The Bar Jester is nearly as funny as Jeremy’s limp cigar and Carrie Nation look of shocked indignation at the beverage he has just been served.  And this bit

By my lights this is biblical precedent for never calling your enemy a yonder socket, which part serves a most useful bodily purpose and which, when shut down, renders the rest of the somatic mass very miserable indeed

puts me in mind of another hillarious tale related to me by my friend Gassalasca Jape, and he has graciously agreed to allow its somewhat embarrasing details to be retold here.

Bonfire of the Extremities: How Fr. Jape contracted a venereal disease of the soul, made pilgrimage to Crim Tartary, and was healed*

All works are good which are done within the law of God, in faith, and with thanksgiving to God; and understand that thou in doing them pleasest God, whatsoever thou doest within the law of God, as when thou makest water. – William Tyndale, The Parable of the Wicked Mammon

Seeing her husband wearing his armor / But not his codpiece, and ready for war, / She said, ‘My love, it might be harmed: / Protect it: I love it the best by far!’ – The last lament of the Knight’s wife, Gargantua and Pantagruel

It has been a time of trial since my last essay in these pages, and I have been called to account by many, both high and low. Two months past, the Almighty determined to visit me with a reminder of his inscrutable and mysterious ways. For I dreamed that I was back Crim Tartary attending class as a young Seminarian only to discover that my rather oversized codpiece had been left off my garb to my great humiliation. And to add both insult and injury, my fellow classmates were flinging hot balls of wax from the vestry candles towards my exposed sub-regions.

Father Jape's Codpiece

I awoke clutching myself in agony realizing that though the wax was as inchoate as the doctrines of Mother Church, the searing pain in my member was quite real. I was at first struck with the certainty that I was suffering from the clap, the result of some depredarious sin of the flesh—may God assoil me—and I resolved at once to seek out a sentence of penance and absolution, until it was recalled to me that I am celibate, a Prince of the Church dedicated to spiritual rather than earthly pleasures. Yet somehow it was my misfortune to learn the truth of William Tyndale’s argument that the proper operation of one’s waterworks is a good work. “Trust me,” says master Tyndale, “if either wind or water stopped, thou shouldest feel what a precious thing it were to do either of both and what thanks ought to be given God therefore.”


Father Jape's codpiece worn during the Sack of Rome

Though medical men deemed it only an infection of the flesh, my physician could not heal me, and it occurred to me then that this fire burning in my urethra must surely be diagnosed as a kind of spiritual clap; the righteous revenge of a jealous God for my philosophical whoring. And the certainty of this judgment came upon me then with such force that I resolved perforce to return immediately to the Cathedral of the Day Before Yesterday on pilgrimage to seek once again the true path.

On my arrival I was, I admit, in a state of mind not given over to clear thinking, wretched and wracked as I was with the pain of the spirit-clap. In one of my fits of delirium, I went so far as to inquire of the Theologian of Yesterday, Father Hippothadeus, “Father, in your vast learning, have you seen any evidence that a man’s soul might have a penis?”

“Good God, no, man!” answered Hippothadeus.

“But if such a soul-penis did exist,” I persisted, “might it be wise to undergo a castration of some kind, an excision? Anything to cool the unholy urging and concomitant fire of hell!”

“Certainly not! You have lost your mind Jape, I suggest you devote yourself to fasting and prayer.”

“Will I be healed?” I cried.

“If God wills it.” Hippothadeus brushed past me muttering Latin oaths against the insane under his breath and I was left in great distress.

“Damnable theologians!” I shouted after him, my voice cracking, “O I am beset by these possible maybes and maybe-nots that add up to an inviolable confidence. The quagmire of your arts are such that the peace of God is usurped by man’s hypotheticals! All contradictions are subsumed within the certainty of God’s will which serves only to hide your ignorance! If God willed that I should fly, I should grow wings I suppose! These circumlocutions of false certainty greatly vex the common man!”

But he had not heard. In such a desperate and mentally shaken state one might be able to understand how I developed the notion, seemingly reasonable in my confused and pain-ridden mind, that my only hope for cure was to somehow baptize the offending member in the Cathedral’s cistern of blessed holy water. In this grip of madness and folly I was discovered by the Abbess, codpiece askew, standing astride two pews and leaning precariously over in the attempt to administer my theologically addled cure.

Needless to say, I’m sure, the ensuing scandal that rocked Crim Tartary will likely be told in lore for centuries to come. I was promptly charged with desecration and perfidy and many other nefarious outrages, all, I cringe to say, true. And I despaired, for after my Doctors had failed my body, and the Theologians abandoned my soul, I found all that I had left, my property and my name, was now entrusted to the blackest villains of them all—the Lawyers. Surely Job could not have suffered so!

I expected the worst from the Ecclesial courts, for Crim Tartary is not known for a maternal sense of justice. But Mother Mary would yet smile on me, for my case had gone so far as to attract the attention of the Holy See; Papal Legatees were sent o n my behalf, and among them, a legal physiachologist of some note. On the appointed day, this Legal Doctor of the Soul, as his official letter of introduction bespoke him, rose with a flourished oratory and defended my actions to the court as excused on the grounds of insanity.

Though he certainly convinced me, those who were masters of my fate remained impassive. As the questioning descended into the vagaries of a certain Council’s teaching on the legal permissibility of the torture of the insane, I felt it—the cool touch of an angel, and the fire was gone. Immediately a torrent of relief poured forth from my offending self, and I was lost to ecstasy as a deep wet stain spread its soft warmth across my thighs and down my robes. The prelates watched in horror, no longer intent on the doctrinal sparring with my defenders, and as I reflect back, I can see that they no doubt mistook this divine grant of salvific grace as instead, a sure sign of my mortal fear. And so by this happy error, they took pity upon me and passed light sentence.

I, never heedless of the ways of the Almighty, learned that to pass water on oneself is oft times a surer token of grace demanding that praises be rendered to our Father than all the pronouncements of wisdom that pass as gas from the mouths (or otherwise) of the learned men of many orders.


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  1. I always enjoy a good codpiece story….they come with such infrequency. Who was it..? Eldredge Cleaver? One of the Panthers anyhow but the last time there was a major codpiece story is when he joined the Mormon church after they allowed Blacks in the Priesthood and at the same time he was marketing a new line of Codpieces for the modern urbanite.

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