Memo to the Fink

Yo, Finky.  Yeah, you.  John Fink.  Over here, dude.  I happened to be at a great Catholic bookstore the other night, looking for a gift for my godson.  Now, by great Catholic bookstore, I mean a bookstore owned by a great Catholic gentleman.  A very good man who loves (really really loves) to talk.  A lot.  Mostly he loves to talk about the Faith.  But also about anything.  And so it was, Finky, that within 30 seconds of entering his store (I was, of course, the only soul in there) that I had been debriefed on the dire financial situation of the store, and the vast amount of personal savings the man has invested to keep his labor of love afloat in these trying economic times.  (Yo, pay attention, Fink.  You keep looking away, but this works out well for you in the end.)  This fine Catholic gentleman also had a fair amount to say about our dear and new Glorious Leader.  Turns out he’s not a big fan (I love that Catholic bookstore owners don’t mind dropping the odd curse word here and there…you would never see that at the Mustard Seed).  Nor is he a big fan of those Catholic bimbos coming into his store with Obama buttons on.  I’m guessing he probably let them know he wasn’t a huge fan.  Get your ass back here, Fink.

See, so I’m looking for a very specific gift for my godson, one that I thought would be quite common and easy to find.  But it dawns on me pretty fast that I ain’t gonna be finding my item here.  Our Catholic gentleman is, of course, very very apologetic, and has some unconvincing reasons why the one item, though not very nice, would be perfect.  Or, if I had just called, he could have ordered one ahead.  And this is where it turns for you, Fink, because it suddenly dawns on me that there is absolutely no way I can walk out of this store without buying something, or rather anything.  Our gentleman’s giant doe eyes won’t allow it.

So first, I’m thinking, hey, a baptism card might do the trick.  So I pick out the least cheesy baptism card available, still dripping with thick Velveeta.  $2?  I can’t put $2 on my credit card in a Mom and Pop store.  Crap.  So I’m gonna have to find something else.  So, I’m first looking at the children’s books (see where this is going, Fink?), but none of those are appropriate.  And, like, every single Catholic household already has all these books from their first child’s baptism.  So, I start to realize that I’m gonna have to drop some credit on some other personal item, just so I can, in good conscience, you know…leave.  Dinner’s on the table, Fink, I gotta get home.

So, I’m perusing the books on the shelf, looking for something (anything!) to buy.  I’m not interested in moral theology.  Or a bible commentary.  Or some Marian thing.  Zing!  What’s this I see?  A book on St. Thomas More?  (Your book on Thomas More, Fink)  Interesting.  After all, I’ve heard a lot about him of late, given that he was Lord Chancellor under a homicidal maniac.  The historical parallels to our own times are uncanny, what with our newly elected infanticidal maniac.  Maybe I can pick something up on how to be a good and engaged Catholic in these dark times.  In fact, the very tag line of your book is: Model for Modern Catholics.  Presto!  Sold!

So after running the gauntlet of another 20 minute conversation on the Divine Office, Thomas Merton vs. Henri Nouwen, my children’s vocations (mind you, one is 3 years old and the other 9 months), and the obvious growing beauty in my family (as seen from outside, at Mass once per week.  You see, Fink, the gentleman attends my parish), I rush home for a rushed dinner, only to rush out with my oldest a-vocational son to another Catholic bookstore, one I don’t like.  But that’s a story for another time, Fink.

I know I’ve digressed a lot in this story, but what I really want to tell you, Fink, is that I’m a little upset.  At you.  First was the confession that, you feel so close to him that you will henceforth refer to him as Thomas.  Simply Thomas.  OK.  I wouldn’t do that, but maybe I’m just not close enough to him.  Maybe over time, I will grow to know him better, and we’ll become more conversant.  Then, you refer to him as a “guy”.  That one, I was pretty much ready to chalk up to slovenly writing.  He’s more of a man, from my perspective.  The guy is the one with the chip in his hand watching the ballgame.

But dude, where you really threw me for a loop, and where you almost completely lost me, was when you started comparing and contrasting your finest PC etiquette with Thomas a Kempis.  Thomas a Kempis, dude.  The guy who you admit wrote the second most influential Christian book (second to the bible, that is) in the history of the world.  And mind you, you are contrasting yourself from him…in a favorable light.  To Thomas a Kempis.  The man (catch that?) who wrote The Imitation of Christ.  He says “he” where you say, “he or she”.  Are you serious?  Do you think it reflects well on you that you implicitly attribute some manner of sexism to one of the greatest Catholic authors of all time?  That you apparently think that 21st century man (catch that?) is too stoopid to get that, you know, when he says “he”, it is a writing shorthand for “the person” and not “the male (chauvinist pig) person”?

Come now.  I’m only in the first chapter and you’re making my blood boil.  Why you gotta hang like that?  Fortunately for you, my wife has counseled a three-strikes-your-out policy to me.  And I’m inclined to agree.  Now, if you count carefully, I have already been crossed three times, but I’m gonna be charitable and extend a little love to you.  I’m only gonna count the last one, OK.  So that’s one strike.

You have been warned.


~ by Rob on November 17, 2008.

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