Monk-ey Business

Whilst digging around through some old computer files the other day, I came across an article I wrote during my days as an English teacher in the Czech Republic in the city of Uherské Hradiště. (I dare you to pronounce that! It took me three months to get it right.) At a certain point, I was so tired of the standard fare included in the majority of textbooks for those learning English (especially the irrelevant crap aimed at teens, which is usually so mind-numbingly dull that it is a wonder they don’t drop the English language for fear of becoming as boring as the examples we give them) that I began whipping up a few pieces of my own to break the monotony. I tried to interject some humour (my style of humour, that is) for the sake of interest whilst keeping with the grammar being taught in the lesson plans at the time. Anyway, the text that follows was one of these. Please keep in mind that it was written for teens and young adults at an advanced stage of learning (advanced, mind you … not proficient, so the vocabulary level and complexity of the text is based around that. Also, please don’t take the text to mean that I have any idea about that which I speak. It was written only to amuse and to make the classes I taught more interested in the subject matter at hand.

Now, I do hope you all know what a monk is. If you don’t, then use your dictionary (that’s why you bought it!). I can’t keep telling you the definition of every single word. What am I? Your teacher? Oh…I guess I am. OK then…a monk is one of those people that lives in a monastery, wears robes and stays quiet all the time except to sing hymns to God. Well, I thought I would give you my theory about these quiet men and their way of life. You possibly think that monks live their life for God and do nothing but pray and worship. I think that is not at all true! I do agree that they believe in God, but not in the same religious way as people think. Let me explain myself. My opinion is that these “holy men” are actually a group of alcoholics that just can’t stop drinking! Take some time to think about this for a moment. First, I will give you some historical facts. Monasteries are well known for their production of wine. Many monks spend months working in the vineyards and cellars owned by their monasteries. They have a love for wine (they claim that it is a fruit that God grows and a drink to praise his name). Even Christ said to his followers, “Drink this wine for it is my blood.” Red wine, of course. The Church has communion in which everyone drinks a bit of wine to remember Jesus and his work upon the Earth. Let me continue with another fact. Part of the lifestyle of monks is a action known as fasting. This is best explained by saying that these men do not eat for long periods of time in order to bring themselves closer to God. The Bible says that Jesus went into the desert and did not eat for nearly forty days. He didn’t need the food of this world because God provided him with all the nourishment that he needed. Monks continue this belief, but they do take small nourishment to keep them alive and with some strength. The monasteries were the first places that created dark beer to be used as “liquid bread” during their time of fasting. The ingredients in dark beer are almost the same as bread, and this provides something for the body to digest. Maybe you can see where I am leading this essay. I happen to believe that monks have stopped being religious and have become a group of alcoholics in the name of God. Look at the facts….They are always wearing robes and sandals. This is very similar to every-day people after a hard night of drinking who never want to get dressed but stay in their bath robe and slippers all day nursing a hangover. Secondly, some monks take a vow of silence except for chanting and praying. When you have a bad headache after drinking a lot, do you want to talk or hear anything? I am quite sure these are not religious songs they are singing. They are just moaning about having a bad stomach and head. Do you remember the last time you drank so much that you were sick? When you are at the wash basin or toilet being sick, what do you usually say between vomiting spells? “Oh God! Please help me! I will never drink again if you just take the pain away!” All day long you also repeat things like: “Oh God…..Good Lord…..Sweet Jesus… head hurts!” I think this is as close to prayer as these so-called religious men ever get. It is time we expose these people for who they are and stop letting them hide under the disguise of being part of the Church. The world needs to know the truth!

note from the editor: The author of this article is an incurable drunkard and was once a member of the monastery in Velehrad, but was asked to leave because he was found asleep and naked with two sheep and a jar of marmalade one morning near the city of Zlin.