. You ask yourself what would Mom do? No good. She’d be at home, cooking. She never did anything half so frivolous as you just did. You suddenly feel very alone.

The struggle to maintain a standard of Catholic culture is suspended. The smells are too much. You’ve decided to eat there no matter what. An evil voice inside your head says, “Might as well go all the way. Go on, pull over. Eat it in the car, and while you’re at it, blast the radio. The kids will never know….” You pull the burger from the bag and shove it down without allowing yourself to think. You refuse to care whether the franchise serves a cola that funds a charity that donates to an organization that contributes to population control in countries where the World Bank directs unfair labor practices. Perhaps just last week, they switched to a lesser-of-two-evils cola whose only crime is unseemly commercials, but you’ll never know. You don’t have cable, so you don’t get channels that carry unseemly commercials. You can’t even tell one cola from another anyway. Besides that, you didn’t even get a cola – due to an article you read linking caffeine with premature aging. You are drinking water. Pure, free, chlorinated tap water with added fluoride…which has been linked to Alzheimer’s…in a wax paper cup that makes it taste like blood!

Suddenly none of this matters anymore. You realize you have just eaten a cheeseburger without even unwrapping it.

You leave with a feeling of self-satisfaction you haven’t had in a long time. The paper that is now inside you was recycled. You have just done your part in saving the planet!

::Susie Lloyd’s award winning book, Please Don’t Drink the Holy Water is only her first. Check out her sequel, Bless Me Father, For I Have Kids. Her next book is due out in October 2013, with Ave Maria Press.::

Categories
Authors Domestic Church Faith Formation Guest Posts Motherhood Vocations

Chivalry Is Dead: It Collided With My Stroller

I never understood why the women of my mom’s generation had the urge to roar.

There’s something to the old ways, where men and women lived by a set code. Heck, if men would go back to paying for luxuries, opening doors, and fighting for our honor, I could certainly modulate my voice, exude charm, and do a few dishes. It might even be worth wearing a corset.

My mom never roared. She was proud of the fact that she didn’t have to support her husband financially. She didn’t want her own paycheck. She wanted to spend his. Her name was on at least four store credit cards, and his was on the bills. He didn’t seem to mind a bit.

Whose idea was it that we should change this?

It was that class of women who decided to work for eight hours, come home, cook, do housework, and in between drive the kids all over the place, all without a man. And then had the gall to say they were liberated!

Mom felt that she was doing enough. Aside from taking care of a male-dominated household of ten, she taught catechism, counseled unwed mothers, and organized prayer vigils. She never complained about my dad’s enormous garden and the acres of farmland that, besides cultivation, provided hours of canning and freezing work for her. She did not complain because she was doing exactly what she wanted to do.

In the early twentieth century, Laura Ingalls Wilder was asked to add her name to the feminist movement. She declined on the grounds of not being able to relate to it. As a farm wife, she knew the priceless value of her economic contribution.

It was the bonbon eaters who wanted out. They were bored and unfulfilled. But I personally blame the men. Once they caught on that they were being let off the hook, there was no stopping it.

Hank: Lois is sick of watching soaps and eating bonbons all day. She wants a job.

Mel: What are you going to do about it?

Hank: I don’t know. It’d mean more money, and I’d quit cab driving nights. Course, she’d probably expect me to hang out with the kids more and help with the dishes once in a while.

Mel: Tough choice.

Hank and Mel made up the slogan, “You go, girl!” Hank and Mel are revered by feminists everywhere as sensitive folk-singer types.

Now we have come full circle. Larger household incomes have driven prices up, our material wants have become needs, so now an ordinary paycheck no longer covers the cost of living. Women now get heart disease at the same rate as men, and in a few more years we might yet break even on the mortality rates.

And still, the majority of women will tell you we are better off than our grandmothers were. We can now work on highways and mail rooms, and at other jobs that were traditionally hogged by men in the past. We can file for divorce just as easily as men and lose custody of our children at the rate men traditionally used to.

To think that in third-world countries with traditional sexual roles, women are missing out on this! The divorce rate is abominably low and the birth rate dangerously high; virginity is prized, and marriage is thought of as a positive good. We must export liberation to these backward places right away!

Even if you manage to stay stubbornly unliberated here, you can’t fail to reap the benefits of progress.

For instance, in my sheltered world, my husband carries the baby in one hand and opens doors for me with the other. Out there, in the Real World, doors sometimes drop in my face. Real World logic goes: It’s degrading to have someone open a door for a woman as if she can’t open it herself. Never mind if she can’t because she’s pushing a stroller and holding on to a bunch of other kids at the same time. That’s the Catholic Church’s and her husband’s fault for making her have so many children.

Let it be a lesson to all who resist progress!

Still, there is much work to be done. According to some feminists on a talk show I recently saw, the percentage of girls who went to become plumbers is still in the negatives. Girls still obstinately gravitate towards hairdressing. Everyone knows hairdressers are shamefully underpaid compared with the selfish men who earn three times as much just for unclogging toilets. Remember girls, you’re worth it.

Poor mom. She was just too oppressed to know what she was missing.

::Susie Lloyd was born into a large Catholic family that spanned the baby boom through the hippie and preppie decades. She was educated in parochial and public schools and in a parent-run catechetical center. She is a graduate of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. She is the surprised recipient of three Catholic Press Association awards, one for her first book, Please Don’t Drink the Holy Water and two for her columns in Faith and Family Magazine. She is also a long time columnist for The Latin Mass Magazine and contributes to Inside Catholic, The National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Live! She is an enthusiastic member of Sunrise Toastmasters and enjoys connecting with her readers through public speaking. She is also the author of Bless Me Father, For I Have Kids. She and her husband Greg have been married for over twenty years, homeschool, and have seven lively children. She finds time to write in the dark hours before dawn or from the middle bench of her full-size van.You can also find more lively writing by Susie at her personal blog, Susie Lloyd: Unedited, and her next book due out next year with Ave Maria Press::

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This chapter taken from Please Don’t Drink the Holy Water and used with permission by Sophia Institute Press.