Off the Clock with The Checkout Girl: Eat, Pray, Loco

Well, I just heard the news. Author Anne Rice, of Interview with the Vampire fame, has announced that she is “quitting Christianity”. Just like that. As easily as she joined the religion, she is peacing out. Hardly seems fair. Or an effective way of retaining members.

Well, I just heard the news. Author Anne Rice, of Interview with the Vampire fame, has announced that she is “quitting Christianity”. Just like that. As easily as she joined the religion, she is peacing out. Hardly seems fair. Or, like, an effective way of retaining members.

Anyway, she wrote on her Facebook page (yeah, that’s a thing) that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist,” “anti-science”, and “anti-Democrat”. Well, sister, I’m no theology major, but I have been alive for more than five minutes and know that, if you have strong feelings about issues, you might want to check out the religion you are choosing and see if it jibes at all with your opinions. This way, you can avoid a messy breakup, the awkward status change from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated”, and the heartache thrust upon your friends when they are forced to decide whose Super Bowl party to attend. Because, I gotta tell you, you wrote a book about vampires and are always wearing velvet clothing and ruffly-necked shirts like a cartoon of yourself. So, I’m hitting Team Christianity’s shindig for the big game. Besides, your dip tastes like angst.

But Anne Rice is not the only celebrity to declare her religious, uh, non-conformity so publicly. From the bracelet wearers to brainwashers, the rich and famous have always gone gung ho when it came to a higher power.

Remember when Madonna broke up with Catholicism? Talk about uncomfortable! For us, I mean. She was all up in her music videos talking about her daddy and rubbing on a saint, daring us to disapprove. Angry, much? Then she found peace in Kabbalah, which is kind of like Judaism, but you can’t say that to a Jewish person. Some of the same texts are used, though. Plus you get awesome accessorization in the form of a red string, said to ward of the Evil Eye (I’m not sure if “Evil Eye” is a proper noun but I’m really not comfortable NOT capitalizing it). A red string? That’s all it takes? And all this time I’ve been slaughtering chickens and deflowering virgins. You know what? Neither of those things are easy to find these days! The thing is, she seems pretty happy. She’s cleaned up her act (using special Kabbalah water which, apparently, is like seven bucks a bottle and she used it to fill her whole swimming pool and the radiators in her house because you totally need your home to course with the power of Kabbalah). Other followers of Mighty Arms Madge’s powerful fairymagic (unofficially) include Lindsay Lohan (who could use a good Evil Eye ward-er off-er right now — somebody send her some string!), Roseanne, Sandra Bernhard, Anthony Kiedis, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, Lucy Liu, Rosie O’Donnell, Naomi Campbell, Britney Spears, David and Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, James Van Der Beek, Zac Efron, and Lauren Conrad. Basically, it looks like if you want to be successful and famous, you have to drink the holy Kool Aid of Kabbalah, right? Wrong. It’s like you’ve totally forgotten about Scientology!

Near as I can tell, but I don’t think anyone is exactly sure (maybe not even the followers), Scientology is a religion based on a self-help book called Dianetics that is about making movies. No? Making money. Wrong again? What do you mean, “recalling tragic events in your past”? What a downer! Besides, how does that get me an Oscar? There’s also some reincarnation stuff and a device for measuring your state of mind, electronically. I can’t imagine such a thing in my head without it being exactly like Auto-Tune and the awesome tones that come out, T-Pain-style, telling the Scientology leaders what’s up with your consciousness. Followers include Kirstie Alley, Beck, Sonny Bono (RIP), Jenna Elfman, Juliette Lewis, Elisabeth Moss, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Giovanni Ribisi, and Leah Remini. Hey, lookiethere! Scientology is no celebri-slouch, either! But the religion’s (no, really, tax exempt and everything) two biggest cheerleaders are also two of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood: Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Well, that hardly seems fair to the other religions. I mean, these guys could sell ice to Eskimos. Or crap to studio execs. And they sure as heck can influence people who are paid to not act like themselves for a living. When you already have writers, directors, agents, PR professionals constantly telling you who to be, how bad can Tom and John really be? More power to ’em. You don’t hear about too many impoverished Scientologists, but maybe that’s the plan.

So, the way I see it, Anne Rice might be breaking up with Jesus, but she’s got options. Though some of them are fancy, shiny, unnerving options. She should go find someone compatible with her beliefs and live happily ever after. Do they make eHarmony for religion? They should. For now, a visit to any college campus will do. Those places are full of fresh, enthusiastic believers. And vampires. She might want to wear the industrial-strength velvet.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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