Jul. 13, 2003: When The Saints Come Marching In

Maybe we know each other well enough that I can share a secret with you. I’m not really as brilliant as you think I am. I have been getting a lot of help in putting out this profound prose and just like those smarty-pants at the New York Times, I haven’t been giving credit where credit is due. Therefore, let me introduce you to my patron saint: Paul, the Apostle.

Actually, Paul isn’t my own personal saint, but according to the Catholic Church he is the patron saint of all newspaper editorial writers, which has to be the pits for any self-respecting saint. To make matters worse, Paul doubles as the patron saint of newspaper publishers, which would really be embarrassing except I doubt Paul spends ten minutes a month worrying about publishers.

There are saints for just about anything you can think of and for a couple of things that probably never crossed your mind. There is a patron saint for clowns (Julian the Hospitaller). Now that Red Skelton and Clarabelle are no longer with us, Julian spends most of his time worrying about Tom Daschle and Al Sharpton. Without these two clowns, Julian would be looking for work. Hubert of Leige is the patron saint for dogs. Hubert no doubt accepted the position before he knew he would be responsible for Sheila, the family wonder dog. Otherwise, he might have volunteered for something simple, like postage stamps or used cars.

Delta executives will be interested to know that there is a patron saint for businesspeople. His name is Homobonus. He lived in the 11th century and somebody was thoughtful enough to preserve his head when he died. If the mail that angry Delta employees have sent me over the past couple of weeks is any indication, I would suggest the executives spend a lot of time praying to Homobonus and his head. The suits may need them both because the employees most likely are making a pretty good case to St. Elgius of Noyon, who represents labor (which makes him like a heavenly union steward).

It is not my place to criticize saints, but I sometimes wonder if St. Christopher, the patron saint of automobile drivers, is out to permanent lunch. If not, it would be nice if His Sainthood would scoot his holy personage over to I-95 between Savannah and St. Simons and do something constructive before the truckers and SUVs kill us all.

One saint who ought to be ashamed of himself is Contardo Ferrini. His job description says he is patron saint of universities. Hello? Has St. Contardo ever heard of the University of Georgia? What good is a saint if he isn’t going to be around when you need him? Contardo has to be a Tech man still pouting over how bad the Dawgs creamed his alma mater last year. I don’t recall the exact score but it was something like 200-3. I’m sure Contardo remembers, which is why he isn’t being particularly helpful in sorting out the mess in Athens.

I’m not sure how the Catholic Church goes about picking saints or if they even do that kind of thing anymore. (They’ve had their buckets full with other matters recently.) If they are interested, I have some additional candidates for consideration. Former Sen. Max Cleland or senior members of former Gov. Roy Barnes’ crack staff would qualify as patron saints of whiners. Barbra Streisand could be the patron saint of liberal weenies, except I think she already has that job. Li’l Abner would serve nicely as patron saint for flaggers. Ted Turner could be in charge of all the fruits and nuts in the world. And finally, I would respectfully nominate Ray Charles as Most Exalted Patron Saint of all that is good and holy in this world.

I have a lot of other good suggestions for the saint pickers, but I am off to pray to St. Expeditus. Please don’t tell Paul, the Apostle, but Expeditus is another very important figure for all newspaper editorial writers. He is the patron saint of procrastinators, and I am past my deadline. Can I get an amen?