Killer and Candy (why, yes, I did give them aliases) are former Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW for short) who walked away from that cruel, isolating, and world-hating religion not too long thence. Now that they’re out, they need a little help becoming properly corrupted, although, in the JW view, they already committed a sin greater than murder and pedophilia combined simply by having the integrity to renounce that which they couldn’t in good conscience accept. Killer got his master’s when he was twenty, and will no doubt go down in JW history as yet another good boy who was lost to Satan by an education. Candy followed Killer into atheism just as Peggy followed me into all kinds of eccentric views and behaviors, yet being disowned by her family doesn’t appear to have tempted her to return to the fold.
The two of them are around thirty, which is half my age, yet their JW upbringing has left them as ignorant of decades of pop culture as I am. Still, as I said, I’m doing what I can, and they’re doing what they can, so we’re all doing what we can together; but you must not hold us to too high a standard since I’m so old that I should be dead, and they grew up thinking that a birthday party for a three year old was the work of Satan. Killer did get drunk once, but barfing while clutching a spinning toilet didn’t appeal to him. At least, he can still add it to his resume, which was kind of the point, I think. As for Candy, she emptied a bottle of wine all by herself in this very house (she purported herself admirably, I must say), so I, for one, feel that things are going as well as can be expected. After all, there is the risk of going too far too fast in which case they might be found glued, screwed, and tattooed, while shooting-up heroin in the driveway of the Kingdom Hall just as everyone is arriving for services.
I got Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan for them today, and I would have also gotten Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic if I hadn’t been in a hurry. As you can see, I’m doing everything I can here to help these poor people become as lowdown and evil as my Lord Satan has made me, and I’m hoping you can help. What I want you to do is to tell me what you love about what might be called pop culture over your lifetime—or a little before. What books are unforgettable; what music is worth playing hundreds of times; and what movies stand out as the very best? Give me your genius here. Give me things that are so good that you can scarcely bear them. This isn’t to be a list of what you think you should think is cool, but of things that you love way down deep. Here are a few of my own.
Roger McGuinn Ballad of Easy Rider
John Denver Sunshine on My Shoulders
Debbie Reynolds Tammy
The Sterile Cuckoo
The Tammy series
Edward Abbey: Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. Also, The Brave Cowboy
Loren Eiseley: All The Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life. Also, The Night Country: Reflections of a Bone-Hunting Man
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince
Berkeley Breathed: anything with Bill the Cat
Gilbert Shelton: The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
Gary Larson: The Far Side
Sacha Baron Cohen
Well, I see that most of my suggestions are older than Killer and Candy themselves, so maybe I’m not the best person to acquaint them with modern culture. Oh, well. I would like to end this post with a witticism, but what is in my heart to say is that I'm trying to believe that we all do the best we can, and that would include the Jehovah's Witnesses who have treated my two friends so abominably.