Monday, April 18, 2005

What's in a Name

N.B. Following the initial publishing of this post, the cardinals elected a new pontiff, who promptly named himself Benedict XVI. I'm not thrilled with the name choice. For one thing, it makes me think of a certain traitor in U.S. history, but it also makes me think of omelets. And Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast.

Still, the following is chock full o' wit and wisdom. Which means you should read it.

I'm not Catholic, in religion or temperment. But I did find out something interesting following Pope John Paul II's death: anybody can be elected pope. It doesn't have to be a cardinal, bishop, or priest. Anybody.

As the Cardinals convene, blowing out smoke, I say that if elected pope, I promise lower tithes, a worldwide order banning gays, and mandatory rhythm method birth control, enforced by the military. Actually, all you cardinals reading this, I'm just joking. No offense, really.

However, I'm aware of the huge groundswell for a Pope Bookfraud I, but at this time I must decline your nomination, even if I could remain married.

From a heathen's point of view, the coolest things about being The Man are the Popemobile, the jet-setting, and the millions of people who love you, no matter what you do or say. Also, nobody makes fun of your clothing.

But the coolest thing about being pope is that you get to rename yourself. Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II. Just because he liked it, and the guy named John Paul I died about two hours after becoming pontiff.

Since I humbly decline the invitation to become pope, I would like to make some suggestions for the new pope's name. Mostly offensive, I imagine.

Pope Zippy II: The nickname of one my college roommates. Without going into detail, he was a true Pope Zippy, all others who follow are pale imitators.

Pope Bookfraud II: Since I am already Bookfraud, you'd have to become Pope Bookfraud II. Your holiness.

Pope Ron Jeremy II: This, too, is already taken, so you'd have to be RJ II. This name ensures nobody questions your virility. Your pontiffness.

The Popeinator: A radical reworking of the Pope's name could be just to thing to jump-start marketing efforts. Obvious tie-ins with Arnold Schwartzenegger, Popeinator dolls, posters. Each Pope following would be the Popeinator, without Roman numerals. Hasta la vista, my children.

Pope P-Diddy II: Perhaps not.

Pope Kramer I: Promising, but don't know if the Pope could get the hair right.

Kramer vs. Katholics

Pope Boniface Formosus Damascus Callistus "Blessed Urban" Gelasius XXXVIII: By becoming Pope Boniface Formosus Damascus Callistus "Blessed Urban" Gelasius XXXVIII, all taken from names of past popes throughout the centuries, you probably ensure there won't be any Boniface Formosus Damascus Callistus "Blessed Urban" Gelasius popes following you.

Pope Barney Fife III: Thelma Lou!

Pope Wolverine X, Pope Cyclops X, or Pope Professor Charles Xavier X: Guaranteed to win support from the X-Men fans within the College of Cardinals.

Pope Magneto II, Pope Lex Luthor I, or Pope "Doc" Ock VI: Guaranteed to win support of the comic-book-villian-loving Cardinals.

Pope Cornelius I: We all know that Don Cornelius was the deep-toned voice of Soul Train. Need I say more? (Alternate: Pope Barry II, after Barry White).

The Bruiser's available

Pope Jimi XVII: Sure, Jimi Hendrix took drugs, had sex, and played the evil music, but he was a rock God!

Pope Dick the Bruiser IV: Dick the Bruiser (ne Dick Afflis) is one of my all-time favorite pro wrestlers, but not because of his exploits in the ring (which were great). One night when he was a member of the Green Bay Packers in the 1950s, he was wandering around Green Bay drunk, worried about what his wife would do once he got home.

I'll let the Bruiser tell what happened next, related in a television interview of many years ago: "It's three in the morning, and I was thinking, I'm drunk, I can't go home to my wife. So I think, 'Hey I know! I'll get thrown in jail.' So I gets a rock, throws it through a window, and the cops come pick me up a few minutes later. You know, problem solved."

This is a man whose keen sense of logic and proportion would have made him perfect to lead any congregation, but he died in 1992, may Dick rest in peace.