Every Atheist Needs: Skinny Legs and All
One of Godless Mom’s favourite things to do is read. I have so many books that when I move, the moving company tacks on another couple hundy to the final bill to cover the 80 boxes full. When I moved to Mexico for two years, I got rid of everything I owned – LIBERATING PURGE – except my books, which went into storage. I have incredible books, stupid books, obscure books, antique books, books about cooking and skiing and fucking and gods. For the love of Mary popping a squat (no holy), I love my fucking books.
But there are just four books that I personally hold as more precious than the others. Today, we discuss one of those 4.
As you know, Godless Mom is a writer. I am a paid writer of corporate crap and in my spare time, when I’m not solidifying my ticket to hell, I am writing a book about a friendship I once had, that was beyond strange and ended even more strangely. I fancy myself a good a writer, in that I actually do read what I write over and over and am fully entertained by it. Now, whether that actually makes me a good writer, or just mildly challenged, I am unsure. Relativity and all that. But here’s the thing. When compared to this guy, I fucking suck.
His name is Tom Robbins and he knows everything. Fucking everything.
Tom Robbins’ Skinny Legs And All
He is the author of such naughty novels as Another Roadside Attraction
This shit is not for everyone, I will admit. I mean, this fictional story starts with our main character riding into town in a giant turkey and other characters include a can of beans, a talking stick and a fucking conch shell. This book requires almost as much suspension of disbelief as the Bible.
The beauty of this book though, is the vivid language, the absolute lack of literary inhibitions and the fact that every sentence is deliciously devious and stunning. Take, for example, how he tells us what day it is:
Dip a slice of bread in batter. That’s September: yellow, gold, soft and sticky. Fry the bread. Now you have October: chewier, drier, streaked with browns. The day in question fell somewhere in the middle of the french toast process.
The first thunderstorm of the season was in the dressing room, donning its black robes and its necklace of hailstones, strapping on its electrical sword.
Or the value of money:
Whenever a state or an individual cited ‘insufficient funds’ as an excuse for neglecting this important thing or that, it was indicative of the extent to which reality had been distorted by the abstract lens of wealth. During periods of so-called economic depression, for example, societies suffered for want of all manner of essential goods, yet investigation almost invariably disclosed that there were plenty of goods available. Plenty of coal in the ground, corn in the fields, wool on the sheep. What was missing was not materials but an abstract unit of measurement called ‘money.’ It was akin to a starving woman with a sweet tooth lamenting that she couldn’t bake a cake because she didn’t have any ounces. She had butter, flour, eggs, milk, and sugar, she just didn’t have any ounces, any pinches, any pints. The loony legacy of money was that the arithmetic by which things were measured had become more valuable than the things themselves.
But the best thing about this book, is the fact that Tom knows so fucking much about mythology and religion and is able to take all of that knowledge and rework it into this blasphemous story in such a way that it is fully wicked, truly brilliant and all the while, it slips in ideas like these:
As long as a population can be induced to believe in a supernatural hereafter, it can be oppressed and controlled. People will put up with all sorts of tyranny, poverty, and painful treatment if they’re convinced that they’ll eventually escape to some resort in the sky where lifeguards are superfluous and the pool never closes. Moreover, the faithful are usually willing to risk their skins in whatever military adventure their government may currently be promoting.
Religion is nothing but institutionalized mysticism. The catch is, mysticism does not lend itself to institutionalization. The moment we attempt to organize mysticism, we destroy its essence. Religion, then, is mysticism in which the mystical has been killed. Or, at least diminished.
Pigeon she strut on the rooftop Cockroach he strut on the sink My baby strut down to Jerusalem Where blood is the favorite drink
If you have not read this book, you absolutely must. It’s fucking delightful. There is really no other way to describe it. It made me fall in love with Mr. Robbins and I have since read everything else he’s ever written down, including a “Children’s Book” called B Is for Beer
If you’re in the mood for some pure, hedonistic fun, go get this book.
Have you read any Tom Robbins books? Which is your favourite?