Thursday, April 29, 2010

Humor in my Life --Part 7

After years of being anxious about remaining a virgin, I finally fell in love with a woman who wanted to be intimate with me when I was twenty. It remained an anxious experience for me. After all, I'd never had a single sexual fantasy about a woman. I was scared to think that I might be a homosexual; that was a fate I did not want for myself! What complicated things was that I'd lied to my girlfriend. I'd told her I was sexually experienced. Now I could only hope that I could become stimulated and perform. Talk about pressure!

I made that long trip home from college to celebrate Valentine's Day with my new valentine. Since neither of us had a place of our own, I came up with the bright idea of making love for the first time out at the family camp in Upstate New York. Mind you, it was February, the coldest month of the year and there was no heating at the camp!

After making a self-conscious stop to purchase my first condoms, I picked up my valentine and we headed for camp. We were rife with expectation and I was beside myself with my own fears. The two of us trudged down through the cow pasture above the lake, knee deep in snow, while a bitterly cold wind buffeted us until we reached the relative shelter of the woods. Then we had to make the steep, slippery descent that last quarter mile down to the camp.

I took my valentine to the cottage which I'd thought would be a romantic setting, but the temperature within it was somewhere just above zero degrees. Even a fire in the fireplace barely registered any warmth to the part of the cottage where I intended our tryst would take place. We were, very simply, freezing!

Well, what could we do? We got under the covers, fully clothed, before venturing further. Mind you, I was simultaneously contemplating my ability to become aroused with a woman, as well as how to put on a never-before-used condom! At the same time, I was contemplating my ability to hit the target once I was properly equipped. Oh, and then, there was my performance anxiety. Oh God, could a first time be any worse than this? Maybe honesty was the best policy!

Anyhow, one thing led to another after we slipped off our clothes beneath those icy covers. Less than a minute later, it was over. Phew! I was no longer a virgin and I thought I'd done pretty well, all things considered. The best part was that I was in love and she loved me!

Well, I'd climbed a figurative mountain, but now it was time to climb up that steep, slippery hillside to the promise of warmth from my Ford Pinto. It was a tough climb, especially for my valentine who wasn't accustomed to the great outdoors. Finally we made it! Both of us had to laugh about the clumsy lovemaking, though obviously for somewhat different reasons!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Humor in my Life---Part 8 -The Mask

As I've said before, it's the things that don't necessarily seem so funny at the time that, with a little perspective, can be brought forth with more light and levity. I was always one to take life so seriously and I had an ego as big as a mile. Of course, egos only serve to cover great insecurities. Such was the case with me.

As a young man, I had created a mask that spoke to the undiscerning that I was the best thing since Twinkies. I was an up and coming business executive and I planned on making my first million by the time I was thirty. Thanks to addiction and depressive illness that didn't happen. That was part of what was not funny in my life. The good news is that I got past that.

Speaking of twinkies, I married at twenty-three. “What does that have to do with twinkies?” you ask.

It just so happens that that was the same year I came out of the closet as a gay man. That was another story that contained both humor and suffering. Let me find my way back to the topic of humor.

After my short-lived, wonderful career in the business world, I became a social worker. Throughout my years, I met a wide variety of people from every walk of life. Let me tell you about one of them.

I'll call her Marti. She happened to be very eccentric. She liked her clothes and she was a pack rat. She was also very skilled at getting herself evicted from her apartments every six months or so. Marti wasn't playing with a full deck, but it didn't bother her in the least.

She could drink the best of them under the table and she smoked more cigarettes than Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. Those habits gave her a voice that sounded like a bull horn. She also had a stereotypical Irish temper.

Marti wasn't big on formalities. One time following an eviction, I was storing her clothes in my office. Unbeknownst to me, she traipsed into the office and began to rummage through them. Not a minute later, a colleague of mine tapped me on the shoulder. Marti was in the middle of the office, totally nude and picking out a new outfit!

She also had an interesting relationship with her own gay man. I'd frequently run into the two of them at gay bars. That gave Marti the upper hand in our own relationship and she wielded that with a knife when she became angry.

One day, while visiting the office and not getting her own way, she spat at me, yelling “C...sucker!” in a waiting room full of people. Never one to hold a grudge for long, later that same day, she gave me five dollars for Christmas and said, “I'm sorry.”

I wasn't allowed to accept gifts, but she wouldn't take no for an answer. Consequently, I passed on the money to someone else in need.

Marti didn't live a long life, but she lived life on her own terms. They may not have been the terms that most of us would have described as a happy life, but Marti took her lumps and handed them out as she saw fit.
The bottom line is that Marti was one of my most unforgettable characters and I will be telling you about many more.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Humor in My Life --- Part 9 - Dogs and Cats oh My!

I had a client who I'll call Joe. Joe was an eccentric character who had a wild imagination! Truth be told, he was as delusional and hallucinatory as any I'd ever known. He was paranoid and he also had some deep-rooted sexual issues.

Even though the Cold War was over, Joe believed that the Russians and the CIA were spying on him. He would work himself up into a frenzy of pure terror. That was not funny. What was funny was that he believed there were kids in the attic who did kinky sexual things to him and that there was an ape in his basement.

The kids in the attic would come down when Joe was in the bathroom where they would fondle him and insert devices into his orifices. Joe maintained that he was not gay, but he had little that was good to say about gay people. Let's just say that he had a certain fascination with his anus. As a gay man myself, who was I to judge?

Joe had a houseful of dogs and cats. All of the animals would talk to him. They told him that he was the baby Jesus. Joe was therefore very interested in anything to do with Jesus and he had a born again outlook. Doesn't that make sense since he was the baby Jesus come back to earth in the body of a grown man!

Woe be to anyone who he met outside of his house on a bad day. He particularly didn't like black people and he went so far as to prove he was a lily white as the daylight. He would sprinkle his face with baby powder so that he looked like a ghost. Then he would walk outside his house and scream racial slurs at bigger men than he who were as dark as the night. It's amazing that Joe was never beaten up or worse. Apparently his transient neighbors realized that Joe had some issues!

Joe also had a sister. The two of them were more dysfunctional than Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence in Mama's Family. They would have screaming matches that could raise the roof. Even so, they maintained that they loved each other before they would go back at it again.

Yes, it's true. Joe was another of my most unforgettable characters!

Do not forget to buy the book and start your wild adventure full of laughter!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Humor in My Life --Part 10--Bowel Fumes

Dementia can be a sad thing, but it does contain dozens of humorous moments. Such was the case with the “bowel fumes” lady who I'll call Emma Mae.

Emma Mae
had a strange delusion that her upstairs neighbors were sending what she called bowel fumes down into her apartment. Perhaps it was the industrious and flatulent little boy from my book, The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. He was named Fartley Dinkledorf.

Fartley was well-named. He took a perverse pleasure in passing gas. God only knows, Emma Mae, had an extremely sensitive nose and she smelled farts wherever she went within her apartment.

Poor Emma Mae! This little old lady who would weave and wobble around in her high heels and negligee didn't have a clue. She was going to be headed to the Sunnyside of the Street Adult Home. That was a place where they knew how to deal with happy wanderers.

Emma Mae would frequently put herself at risk because she would wander from her apartment and get lost. At least, there were few bowel fumes in the fresh air of the outdoors. Just wait until the day that I came to fetch her to move to her new home. Emma Mae had another plan in mind!

When that day came, I asked Emma Mae where her suitcase was. She demurely answered, “Give me a few minutes to finish packing.” Then she left me on her deck while I patiently waited.

Minutes ticked by and I began to wonder what had happened to Emma Mae. I called out to her, but there wasn't a response. Upon investigating, it appeared that she had left the premises.

I walked out onto the deck where I caught a glimpse of her disappearing into the forest behind her building, dressed only in a nightgown. I hightailed it after her, but she had the advantage. She was on a mission to disappear into the cloak of the forest.

I vainly searched in the woods for a half an hour before I gave up. It was now time for me to take some definitive action. I called the cops.

They took me very seriously when I told them about how Emma Mae easily became lost. Not five minutes later, a helicopter was circling overhead. Poor Emma Mae! She was finally spotted down by the railroad tracks. Perhaps she thought that she was going to jump on a train.

I met the police who had caught up with my damsel in distress. It was now time for Emma Mae to head for the sunny side of the street.

I only saw Emma Mae one more time. By then, she didn't recognize me any more. She had still been up to her old tricks, trying to escape from Sunnyside every chance she got. That was all right. Sunnyside was used to these types of antics. She never got very far.

Emma Mae had finally gotten over her delusions about bowel fumes. She had also long forgotten the helicopter episode. Perhaps I had her mysterious neighbors in mind when I created the character of Fartley Dinkledorf.
That makes for hilarious reading when you tickle your fancy with Misadventures.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

HUMOR IN MY LIFE--Part 11--Working with the Mentally-ill

Working with the mentally-ill has its moments! It can be filled with stress and anxiety. It also has its light side. A woman I'll call Tweetie Pie was a case in point.

Tweetie Pie kept a spanking clean apartment, but she had one unusual habit. She drank soda by by the two liter bottle.

“What's unusual about that?” you may ask.

What was unusual was how she dealt with the aftermath of her guzzling. She filled those bottles with her own urine and she unashamedly kept dozens upon dozens of those urine-filled bottles adorning her bedroom. It was if she was an interior decorating accessorizing her bedroom with accent color. Let's just say that dark brown yellow wasn't exactly her color. Nor was it mine!

I would usually see Tweetie Pie twice a month. As was the case with many of my clients who didn't cooperate with treatment, I would never know what to expect. One day, I was in for a real surprise!

I rang the doorbell and I waited. Not a moment later, this large woman who did not resemble a bird burst out of her upstairs apartment door. Then she came dashing down the stairs screaming, “I'm going to kill you!”

Needless to say, I wasn't about to wait around to see what would happen. I made a dash for my car as she followed me in quick pursuit. I managed to give the car the gas just as she rushed toward me in a rampage. Later that same day, she was admitted to the hospital where she remained for a long period of time.

Tweetie Pie also developed some physical health problems. While they weren't amusing, I have an interesting tale to share about the time she was diagnosed with one of them. It was proceeded by another day involving a dash toward me. Foaming at the mouth, she screamed, “I have rabies!”

After another trip to the loony bin, she was later transferred to a regular hospital. There, she was diagnosed with diabetes.

It's been years since I left the field of social work and I frequently think about my former clients. God only knows what has become of my Tweetie Pie. No matter what, I'm sure she is still happy. In spite of her “mad” moments, she was always as chipper as a bird. I think that I've well-named her with her pen name. She was indeed a tweetie-pie. She was also a strange bird!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Humor in my Life---Part 12---Kitty Caper

Oh, the stories I could tell about my time working as a social worker! While many of them had mixed outcomes, they were filled with all-too-human examples of sadness and humor. I'll try to keep the focus on the lighter side of life, though it is often mixed with shades of darkness. Such was the case with a woman who I'll call Bertha.

Bertha was ninety-four years-old. She'd lived a rich life doing unusual work for a woman where she was employed as a lineman. She worked right up until she was eighty. Then she spent five years in retirement until she lost her husband of sixty-two years. It had been a happy life, but things began to disintegrate after that. She was not only going through her grief. She was beginning to become demented.

Bertha and her husband, Hank, loved cats. They loved them so much that they had eight of them. After Hank passed away, Bertha collected a few more. The only problem was that she had forgotten that cats needed to be neutered if they weren't going to multiply like rabbits. Such would become the case with Bertha's cats before the time that I came to know her. By that time, her ramshackle house, filled with a lifetime of possessions and five years of cobwebs, had also become filled with thirty-five cats!

Poor Bertha! Those cats managed to destroy all of her upholstery and Bertha couldn't remember to keep up with cleaning the cat boxes. There was cat poop and urine all over the place! There were also mummies of dead cats wrapped up in newspaper, placed lovingly in her kitchen cabinets. Perhaps she had placed them there prior to intended burials. Unfortunately, she had forgotten to attend to that detail.

Also, unfortunately for Bertha, something had to be done about the cat problem. Her neighbors were complaining about the reek coming from within her house. It was also apparent that she couldn't cope with the kitties, though she didn't have a clue. She thought everything was just fine.

That wasn't the case for me. To enter her house, any sane person would have worn a gas mask. Playing the role of social worker, I was mandated to view the interior of my clients' homes. I was also mandated to carry out the role of protecting the public safety. Those cats had to go!

I called the friendly and helpful SPCA cruelty investigator with whom I had become well-acquainted. It was time for another kitty caper.

Betsy arrived with her van, filled with cat carriers and her snare. Cats would become feral when they were being attempted to be caught. Under conditions such as this, one would also never know whether or not the cats were vaccinated. It would be no laughing matter to be scratched or bitten by a cat that might have rabies!

Betsy and I had to hunt down kitties that hunkered down inside sleeping sofas, under beds, and inside kitchen cabinets. They would dash around the house in a frenzy when they were cornered. It was no laughing matter!

We managed to capture most of them. Who would know what their fate would be? Fortunately, for some of the cats, they managed to escape into the fields surrounding the house as we struggled to get them into the kitty carriers. They would remain free or possibly find neighbors who would adopt them. The next day it was as if it had never happened. Bertha didn't remember that she'd been the caretaker for ten households of cats. Sad, but true. Perhaps this tale is not such a funny one. Better luck next time!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Humor in my Life --Part 13---Trying to save the World

Going back to my early days as a social worker, I'm going to recount a humorous anecdote about my work. Okay, I was all fired up and ready to save the world following my basic training. One of my grand plans was to help the homeless and I had one particular client in mind.

The affectionately dubbed Bear Man had never had any place to stay other than a homeless shelter. There, men would stop in at night, get some tobacco, and crash on cots until the wake-up bell. Then they would have to leave for the streets at seven in the morning.

The Bear Man was well-named. He looked like a grizzly bear with a long, bedraggled beard. He didn't look like he'd had a bath in years and he always wore the same reeking clothes. He became my first mission.

The Bear Man wasn't all there. He was one of those lost souls who heard voices that none of the rest of us could hear. Let's just say that he had his own version of reality. Of course, that's the truth for all of us. We all have incessant chatter in our heads. It's just that most of us don't talk back out loud.

Such was not the case for the Bear Man. While he would often just come into our office to crash and sleep, he would wake up with a start and begin to talk to his imaginary friends.

One fine morning, I asked him if we could talk. Usually he was unreceptive, but that day proved to be my lucky day, in a sense. He said, “Sure, Mr. Aujourd'hui!”

I excitedly invited him into one of our interview rooms and I brightly chirped, “Mr. Bear Man, how would you like to have a nice warm place of your own that you could call home?”

“You mean a pad?” he asked with what sounded like trepidation.

Thinking he was using the colloquial, I responded, “Sure, wouldn't that be nice?”

“Oh man!” he exclaimed. “You know what would happen next?”

I naively responded, “What would that be?”

“The next thing you know, space ships would be landing on the pad and I'd be abducted! No man! That's not for me!”

How could I reason with this. This fledgling caseworker was stumped. I wracked my brain for a meaningful response, but his mind was made up. Apparently, this homeless man had already found a safe pad for himself. Who was I to make a judgment about what home meant to him? I had to let it go.

This would be one of my continuing lessons that I could not save the world. It's not that his basic needs weren't being met. God provides for all of His children. To each, his or her own.
Book Part 1 of a Series---"The Misadventure of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude" (Full of laughter)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Humor in my Life -- Part 14 --- Gullible - Trusting

Okay! Let me recount another tale from my relatively new and naïve days as a social worker. This scenario involved a couple who came to me in what I perceived to be their hour of need.

I'll call them Jesse and Janie. Both of them had mental issues. Jesse was a schizophrenic and Janie had a mood disorder. As was the case with many of my coupled clients, they seemed to make strange bedfellows, but who was I to judge?

This particular wintry day, Jesse and Janie had an urgent need. Janie exclaimed, “I'm having my period and I don't have any tampons!”

A barefooted Jesse pointed at his feet and said, “Hey man, it's cold out! I need some money for sneaks.”

Being the person who handled their finances, I was naturally concerned. How could I possibly deny them their basic needs? I immediately authorized the necessary funds and handed in my request to my supervisor.

She gave me a knowing smile and said, “Seems to me that you're being conned.”

“Oh no!” I emphatically protested. “Jesse doesn't even have any shoes!”

“Okay,” she relented with a twinkle in her eye. “Don't worry. You'll get the hang of it.”

I resentfully left her office wondering how she could be so judgmental. After all, she hadn't even seen them!

Moments later, I handed the necessary funds to the couple who seemed to be appropriately appreciative. Satisfied that I had done my job well in addition to doing a good deed, I watched them heading to the stairwell just as a colleague was bringing in a pair of sneakers from the same stairwell.

“Look what I found!” exclaimed the fellow social worker.

“Hey lady!” shouted Jesse. “Those are mine!”

Janie turned to Jesse and whispered something in his ear. Then Jesse grabbed his sneakers and the two of them hurriedly rushed into the stairwell. As they did so, I recalled the voice of my supervisor. It would take me years to get past being so gullible, but in time I would learn. As for then, it was just another lesson in discernment.

Author Davis Aujourd'hui

Book: (1st in a series- full of fun and laughter) "The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude"

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Monday, April 12, 2010

" I AM MY CHARACTERS", Part One- By Author Davis Aujourd'hui

I am my characters. The truth of the matter is so are you. For any of my characters to whom you relate or to whom you take a dislike, you are looking at a part of yourself. One of the most fascinating, and perhaps most exasperating, spiritual truths is that what we perceive in others is an aspect of ourselves. The odd thing is that sometimes those characteristics are something of which we have remained unaware. That's the continuing challenge for each of us with which to come to terms if we are going to grow, improve, and accept ourselves as we go along our merry or not so merry way.

This has become one of the ongoing challenges of my own life. After a lifetime of taking on labels, playing different roles, trying to please others, and trying to be like others, I have come to embrace a more authentic life. I've learned that I must be true to myself if I am going to recognize my full potential within this particularly unique life which has been given to me. In so doing, I've come to discover who I truly am and this has taken a lot of hard work.

What I've come to understand is that I can operate from two perspectives. The first perspective is from that of my ego which thinks that it knows everything, but is invariably wrong. The second is from that of my spirit which is only about love. That's where I will discover what is true.

We all serve as mirrors to each other. When we see something we like within another, we are affirming that quality within that person. It is also a quality we too possess. Unfortunately the opposite is also true. When we see something within another that we don't like, we are also looking at something that is or has been an issue within ourselves whether or not we have realized it. That means it's back to the drawing board; there's more work to do on ourselves! After all, it's an inside job.

What I'm learning to do is to focus on that which is positive within myself and others. It has helped me appreciate the goodness within people and life in general. It has also served to enhance my happiness and state of well-being. That's been a huge lesson for me after living through many years of unhappiness and depression. I am largely free of that today. For that, I'm so very grateful.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Okay, you might say. How am I like my books' characters? That's a good question and it has a relatively simple answer. Just like my characters and like anyone else, I have a light side and a dark side. The dark side is that part of myself that I have possessed from which I have frequently tried to run or to deny. The truth can be scary and who likes to have to work at change? That can be scary too!

For those dark aspects of which I've been aware, I've often found myself judging them within others or only to find that they usually boomerang on myself. When I've done so, I've denied the love within me. This is when it's been so important for me to practice self-forgiveness. It's also served as an opportunity to learn from my mistakes, make my amends to anyone I've harmed, and to do better the next time.

When I have come to a place of acceptance around what's been my dark side, I've found that humor is a wonderful way to let go of judgment. After all, I was created perfectly imperfect just as we all are. I am human and I have created characters that are oftentimes contain exaggerations of human imperfections.

Then again, I have encountered a few Priscilla Bunheads in my life. I, too, have been capable of being as nasty and judgmental as she invariably is. I've also loved to give the impression that I'm perfect. Trust me, I'm no saint! The ironic flip side of perfectionism is shame. As you read more of my Sister Mary Olga books, you'll begin to understand where Priscilla's shame comes from.
Certainly I'd prefer to believe that I'm the perfectly holy version of Sister Mary Olga when she teaches her lessons in Advanced Holiness. On the other hand, she is all too human too. She obviously has a problem with alcohol and is addicted to her Marlboros. Well, I once drank alcoholically and I'm currently letting go of an adult lifetime addiction to cigarettes. Letting go of old friends like booze and cigarettes is not an easy thing to do. Yet I don't want to be a slave to them anymore.

I had my last drunk on April 5, 1988. The very next day, I attended my first AA meeting. There I encountered a host of people who seemed so happy. I desperately wanted to find that happiness for myself. What I had to discover for myself is that there's nothing or no one outside of myself who can make me happy. Happiness has to come within. In order to find it, I had to dig deep and do a lot of work on myself. It wasn't easy, but it was worth the effort.

I came to find my way there as I practiced the twelve steps within that program, reaching out for help from others and from God. In time, I was able to help others who wanted the same thing for themselves. It's said that it's no good unless you give it away. Jesus also said it's more blessed to give than to receive. The truth of the matter is that there's a tremendous amount of joy that comes from giving.

That leads to another spiritual principle that Sister Mary Olga would embrace. Her basic notion is that, if everyone followed the Golden Rule, there would be no need for any other commandments; that, very simply, is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
This brings us back to the principle of practicing love within our lives rather than letting the judgmental aspect of our egos rule our lives. None of us is any better or worse than anyone else. The challenge is to relate to each other rather than to focus on our differences. Underneath it all, we are the same – spirit contained within different bodies who possess different personalities.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Woe to many of the characters in Bucksnort who are trying to teach you and me continuing lessons about letting go of the ego. Even Sister Mary Olga has her challenges. It often seems that those challenges are what lead her to kiss her bourbon-filled crucifix. God knows, that I used to view challenges as struggles. That's when I would become stressed and I would turn to my addictions or other inappropriate behaviors to act out the underlying uncomfortable feelings that I didn't want to experience.

Speaking of addictions, let me tell you about one of the characters with whom I most closely relate. That would be Randy Cowboy. He's the physical ideal of who my formerly insecure self wanted to be. Once I let go of my insecurities, I actually realized a semblance of that ideal as I came to a place of acceptance. As is Randy, I am gay. He embraces his sexuality with a fervor. It took me a long time to become comfortable with my sexuality. Yet I don't let it define me. It's just another, albeit important, part of who I am.

I, too, share Randy's challenge of sexual mania. My primary addiction has been to sex. You could also say that it's been a toxic bond to my shame. I will write another article in which I will go into depth about it. For now I will simply say that it's been the most painful and challenging addiction from which I have sought recovery. I'm still challenged by it, but I've learned how to be more gentle with myself when I have temporarily lost my way. I don't give up as I once did many years ago.

As for my other characters, I have shared the challenge of prejudice and oppression that Jules Jesslike Pappas has faced. I have been irascible like the ornery Martha Mayhem. I've been a bit of a tyrant who has liked to think that I can control others such as Priscilla Bunhead continues to practice with the insecure females of Bucksnort. I can relate to them as well. I've tried to mold myself into a figurative bunhead in my past. For so many years, I denied my true sexuality while I tried to pretend that I was something I was not. It was all about pleasing others and wanting to be what they expected of me.

I may not seem to be much like the luscious Lucy Lovely or the forthright Sister Samantha. Even so, they represent individuals from whom I've learned by affirming and mirroring the positive aspects of themselves. You may find it hard to believe, but there's a little bit of the manipulative and demanding Lula Mae Bunsaplenty within me. Yet I've managed to let go of so many of those behaviors over the years. Thank God, I can look at them now and laugh! That's a key to freeing oneself to bondage to the past and it's also a mark of self-forgiveness.

One by one, I have possessed the dark and light sides of each of my characters to greater and lesser degrees. That just seems to be part of the cycle of balance within life. Fortunately I've managed to let go of many of my character defects as I have practiced a more spiritual life. Without having done so, I would be in no position to channel Sister Mary Olga's Advanced Holiness lessons.

Of course, it's not just the lesson that's important. What matters is to practice what one learns or what one preaches. That's what leads to a sense of wholeness or what Sister Mary Olga would call holiness. It comes from leading a life based upon love and forgiveness. Hopefully we'll all wake up to that reality one day and lead congruent lives based upon those spiritual principles. If we do so, we will realize peace on earth and good will toward our fellow men and women. Now wouldn't that be a wonderful miracle!