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                Both Ryan O’Neal and Charlie McCarthy go to my church.  Not the Ryan O'Neal and Charlie McCarthy you might be thinking of… which, frankly, would be the ones I thought of, but actually two regular schmoes who ended up with those names. 

                One Sunday the Priest finished his Homily and he goes “Please all remain seated for a short presentation by Ryan O’Neal!” 

                And so I immediately started bouncing in the pew because Ryan O’Neal was awesome in such films as Irreconcilable Differences, Chances Are, and Burn Hollywood Burn, (though not so much in What’s Up Doc.  Talk about a let down!).  Anyway, I was stoked.  And then this skinny little guy comes out and he has on these gay John Lennon glasses and a pullover sweater, and he wasn’t a day over 30. So I sat in stunned silence. 

                Then I figured this was the guy who was going to introduce Ryan O’Neal.  I figured, hell, maybe Ryan’s a Catholic and that he was playing Pontius Pilate off Broadway and wanted some advice, but was still high on himself enough to send out his “press agent” first.  But no!  This guy just starts talking about some charity or donut drive or something, and somewhere he mentions that he’s Ryan O’Neal. 

                At that point I stood up and I said, “Hey, now, stop right there!  I think it’s obvious to all of us that you are not Ryan O’Neal!”  Then I turned to the parishioners and I said, “Look folks, it seems clear that we’ve been had, here.  This guy wants us to think he’s Ryan O’Neal, but it’s just… no… just, no! I’m sure that we can all agree that this is NOT Ryan O’Neal! I think it would be best if we just skipped this farce and got right into the Communion and the prayers and all that.  Thank you Mr. Oliver Barrett the Fourth impersonator and all, but you’re not fooling Granny Maçek’s best boy!  Have a seat, and maybe you should think of impersonating Paul Reubens or maybe Curtis Armstrong or something next time!  Okay?  Buh-bye!”

                So the Usher comes up and whispers that this guy’s name was also Ryan O’Neal, and that I was wrong… again. He also advised me not to speak anymore outside of chanting and saying “Amen” and  And Also With You!” I guess he had a point.  But I wasn’t sure.  So after Mass I asked for “Ryan O’Neal’s” ID, and it was all true.  It really was his name.  He started to tell me that there wasn’t a need to apologize and I had to struggle not to cry with that!  I mean me apologize?  What did I do wrong? His parents should apologize! Ah, I’m over it now.  It’s in the past!


Well, it would be if I didn’t have a worse experience the very next Sunday. 

                There I am in the same seat, and the ushers are really watching me that week, and I still can’t figure out why!  So, anyhow, the Priest goes back though another Homily that just couldn’t be beat, and then he says “Congregation could we all remain seated for a few words from ‘Charlie McCarthy!’”

                I was so excited I couldn’t breathe!  I turned to my wife and I said “A puppet show?  Here?  In Church?”  For some reason she rolled her eyes and pleaded with me to be quiet.  That wouldn’t be a problem!  I was thinking about how much fun it would be to see Edgar Bergen and his famous puppet right here in the town I lived in.  I definitely wouldn’t be interrupting or talking over this show!

                So out walks this fat guy, and I’m thinking, Man, Edgar’s really let himself go!  But you know what?  He didn’t have a puppet with him! No ventriloquist’s dummy!  Not even one of those “Chuck and Bob” fakers like on that show Soap if you remember that one.  No, this fat guy just walks up to the podium and says “Hello, I’m Charlie McCarthy!”

                About that time the whole “Ryan O’Neal” fiasco resurfaced for me!  I was furious!  “Oh, no, not again!” I said preparing to stand!  My wife grabbed my shoulder and implored me to remain seated. 

                I didn’t see how I could accommodate her though seeing as how this was straight up false advertising and fraud… and right there in Jesus’ house too!  I was fit to be tied and I was fixin’ (yes I said fixin) to throw the merchants out of the Temple, when the same usher walks over to me and whispers that before I create a scene like I did that one time I need to count to ten and remember that this fellow just happens to have the name Charlie McCarthy!

                Yeah Right!  I explained to the Usher (if that was his real name) that I’ve seen Charlie McCarthy before and that this guy is decidedly NOT HIM!  Charlie McCarthy is made of wood and this jerk is made of too, too solid flesh! In fact… Fatty up in the pulpit looked a damn sight more like Senator Joseph McCarthy than he did like Edgar Bergen’s puppet!

                The Usher addressed me with the patience ordinarily displayed toward small, dull children, and elaborated on the concept that this fellow was likely named Charlie McCarthy either by coincidence or in tribute to the great wooden doll that captured America’s heart time and again. 

                This gave me pause, it did.  Perhaps this was accurate.  Perhaps this guy is a walking Tribute to the great one!  So… after being escorted to the parking lot, I calmed down and relaxed. 

                When my family exited the church I saw that same Usher coming out as well.  I apologized (believe it or not) and asked his real name. 

                He said that it wasn’t a big problem.  Then he introduced himself. 

                This is where the trouble really started.  This guy was pretending to be Tom Jones!

                Hey… does anyone know of any other Catholic Churches in Orange County, by the way?  No reason, just wondering!

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