Editor’s Note: Now for a little levity – in two parts – relating a (now former) preacher’s experiences buying condoms. Frankly, this is something I never thought about – or heard about – when conducting interviews with clergy. But it’s the kind of thing they have to deal with all the time. /Linda LaScola, Editor
By David Mercer
Part 1 For years I wrote an anonymous blog called Clergy Guy. Here’s an entry from October 17, 2009 that some folks found amusing.
So I’m doing my part to keep the population stabilized. I decide to zip into the local pharmacy, on a search and retrieve mission. On my way to the designated aisle, I pick up a bag of candy bars to provide cover for the targeted package. Both packages are cradled in one arm and I’m headed for the check out like a wide receiver going for the goal, when a lady from my church rounds the corner of the aisle.
When I say lady, I mean it. She’s not one of these grim church women who might not actually know what a condom is. She’s just past middle age and a really classy person. I like her and I don’t want her to see me lugging an economy sized box of extra thin, lubricated prophylactics.
Before she recognizes me, I dive for a bin full of Halloween masks. She makes eye contact just as I’m burying my potential purchase underneath an item that is also made of latex. But it’s not covered completely and I pray (since I’m so religious at that time) that she doesn’t look too closely at what I’m trying to conceal.
We visit for a moment before we go our separate ways. If she saw, she doesn’t mention it because as I said, she’s classy.
I get to the checkout stand. Now, when a guy rings up these kinds of purchases, he usually moves with dispatch to place it in the bag. But not this lady. She picks up the box of condoms and, I’m not kidding, she holds them close to her ample bosom while she taps in the code. And she’s chatty.
Her: “It’s mighty warm today, isn’t it sir?”
Me: “Mm hmm.”
Her: “I see someone is indulging his sweet tooth.”
Me: “Beg your pardon?”
Oh, she meant the candy bars.
Finally, I’m out the door and safe in my car.
As I leave the parking lot, I notice a drive through window where people can pick up their prescriptions. Couldn’t a fellow buy his condoms there as well?
But no, with my luck it wouldn’t work out.
First, I don’t want to be hollering my order at a friendly plastic pharmacist that repeats my order at maximum volume. He probably wouldn’t ask if I wanted fries with that order, but I could imagine what he might say.
Him: “We have a special where you can buy the package with four different flavors.”
Me: “Just the plain version.”
Him: “You mean vanilla–that’s our most popular.”
Me: “I mean ‘no flavors’ please.”
Him: “Would you like the combo that comes with personal lubricant and a two liter bottle of soda?”
Me: “No thanks.”
Him: “Do you want to supersize that order, sir?”
Me: “No… Well, maybe… I mean no.”
Him: “That comes to $29.99, you can pick it up at the second window. Thank you and have a REALLY nice evening.”
The plastic pharmacist would give a mechanical wink.
Next time I’ll pick these babies up when I’m out of town making a liquor run.
= = = = = = = = ============================ = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Part 2 I also wrote this a few years ago when I was a minister. For years I kept thoughts like this anonymous, but I’m pulling them out, especially when they entertain me.
This is un-frickin-believable.
I’m going though All-mart to pick up condoms.
I’m trying to use a little taste and discretion in my efforts to practice safe sex and you’d think the Almighty would cut me a break.
I covered the contraband with a DVD and a cell phone, and then I wheeled the basket to the checkout line. So far, so good. I looked for one of the automatic checker machines. Most of them were closed, but I found one.
When I passed the cell phone under the scanner, the floor manager bustles up to me. “I’ll have to help you with that, sir. She mashes an interminable number of buttons before it accepts my purchase. And then she rings up the rest of my items until she sees the condoms.
“Do you want to ring those up yourself?” she asked as she recoiled.
Geez lady, they’re still in their sealed packets. You’re safe.
She leaves me to complete the transaction, but of course the machine is cranky, so the guy behind me steps up to help me through the process. “Thanks,” I mumble. He has a huge grin on his face as he watches me shuffle away.
I get to the exit. The alarm sounds as I walk through the sensors. I figure the DVD set it off. I hand it to a woman who looks like my Aunt Flossy. She resets the alarm and we tried again.
This time it sounds even louder.
The woman figures I’m in a hurry, so she tries to help me by pawing through my bag herself. Then she scrutinizes my receipt.
At least she didn’t call out on the loudspeaker:
“ATTENTION, NEED A PRICE CHECK ON EXTRA THIN, LUBRICATED, DUREX BRAND CONDOMS.”
Finally, they let me go and I make it out the door.
I swear it would have been easier to smuggle them across the border when I came home from a Mexico mission trip.
**Editor’s Question** Got any funny/embarrassing stories to share about your time as a religious professional?
Bio: David Mercer , aka “Stan Bennett,” was the “Stan” who was featured in the CNN documentary, Atheists: Inside the World of Non-believers and the Canadian documentary, Losing Our Religion. David was a pastor for thirty-five years in Texas and Oklahoma until he quit and moved to Orlando, Florida, where he met and married his wife, Sylvia. David is now fully out of the closet as an agnostic. He is a life coach, a teacher, and a storyteller. He is the author of the blog Deep Calls. You can also find him on his Author Page on Facebook.
>>>>>>>Photo Credits: By User Flegmus on pl.wikipedia – Flegmus, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1293908 ; By MyName (Tomhannen) – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1959867