Friday, October 1, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part xii

Editor's Note: In the ongoing efforts of this blog to promote its primary author's flagging failed career as a writer, we present this week's column from the St. Clair Times. A fair note: at least half of the stories in this column are probably made up, or drastically shortened to fit the space. Thanks.
Andy still stands the test of time, even now

Like a number of other United Methodist churches, mine recently welcomed a new pastor. And part of our new pastor’s job was to find out what was going on in his new congregation.

As part of that ice-breaking process, our new pastor encouraged congregants to email him with ideas for sermon topics. Which sounded like a great idea, even if it wasn’t entirely his (someone told me it was a mandate from the bishop’s office, but who’s the bishop, anyway?).

Unfortunately for me, my wife saw my idea before I had a chance to send it. It read, simply, “sin.”

“Sin?” she said. “Sin? Really? That’s it?”

“Sure,” I told her. “That’s a subject you can’t talk enough about: sin.”

I waited to see if she understood the Barney Fife reference. She instead glared at me like a disgusted member of the Darling family.

Immediately, I called my dad to share the story. Dad’s one of the people in my life who can share lines from “The Andy Griffith Show,” an amazing piece of television that still holds up nearly 50 years after it was created.

Rare is the occasion in life that a line from Andy Griffith won’t adequately capture. During my most recent trip to my folks’ house, Mom asked Dad and I to go to the grocery store.

“You want me to go? I’ll go.”

“Naw, it’s OK. I’ll go.”

“You’re probably tired, though.”

“I don’t mind going.”

“I don’t mind either.”

“Why don’t let’s both go?”


“Well … let’s go!”

“Where we going?”

At this point Mom, disgusted, stomped off. Dad shook his head.

“Well … I believe it’s now too late to change the subject.”

Dad and I are NOT, by the way, the only people in the world keeping this show alive. Around the country various “Re-run Watchers Clubs” are dedicated to the memory of the show; just a few months ago, our paper profiled some locals so fanatical, they even won an Andy Griffith competition. When my friend Matt Miller died earlier this year, we lost a great fan of the show, someone who loved Barney Fife so much he even worked as a deputy sheriff in his spare time.

What’s weird is that “The Andy Griffith Show” doesn’t hold up because of an inspired premise or superior production values. Its primary redeeming value owes to its simplicity: a small-town sheriff and the people in his life — some wacky (Gomer, Barney, Ernest T. Bass), most pretty ordinary (Floyd, Aunt Bea, Helen). Everything about the show is simple: in Andy’s world, there’s no terrorist attacks, no sexual deviance, no money laundering. Life is simple, it hasn’t changed and it’s never going to change.

Which is why, if you see me, feel free to ask about Emma Watson and her sugar pills. She did bring her dime by, after all.

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