Southwest Times Record
June 19, 1994
by Dan Borengasser
The lovely Mrs. Borengasser and I are at the mall.
As everyone knows, one of the primary differences between men and women is the male’s lack of a “shopping muscle,” that extra tendon in the female leg that allows her to shop indefinitely. As a result, after five minutes of intense wandering around, I tire and decide to wait in the car.
I discover that, while I was in the mall, someone has left a religious tract stuck under my windshield wiper.
Name anything — animal, vegetable or mineral — and some group, at one time or another, has worshiped it. There’s devil worship, sun worship, even hero worship. (I like a good sandwich myself, but I can’t imagine worshipping one.)
Ancient Egyptians believed cats were holy. (Dogs I could understand. But cats?)
I once saw a man in a religious fervor over Super Bowl tickets.
Many of the more unusual beliefs are associated with fringe religions and cults.
The subject of this particular parking lot pamphlet is polygamy, the holiness of having many wives, with Biblical passages cited for support.
I try skimming through the pamphlet, but it is so poorly written that I have trouble keeping my eyes open.
The next thing I know, I have become Big Cheese Borengasser, charismatic leader and self-ordained prophet of The Holy Order of Assault Rifle Stockpilers.
I’ve just come home from a hard day of handing out religious tracts in a parking lot. Stepping into the compound, I am greeted by my eight wives.
Eight wives! Wow! A harem of lovely Mrs. Borengassers.
“Gather me round, my wives,” I say, after I get my breath back. “I suppose you all want to pamper me for awhile.”
“Oh, yes, Big Cheese Borengasser,” they giggle.
Wife No. 4 brings my slippers.
Wife No. 7 brings me the newspaper.
Wife No. 2 serves me a refreshing drink.
“Guess who’s coming to visit?,” Asks Wife No.1.
“I don’t know,” I answer. “A Hindu holy man? Some head of state? A TV producer?” I take a long thirst-quenching sip of my drink.
“No,” the chorus. “Our mothers.”
“Arrrgh!” I choke, spewing gin and tonic over wives three through seven. “Eight mothers-in-law coming here? When?” “Tomorrow,” says Wife No. 6. “They’re staying for a month. Won’t that be wonderful?”
“Wonderful is not the word that springs to mind,” I say, sinking into a deep depression. “Any mail today?” I finally ask.
Wife No. 8 brings in three large boxes of letters.
“What is this?” I ask, excited. “Contributions? Fan mail?”
“I don’t think so.” says Wife No. 3.
Flipping through the envelopes, I am stunned. “Good grief. These are all credit card statements. I owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. How is this possible?”
“A terrific sale,” says Wife No. 5.
“Great mail order catalogs,” says Wife No. 7.
“After all,” explains Wife No. 2, “we can’t bring discredit on the Big Cheese by wearing old clothes.”
“Anything interesting happen today?” I summon the nerve to ask.
“Yes. We made this list of all the chores that you need to do this weekend,” says Wife No. 8, handing me a 300-page manuscript.
I feel tense. Perhaps a little ESPN will help.
“Where’s the remote control?” I ask.
“We threw it out,” says Wife No. 1. “We don’t like the way you constantly change channels.”
“That’s right,” agrees Wife No. 6. “All of us were discussing some of your more annoying habits. Did you know that over the past year you forgot three birthdays and four anniversaries? And about those nasty old sweatshirts …” A steady, insistent sound works its way into my consciousness.
It is the lovely Mrs. Borengasser tapping on the window. Noticing the brochure, she asks,
”What were you reading?” “A religious tract on polygamy.”
“Who would write something like that?”
“I don’t know, but he’s probably nuts. And probably worships sandwiches.”
Dan Borengasser is a freelance columnist who lives in Springdale.