Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Papa Part II

Part I

There followed a week of relative media sanity largely featuring Michael Jackson, and then… Smoke Cam!

Smoke Cam, a trembling, closeup shot of the Sistine Chapel’s chimney nestled in the lower right-hand corner of my screen, lent great spiritual gravitas to discussions of the Dodgers and whom Donald Trump has most recently called an idiot. Fox News had Smoke Cam available for download on the Internet so as not to miss a moment of the Hot! Absolutely nothing coming out of the smokestack! Action! I virtually joined the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in the staring for a while, then, conceding that perhaps the conclave could proceed without my participation for the time being, switched over to a rerun of The Cosby Show. (It was the one where Vanessa wears makeup without permission! Only entertainment of that caliber could tear me from Smoke Cam.)

Accompanying Smoke Cam were detailed explanations of what was going on in the Papal conclave, supposedly top secret but apparently subject to scrutiny by flyover CGI tours. Much discussed was the practice of the cardinals writing the name of their chosen candidate on slip of paper, then placing it into a chalice.

“It’s sort of like,” one commentator explained brightly, “they do on Survivor.” Which would explain the leaked footage of the Archbishop of Utrecht holding up a slip of paper on which he had written “Big Raz!” and a smiley face as he whispered, “I really like Angelo Sodano’s work on 'Letter For the Celebration of the Italian National Liturgy Week,' but his performance in the Extreme Unction Immunity Challenge was, I’m afraid, less than papal.”

Following Jeff Probst’s appearance to transport the ballots across the Tiber River via JetSki, the smoke at last arose.

I missed it.

I heard the news not with the ringing of steeple bells but the sharp chime alert of a new text message: “HABEMUS PAPAM. WATING FOR REVEAL.”

I picked up my skirt and I ran to St. Peter’s Square.

I ran to St. Peter’s Square via CNN, where Wolf Blitzer was tap dancing like Gene Kelly on a rainy sidewalk. Forty-five minutes had passed since Smoke Cam had justified its existence, and he was running out of ways to say “We expect the new pontiff to appear any tiiiiiiiiiime… NOW! No, NOW! No…wait.” I sat on the floor of the campus bookstore, leaning against a display of cotton miniskirts and tipping my head back, a starving baby sparrow eager to glimpse my new Papa.

I saw Benedict XVI in his leisure papal array for the first time in a picture on The Drudge Report. I blinked, seeing a man not The Deuce in those heavy white garments, that thin sliver of a cap. Because, for twenty-seven years…he was popeness.

Benedict XVI, you are totally our guy! at blondechampagne@hotmail.com

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