Frank said his Editor had forgotten what his face looked like so the next morning we flew back to New York. While on the plane Frank used me as a sounding board. Humans do that a lot. Not that they listen to our obvious and most rational advice, but they found it helped open up their own intuition in order to find what they think is a creative solution. Statistically, I think they mostly want to make life overly complex and troublesome.
“Jack, any chance you can snoop and see where the good Monsignor went to?”
“Yes sir. I will start scanning public web cams to see if I can spot him.”
“I still wonder what the hell he was alluding to that there have been other religious convulsions. Still nothing on the news or police reports on similar events?”
“With no concrete idea what is causing this, I wonder how I can use the Buddhist material for an article.”
“Maybe you could do a general article on how 17% of the world now consider themselves atheists. It is growing at an average rate of 2% a decade.”
“I’ll need to tie it in with the sisters. Hell, they seem to have a new suicide every week.”
“Perhaps an article about religious beliefs keeps the suicide rates down? Studies have shown that those who have no religious affiliation have a higher rate of suicide. They don’t have the religious restrictions on killing yourself. And those who don’t have family and many close friends also tend to have higher rates of suicide. Secularists do tend to tolerate medical suicides of the terminally ill, chronic pain sufferers, the handicapped and depressed individuals, euthanasia for infants with profound deformities and promote right-to-die laws. The civil rights fight to decriminalize suicide was ongoing in most of the western countries. Did you know, Frank, that in England suicide is not a crime, having been decriminalized way back in August of 1961. However, it is a crime to assist anyone committing suicide, thus it is a crime to assist in a non-crime. Humans can be so illogical.”
“I know what I will write about” Frank said with a wide smile, “I’ll do a piece on how with atheism increasing in the world the rate of suicide does too. Jack, take this down.”
And with that Frank dictated a very nice article on how religion’s least recognized benefit was being lost due to the increase in atheism and non-religious beliefs in the world. He mentioned the sisters and the Buddhist riot and suicides. He had me check and in the short time we had left Los Angeles two more members of the Buddhist temple had committed suicide. At the end of the piece he called for more funding for secular education and suicide prevention. It was a very nice 2000 words article that ended up in the central column of the Wall Street Journal’s front page. Two of my photos were included. As is typical of human smugness I was not given credit for the photos.
He accomplished writing the piece before we even crossed the Mississippi river. After we landed we went to the hotel Frank used as his ‘home’. Frank did not own a real home. Nor did he lease an apartment or condo. He really did not own much more than a couple changes of clothes. If he needed anything he would buy it. If he didn’t need it he left it wherever he happened to be. I’m surprised he kept me as long as he has.
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