copyright © 2002 Lee Moyer

An Exorcism

Out With That Demon Shame.

By Lee Moyer


Brothers and Sisters; Good morning.

We are pleased to have you back among us here at the Church Of No Shame.

We come together again to bask in the warm glow of Todd above us.

Can I hear a "Praise Todd"?

Praise Todd!

How many of you here on this idyllic Sunday morning are victims of your memories?

How many of you here today can’t remember the eye-color of your first girlfiend, but remember every embarrassing incident and every shameful moment you’ve ever experienced?

You can’t remember things you’d like to, but can’t forget things you desperately want to? And you remember these events at the most inconvenient times. I think you know what I mean…

Joy can be fleeting

Happiness, ephemeral.

Shame though- shame is eternal. Or so it might seem...

Unless you fight it friends- fight it with every breath and every glance down your neighbor’s blouse. And fight it you should, because contrary to those figures that our sciencitic kinsmen ballyhoo- It’s Shame that is the number 1 killer in this country. The Demon Shame.

Shame seems a necessary fact of life my brothers and sisters. But it is not. No sir.

Shame is merely the memory of hubris or bad timing or ill luck. The fault is not in you, not in your stars, but in your too-active memory for transgressions observed. A transgression not observed is surely no transgression at all.

Who told you "You should be ashamed of yourself!"?

Was it your mama?

Do you think that Bill Clinton’s mama told him he should be ashamed of himself?

And if she did, do you think he listened? Should he have listened?

What separates great men from merely average men? What lifts a dyslexic cokehead and a drunk oilman to the highest positions in our land? Is it shame? No friends- it is assuredly not. To be great requires that you understand shame, that you know it, that you have wrassled with it, and that you have defeated it. Again and again.

If you or I experienced a "Lost Weekend", or wake up in jail, or accidentally went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, WE would be prone to letting that change us. To becoming ashamed and letting life take us by the short hairs.

But not the great men, no sir!

A great man looks shame in the eye and says "Hello old friend. Nice to see you again. But you are a frightful bore. Don’t let the door hit yer ass on the way out." When our esteemed Vice President got pulled over for his second DWI, do you know what passed through his mind?

It wasn’t "Oh my god, I could’ve killed the children in that minivan".

It wasn’t "This time they’ll have my license for sure".

And it certainly wasn’t "I’ll lose my job, My wife will leave me and I’ll go to jail".

No no. What would be the sense of that?

What old Dick thought instead was along a much different line of reasoning.

"Well, I guess that makes me about 186 and 2. I drive right well when I’m tanked up". And that was that.

Not for him the paralysis of the conscience stricken. Not for him the wishy-washy feel-good hand-waving of atonement. No indeed!

He had a job to do, and by Todd he’s doing it.

Should we all be doing our jobs?

But many of us here today start at a deficit.

Too too many here among us today were the victims of Liberal Arts education.

Too many have sworn to learn from the mistakes of the past and promised never to become like Alexander the Great, like Stalin, like Hitler. And that’s all well and good.

But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water friends…

It’s all very well to say you’ll never be like old Shicklegruber, for there are many facets to the man’s personality that were odious and undesirable- His fashion sense, his absurd vegetarianism. But look also at what made him an effective leader. His total lack of Shame was little short of a miracle. He was a tiny pathetic dumpling of a man- an ugly, surly drunk with a bad mustache. He had nothing to live for, but he did it all. And why? Because he had no shame.

But how can Mr. Hitler’s better qualities help us today? How can we benefit from his example? Not with your petty provincial code of silence for one thing.

Shame must not be fought in silence friends. Not in silence, nor quiet contemplation in a hidden monastery. Not in isolation or at a remove from the world.

You must fight this fire with fire my brothers. Every time you remember getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar, just take some more cookies. Remember Dick’s driving record and say to yourselves "I could be president some day!"

Keep your eyes on the prize that the world puts before us friends, and let’s get jiggy with it.

Let the shamelessness begin!



"An Exorcism: Out With That Demon Shame" debuted May 3, 2002, performed by Lee Moyer.

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