There is always a fear that a lapsed Catholic's life will inevitably lead to religion. Roman Catholicism and intellectualism, in tandem, provoke a set group of neuroses from which grew Joyce, and Augustine, and a million sad perverts and philosophies; I am not as wise as Augustine even if I hate him. I will walk into a house or a building in some other town and be confronted by Something wise and active and large to Whom I will be bidden, and to Whose expectations I can never, ever live up. I am afraid of capitalizing all those pronouns. Pronouns should stay down, and god is a pronoun. And this is god? I guess that's god. Well, god knows.

My eternal soul is in a locker with a vestment-green tag waiting for me to attain majority. The combination is lost. I am confident that if I rearrange enough words in the right order, the connotations will connect, like the sort of puzzle that falls together instantly once you learn the trick of it. Then I will have psyche. I will be a person, and will be able to say, "I am like this" and "I think my problem is" as though I was cleaning out a nice white square set of cupboards. Now I am a set of tangled islands in a culture sargasso. I am poor at deciding on salad dressings even at nice dinners, but I always go for the hard liquor when it's there. When I drink my soul it will take years and ice and gallons of chasers.

Who will settle me into my religion? The wild unknowing comes from a sedentary base. How long did my Irish fathers dance on Mother Church, she bearing patiently? I would like my gin to be for the saints and the dead. How can these Yankee delicates squat on the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching, and then sneak the shots and claim to be guilty and shirking their religion? You can't shirk the Vedas, white man. You are passing through. If Martin Luther still wasn't such an angry young lad, a stripling, you would settle on him and rub his belly and burn some candles, but he claimed no timelessness. You can't drink or dance on a Martin Luther. His face would turn red and blustering and ask you WHAT do you THINK you are DOING - these are Devil things and outside things. Or if he is a bloated pretend plastic Luther he would smile and blink slowly and say: such things will happen, here in America, which I never even claimed to foresee. Just stop by on weekends and bring some soup.

This is what I still want and yet have: the Church is old and her rules too many. So have a general idea and drink on Fridays and look to make the young pretty things blush and smile. You want to be a general Wiccan? Go ahead. A general Protestant? Be my guest. But a general Catholic? There you are, but you shouldn't be. You should be more Catholic, go to a few weekday masses and hum along with the wise tuneless old hymns and wise tuneless old people, but no one is sweating bullets, so have another shot. Read some Jung. Claim to write a novel. Make love again and again, and look, sunset! and it takes about ten years to figure out that you're looking for the Sistine Chapel and some nice primary-colored stained glass and a few nails. No Christ. Just nails. The Son of God took his nails and you'll get yours and boy then you'll feel special.

I know some drinking, smoking Mormons who are getting close, too. Much luck to them.