Snuff It #3
The year started with a DADA bang when the Church joined the 1995 Boston
First Night Parade. The faithful were stamping their frozen feet on a quiet
corner of Newbury Street as early as 7:00pm, and they were soon joined by many
new faces, thanks to several "plugs" from friendly Gary Geiserman at
the local "underground" radio station WZBC. While the Rev. was
demonstrating serious chutzpah by calmly persuading the parade
organizers to allow a last-minute addition to the lineup, the folks around
the corner were spooking passing revelers with their black hoods and skull
masks. A few minutes later, the Rev. brought back good news, and the Church
moved out, taking up most of the sidewalk. At the head of the procession,
Dane, Kevin, and the Rev. bore an armchair-sized garbage sculpture dubbed
"The Ark of Materialism," featuring a carnivorous baby trapped
inside a television and a styrofoam head crowned with nails.
The faithful got approximately 100 feet before they were stopped by a large
policeman, and a hilarious conversation ensued, in which the Rev. attempted to
explain the Church's theology in suitable terms. Her efforts were successful,
and a few minutes later the parade organizers were getting an eyeful of the
fuming incense censers that swung from Ark's poles. Perhaps the thick clouds
of smoke interfered with their vision; the organizers seemed stunned, and
confined themselves to lectures on the importance of keeping up with the march.
In any case, they certainly failed to notice the suspicious-looking and
poorly-drawn signs that said "Happy New Year" carried by several
members, or the even more ominous black plastic bag on the end of a large
stick carried by Pastor Kim.
After what seemed like hours in the icy cold, the parade finally began
moving down Boylston Street, and as it turned out, into the largest crowd
ever assembled for Boston First Night, estimated at nearly one million.
The faithful produced a ghastly shrieking noise as they went, due to nifty
"turbine" whistles concealed behind their skull masks. Dan
busied himself handing out more masks and whistles to the hordes of small
children packed like sardines behind the police barricades; they squealed
with delight, while their parents looked hostile and braced themselves for
Just as the rear of the parade passed the Public Library, headed for the
largest crowd and the TV cameras, the Rev. gave her somewhat garbled signal.
The fake signs were peeled away, to reveal such appropriate sentiments as
"Save the Planet--Kill Yourself," "Eat People Not Animals,"
and "Prevent AIDS--Aim for the Chin." Meanwhile Pastor Kim
unveiled the Meat Stick, a full-size wooden cross with a bloody stuffed
rabbit, several dried fish and a giant slab of fresh meat nailed to it.
Spotters in silly red overalls started yelling into their headsets; thirty
seconds later the organizers caught on and all hell broke loose.
One organizer pulled over the Ark, while others went after Pastor Kim, who
was shortly persuaded to drop the Meat Stick due to the sudden appearance
of a paddy wagon. The Ark-bearers were foolishly left in the hands of yet
another well-padded policeman. Lydia and Andy kept their video cameras firmly
trained on him while he radioed his supervisor, but apparently the boss had
other fish to fry. "Where'd she go?" he said, looking around for
the organizer, but there was no sign of her either, so finally he said
"Well, if she won't stick around, then I'm not going to worry about
it" and stepped aside. This proved for once and for all that the
police are your friends, but left the Ark with some serious catching up to
do. Fortunately there was unexpected assistance from an escort of police
scooters. Toes were stubbed as a way was cleared through the crowd, and the
air was filled with the sweet sound of sirens, mingled with cries of
"Excuse us! Make way for the Ark!"
All ended well: the faithful rejoined the procession not far from the
Boston Common, and Pastor Kim was videotaped in the act of decorating the
ever-present paddy wagon with a pee-drinking sticker. The volunteers who
had joined the march were made members on the spot, and the remaining pee
stickers were handed out to a gang of enthusiastic teenagers, who solemnly
promised to put them up all over Connecticut.
Every May, thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of buyers descend
on the Javits Convention Center in New York City for the four-day National
Stationery Show. Every May, the aisles are clogged with cute postcards,
notepads, key chains, calendars, pen sets, and refrigerator magnets. This
May was a little different. Buyers who happened to stroll down aisle 7200
found themselves being videotaped by Lydia while they gawked at a ten-foot
wide SAVE THE PLANET KILL YOURSELF sticker atop a panoramic shot of a cemetery.
If they loitered, Sisters Catherine and Jennifer, Pastor Scott, and the
Rev. were on them like flies on crap, spouting pitches and waving subversive
merchandise while techno music pounded from a boom box. Some laughed, some
glared, but the Church fared better than most and picked up reps all over
As anyone who has done them will tell you, trade shows are a tough gig;
the food is dodgy, the floors are concrete, and the air is submarine-like.
By the time it was over, tempers were frayed. After a six-hour wait for a
hand-truck from the rude and overpaid union mobsters, the van was finally
loaded, just in time to discover the radio had killed the battery. Luckily,
a jump start was procured, and the gang escaped from New York with minutes
to spare, astrologically speaking.
Back in February, member B.M.Bourke suggested that Church needed "a
symbol...something instantly recognizable, and easily drawn or reproduced...
by people of extremely limited artistic ability." He cited the Christian
cross and the Swastika as examples, and submitted several designs of his own.
Thanks to B.M., the Church now has an official symbol, known as "The Four
It looks like a three in Roman numerals, but with an extra vertical line; in
its crudest form it could even be represented by four capital I's, as in
IIII. When correctly drawn, however, the horizontal line on top does
not extend beyond the outermost "pillars," while the bottom
line does, giving the impression of "steps."
You can thumb your nose and say it's trendy, but one wild night in March,
Sister Catherine, Sister Jennifer, and the Rev. decided to get "The Four
Pillars" tattooed on their left shoulders, as an expression of their
life-long commitment to the corresponding principles. This called for a trip
to Salem, New Hampshire, as tattooing is still illegal in Massachusetts.
Pastor Scott did the driving, and spirits were high; it was an impulsive
thing, as tattoos often are. Being "virgins," no one knew what to
expect. The first place turned out to be above a deserted gas station. The
owner and his only customer were enormous bikers with no visible un-tattooed
skin. This was way too creepy, so the foursome wound up at Golden Tattoo,
which was neat, well-lit and professional, like a good brothel. Six short
lines is easy money for a tattooist; the whole thing took little more than an
hour. Sister Jennifer said she enjoyed it, though too much might get annoying;
why it's illegal here is anyone's guess.
The Rev. is rarely seen in the clubs due to her busy schedule, but she made
a special exception for the second annual Safe Sex Fashion Show, held at
local dive The Rat. The event was sponsored by 'zine publisher
Elizabeth Parker, with half the proceeds earmarked for the AIDS Action
Grand Opening owner Kim Airs emceed, while sexy Dana M. and Wendy
W. teamed up with the Rev.; other participants included Church members T.Max
and Kim G., plus the fabulous Valerie, who managed to put the F in fetish,
against "stiff" competition. This year's theme was latex, plastic
and cellophane, and Dupont would have been proud. The Rev. was looking fine
in a skin-tight miniskirt and tank top, artfully crafted entirely from green
and pink bubble-wrap by Sister Catherine. Matching green condom earrings and
latex gloves were a nice touch, but the dildo bracelet pushed it right over
the top. The Rev. "worked" that dildo with skill that suggested
experience, and the crowd rewarded her enthusiasm with plenty of applause.
It all started in July when the Rev. saw a billboard in scenic Union
Square. It featured a supermarket shelf laden with plastic-wrapped celery,
cauliflower, and broccoli, under which appeared a caption that read
"Fresh Foxy Vegetables" (the name of the brand). Something clicked,
and a week later, the Rev. and Lydia were climbing up a shaky ladder with
signs, rollers, and a giant bucket of industrial-strength wheat paste.
Meanwhile Sister Catherine, Margaret, and Valerie were doing their best to
look inconspicuous in the parking lot of the Dunkin' Donuts across the street.
This seemed like a wise precaution, since the billboard in question is at
most 100 yards from the Somerville police station, scene of the infamous
cruiser-stickering described in issue #1. A few sweaty adrenalin-pumped
moments later, the deed was done: the caption was neatly changed to read
"Wrapped In Plastic." The improved billboard lasted two weeks,
so it's hard to say how many saw it or what effect it had, but we're confident
that somewhere in Somerville, somebody got it.
The year's biggest news arrived on August 22, in a business-size envelope
from the Internal Revenue Service. Hold onto your hats folks, the winner
is...the Church of Euthanasia! Yes! From now on your donations are 100%
tax-deductible! May the Great Spirit bless the Church's tax consultant,
who wishes to remain anonymous. The process began back in November of '94,
with a twenty-page form, a $150 fee and a carefully prepared packet of
brochures and newsletters. The Feds fired back in December with a list of
"missing items," including "any available pamphlets, brochures,
literature, newsletters, etc." In short, they wanted more, and by gum,
they got it; in April, a new torpedo was launched. This one included
e-sermons 1-13 and printouts from the world-wide web site: suicide, abortion,
cannibalism, sodomy, save the planet, kill yourself--the works. Okay, so
they didn't get the pee shot, but they said any, not all,
In May, a brief but ominous-looking letter arrived, stating that "due
to the issues involved," the application had been "transferred to
the national office in Washington for review." Right about then the Rev.
decided to renew her passport, just in case. The flame-throwing tanks failed
to materialize, however, and in a letter dated June 14, the Feds raised the
white flag: the application would be accepted if (and only if) the Church was
declared to be a public charity, rather than a private foundation. In
addition the Church would be considered an educational foundation
rather than a religious organization. The letter invited further discussion,
by telephone, no less! The Rev. and company spoke at some length with
Ms. Berkovsky, who was surprisingly intelligent, polite and very helpful.
The first point was easily explained: like the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, and unlike, say, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Church's income
comes from the public, not from a few individuals. Sales of stickers,
buttons, and so forth will henceforth be considered fundraising. The
second point was tricky: the Church can continue to call itself a church, act
like a Church, and even be a church, but from the IRS point of view,
the Church's primary activity is the dissemination of information.
This seemed an appropriate time for compromise. The papers were duly
signed, and the rest is history: "Based on the information as supplied,
and assuming your operations will be as stated in your application for
recognition of exemption, we have determined you are exempt from federal
income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization
described in section 501(c)(3)." Whip out the checkbooks, folks, let's
index #3 ·