December 14, 2020 by Father Carrozza Does God have a sense of humor? Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLike this:Like Loading... Related
Thanks for getting back to me, but I don’t think you get it. It’s not a matter of thin skin or thick skin, but of feeling safe in church. I felt hurt. Real hurt. And the fact that the whole thing was so flippant makes it worse, not better. As for “anxious Andy” I’ve never heard someone call you that, but they have called you other names. I always remind them you are a priest and a hman being, not an a*****e”. I’ve got your back, please have mine.
Father, may I please share something with you? I hope you will take it the right way, though I’ve often met with resistance, even from “men of the cloth.” My Christian name is Augustine, but, of course, people usually call me “Gus.” Ever since grammar school (Catholic, btw) people have taunted me with “Gloomy Gus.” This has persisted through high school (also Catholic!), the US Army and even my workplace and local “watering hole.” It has caused me much pain, untold teardrops and sleepless nights. To hear “Gloomy Gus” from the pulpit, even though no slight may have been intended, is beyond hurtful. I was shocked, to say the least. My wife, Sally, who has as had her shared of suffering, to say the least (“Sad Sally” and all that), suggested I share this comment in a positive way, both to express my deep pain and to throw light on a term that has somehow become acceptibe in our society. You would not want the name “Andy” dragged through the mud, so I ask you, please, to drop the term “Gloomy Gus” from your repertoire, at least in the pulpit if not in your personal life. The reality is that some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet are named “Gus” though, for some reason, “Happy Gus” has never become a thing.
I humbly thank you for considering my request.
Thank you Gus, for your comment. I actually have to go back and listen again to my homily, for I don’t even remember having said that, but I’ll take your word for it. I hope you know I certainly was not deliberately trying to insult anyone named Gus. It is a common expression that is part of our idiomatic usage. I will try to be more sensitive to that in the future.
At the same time, I hope you will take this as a token of fraternal advice, but I do suggest you try to get a little thicker-skinned concerning the general use of the term “Gloomy Gus.” I can appreciate how painful it would be for you when someone who knows your name is Gus calls you “Gloomy Gus”. They should be able to realize that you could easily be offended by that, and if they say it anyway, they are being insensitive. When people use it directly to refer to you, it is fine to politely correct them and tell them that you find that expression to be painful. When it’s used in general, however, no one is for a moment trying to use it to offend anyone – it’s just an alliteration – and since you’ve heard it before and are going to hear it again, try not to let it offend you. I have heard people use the expression “Don’t be an Anxious Andy” and I am not offended by its general use as an alliteration and poetic term. If they directly said to me, “Oh, you must be Anxious Andy”, then I could rightfully be offended, especially if I knew their intention was to insult me. But I would advise you not to take offense when none is intended. It makes life a lot easier to bear!
Thank you for sharing your concern. May God’s blessings be upon you!