[Note to the Astute: I have posted this reminiscence before... but I have had such a stressful week that I have not been able to write anything NEW and I don't want anyone to think I have died or something....]
When I was in college there was this annual ritual among us theology students.
See, every year, a place called CBD [Christian Book Distributors] would have this crazy sale on books.
CBD [sometimes also known as Hendrickson Publishers] is essentially a massive warehouse, filled to the rafters with theological stuff. It’s in Peabody, Mass., a suburb of Boston.
I’ll never forget the first time we drove there, a bunch of us. The year was 1988.
We got a bit lost, pulled into a gas station, rolled down the window, and asked a guy for directions.
He said, “Oh, you want Pbdy!”
The way I have spelled it is the only way to transliterate what it is that he said with his sharp staccato Bostonian accent. In our 10 hours of non-stop driving, we had crossed over into an entirely new linguistic culture!
We found the place. We had driven through the night and arrived just in time to take our position in the human lineup which would soon extend for about a city block. Our group was right up front.
When the doors of CBD open on “Sale Day” all Christian behavior is tossed to the wind. You stampede, like cattle chased by Ronald McDonald!
It’s every man for himself. You get in, grab an empty box, and run to these long tables of incredibly marked-down prices. They are virtually giving stuff away, I swear. It’s a theological book-addict’s dream.
We bought a few trunkloads of books, and then stuffed this haul into our ONE trunk!
And then went to our hotel, The Victorian Motor Inn, in historic Essex County.
And ordered pizza.
I ate a ton of the stuff and then passed out on my bed in a grease-induced coma.
During the night I awoke and [what else]… thought I’d have another slab of pizza!
There it was, I could see it in the very dim light, on the floor, an open box… one of the many we had ordered, and this one had many pieces left. I reached down and grabbed one.
I don’t know, call it “experience” or call it “intuition”…. whatever… something about that piece of pizza didn’t seem right to me. But I ate it anyway, pig that I am, in the darkness. It just tasted a bit…. wrong.
A couple hours later…
With the first light that poked through the curtains I awoke and lay there, wondering if I should get out of bed, or linger. Deciding upon the former option, I got out, careful to not step onto one of the many pizza boxes strewn about the room. As I looked down at the one nearest me, I saw that it was literally crawling with no less than sixty-five million ants. It was like an Ant Amway© convention in there!
And between the several boxes on the floor, an ant freeway had been set up throughout the night, complete with traffic lights and clover-leafs!
And a bustling four-lane trail of the little buggers to one portion of the baseboards, yonder!
I nearly hurled.
It is the one portion of Fear Factor I hate the most! The eating part!
I ran to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, wondering just how many of them critters I had ingested [not to mention, digested] in the night.