Monday, October 30, 2006

The Angry Atheist

Of course you darlings were too polite to ask. But she can hear you wondering.

"Of all the colorful characters in Pretty Lady's shadowy past," you think, "why is it that the one we have not heard about is the Angry Atheist? Surely this one is the most colorful of all. Surely she could mine this character to the fullest extent, in her cautionary tales of Tolerance Gone Mad. Surely there is infinite fodder here for wry, picaresque and illustrative self-mockery, for Adventures on the Edge, for voyages into the absurd that one can only dream of. Why is Pretty Lady so uncharacteristically reticent on the subject?"

The truth is, friends, that the Angry Atheist was the one who sobered her up. It was no laughing matter, this relationship. The Angry Atheist is the reason that Pretty Lady leads the all but monastic life she leads today. And for that, she supposes she must thank him.

You see, darlings, Atheism, despite its pretense to strict rationalism, is anything but. It is a philosophy rife with superstition, fanaticism, evangelism and irrationality. In the hands of a person with formidable intellect (as indeed, intellect has always been one of Pretty Lady's primary requirements in a consort, however these gentlemen may be lacking in other respects), it can become a dangerous weapon. The shell-shock incurred by experiencing the side-effects of this destructive philosophy, up close and personal, for a period of years, veritably smelted Pretty Lady. It rent her to her foundations, and she has spent the subsequent years painstakingly constructing her soul anew.

Superstition? you say. How so?

One of the hallmarks of Atheism, as Pretty Lady experienced it, is a wholly irrational trust in the efficacy of Transference. That is, the belief that one can solve a perceived problem by focussing one's energies on something that is not the problem at all. This human intellectual failing can be summed up in that hoary old joke, "What are you doing?" "Looking for my car keys." "Are you sure this is where you dropped them?" "No, I lost them in the other block. But there's more light over here."

The doings of the Angry Atheist were almost wholly dictated by this unexamined philosophy. It manifested in the manner in which he dealt with his chronic, simmering, unappeasable rage; in order to avoid showering his nearest and dearest with such (this included Pretty Lady, up until the bitter end), he would habitually pick fights with persons he believed to be both peripheral and deserving targets. Such as cops.

Of course, the laws of Karma being what they are, not to mention the nature of cops, this habit had some not inconsiderable side effects. The Angry Atheist would frequently complain, "I'm always getting guns pointed at me. Even when I'm not doing anything. Especially when I'm not doing anything. Cops have it out for me."

"That is because you look like Bernhard Goetz, darling," Pretty Lady would reply. The A.A. did not find this amusing, but it was true. Cops, both good ones and bad ones, have a certain intuitive sense for sensing dangerous auras in random persons; the combination of high intellect and smouldering rage creates a particularly palpable field. Ergo the stories.

"All I was doing was riding my bicycle in the rain alongside the Billyburg Bridge," he stormed. "This cop car came up behind me and forced me onto the sidewalk. Then he gave me a ticket for reckless endangerment, because I was riding on the sidewalk. I gave that asshole a piece of my mind, all right; I went as far as humanly possible without getting arrested."

This story occurred very late in the relationship, so Pretty Lady was not quite as sympathetic as she might have been hitherto.

"I'm sensing two distinct elements in this story," Pretty Lady replied, tersely. "One is gross injustice, certainly; but the other one is YOU." The A.A. cut short the conversation.

Now, the Real Reason for the Atheist's chronic rage was, of course, a set of absolutely vile progenitors. There is no doubt in Pretty Lady's mind that this man was raised by abusive creepazolas. His anger was, then, completely understandable. It was also completely pointless, because 1) the abusive creepazolas were thoroughly, physically dead by the time she met the Atheist, and 2) he was committedly perpetuating the effects of their abuse upon himself, by choosing to remain in his state of impotent, humorless ire against them.

Of course, the Atheist's philosophy of choice made any other methodology of rage-management impossible, because the notion of healing and forgiveness was a ridiculous fairy tale, in his opinion. He subscribed entirely to a mechanistic vision of psychology, as well as every other science; if one generates Rage, the only thing to do is to Vent it. Like ammonia, or fluorocarbons, or ozone.

Pretty Lady, at the time she met the Atheist, was firmly entrenched in a state of undiagnosed co-dependency. Her idealistic notion was, that if she just loved the Atheist enough, if she understood that the root of his outbursts was his own deep woundedness, if she accepted him for himself, that this would Heal him. So she proceeded to do so. She tolerated all manner of egregious, offensive outbursts, in the name of Divine Love. She was a total idiot.

For tolerating the Atheist's chronic venting of spiritual poison did HIM no good at all, and very nearly killed Pretty Lady. Since the violent demise of this relationship, Pretty Lady has had no tolerance left over, whatsoever. She is a wee bit Hypersensitive, in fact. That is why, when any person at all vents his Spleen in her direction, she has developed a habit of intolerantly calling him on his toxicity, and in the event of failure to apologize, she cuts the connection. Any other practice is wantonly self-destructive.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my first love, waaay back in high school. Pissed off at his folks, too damn smart for *anybody's* good, undertook a relationship with me, his best friend, for the sole purpose of experimenting and observation for the forming of methods of manipulating female emotions. Good thing I dumped his ass; a couple of years ago, he decided he was a Prophet of G-d, shaved his head, and has since been constantly harrassing a later girlfriend to come back to Edna, KS and marry him because he took her virginity and therefore that's the only way she's not going to hell.
Wow, PL, we sure can pick 'em, eh? Perhaps you should come to Lawrence and work a stint at Pizza Shuttle; an astonishing percentage of employees with histories of big-screen-worthy past relationships have managed to fall in love and marry stable, hard-working, caring men whilst shuttling pies and rolling dough.

Pretty Lady said...

Well, Mitzibel, I'd consider it, except that certain forms of drudgery mortify my spirit to such an extent that I do not display to advantage, and thus would certainly attract another loser. I have a strong suspicion that making pizza would be one of those occupations.

Plus, it doesn't do to try and force Fate.

Desert Cat said...


Makes sense.

Pretty Lady said...

Thank you, Desert Cat.

k said...


What an extraordinarily familiar tale. I almost could have filled in some of the phrases as I went along...