True confession: I was a member of the NRA. Back in HS, in a monastery, studying to be a Catholic priest, I saw a photo of an NRA patch - you know, to sew on a coat or ... I thought it was cool, so I got an application which included a target - had to get some minimum score shooting holes in the target to join. I didn't own a gun or have access to a gun. I didn't want a gun. I wanted a patch. I was drafted in '69 and, thank god, was made a medic - didn't have to carry a 'weapon' ... was a CO. Guns suck. They did then. Still do. Only worse. Now any fool can get a military grade ... well, that's another story for another day. But, here's what I did ...
I figured a No. 2 lead pencil was maybe the size of a bullet. So, I poked holes in the target - got a good score poking holes (good enough). Sent it off and, voila, I got my patch, a membership cert, the whole thing.
Never did anything with the patch - no idea what happened to it. About the same time, I got a pen pal in Ireland, a girl, who told me about the boil on her arse and having it lanced and all. That ended my sending off for stuff. Oh, I still send off for things. Several years later, I became a 'matchbook' preacher - a for real card-carrying minister. Back then, it cost $1 ... now you do it online and it's free! I've often thought of starting my own church-y thing ... you know, like ministry of the seed or such ... you send me a pile of money and I tell you lies about how rich you're going to be because of it.
Since I'm on a true confession roll, here’s my flirtations with the American Communist Party. First, you have to know I never believed capitalism made a lick of sense. Socialism - yea, that made sense, tons. But back in the day I was exploring, looking around for what it made sense (to me) to believe. I was sure, just on a basic moral, logical, gut sense that capitalism was inherently 'cruel'. But, while I was raised in the Cold War and knew that Communism was pure evil (as so it was oft said), I knew zero about it. So, I went to a meeting ... a meeting of the local St. Louis (yea, for real) American Communist Party - you know, to see what it was all about.
What a joke! It was all about, ALL, entirely, about when and where to hold the annual picnic. Seriously. I assumed I happened to go on a slow ''issue'' day so I tried hard to overlook the vacuous nature of the meeting. I also assumed, since communism was the 'party of the people' and I was one of 'the people', I could vote. You know, where should the picnic be held. I raised my hand to vote for Forest Park and was told, politely, I admit, but told only members could vote. But wasn't I a ''people''? I mean ...
Well, that was it ... I never went back. Wrote off the Communists. Many years later it seems just about everyone around the world has written them off - presumably over bigger issues than the annual picnic.