Despite the nearly illegible type style and relatively small font size, the phrase caught my eye from half-way across the bank lobby.
When I was in junior high and making posters by hand (dinosaurs roamed the earth, the school still had a spirit duplicator machine – please take a moment to recall the smell of those fresh, damp copies) for the bi-weekly roller skating parties (again, dinosaurs blah blah blah), we were told to: A. Print neatly; B. Write BIG; 3. Use bright colored markers (but not yellow because it's impossible to read).
No one ever told us to include the phrase “Free Coffee.” Of course, back then a random picture of
|Made you look!|
But my point is, despite all the theoretically terrible typographical errors, the phrase “Free Coffee” caught my eye and thus brought my attention to that little 8 1/2x 11 flyer posted on the Community Bulletin Board in the bank lobby.
They had me at “Free Coffee,” but I was compelled to read further. After all, if it seems to good to be true... it probably doesn't involve coffee, free or otherwise.
“Fun for Kids”
The Little Prince was, at that moment, sitting in the car practicing his eye-rolling technique and texting his friends about being forced to go shopping with his lame-o Mom.
As long as I had “Free Coffee” I would be less likely to “Slap Someone Silly,” so I figured “Fun for Kids” was redundant.
“Relevant Life Message”
Is there a more “Relevant Life Message” than “Free Coffee”?
I suppose an argument could be made... although I'm not sure why.
But my point is, whoever put this flyer together for their church (because it was, indeed, for a church service), knew enough to lead with their strength. In this case, apparently, that is the “Free Coffee.” I'm not sure what that says about their church, but I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing.
I consider myself to be religiously tolerant. I don't care what or who you believe in or don't believe in, as long as you recognize a force greater than yourself which inspires you to treat others with respect and humility and does not inspire you to cause intentional harm to them. And on occasion maybe, just maybe, you are inspired to look at something with awe and amazement and recognize that you are a very small, albeit somewhat important, cog in this vast universe.
I have long suspected that coffee might be the key to spiritual enlightenment, but I think maybe, just maybe, “Relevant Life Message” should have been the lead in this particular message.
Then again, I have suggested setting up a coffee maker in the entryway of our church and installing cup holders in all the pews. The other congregants just smile and laugh in a polite “I think she's kidding, isn't she?” kind of way. (No. Not really.) All I'm sayin' is we have Hospitality Sunday with coffee and donuts once a month, so why not “Free Coffee” every week?
I was raised a Methodist and converted to Catholicism, so I still have many faith-related questions. Like, are we sure Jesus changed the water to wine at the wedding in Cana? Maybe he changed it to coffee. That would appeal to my Methodist roots.
The Queen Mother used to recall a brief stint as a “Happy Lutheran” (not sure if there was an “Unhappy Lutheran” phase, or if that was in contrast to the occasional “Contentious Methodist” moments). My paternal grandmother attended an Assembly of God church, although stories are told of a fundamentalist service which involved speaking in tongues (which triggered a vast and immediate improvement in my church service behavior). There were also rumors of Baptists, Mormons and Episcopalians mixed up in the family tree.
Perhaps that crazy-quilt of religious heritage contributed to my “live and let live” (or “worship and let worship or not”) attitude. After all, it was The Queen Mother who told me my favorite joke (and repeated it after every church basement ladies function): How can you tell what religion someone is? When their place of worship burns down a Catholic rescues the blessed sacrament, a Jew rescues the Torah, a Lutheran rescues the Jell-O molds, and a Methodist rescues the coffee pot.
Second only to: What's the difference between a Catholic and a Baptist? A Catholic will wave to you in a liquor store.
But my point is, and maybe the point of whoever put up that flyer is, we should focus on our similarities instead of our differences.
“Free Coffee” is as good a place to start as any.