Easter not so easy

We rummage about the day, seeking a good book, ambient pleasures, deep meaning (why is that dog squatting so?), and a fine, frothy whiskey sour. The last first, please.

The days are long, the books are long — like the 600-page Mike Nichols biography I just polished, with joy — and the drinks are long, or, more precisely, tall. Either way, pour. Now. 

Temperatures are amping to the mid-60s, heralding spring’s ominous simmer and summer’s damp, gaseous inferno, both of which, I need not tell you, I abhor. (I only partly exaggerate when I say my favorite utterance is brrr. My second favorite: “I’ll get that.”) 

For some, who I will surely offend, today is all about the embarrassing folly of Easter (Jesus, the great escape artist — a Holy Houdini!), celebrating that boulder-rolling feat of celestial sorcery so magnificent it befits a children’s picture book, ages 2 to 5. And, somehow, the whole zany thing — the tomb, the missing body, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit (insert spit-take here) — boils down to Cadbury’s ooze, Peeps’ chews, synthetic grass and ham. 

What would Jesus do? Probably puke, like most of us.

So hallelujah. Now onto cursing: It’s a sunshiny Sunday, blue and bold and obnoxious, just what everybody delights in, because isn’t life one grand fairyland, dusted in gold, roofed with rainbows and burbling with birdies? 

Actually, it is pretty nice out, for now. I just dread when the sun-worshippers get greedy, Mother Nature listens, and everything gets hot and ruined. (Dear October: Step on it.) Look, get your unflattering beach garb, go to the tropics and leave the rest of us alone. 

Travel. Now? Right. I should be in Paris. But while I’m freshly vaccinated for Covid, France is redoubling its pandemic shutdown. The place is a festering contagion and no one’s going in or out. I bought a flight to Paris in March 2020 for an October trip, and we know how that ended. We sit. We wait. We read 600-page artist biographies. 

Or we read (and re-read) short story collections, like Joy Willliams’ delectably edgy “The Visiting Privilege,” Tobias Wolff’s comfort-foody “Our Story Begins” and the tough, granular realism of Richard Ford’s “Sorry for Your Trouble.”

Art saves. Sort of. I have a birthday coming up and no book of short stories will blunt the bite. Yes, I’m at the point when birthdays make you scrunch up your nose. I’ve been doing this for years; the last time I actively celebrated my birthday was age 13. I believe in getting older as much as I believe in Christ’s Penn and Teller routine in the desert. 

Started as a random riff, this is turning out to be my annual jeremiad about changing seasons, warming and wilting. This week I add a year, perhaps finally becoming an anachronistic artifact, shriveling like a vampire in slashing shafts of sunlight.

I need a flotation device in this sea of self-pity. More to the point, that whiskey sour is sounding pretty terribly perfect right about … now

Bunnies and the Bible — wrestling with Easter’s confused impulses

As a lapsed Catholic and ironclad agnostic (and probable atheist), Easter means nothing to me. Not literally, not symbolically, not allegorically, not chocolate bunny-y.

It’s but another Sunday that happens to roll around, like a brightly-dyed egg, in the flush of springtime, solemn yet gay, prayerful yet festive, scripture-dry, yet sweet as a gooey, chewy (ew-y) marshmallow Peeps.

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Palm Sunday doesn’t rock my boat. Good Friday — today — isn’t always so “good.” (Crucifixion, anyone?) Sometimes, like this one, it’s just all right. (All Right Friday — What would Jesus do?) It’s a little rainy, and my head hurts.

I’m not offended by the crass commodification of Easter — or, even more egregious, the wholesale whoring off of Christmas. White bunnies, yellow chicks, rainbow jelly beans, baskets stuffed with plastic grass, chocolate everything and those infernal Peeps (seriously, WWJD?) — what does any of this have to do with humankind’s purported savior rising from the dead and sealing the deal?

Nothing, of course. It’s a smoke screen to bamboozle children to get into the spirit, whether that’s the Holy Spirit or the spirit of a plush rabbit named Flopsy.

But can these tenets reconcile and exist side-by-side? Can one believe wholly in the Holy while worshipping at the altar of Cadbury? I found some excellent artwork that argues both sides. Behold:

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The bunny and the beatific one make strange bedfellows. Shoo, egg-monger! And whatever those kids are wearing is certainly blasphemous. 

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A real sport, Jesus blesses the secular trappings of Easter. His favorite: Reese’s eggs.

Am I going to hell for this? Could be. Maybe. Whatever. Pass the Peeps. You should see what they do in the microwave.