EDINA, MN—In the pages of The Onion, you've met some of our nation's most unusual individuals over the years. And some have been pretty out there.
Who can forget Edna McBain of Covington, KY, the wacky widow with the full-scale cement replica of the Apollo 11 moon landing in her barn?
Then there's Jack Montague of Selma, AL, the World War II veteran who refuses to believe the war ever ended and continues to live in a basement bomb shelter, surviving on canned goods and communicating only by short-wave radio.
Certainly, there have been some odd birds to grace The Onion's pages in the past. But get ready for the nuttiest one yet: Edina resident Jerome O'Shea is so religious, he says he's given up courting... for Christ!
And not just for a day or a week, either, but for the rest of his natural life!
You may be wondering what could make a man behave so bizarrely. According to O'Shea, he likes girls, likes them just fine. In fact, he's in an almost constant state of temptation for pert young female bodies, just like millions of other men.
But O'Shea, convinced that the Lord wants him to remain "pure," says that he "received a calling" when he was a young man, which led him to attend the "Seminary" and become officially "ordained."
And what does all this mean? It means O'Shea, 46, has taken a "holy vow of celibacy," sentencing himself to a life of abstinence in order to stay closer to God's path. Apparently, "The path of righteousness" and "The path of sexual frustration" mean pretty much the same thing in the wacky world of this fellow.
So what does he do in his spare time that's so much better than a Saturday night on the town with a pretty gal on his arm? According to O'Shea, his "priestly duties" include "reading the liturgy, lighting ceremonial candles, and ministering to parishioners." Whoa, slow down there, pal! You're out of control!
Perhaps the oddest behavior of this kooky cleric is something he calls the "confessional," during which he sits in a darkened booth and listens to others talk about their sex lives. Weird-o-rama!
Strangely enough, O'Shea's role as a "priest" carries with it the ceremonial title of "Father." Not likely! After all, it's a bit difficult to father a child without hooking up with a "mother," Father. Maybe somebody ought to sit this fellow down for a little lecture about the birds and the bees.
Even more bizarre is O'Shea's weekly simulated cannibalism ritual, in which the body and blood of Christ are devoured by worshippers–but let's just leave that one alone.
O'Shea has been put in the role of moral arbiter of his "congregation," a group of independent citizens who willingly pay him a living salary. Ironically, O'Shea plays an active role it the sex lives of his followers, giving them advice on how sex is best practiced.
And what exactly is his advice? Ready for this one? No birth control allowed, you can't masturbate, and you can only have sex with one person your entire life. If this makes sense to any of you, readers, please explain.
Well, one thing's for sure: We can profile strange members of our community for another thousand years, and we'll never top this one!