Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Ecstasy of Saint Alexander of Richfield: a Chicken-Fried Hagiography

Alexander was a young man from the prosperous milling town of Minneapolis. His father had been raised in the Church and embittered by his experiences there, made sure to raise Alexander a virulent atheist. One spring afternoon, Alexander was hungry and to sate his hunger he found himself wandering to the nearby suburb of Richfield. At a local chicken merchant, he was presented with an intriguing proposition, a bacon and cheese sandwich with substituted fried chicken for bread.

Alexander was intrigued, beguiled even. He knew such a meal was decadent, even dangerous yet he persisted in ordering one, though not without the slightest feeling of shame and regret. He brought the unusual menu item to his mouth as it dripped with Monterrey Jack cheese and something known only as "the Colonel's Sauce".

He took his first bite: it was surprisingly tolerable, but Alexander knew in his quickly calcifying heart of hearts that what he was doing was wrong from any modern health standpoint. There was just something offensive to the educated, sophisticated, relatively health conscious mind about what was going on with this "Double Down".

And then it happened.

Alexander collapsed to the floor as if afflicted with a seizure. He begun shouting and babbling, even screaming uncontrollably. He blacked out.

When he came to, he was surrounded by choirs of angels, singing praises to the LORD. He was approached by two women, Saint Anne and the Virgin, as well as Saint James the Just. Among them as well was the floating disembodied head of the Blessed Colonel Sanders who started yelling:

"Alexander, servant of God! The LORD has chosen you! Go forth and preach the Gospel! Mortify your flesh as pleases the LORD!"

Alexander than awoke, as if from a dream. He was not sure if what had happened was real or if it had all just been a bizarre chicken-induced dream. When he asked what happened, a fellow patron who happened to be a Catholic priest from the nearby Academy of Holy Angels told him how he had collapsed in the middle of the restaurant and had begun speaking in Aramaic, a tongue he had no knowledge of. The father, who was somewhat learned in the ancient language told him what he had been saying:

"Double down on your righteousness as you would your chickens! Mortify your flesh as pleases the LORD! This is not gluttony! It is the path to Heaven!"

Alexander immediately sold his worldly possessions and began a barefooted pilgrimage to Rome to ask the Pope for permission to form a new holy order: the Poor Brothers of Kentucky who show their devotion to God through copious consumption of breadless fried chicken sandwiches slathered in cheese and mysterious sauces.