Friday, January 06, 2006


When Tiffany, our eldest child, who's currently getting her Master's in an accelerated program at Harvard - sorry but I have to throw in that last fact any time I mention her - was much younger she had a habit of not always announcing when she didn't understand something. Then sometimes days...or weeks after the conversation that befuddled her took place, we'd be driving down the road and hear a shriek and a giggle from the back seat. We'd all turn around somewhat startled and Tiffany would announce, "Oh I get it now!" We began to call these moments - which happened quite regularly - Etiffanys.

I mention that only because today is the Epiphany on many church calendars.

I should also probably mention as an aside that I'm a human being again. I think for nearly two weeks I could be best described as a somewhat manic throwback to the prehistoric days. Unable to sleep without ingesting massive amounts of benedryl, and then when I awoke - usually after about 3 hours - I was in a complete fog, my head felt like it was stuffed with cheese and my tongue felt like...Elvis Presley's post-mortem liver, thick and swollen.

There really was no rhyme or reason to it. Amy had insomnia, which we later deduced was due to her doubling up - accidentally - on her thyroid medication. I don't know if mine was caused initially out of sympathy for Amy - if Momma don't sleep nobody sleeps - or as a result of various worries that I normally am able to keep in perspective suddenly taking on unnecessary irrational proportion. It's more likely the case that with everyone's schedule in our house shifting about over the holidays, the kids coming and going, the Gomez family members out of school/work, and my sleep schedule being rather fragile to begin with that my internal time keeper simply said, "This job doesn't pay enough! I'm checking out."

Whatever the reason, since very close to Christmas, I have been miserable.

The only upside is that it did give me a lot of time to wallow in self reflection, which I suppose is one of the goals, less the wallowing, of the Epiphany Season. For those unfamiliar with liturgical church calendars allow me to explain that for many Christians, Epiphany season runs from Christmas to what is commonly called "The Epiphany" or in Europe, "Three Kings Day," which depending on the calendar to which you adhere, is either today or tomorrow. The Epiphany or Feast of Epiphany traditionally marks the end of the Christmas season for many Christians, and loosely coincides with the story of the Magi visiting Baby Jesus.

I mention this for a couple of reasons. I came into work this morning and found one of our reporters had enterprised a cute little story talking to folks in various neighborhoods who were mildly perturbed that their neighbors still haven't taken down their Christmas decorations. I winced a bit, knowing that we'd likely be fielding a few calls from Christians all of whom would feel compelled to explain the season of Epiphany. I should have re-written the story (actually I eventually did) but I let it slide for a while to prove a point.

You see my boss and I have been involved in an ongoing discussion about the need to seek out news stories on religious topics - you can probably imagine where I weigh in on this matter. Religion and spirituality after all are a large part of people's lives. However I will readily admit that it's not an easy thing to do. Virtually any time we mention something of a religious nature, our phones invariably light up with calls from self-professed experts wanting to drag the conversation into areas like, "Well you know if you had studied the original Greek or Aramaic you'd know that...blah blah blah." My boss had become disturbed at this trend and rarely a week goes by when he doesn't turn to me and say somewhat indignantly, "You see this is why I don't write a lot of religious stories...because these 'fanatics' immediately call up and argue with me over the most minor of points. Then they wonder why the media doesn't cover religion and bemoan the fact that Christmas has been secularized by the evil 'mainstream media!'"

His point is valid...from the blowhard would-be Christian "experts" to those folks perhaps more comfortable with defending Christianity than actually living it, it doesn't take much to strike a nerve. Some of them can be very, very rude which of course only reinforces the mistaken image of Christians being "all" hypocrites and wackos. It also results in my boss muttering to himself and anyone else who will listen that, "I'm going to let Main answer the calls from these 'nuts' from now on."

And I do.

Many of them are nuts. People who seemingly are poised ready to pounce to "DEFEND THE FAITH!" Often they do this by blurting out everything they know about religion and causing my eyes to glaze over trying to remember how we got on this train.

Today however they were right.

Today was a true example of why the mainstream media doesn't cover religious issues...because most media members are not religious. When I explained what the Epiphany Season was, I got the same look my boss gives those callers...a glazed over, slightly defensive posture, and a few mutterings.

And then I said, "Have you ever considered you were wrong?"


"You know, that you were wrong? That our reporter was wrong for not doing any cursory fact checking. This particular reporter - for that matter most of our news staff - is not a religious person by nature. If she had done a quick Google search of the term 'end of Christmas season' it would have pointed her to various websites explaining Epiphany and giving the date."

At that point - not used to me disagreeing with him - He walked away to find someone else more atune to hearing his tirade without challenging it.

And I went home...hoping perhaps tonight....or tomorrow...or maybe next week...maybe he'll have an ETiffany.

Merry Christmas my friends and Happy New Year. It's good to be back among the living.