I will, on occasion, go back and read some of my posts (someone has to) from time to time. It’s weird, but my perspective can change within a matter of days; I will read something and think That was a weird way to say that, or perhaps Gosh, that’s embarrassing. Most often it’s more simply Wow. You’re an idiot. One recent post seemed to invite all three personal criticisms and so I feel a retraction, or at the very least an apology, is definitely in order.
In God, Don’t Let Me Die in Louisiana, Part II, I tell about my experience fishing with my cousin J.D. in Louisiana (haven’t read it? Jump off the bandwagon and be among the first). I read it recently and couldn’t help noticing (because my wife told me) that I am pretty hard on the poor guy. Within the context of the story, I intend to relay my belief that he makes some poor, life threatening choices that I feel are less than wise. Instead, I make some assertions about his intelligence that appear to define J.D. as an individual. Though he chooses to pick up a highly venomous snake (a Water moccasin), nearly causes a person to be gaffed jugularly by its fanged, flying, decapitated head, and then swims butt-naked in a pond wherein this species obviously lives, these examples alone are not reason enough to call him an idiot. In truth, I haven’t seen J.D. since that day over thirty years ago and so by definition really don’t know him; he may be by some accounts a brilliant man ( because I know by others he is not). It would have been better, in retrospect, to call his actions idiotic rather than him an idiot. I feel bad about this; a Christian man (any man, for that matter) should be more kind. For that, J.D., I am sorry.
As an interesting side note, I have heard from more than one relative that J.D. became a Pentecostal snake-handling preacher; for those of you that don’t know, they are best known for their physical handling of poisonous snakes during church services to show both their faith and belief in anointed power from God. This belief is derived from a single Bible verse: And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover(Mark 16:17-18).
You know, they say to find out what you’re good at and stick to it, and in that respect I am clearly the bigger idiot. Way to go, J.D. You’re way ahead of me.