Give Me Mayonnaise, or Give Me Death!

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I once saw an old friend flip his top over a free sandwich he’d been given at work. As I sat down and bit into my dry peanut butter only sham of a sandwich, my friend had descended into madness and curses about the fact that someone dared use Miracle Whip as a condiment.

My eyes opened wide to take in what was surely the greatest overreaction ever witnessed by anyone. My friend, a very intelligent and level headed man, had gone bananas because he’d accidentally ingested Miracle Whip, the most foul of dressings.

Having been raised in a household where mayonnaise didn’t exist, I was struck with immense laughter and amusement. “Patrick,” I said, “there’s no difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. They’re the same damn thing.”

My words only fueled his wrath as he then schooled me on the differences between the two. Technically, I learned, they share many of the same ingredients, but differ largely in the quantities of said ingredients. I also learned that Miracle Whip’s cheaper price tag helped it surge in popularity during the Great Depression.

Shocked, I watched my friend, that had no other food to eat that day, throw away the rest of the sandwich as he yelled about the garbage can being the only good place for Miracle Whip.

It wouldn’t be but another few years until I’d make the switch from Miracle Whip to Hellman’s Mayonnaise myself because, as it turns out, my wife also had a predisposition towards mayo.

I say all of this because this morning I found myself making a sandwich for lunch and was out of mayonnaise. In my fridge I found an unexpired jar of Miracle Whip. My wife told me that it was used long ago as an ingredient in some food recipe she’d made for a potluck. I dragged the tip of my finger into the dressing and tasted it. My body convulsed at the nastiness and I remembered my dear friend, Patrick.

I immediately threw the rest of the jar where all trash goes, into the garbage. That’s the only possible place an abomination of that caliber should be. An affront to sensible people with any modicum of good taste.

So I’ll be eating my ham and cheese sandwich with no condiments today. I do have standards to live by. Give me mayonnaise, or give me dry sandwich!

Atheism, You’re Smothering Me

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I’ve been feeling this way more and more and it’s my own fault really. I’ve not only surrounded myself with the online culture, but I’ve perpetuated it by blogging about it for the last year or so myself.

Given enough time and exposure, anything in life can get wearisome or old and I feel like that’s where I’m at with the culture right now. This does not mean I feel atheism is wrong, in fact, this is the most sure I’ve felt about a belief (or lack thereof) in my entire life. It’s just that I feel like the newness and excitement of it has finally wore off. I don’t recognize a belief in gods….yippee….what now? Keep talking about how I don’t believe in something? Being honest with myself, it feels like it would be bordering on nonsensical for me personally.

Originally, my blog was to help me flesh out my own thoughts and as a way to inform friends and family of the why and how I became an atheist. I feel like I’ve more than accomplished that goal.

When I first left religion, the internet was the greatest friend I had. It connected me to Facebook groups and blogs and people that all felt as I did. The solidarity it helped build in me was invaluable at that point in my life. I read every article I could on unbelief and watched endless debates. I comprehensively studied apologetics and worked hard to break them down so as to better understand my opposites. I wrote and talked to many people online that I now count as good friends and I couldn’t be more thankful, grateful or happy for all of you and for all of that.

My final push into frustration/annoyance/embarrassment was this morning when I read about a privately owned diner that gave 15% discounts to it’s patrons if they pray before their meal. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent them a letter threatening a lawsuit if they didn’t stop. It was then that I realized that many atheists like to feel as persecuted as the believers that they mock for feeling constantly victimized. This move by the FFRF did nothing to help freethinkers except further “prove” stereotypes about us as true in the minds of believers.

One very pivotal person in my life, the son of a preacher that turned agnostic over a decade ago, once gave me some excellent advice. He told me to live excellently and to be a great man. That when people see that I can be a good person that lives a fulfilled, happy and morally upstanding life without a god, I’ll effect more lives that way than I ever could with words. It’s a form of reverse proselytizing that I’ve come to love immensely, but if we’re keeping track, I’ve led more people away from Jesus in 2 years than I led to Jesus in 29, so I count my efforts at blogging and openly challenging religion to not have been for nothing.

I will probably still write posts on unbelief if I ever feel compelled to, but I can finally say I’ve accomplished my goal and that I feel wonderfully at ease. I’m just going to enjoy being Nate again and not Nate the Strong Minded Atheist as it will, from this point on, not add anything to my life, but headache.

I’ll continue blogging about movies, music and anything else that feels appropriate. And maybe I’ll finally get down to writing some sets and give stand-up a go.

So thanks to any of you reading this or any of you that have posted on this blog as I count all of you as friends. Your support, love, challenges and friendships have made me a better person, a better man and a better freethinker.

I love you all.