My Spiritual Awakening at Olive Garden

It was the night of the blood moon lunar eclipse, and much like a werewolf, I felt a powerful urge commanding me to venture into the night and troll some of the villagers. Well, maybe I was not so much like a werewolf. I felt more like Garfield the comic book cat, as this impulse came with a ravenous craving for pasta.

This happens to me frequently, as I am a devout Pastafarian, which basically means I am atheist (or agnostic, if there’s even a difference) who occasionally enjoys a good plate of spaghetti. I’m considering going on a low-carb diet and converting to the Church of Bacon in the near future, but on this particular Sunday, the Flying Spaghetti Monster tapped my shoulder with his noodley appendage and sweetly invited me to take communion.

Unfortunately, it was 8:45 pm, which in my sleepy neighborhood is considered late-night dining. Most of the restaurants were closing in 15 minutes and it normally takes me that long to locate my car keys. The nicer nearby Italian restaurants were no longer a viable option, and the only local establishment with an open kitchen was, to my dismay, an Olive Garden.

I always feel like I’m acting snobbish when I say I don’t like the Olive Garden. By no means am I a high-class dame or a nit-picky foodie, but every time I give it another chance I wind up thinking, “that food’s not very good.” That said, in our neighborhood, the Olive Garden’s parking lot is always jammed packed with cars, so clearly they must be doing something right.

I took my boyfriend to dinner and was initially impressed. There was a decent wine selection, cool décor, and the menu wasn’t silly with items like deep-fried spaghetti jalapeno poppers. Our waitress, who was bubbly and attentive, served me a nice carafe of pinot noir, accompanied by one of those cheesy logo wine glasses with grapes etched on the side to remind servers that wine goes into this glass, and ends at the bottom of the grapes. The food was still unremarkable – sweaty, salty bread sticks and college dorm spaghetti – but with the right wine, atmosphere, and company, I was at ease, and enjoyed the overall experience.

Then the waitress came back with our tab and a special hand-written card, asking me to have a blessed day and to like her Jesus page on Facebook. (I blocked the name to protect the innocent, perhaps even angelic).

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This waitress had been exceedingly friendly and provided excellent service, so I still gave her a good tip. I tried to suppress my natural liberal, knee-jerk reaction of haughty irritation, but I couldn’t help glaring at the card, and being haughtily irritated.

My boyfriend, who was raised in a very religious household and is not prone to liberal, knee-jerk reactions, was amused. “Maybe she took one look at us and just knows we’re going to hell,” he speculated.

No. This wasn’t an act of judgment. She probably gives this same card to all her diners. She was not rude – quite the opposite. This was perpetuated more in the spirit of “I’m promoting my boyfriend’s band. Please like and share their Facebook page,” but even that would elicit an eye roll from most patrons.

I imagine most customers would gruffly dismiss a “Vote for Bobby Jindal” message, annoyed a server would even consider pushing a political belief when all that was requested was some over-rated bread sticks.

This lovely server had no knowledge of my religious beliefs. She was blithely unaware that I was actively practicing communion as she slipped her message in under a ridiculously large pile of after-dinner mints.

I crossed my thumbs, bowed my fingers, and said a quiet little prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, asking Him to lay his noodley appendage upon our waitress in understanding. I prayed He would forgive this transgression, gently show her the error of her ways, and somehow stop her from delivering such messages to future patrons. Perhaps He could bless her with 30 more years of serving spaghetti and meatballs to local Pastafarians eager to feel His love in a Jesus-free Olive Garden.

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I imagine this is the kind of prayer a devout Christian would perform if, let’s say, a Muslim server asked them to follow their “For the Love of Muhammad” Twitter feed. Assuming, of course, they would only pray, and not issue a complaint to the manager. I would never issue such a complaint, though I should have left a little card on the table, inviting her to like and share my Uncouth Marie page.

Upon my return home, I looked closely at this card, reading it over and over again, until both the card and the Facebook page it promoted became my single-minded obsession.

I’ve lived in the United States for over 40 years and no one has ever once mentioned this Jesus fellow to me before. Could this be the day? The day where Jesus finally, through the divine actions of this Olive Garden server, tap me to become born again? Did God try to reach me through that pile of after-dinner mints and say “NOW you must believe in My son’s divinity and enjoy eternal life at my side. You will savor these never ending bread sticks with the weirdly chunky crusts, for they represent Jesus’s body. His blood is actually better represented by the Cavit pinot noir – you will need to upgrade your wine choice next time.”

Since this miraculous card appeared in my life, I spend every waking hour at the church and have committed the Bible to memory.

Well….. not really.

I mean, hey, it’s the Olive Garden. Not Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

And quite frankly, far more aggressive Christians have tried and failed.


Back in my early years as a retail sales girl, I had a co-worker trap me in a fitting room and coerce me to pray to Jesus. She begged out loud for Him to save my soul and help me be a better friend to my friends. This woman knew nothing about me or my friendships – she was just bat shit crazy.

She did this to other co-workers as well. Some were Christians who didn’t mind, and the rest found their own methods of escaping her lunacy without reporting it to management. Even if a Christian is acting wildly inappropriate, it sucks to be a tattle-tale or to fight back because then you end up feeling like the intolerant liberal stereotype. And yelling at someone because they want to share their love for Jesus makes you look like a total dick.

My tactic was to lie and say I was Jewish. That seemed to stop her, though I was always nervous she would actually ask me questions about Judaism, as I was uninterested in layering up the bullshit.


Just a couple of weeks ago, I encountered a bunch of aggressive Christians who wanted to, yet again, harsh my mellow. I took about a dozen of my Hoosier friends to Cincinnati’s incredible Oktoberfest, where 500,000 drunks line the streets to drink craft beer, eat fantastic German food, listen to tuba music, and lock arms in the world’s largest chicken dance. My friends, being the bad ass super drinkers that they are, were already three sheets to the wind upon arrival.

We chicken danced, purchased funny hats, joyously clinked beer mugs, and then stumbled into a group of Christians who adamantly wanted to warn us about the dreaded hell fire each of us would inevitably face for imbibing alcohol. These Christians were decidedly not joyous. In fact, they seemed rather irritated at having to explain their position to extremely intoxicated people.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume these Christians were not specifically invited by the City of Cincinnati to hold court in the middle of Oktoberfest and shame festival-goers for behavior heavily endorsed and encouraged by the festival planners. These Christians crashed the party and then had the nerve to insult the guests to their face. That’s very rude. A good party crasher blends in, is kind to party-goers, and sneaks off with a few refreshments. Apparently, these people didn’t read Emily Post’s Etiquette book.

Drunken revelers from all faiths lined up for the chance to either yell at these zealots, or to slur drunken logic in a calm, rational, “I hope I don’t vomit on your shoes” manner. My friends and I gathered around one zealot in particular, whom I will call “Lil Rod,” as that was the singular name tattooed down his arm in what appeared to be prison ink. I’m not sure if this tattoo was meant to indicate his name, a beloved/departed friend, his favorite gangsta rapper, or his own diminutive penis. I just know the Bible frowns upon tattoos, but on that point, I’ll digress.

Lil Rod wore an expression of calm indifference, trying not to get injured or be clawed at by the mob. His eyes, sometimes getting as big as saucers, almost seemed to blink in Morse code “get me out of here,” as he rotely relayed his hell fire messages. One Christian drunk seemed incredibly agitated that Lil Rod would dare demonize him on behalf of their mutual lord and savior. I thought it was going to come to blows as this particular Christian was quite aggressive and mean-looking, even in lederhosen and an alpine hat.

One of my girlfriends took her turn with Lil Rod, giving up on logic quickly and then asking him if he was okay. She was genuinely concerned, as he looked like a captive who rightfully feared for his safety. Ultimately, after a “please don’t touch me” request, Lil Rod was gracious enough to pose with my friend, though he refused to smile.

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My friends all encountered this Christian mob. It was a very sobering experience. We all stopped drinking right then and there in deference to their noble efforts.

That night, after all my guests returned to my home, we formed a prayer circle, tearfully asking Jesus to forgive us and save us from eternal damnation. We each took turns emptying beer cans out into the street while reciting the Lord’s prayer. We burned a Dos Equis cardboard cut-out of The Most Interesting Man in the World in effigy. Bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and vodka were crushed. The only bottle that remained was some Cavit pinot noir, which we shared with some shitty Olive Garden bread sticks in communion.


Look, I’m happy for anybody who finds purpose and meaning in their life in any capacity, be it through Jesus, the Old Testament, Allah, science, witch covens, yoga, family, or simply the love of a loyal houseplant.

My personal belief is that humans discussing the origins and meaning of the universe are very much like goldfish in a small fishbowl discussing the origins and meaning of the entire Earth. While such conversation can be intriguing and a great way to pass the hours, they have no idea what they’re talking about and never will. It is my humble opinion that as an extremely limited being, unable to see all the colors, hear all the sounds, or even use half of my brain’s capacity, I will never understand the world or the meaning of life, because I am clearly not meant to. The universe is probably much weirder than I can ever possibly imagine, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I don’t need any more answers.

Nor do I need any more warnings about what hell fire will burn my eternal soul should I make a single misstep during my nano-second of a lifespan. I just want to enjoy my life, face my own consequences, and let the truth reveal itself to me if and when it’s ready.

If you, the zealot, can agree to simply leave me alone and let me enjoy my spaghetti without a side of religion, I will agree never to come into your church with a giant sign and start shouting about how drinking is cool. I will never pass you a card that invites you to visit a satanic Facebook page. Most importantly, I will never stand on a street corner and scream about your transgressions through a bull horn in an effort to publicly demean you for victimless crimes and various bad habits.

That would be rude, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster hates rudeness.

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Wanna Discriminate? Join My New Religion!

Indiana just signed a bill into law so vague, that it will allow residents to withhold goods and services to anyone they’d like, just so long as the discrimination is based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” If you don’t subscribe to a particular religion, you’re still not allowed to discriminate against anybody. Ironic, isn’t it? You now need religion to justify treating people poorly.

Well then, atheists, agnostics, and others who want to expand their rights to discriminate – today is your lucky day!!!

I’ve Started a New Religion Just for You

Believe it or not, I’m an ordained minister. I became ordained in order to officiate a wedding ceremony, and was surprised at how incredibly easy it was. I expected I would at least have to sign something, pay for some legal document, maybe pass a quiz on the 10 commandments…something that would make the whole minister title feel at least slightly legit.

None of that was necessary. I simply visited http://www.themonastery.org/ and became ordained through the Universal Life Church (ULC). All that was required was my email address and a password, and boom – I was bestowed many new nifty rights. Beyond performing a wedding, ULC ministers are also ordained to perform other religious services like baptisms, spiritual counseling, and funerals. I can even start my own online ministry, which sounds like a more viable option than dribbling water over a newborn while denouncing Satan, though the latter would certainly be more amusing.

So here begins my new online ministry. I deem myself High Priestess of:

The Church of Phoeyonyou

My church is founded on the belief that there is a single entity (whether you call it a God, a general spirit, or the whiskey you pass around a campfire) that unites us all against inconsiderate pricks and self-righteous douche bags. Our newly formed, yet sincerely held religious beliefs will prevent us from providing goods and services to the following ass hats:

Mike Pence and every politician who passed the SB101 law

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Why should they get to pass a law without being subjected to it? Please let these primarily straight, white, male, Christians know just how it feels to be denied goods and services.

People who use their businesses to discriminate against patrons based on race, religion, Gender, or LGBT status.

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Because fuck those guys. Really.

John (Cougar) Mellencamp

 Photo of John MELLENCAMP

Let me just state for the record that I’ve never met Mr. Mellencamp, and I genuinely like his music. In fact, I prefer him to Bruce Springsteen and always thought his music was undervalued. This particular smite is a gift to the many, many Hoosiers I’ve met over the years, all of whom seem to have a personal story about this guy acting like a self-entitled prick. Go to Seymour Indiana to hear about what an asshole he is (apparently), and use the local pronunciation, as in: “he’s an ayis-ho.”

Pandas and the idiots who try to get them to reproduce.

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Hey, it’s my religion. And pandas are like the Paris Hilton of the animal kingdom. They do nothing, give nothing, they’re extinct because they’re dumb as hell, and the only reason humans work so hard to keep them alive is because they’re cute. If they looked like possums, the species would have died out a long time ago.

All Are Welcome!

Please feel free to call yourself a disciple of the Church of Phoeyonyou, and add to the list of acceptable persons to discriminate against in the comment section below.

And if someone asks why you are discriminating against them, simply say “Phoeyonyou,” bow your head in reverence, and lift up your middle finger, which is our salute to our vague deity.

A Helpful Discrimination Guide for Bigoted Bakers in Indiana

Dear Bakers in Indiana with “Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs:”

Boy, have you been getting a lot of media attention lately. Apparently, unlike people who make their living in any other profession, you alone have to accept good money from people you find sinful. Worse yet, you have to see your offerings become silent accomplices in activities you deem to be wrong. That never, ever happens to anyone else. I’m so glad laws are being developed for you and not for, let’s say, an EMT worker who has to save the life of a convicted child rapist because technically, there are no commonly held religious beliefs to hide behind.

Luckily, a bill being passed in Indiana finally gives you the freedom to refuse services to whomever you’d like based on your “sincerely held religious beliefs.” What a glorious day for Hoosiers. After weeks of having to cater to gay weddings, you can finally protect your religious freedoms and ensure your cakes are only going to righteous celebrations.

But did you know that the Bible deems other unions, ones I am certain you’ve knowingly and happily made cakes for, a sin? Ever make a wedding cake for a woman celebrating her second marriage? Congratulations, you just made an adultery cake (Matthew 5:32). Ever make an adorable baby shower cake for an unwed mother (Deuteronomy 23:2)? That’s a bit of a gray area of course, but certainly food for thought.

You could, of course, change your mind and serve the gays. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that forbids people preparing cakes or any other foodstuffs for gay weddings. Like dinosaurs, gay weddings are not even mentioned in the Bible. However, if you cannot bring yourself to serve food to anyone who has or will surely commit a sin so heinous that it’s punishable by death in the Bible, you should do so across the board. After all, you could lose a lot of income if the locals get a whiff of bigotry.

As a helpful guide, here is a list of sinners that warrant Biblical death sentences. You should avoid doing business with:

* Children who curse their parents (Leviticus 20:9): Yeah, to hell with those ingrates. Especially if their parents are picking up the tab.

* People who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15): Of course, you should refrain from baking cakes on the Sabbath as well, you perfect, sinless baker, you.

* Girls who have premarital sex (Deuteronomy 22:20): Shotgun wedding? No white dress? No cake for you!

* Disobedient sons (Deuteronomy 21:18): Be sure to interview the groom’s parents before you fire up that oven.

* Worshiping any god but Yahweh (Deuteronomy 17:2-5): Goes without saying. I mean, why would you cater to a Hindu wedding? That’s not a real wedding if it is not sanctified by your one true God (or trinity, or whatever).

* Witches (Exodus 22: 18): Which I suppose would translate into modern day Wiccans? Who cares. Screw those weirdos. No cake for them.

* Wizards (Leviticus 20:27): Perhaps you should avoid making Harry Potter or Gandalf themed birthday cakes just to be safe.

* Slutty daughters of clergy (Leviticus 21:9): That seems fair. They engage in premarital sex and should be sentenced to death anyway. Why should they receive special treatment because of their dad has an “in” with the big guy upstairs?

* Men who rape women, and the women they rape if the women are within city limits and do not cry out for help (Deuteronomy 22:23-25): I would give rape victims a pass, but that’s just me. I totally support you not baking cakes for rapists.

* Blasphemers (Leviticus 24:16): Let’s just hope, at no point do any of your clients say things like “God dammit” or “Jesus Christ, $800 for a cake?!?” during the planning of their weddings. I’m sure that sort of thing is extremely rare.

* Anyone who tries to deconvert yahweh worshipers (Deuteronomy 12:6): Does that include Scientologists? Because I think it would be really cool to make a Lord Xenu wedding cake full of thetans. That order may be too complex anyway. Moving along…

* Men who lie with men (Leviticus 20:13): I think technically you can still bake cakes for lesbian weddings. And maybe transgendered folks if at least one of the men identifies as a woman. I dunno. Consult your clergy.

* Adulterers (Leviticus 20: 10-12): Why would you want to bake a cake for a cheater anyway? They’re just gonna ruin the marriage eventually.

* Men who lie with beasts and beasts who lie with men (Leviticus 20:15): Unless it’s for a wedding between a cheetah and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, because that cake topper would be too awesome not to do.

I hope this helps you explore new and unexpected methods of discrimination against your paying customers. As I always say, if you’re going to be a dick, diversify 🙂