Elizabeth P. Glixman
I have a confession to make. I can't go to church and confess. I'm not Catholic. Can't be on national TV talk shows. I tried but my name isn't Bill.
"No way," said Helena, a famous talk show hostess, when I pleaded with her.
"Just give me one prime time minute to confess. I promise to make it juicy."
"No can do," said Helena. "No viewer interest in your type of crime. I'm sorry but you have to face the fact that you aren't Bill. Maybe one of those evangelists would give you air time. They love confessions from ordinary people."
My crime was as good as the next person's, as good as Bill's. But because there wasn't a young intern involved no one was interested.
I have to confess now. I can't turn back. It took me years to gather the courage. I told a few friends my horrible deed. I needed practice. They minimized my crime. "What's the big deal?" they said. "Do you know how many people steal towels from hotels or cheat on their spouses?"
"No," I answered.
"Thousands of people break the law everyday. Your crime is diddly."
I was hurt. My crime meant a lot to me.
"Where has morality gone?" I said sadly.
"It never existed," said my friends.
I have to confess. Otherwise I will live in a world darker then the blackest night. I need the relief that comes from public humiliation, media coverage, talk shows, and full color spreads in Karma News.
I say to myself every day since it happened, "Why did you do it? What were you thinking?" I looked at my reflection in the Atlantic Ocean this summer as I contemplated jumping in, and wondered, how could this happen to such a good looking person? I had my hair done that day. The ocean was silent. She had taken the fifth.
What was my crime? Just like Bill I had a professional speechmaker write my confession. Here goes. "My fellow Americans I am talking to you on national TV tonight to tell you something I did that I am not proud of, that I regret. On July 24, 1975, I ate a tuna fish in a holy ashram in the country of India. Yes that is my crime. Sorry. No sex. No scandal. No violence, unless you consider vigorous chewing violent. This was a serious offense to the Indian people. To many of you it may not seem an impeachable act yet I betrayed a people. I violated a country's trust. They let me in their borders, sit in their temples, sing their songs. Doesn't that count?
My fellow Americans, can you feel my pain? I ate the tuna before morning meditation. While people were om-ing, I was gulping. The truth. You want the truth. I'll give it to you. My desires got the best of me. I'm middle aged and I needed a fling.
It's not like I murdered Ghandi. That may not be completely accurate. It's all how you look at it. The cycle of birth and death is tricky. A politician today. A fish tomorrow. Remember that Bill. A crime is a crime. I can not be excused. I broke the rules of the ashram. I broke these ancient laws in India (of all places). I might as well have committed a crime against the American people while living on Pennsylvania Ave. Forgive me." End of speech.
Now I will wait for the consequences of my confession. Eating fish at the ashram is a sin that will be investigated. I wish. Bill, that lucky guy, is the one with the special prosecutor on his back. Not me. I'll get a three hour epic lecture on tape from my mother and a bolt of lightening will strike my year supply of tuna fish.
I am working on a defense. I have two plans. One is the genetic defense. Eating fish was genetically encoded in my cells. My ancestors were as coincidence would have it fisherwomen. It was those dam cells that made me eat the tuna. Genetics determining behavior is a good start. It's a popular theory that can be debated. Debate is good. It confuses people and will give me time to create defense two, the philosophical argument.
Defense two goes like this. It's an animal's job to give up their lives for us so we can do good in the world. It's in the plan of creation. They know the score. Tuna fish don't mind. The cosmic plan to be eaten works. Why else would God have made spare ribs? This defense won't get me off the hook, but it could with defense number one added, create public support and let me at least keep my job.
If all fails I can say legally I did not eat tuna on the ashram grounds. I ate tuna at the park that was next to the ashram. I'll falsify make believe measurements from non-existent government land surveyors to prove this. I was close to the ashram but we were never intimate. I know I've already confessed but I can change my story. Many famous leaders do.
The decision, no doubt, in my case will be to throw her out of the ashram forever. I will not be allowed to go to a spiritual retreat again and will be stripped of any spiritual attainment I have made in this lifetime. No dream team, no PR experts will get me off. Why should they? I broke a special trust. No one at the ashram would be able to look at me again without wondering if I had a fillet mignon in my suitcase.
I did it, Bill! Did you hear me? I confessed like you. I'm glad I'm not you. No offense. It must have been hard to confess in front of millions of people, telling them what a jerk you had been. Better think twice before you look lustfully into the eyes of any women but your wife. As for me, I'm joining Tuna Eaters anonymous. There are too many fish in the sea and I can't control myself.This piece was originally published in the now defunct e-zine "Snark Byte." It was then republished on a website for people from India. It was my error submitting to the site and not reading the fine print. I don't have any ancestors that lived in India as far as I know. Even though I wrote and said I am not from India, the piece is still there.