On the Corner

by Robert Docter – 

Why have I hung around the Army so long? I mean, it’s been all my life. Even now, why stick? Piling grandchildren in the car every Sunday morning and Wednesday night–struggling to get somewhere on time–getting to that meeting or this meeting or that committee or this group–What’s it all about? The corps has never been close to home. It’s always been a long drive. And there are so many other things I could be enjoying in the time I spend at the corps–like watching football–or reading a book–or doing some of that work around the house I never have time for.

I could even go to another church–but it would have to be a big one where I could get lost in the crowd–slip into a pew towards the back–plan my day during the sermon–stay anonymous–sit back and criticize how they ran the service–how they kept pushing their need for money. I probably won’t even like the way they take up the collection. And how come that guy takes so long to give the announcements? Don’t they know I can read?

I would especially enjoy criticizing the music. If they have these “worship choruses” I’ll criticize them and insist that we sing more of the good ol’ hymns. If they only sing the good ol’ hymns I’ll ask them why they can’t get “with it” and be little more contemporary. They probably won’t have a band –maybe an orchestra, and I’ll let them know I play a horn–but I won’t let myself get drafted. Oh no, I shall steadfastly withhold my talent from that crazy bunch of fiddlers and clarinet suckers. As soon as they approach me I will have discovered what night they rehearse and definitely have something very important planned–I don’t know what, but it’ll be easy to manufacture something that’s going to demand all my energy. I’m sure I won’t like the selection of music, anyway.

But I can still take shots at the choir and especially the leader. Look at them wearing those crazy 15th century robes –the poor guy flappin’ his arms–looks like he’s going to take off. Of course, if I knew someone who wanted to join the choir, like my wife, I’d try to discourage her–not openly–no–I’d just start needing her help in a very serious way on the evening of choir practice.

They’ll probably want me to go to a Bible study or something, but that won’t work–I just won’t have the time. Monday night, Aly McBeal–Tuesday night, that ER show; Wednesday night, that comedy about a democratic president in the White House; Thursday night is NYPD; Friday night is–well, gotta be something; Saturday night, of course, belongs to “the family” whether they show up or not. They better not ask me to go to church on Sunday night. First of all, Sunday ends at sundown–(isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?)–and second, those defense lawyers in “The Practice” really need me. So–sorry, I just don’t have the time to be involved–got too much going on.

And that preacher better be a spellbinder–or I will–well, whatever I do, it can’t take much effort. I want to hear it straight from the Word–and I mean the “real word”–the King James Bible–none of this new stuff. Of course if I don’t like what he says–why, I’ll probably just up and leave and when they ask me why I’ll tell them “I didn’t get fed.”

Yeah! It would definitely have to be a monster church. Small ones might ask to me to accept some responsibility. Good Lord, they might even ask me to share my talent, and then I’d be back in the Army–except for the uniform.

I’m sure they’ll ask me to begin doing things at this “big” church–and I might even say “Yes”–if the right person asks me in the right way. Of course, as soon as I start getting involved a little, I’ll probably need to start taking over, and if they don’t listen to me or follow my advice–I’ll quit. Yep, it’s gotta be my way or the highway.

Say–come to think of it–now I know why I’m still going to the Army. None of this ever happens there.

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