“I was in The Bookstop, buying a copy of Orthodoxy when a man touched me on the shoulder and commended me for being a good distributist and shopping locally,” said Jack Griffin, a history teacher at St. Margaret Clitherow High School. “When I turned around, I saw this enormous fellow, smoking a cigar and laughing. He told me to stop shaking and not try to impress him with any ‘inverted platitudes,’ because unfortunately, ‘he had heard them all already.'”
According to Griffin, the ghost and acclaimed writer said he has access to new books, magazines, and the Internet in Heaven, but is sent to Earth to “check things out” from time to time.
Griffin and Chesterton had a 45-minute chat, in which the latter told him about Heaven, saints he’s friends with, and his desire that his fans would quit trying to out-Chesterton each other.
“He is really tired of reading Chestertonian platitudes and proverbs,” said Griffin. “He is tired of fans dressing like him, imitating him, talking about how brilliant he is. He said the last straw was when someone named his dog after him.”
“He told me that ‘it’s one thing to inspire people like Michael Collins, Gandhi, C. S. Lewis, and Martin Luther King, but quite another to inspire a generation of Catholics under 50 to be plain annoying.'”
Of Collins et al., Chesterton told Griffin, “They were inspired and they did something. I’d prefer you not be inspired and do anything.”
Chesterton joked that while his friends Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton led lives that convinced people to help the poor and commune with God, that he, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy were quickly becoming the patron saints of people “who just read all the time.”
Chesterton’s parting words to Griffin were to enjoy life and strive for eternal life. “He wouldn’t give me any hints on the end of the world, but reminded me there would be a happy ending.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the 89th time, the U.S. has reportedly killed Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, U.S. officials announced today.
A CIA airstrike occurred late Saturday evening in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, northeast of Ghanzi, reportedly killing No. 2 Al Qaeda leader Aamir al-Ackdar. Al-Ackdar’s body has not been found, and it has not been confirmed if he has been killed in the airstrike. However, his beloved goat’s remains were identified, and the goat’s leash — a rope — was frayed.
“If this actually happened, it is terrific news for the U.S. War on Terror,” said Scott Andrews, a White House spokesman. “There just seems to be no end in sight of No. 2 guys with this group, but we’re committed to killing every one of them, even if we have to plunge our country into a thousand years of war. It’s like the entire Middle East is just a horde of No. 2s.”
Conservative columnist Richard Thiessen said this news is just the boost the White House and the supporters of the Iraq War need right now. “People kept talking last week about the 4,000 dead American soldiers that have been killed in Iraq,” said Thiessen. “But what about this? We just killed the No. 2 Al Qaeda guy for the 89th time. Eighty-nine is a big number.”
President Bush, who met with presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain today, interrupted his meeting to talk to reporters about the airstrike. “If we keep reportedly killing these No. 2 guys… well, I guess it means Osama bin Laden will have fewer people to collaborate with,” Bush said. “In fact, I heard a rumor today that they are having a really hard time filling those No. 2 slots over in Afghanistan because of what we are doing. The No. 3 guys don’t want to move up. We are doing our best to make Al Qaeda a really undesirable organization to be a part of.”
Although previous No. 2 leaders in Al Qaeda were responsible for masterminding bombings and coordinating terror plots, al-Ackdar, who was new to the position, had not been trained in some of the more intricate inner workings of Al Qaeda. A CIA operative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that al-Ackdar, “ran errands and operated the video camera when various Al Qaeda leaders wanted to get a message out there,” but added, “He had the potential to be one dangerous guy. You know, at some point.”
The last Al Qaeda No. 2 operative, Haitham al-Sharif, was reportedly killed two months ago, after a “really intense question and answer session,” according to a U.S. official who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. Local Pakistani goat herders in the region at the time of al-Sharif’s reported death claim the operative was tortured. However, the U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said the report was “ridiculous,” as the U.S. has a history of “treating prisoners humanely.”
Andrews said he is optimistic about the future course of the war. “We are already tracking the new No. 2, as well as the No. 3, and 4 guys in Al Qaeda, and some of them have ties to Iran.”
Maureen Martin is the pen name of a Catholic satirist who encourages readers not to believe a word of the above. Visit her blog at www.maureenmartinblog.blogspot.com.