Beach sinners had by Al the Undergrad
Ampersand Beach by Timothy Macy
Hi, gang. I'm afraid the "Create-a-Column" will have to wait until next week. This week's column concerns a very high authority and requires our urgent attention and devotion.
Since most of you probably were stuck at home last Friday night saying your novenae and flagellating yourselves with olive branches to atone for the past week's sins, you undoubtedly missed the Stevie Cat/Albert Barger extravaganza at the No Bar & Grill. Since the weather on the beach was lousy that night, and since I ran out of olive branches last month, guess which certain columnist/surfer went to the show?
In the company of two women from The Botsford Scuba Shop, I journeyed to the No Bar to hear Stevie Cat sing and Al Barger do whatever it is he does. After entering through the front door and paying the cover charge we took our seats among the other excited pilgrims, ordered a round of ice-cold Jolt colas and waited for the festivities to commence. And commence they did.
After a preface of anticipatory chants from the anxious throng, Stevie Cat took the stage at about 9:30. Albert Barger - who is Stevie Cat's brother, both spiritually and genetically - sat near the stage and watched his singing sibling croon songs that resembled those of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Gilbert O'Sullivan - all rolled into a single expression of style that could best be compared to...well, let's just say it defied comparison to anything. When asked what she thought of the music, sophomore Laura Alexander said, "Well, it sounds like the Beatles...sort of."
Eventually, Stevie Cat surrendered the spotlight to Albert Barger. But what happened next is proof that $2 was not near enough cover charge for the priceless performance of religion's greatest hero. Or should I say "heroes," for the stage contained not only "Brother Al the Fundamentalist," but also "Undergrad Al the Ordinary Guy." Well, maybe not ordinary.
The distinction between the two characters was illustrated by Barger's use of a wire and aluminum foil halo that he donned or removed depending on the situation. The fact Stevie Cat told Brother Al that the halo was the dumbest thing he'd ever seen did not deter Barger from using it effectively.
After Brother Al quoted from the Bible a verse which states that woman was made for man, a girl in the audience shouted, "Who was made for you?" This was followed by a smattering of laughter from the crowd, prompting Brother Al to remove his halo - thus transforming into Undergrad Al - and say, "See me after the show, darling." Who knows, maybe Al wanted to autograph her Bible.
Many of the questions were asked by Stevie Cat, who played the role of an angry Christian, calling Brother Al everything from racist to Communist. Commenting on Stevie Cat's remarks, Al said, "He's God's advocate tonight." Gosh, and we all thought he was just a musician. The exchange between these two provided some of the most amusing conversation of the forum, and at the same time reflected in a small way the problem of religious hypocrisy that exists on a grander scale throughout society.
At one point, someone asked Barger if God is a "he."
"Gender is not applicable to God," Barger said. This was an appropriate response, for if, say, Pat Robertson had walked through the door of the No Bar at that moment, he might have thought that gender was not applicable to several of the patrons either. Maybe they were gods. But, alas, what does the future president of the United States know?
"Why did God need to rest on the seventh day?" another curious patron asked.
"I won't pretend to know God's mind," Brother Al humbly said. "Maybe he just wanted to sit back and look at what he'd done."
After the forum, I cornered Brother Al with several questions that I knew would interest my friends on Ampersand Beach.
I asked if he thought "The Dukes of Hazzard" still managed to project the theme of man's quest for a perfect mode of existence even after John Schneider left the show. "Sure," Al said," as long as Daisy kept up that fine cooking."
"Let's suppose you couldn't write a column for The Daily News," I said. "Then when you became really angry at the state of morality - or lack thereof - on today's campuses, would you repeatedly slap a Naugahyde chair with a tennis racquet or just sit around and get depressed?"
"Oh," said Barger,, "I'd probably do the tennis racquet bit, and then go outside and hit Satan over the head with it."
The forum broke up with a dramatic glance at watches and repeated yawns from the worn out crowd. Yes, we were all pretty tired - like when you get out of church on Easter Sunday.
For the most part, a good time was had by all. And we all know how nice it is to be had once in a while.
Timothy Macy, a graduate student studying English, writes "Ampersand Beach" weekly for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily represent those of The Daily News or Ball State University.
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