Monday, June 13, 2011

Shared birthdays, deathdays

It must be poetic justice* that the birthday of my friend Becky Rice (she of Christian Scientist* upbringing who often chastises me for over-frequent references to the saints) falls on the feast of two early Christian martyrs, young virgins both, who suffered particularly gruesome martyrdoms. The ways in which Becky does not resemble Saints Felicula and Aquilina are so numerous as to make one suspicious.
Saint Aquilina was born in the 3rd century in Byblos, the oldest continuously–inhabited city in the world. (Unless you are speaking with a Damascene, who will knife you if you deny his city’s pre-eminence.) Becky was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which was inhabited by the Mohicans from about the 16th century until 1738 when a wealthy Bostonian acquired all the land for a subdivision. When President Teddy Roosevelt visited Byblos he suffered intestinally; when he visited Pittsfield his barouche collided with a trolley car. At the age of 12, Aquilina was arrested by Diocletian’s minions and threatened with torture if she did not deny her faith. Naturally she did not deny her faith - if she had we would not be reading her story – and so was subsequently beaten, had her ears pierced with red-hot needles, and then tossed into the water. Aside from voluntarily piercing her earlobes, Becky’s story in no way follows Aquilina’s. When she was rescued and completely healed by a nearby angel, Aquilina foolishly returned to her tormentors to make a point; this time she was decapitated and stayed dead. Though when her head was separated from her neck, milk rather than blood streamed forth. Not only has Becky never been decapitated, defenestrated or even garroted, if that were to happen, she would surely bleed blue blood.

Saint Felicula’s foster-sister was Saint Petronilla, who does not resemble Becky’s sister in any way: Petronilla was locked in a tower by St Peter after he cured her of palsy & then she died on a hunger strike. She could not ski.
Though Becky has had some odd husbands and boyfriends, none can aspire to the unseemliness of Count Flaccus who, when rejected by Felicula, sent her to a dungeon to suffer seven days without food or drink. Becky sometimes misses breakfast, but it is safe to say she would find seven days a real challenge. After her sojourn in the dungeon, Flaccus had Felicula sent to the Vestal Virgins for re-education. They were unsuccessful. Following that, Felicula was suffocated in one of Rome’s city sewers. Though I have tried valiantly, I have not managed to convince Becky to join me on a search for the legendary albino alligators of the NYC sewers. The albino alligators have more in common with today’s 2 saints, than does Becky, in that they are apocryphal. See Snopes/Urban Legends.

Just how much have I stretched the limits of your credibility (also known as gullibility, see Appendix 45.8) by writing this? What do these saints have in common with the birthday lady? Only history will tell.

* Like Christian Science which - and I was not the first to say this – is neither Christian nor Science, poetic justice is rarely poetry and hardly just.

1 comment:

Rebecca Rice said...

Thank you for this very clever and entertaining birthday post!

But for the record I need to correct two items: I always eat breakfast, and I would love to search for albino alligators in NYC's sewers!
Hugs & thanks,

PS: I think it was Mark Twain who said Christian Science was neither Christian nor science.