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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
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Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« On the other hand, maybe wake me when it's Christmas Eve | Main | A few things »


My folks recently moved from their spacious suburban home to an apartment in a nearby borough. Because they were streamlining their life, they could no longer store my boxes of crap. "Dearest," they inquired, "would you please haul off all this bullshit you've collected over the years?" Of course I obeyed, because I honor my mother and father.

While sifting through boxes of embarrassing photos and scrapbooks, I came across this missal I had received as a gift on my First Holy Communion.

Here I am on that day:


I haven't removed the veil since.

This is clearly a missal meant for youngsters, so that they may be instructed on how Mass works and not suffer an attack of the conniptions when the priest announces that he's about to feed the congregation the body and blood of a human being.

Here's the missal:


Its contents are a rare treat of 1970s sincerity and inadvertent double entendres. I finally figured out how to operate our scanner, so now you get to enjoy it along with me!


"'TAKE AND EAT' says the LORD"? Is the Lord saying it, or that shady character in the vestments?


"Do not fear me, children. I bear snacks. Sacrament-snacks."

2massbegins - Version 2

I won't really show you every single page, but I especially love the beginning, in which we're told that we begin Mass, basically, by feeling terrible about ourselves. Also: it's very important to have sorrow, but we don't have to feel sad, but we have to mean what we say, which is that we feel sorrow? So we feel sorrow but not sad but how does one feel sad without sorrow or no wait the other way sorrow not sad but sorrow DOES NOT COMPUTE [everything overheats]--

2massbegins - Version 3

"I humbly beg your forgiveness for this carpeting, O Lord."

3openingprayer - Version 2

"Behold! A trim man-child brings me The Gospels!"


"He looks taller when he's reading. Or is that simply because I'm farther away now? Perspective is a funny thing. I think that's in Paul's Letter to the Corinthians."


"This is how I read books. But how do I turn the page, children? HOW?!"


Please note that last paragraph:

"Gifts look best when they are gift-wrapped. So, we come to Mass well-dressed. The priest, especially, in his beautiful vestments, is 'gift-wrapped.'"

6eucharist - Version 2

"Who wants to unwrap Father Kevin?… anyone?"


"The body of CHRIST would you kids cheer up? No one's making you stand up here! Okay, I guess your parents are. You got me."

I could go on. I really could. But honestly? I feel a little guilty. And I think I might be going to hell for this. I just hope that I get off easy and maybe spend a few millenia in purgatory, amen. Oh, and in case you're wondering:



"Wait, where are you going? I'm making espresso."

Reader Comments (56)

I'm not Catholic but now I feel like I understand everything about it so thoroughly. Thank you for this excellent explanation.

Also, how cute were you?!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzchamu

ha! i think i may have been given that very same missal... the hubs and i went to mass for the first time in a while a couple of weeks ago - and boy am i glad we did (can you imagine the stares we'd've gotten if we hadn't learned the following:)! they were going over the new changes (in what we say & do) - now, not only do we have to feel sorrow without sadness, but we must beat our chests three times as we say "my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault."

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkim


December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenW

I love this so much I want to marry it. Or something.
Well done, my friend. Hi-lar-i-ous.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Scratches

Sweet Jesus. (Wait; can I say that?)

That priest looks like Al Gore. So not only did the man invent the internet, serve as VPOTUS and save the whales, he's a priest, too?

My son did his first "reconciliation" a few weeks ago. They don't call it "confession" anymore. I think the shit the clergy heard under designation was starting to scare them.

Also, that church looks like every basement rec room I've ever made out in.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhighlyirritable

That little boy should apologize to the Lord Jesus Christ Amen for wearing white socks with dress shoes. There. You made fun of religion, but I picked on a kid while he's doing religious shit. Now I'll have to go to hell and they'll have no room for you.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreen

Oh! It's too good. I especially love the little girl's nude hose, and I'm pretty sure she's wearing her dad's loafers. I also have never seen such lovely blue wood paneling before. Faux, I'm sure, because the church would never settle for less than the best.

I honestly did not know "amen" meant--what was it?--"A-okay." I always kind of thought it meant "the end. Over and out." But! Now I know! Yes, indeed.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

I'll be waiting at the bar in hell with a cigar and a bottle of champagne. Come find me when you get there.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate

As a former altar boy, I will cherish this post forever and ever, A-OK.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpjwaldron

That was a good look for you. If you get bored with your current look, this would be an option.

Also, where some comment boxes say, "name" your comment box says, "Author," which makes me feel fancy. Today, I am an Author!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZina

The veil is an excellent look for you. I feel sorrow but not sadness about the way I gift-wrapped myself today.
Congrats on mastering the scanner. I'm still trying to get mine to work.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBostulla

The "You might also like" includes links to something about Tom Sellek (I think) and something else about Ricky Martin (again, I think).

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSlim

I am so relieved to know that Amen means A-okay. Glad that's been cleared up. Also? Clearly great minds think alike, because not only did I quote that Star Trek logic fallacy episode yesterday, I stuck a you tube clip of it into my post, too!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVarda (SquashedMom)

I'm getting more Sam Neill than Gene Hackman off of Father Kevin there, but that last sentence still made me laugh and laugh.

I was raised by godless heathens but I had friends who were Catholic growing up and the pictures in their cute little kid-sized Bibles scared the CRAP out of me. So much blood! Zombie Jesus! Aaiiii!

Religion is terrifying. But also funny! I know that now. Thank you for showing me the way.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

You really should have marked this post NSFW. I work as a receptionist and was innocently sitting at my desk, reading your entry and started laughing. And laughing. Laughed until I cried (you see, I grew up Catholic, so all this was extra hilarious). Then, the president of the entire company walks by my desk. She had the good breeding to not ask me what I was laughing or crying about.

You should feel guilty, Alice Bradley, you almost got me caught reading blogs at work.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCoraD

OMG.. I'm going to beat you to hell for laughing so hard. Man that was great. The memories from Catholic school are coming back to me now - communion, masses in the school gym, our lovely Irish priest/teacher/scotch drinker.I think there may have been scotch in the chalice for morning mass but who am I to judge. ..And again, I'm fast tracking it to hell... Awesome. Thank you.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

Oh my gosh, you might be the cutest little kid I've ever seen. Seriously, love the veil! My own First Communion pictures turned out horribly. I had that weird combination of adult and baby teeth, crooked as all get out, with too-short bangs and the ugliest dress ever. Love your missal! I made my First Communion in the 90s, and I can tell you firsthand that the books haven't changed much. Just as subtly inappropriate as ever.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Gee, it's really hard to type, what with the lightning striking constantly around here. And where did all these locusts suddenly come from?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

That was fabulous. Now I need to go find my Moments with God communion book and see if it is equally hilarious.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Guess I'll be seeing you in Hell,
Pass me a glass of the blood of Christ-
See you down there!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarissa

LOVE those pictures. And as an adult convert to Catholicism, I have to say, I *love* that first part of the Mass where we take a second to admit that we're all assholes sometimes (paraphrasing - I don't have the new translation of the missal in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that's not exactly how we say it now). It's really cathartic somehow.

And I know that God is forgiving and all...but I'm pretty sure that someone is getting extra time in Purgatory for that carpet.

Anyway, thanks for sharing the pictures. I'm always jealous of those of you who grew up Catholic!

You have just given me such a gift - the gift of insight into my husband's childhood! I feel I understand him so much better now. :)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAimee

I like all the pictures. Thanks for sharing this holy experience of yours. You look so cute on that little picture of you.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGerard Brightman

I will save you a seat in hell. Thank you. I laughed so hard, I woke up the cat.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Weeping. In a good way. The way which leads straight to hell.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

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