Parting Glances: Scatterpin goes SOS

I usually don't take 3:30 a.m. calls, but three short rings, followed by three long rings, followed by three more short rings - SOS - means one thing: Sr. Scatterpin, Renegade Sisters of Mary, is on the other end for a helpline call.

"Sorry to disturb you, my child. But I can't sleep a virginal wink. After watching Jay Leno I've been tossing and turning all night. I want you to tell me the Gospel truth. Is Bill Clinton gay? Or - and this I just can't bring myself to believe - is Al Gore a fag? And, for heaven's sake: how will that affect the environment?"

"Good grief, Sister. Do you have any idea what time it is?" I answer, knowing full well she hasn't a clue in a cloister.

"Fortunately I'm up, Sister. Company left five minutes ago. [pause] That's right. The blue-eyed, soulful, gilt-slim, ringleted Benedictine seminarian you so thoughtfully sent my way. [pause] Yes. Yes. We were doing our breviaries. On our knees the whole time.

"Forget your spiritually rheumatic knees," Sr. Scatterpin urges. "What about Bill and Al? They were running mates. Does that make them a couple? Ann says they're as gay as two pink elephants. [pause] Ann. ANN! You know that dull dishwater blond curmudgeon ... Yes. YES. Ann Coulter. If anybody should know who's kinky, it's she. Takes one ... What? Speak up, my son."

"For starters, Sister. I haven't the foggiest notion what goes on in D.C. or the Oval Office. (It might be nice to be a fly on the wall.) Like everybody else I'm out of the loop-the-loop. Nobody calls me since I bumper-stickered for Kerry (who, between you and me, I understand has a thing for Vietnam vets). As far as Bill and Al as item du jour, what can I say? Don't ask. Don't tell."

"You'd think they'd do something to squelch rumors, wouldn't you," Sister says thoughtfully. "You know: like, well, crotch it up a bit. Wear a tight-fitting Air Force One jumpsuit - something Brooks Brothers tastefully smart - stylish, decorously and heroically macho. Throw in a shiny medal or two.

"Tell me, my child. You're gay (or at least you say you are). Would it be out of line to ask Bill and Al to watch 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'? Of course, presuming they're both straight and not gay, or pretending to be gay to get gays to vote for Democrats or to go out and do their bit to turn acid rain into sparkling, bottled communion wine."

"Sister. There's an old saying. Politicians make strange bed pillows, er, bedfellows. But, between you and me and the chaplain's bedpost, maybe the world would be a better place if a few straight-laced politicos like Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed and Rick Santorum got in drag once in awhile."

"Saints above," says Sister, stifling a past-her-bedtime yawn. "Get in touch with their femme side. You know, like priests do on Sundays. Dress up for an hour to celebrate Mass like a woman would, if allowed. They'd get my vote, especially if they used quality eyeliner and lip gloss. Use some Nair."

"To answer your question, Sister. I don't think Bill and Al are actually gay. After all there's Hillary, Tipper, and, less we forget, dear orally fixated Monica."

"My blessed heart be still! Don't tell me they're all lesbians? Is nothing sacred? Dare I ask? What about the holy father?"

"Sister, do get some shut-eye. There's somebody knocking at my door." [Tap.Tap.Tap. TAP.TAP.TAP. Tap.Tap.Tap.]

Contact Charles Alexander at

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