I wasn't overwhelmed with accolades from my last column, but whelmed at least. Some of the responses included the words “great” and “terrific” as in “I'd 'great'ly appreciate it if you'd get Tony Bender out of my newspaper,” or “I find Mr. Bender's columns 'terrific'ally inappropriate.” One guy refused to even read it but was mad about it just the same.
Among the complaints, veiled threats, and attempted exorcisms — one of them involving stickpins and a Ken doll — was the suggestion that I'd blasphemed by declaring that God is a lesbian. Well, in my defense, I don't recall saying such a thing. I may have been hacked. Don't be surprised if one of these days you hear that the Russians are holding my columns hostage until Forum Communications pays them tens of dollars. And anyway, even Martin Luther liked to have beer and tequila shots before he wrote things to rile up the theologians of his day, which is where that whole Diet of Worms thing came from. However, on the outside chance that I did misquote myself, let me clarify: God is a Black lesbian.
“That's not funny,” someone wrote. Or will. Because I guess you're not supposed to tell jokes about God. Seriously? That's not what the priest, the rabbi and the minister said when we were doing Jell-O shots in the bar the other night, or what I like to call “show prep.”
“Of course, God has a sense of humor,” said the Gregorian monk. (How'd he get into this joke?) “After all, She created you, a butch, black humorist, in Her own image, right?”
“He's right,” said the Imam. “And you know who's sitting on the left hand of God, don't you?”
“Eleanor Roosevelt,” I guessed.
“No,” interrupted the Whirling Dervish, “George Carlin.”
“Carlin! What about the Seven Words he said that you can't say on the radio?”
“Oh, you can say them in heaven,” the Dalai Lama replied. “God's not as uptight as the FCC.”
“Wow,” I said, “If Heaven is that much of a party, I can't begin to imagine what Hell is like.”
“I know, right?” said Jerry Falwell Jr.
There were also complaints about my mention of goat sacrifices and eating babies. Hey, I didn't start that last one, Q-publicans, you did. I must say, though, that I agree with North Dakota GOP legislators who ran the sex ed professor out of NDSU, a busybody trying to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies. All I can say is, great! More babies for us!
And let me tell you how this whole goat-sacrifice thing started. Some years ago, I got (goat) roped into a goat-milking contest at the Ashley, N.D., Rodeo along with Kirk Rueb, owner of Ashley SuperValu. Naturally, he has extensive knowledge of dairy products. A ringer. I hate to make excuses, but on top of that, I had a jumpy goat. His was docile, so naturally, he won. I demanded an audit, but hey, this isn't Arizona.
Get this though: The next day, Kirk's goat died. True story. Say what you will; I may not be a champion goat-milker, but at least I never milked one to death.
The Ashley Rodeo is Aug. 7 and 8. No goats will be harmed. I promise. Cowboys, maybe.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.