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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
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Chicago Review Press

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« 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)

You're so clever and ironic. How fresh to make fun of over-earnest believers.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentera a

Oh, you got me there, anonymous boring person! And here I thought I was reinventing comedy.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

They're *always* anonymous. So consistent.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I especially like how the priest's vestment in the first picture makes an exclamation point with the black circle (plate?) on the altar. It's like the picture can't even believe itself!
If its gift wrap, it's an exciting gift wrap.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

"How will I turn the page, children? HOW?!" HA!

I'm guessing with his nose? Tongue?

"The priest... is gift-wrapped"??? Oh Jeez. They must have changed that sentence by now, yes?

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClue=less But Hopeful

Thank goodness you posted about communion & not confession--talk about a mind-f*%€!!!

I grew up Catholic & laughed at this, too, so I guess I'll be joining you in hell. OH but wait, maybe you're just going to purgatory. Maybe they'll make you take care of the unbaptized babies...

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren P.

First, any joker who enjoys this post but skips the comments from your faithful readers is missing out--it's all too funny. I'm sure my own Missal is somewhere (because throwing it out would clearly bring on trouble from heaven), and we also got to buy our very own rosary. Your pic is adorably solemn and holy. I love the pics from my own. In the one of my whole class, it appears that the sun (or perhaps the light of the spirit?) is in my eyes, giving me a head-tilt and squint that make me appear to be saying "Screw this. When is this thing over?"

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Oh my God.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermrs. kennedy

The carpet definitely adds to the perspective problems.

You look positively beautiful in your photo!

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhi kooky

Quit making me laugh and snort.

And quit making me feel guilty about it.


Oh, you are SO MUCH FUN.

Love "and I haven't take it off since..."

But it wasn't called a veil, back then, what was it called..

I can't remember...


Did the nuns make you bobby pin a Kleenex to your crown if you forget your whatchmacallit head doily??

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra/Empress

I got a missal for First Communion, too! I still have it. God, I'm a pack rat. Whoops, Lord's name taken in vain.

I should be better-behaved, especially since I just came from mass, but I can't help it. This made me laugh:

(Just how did that happen that YOUR post and THIS picture came into my life at the same time?)

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFawn

This post is hilarious - what a cheer up to dreary, rainy Sunday in Manchester! I'm not religious, but I did once go to the local Catholic church when I was around 15, with my mates, so we could take big glugs of the communion wine. Is that really naughty of me? I never did repent for that sin...

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

We used to attend an old school Catholic church where they still busted out the Latin mass. Then one day in the '70s my parents got all hip to the jive and let us attend the Saturday night mass, which was aimed at the youths, what with their tight polyester bell bottoms and long straight hair and updated hymns accompanied by a dude with feathered hair and an acoustic guitar. I shed my veil during those years, and opted to sit upstairs in the balcony, where I'd chew up little pieces of the missal and flick them down at the parishioners below as they walked up to receive communion. See you in hell!

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdgm

Laughter. Tears from laughter. Screaming. Weeping. Confessing. Swearing. Genuflecting. Stigmata.

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdianne

hands down, this is the funniest thing i have read in very a long time. i'm supposed to be studying for finals/prepping for a presentation, but i can't stop laughing. so much for that 4.0!

thank you so much for your hilarious commentary on catholicism (which is hilarious in and of itself).

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdc

Another godless heathen here, but I thought this was incredibly funny. Father Kevin to me resembles a slightly-older-than-"The Prisoner"-era Patrick McGoohan. Who's with me? And the tiny man in the brown suit also looks like a character from "The Prisoner."

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReid

Pardon me, Reid, but I think that "tiny man in the brown suit" is actually PART of the podium ... some unholy union of man + podium.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdianne

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December 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternb

Dianne, you are RIGHT! Oh my God, I didn't see how the brown-suited fellow becomes one with the podium in a later image. It's really quite, quite creepy. But then the whole publication is deeply creepy. To a godless heathen, anyway.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReid

This made me laugh very hard and I'm a practicing Catholic. In fact, I attend mass nearly everyday, so let it be known that some practicing Catholics do have a sense of humor. It always makes me a little sad when a sourpuss leaves an anon. comment like someone here did. Then people start to believe that only godless heathens have a sense of humor and that's just not the case. I especially liked the the man in brown becoming one with the podium and the priest holding the book like that. I'm 42 so I must have received my first communion around the same year you did and I feel kind of sad I didn't get a book like this. My children would find it as hilarious as I did. As a matter of fact, I need to direct a few of my friends this way because this was way too funny. Really people, if you are a believer it is okay to laugh at things like this. You can believe in Jesus and still have a sense of humor.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterannmarie

Annmarie, for what it's worth, I am also a believer, if conflicted about the church. So yes, I agree with you! Also my dad goes to church daily and is one of the funniest people I know.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

I'm loving all the pictures! It reminds me of my own experience during my first Communion. Thank you for sharing this experience. :)

- Dylan

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The pictures look like paintings! Are these photos photoshopped?

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