The other day, a friend called and asked if I could do him a favor.
The thing about favors is that all things being equal, I’d rather they flow the other way. People doing them for me, in other words. It’s not that I don’t want to do favors for other people, it’s just that I’d rather not.
“What’s the favor?” I asked.
And he started moaning about how tomorrow is his dead mother’s birthday and he usually goes to church to light a candle for her but the church next to him only has electric candles now, and would I mind popping into St. Patrick’s to light a candle for his mother.
I held up my hand, which he couldn’t see, because we were talking on the phone. (Btw, I’ve been working on a novel, and this is something those in the business know to call continuity.)
“I’m going to have to stop you right there,” I said, even though he had already stopped talking. “Due to my Jewishness, I have a strict policy of not setting foot in church.”
“You are such a liar,” he said and then reminded me how we used to cut through St. Patrick’s to get to Madison Avenue from Fifth when there were a lot of tourists blocking the sidewalks.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s when people try to confuse me with facts.
“Alright, fine,” I said. After all, I figured, this is the least I could do for a friend. And by “the least” I figured that I’d do absolutely nothing and then when he asked whether I lit the candle, I’d lie and say “of course!” I couldn’t think of a single time in history or fiction when lying did not work, so I felt good about my strategy.
“Could you text me a picture?” he asked. Apparently he chose to celebrate his mother’s birthday by ruining every plan I had.
“A picture of what?” I tried playing dumb, the role for which I was born.
“A picture of the candle, please?”
I mumbled something about how maybe he could wait until Hannukah since he seems to have a candle fetish and then we hung up.
And I started thinking.
Was it ok to take photos at St. Patrick’s? I know under Vatican I, that would lead to ex-communication. But has the new, trendier Pope weighed in on it? Because the last thing I needed was to violate some Church Law and be involved in a DaVinci Code type of a situation, what with my Mona Lisa smile and all.
So I did what any normal person would do.
I tweeted my question.
(Please click on image to enlarge it. Or get bionic vision. Your choice.)
And I got a response:
Could it be from-?
And I did:
One year ago ...