Unless you count drinking coffee and checking email as a ritual, I don’t really have any. I do, however, have practices. Stuff I do, stuff I believe or at least pretend to believe.
As time has galloped by, I’ve renounced stuff. I didn’t really need it anyhow. I gave up worrying. I gave up working. I gave up the lottery, although I occasionally still buy a ticket — just in case.
I gave up wanting a new car or expecting old friends to call. Some of them don’t remember me. Some don’t remember themselves I’ve stopped hoping Hollywood will make movies I like, even though they sometimes release a good one.
I’ve stopped trying to like new music and most television shows. I’ve ceased trying to figure out what’s going on with the Red Sox.
Some stuff gave me up.
When anyone asks me how or why I have given up whatever it was, I tell them it was for religious reasons. Almost no one has the temerity to ask what I mean by that. But so you know, I will herein reveal my secret.
I don’t mean anything. It’s nothing more than a way to end a conversation. No one wants to offend me by asking for the details of my religious beliefs. Who knows? They might turn out to be embarrassing or bizarre. Thus my all-purpose answer to everyone is “religious principles,” or “my spiritual adviser told me to do it.”
Given recent news events, you can but imagine what enormous power these words hold. They will make a conversation vanish without telling someone to shut up. It works on everyone except those who really know me. They will raise one or more eyebrows, and fall over laughing.
If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.
For religious reasons.