The Amount is Zero
by Jake Block
“The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing and raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don’t want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don’t want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you. You know what I mean?”
— Penn Jillette
I get asked from time to time if I would have a drink or a smoke with someone or another, and while I can appreciate the offer and the intent behind it, the chances are that I will decline. It’s not that I have strong convictions against anyone drinking or smoking. I personally don’t really care much what people put into their bodies, legal or illegal. It’s their body, and so long as it does not affect me, and I am not expected to join them in their choice of indulgence, it’s really none of my concern. And occasionally, someone will get a smirk on their face and tell me that The Satanic Bible says, “Indulgence instead of abstinence.”
Well, you’ve got me there. It’s right there on page 81, in the section entitled, “Indulgence…Not Compulsion.” Now, if my friend had read beyond the bold print, he would have also seen the words, “Satanism encourages its followers to indulge in their natural desires. Only by doing so can you be a completely satisfied person with no frustrations which can be harmful to yourself and others around you.” My friend’s “natural desires” might be for strong drink, and the ingestion of tobacco and other smokable substances. That’s fine. But those are not MY “natural desires.”
Don’t get me wrong. I have had alcoholic drinks on occasion. I might have a beer or a glass of wine on a special occasion, but only after I have made certain that I will not have to take the risk of placing anyone else in jeopardy because of my indulgence. When, for instance, I traveled to California to meet with Thomas, Lisa, Darkfool and others, I did have a glass of wine with dinner at our hotel in San Francisco, but ONLY after I had secured my car keys in the room, and was certain that I would not have to drive anywhere. Sure, it was just one glass of white wine. But that’s not the point.
And when I last traveled to Kansas City with Devora Zada Moon, I did have a beer with her at a club, but I knew that I would be going nowhere for the next 4 to 6 hours. My car was in the parking lot and that was where it stayed. Now I know that a man of my weight at that time will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 after one drink. If he drinks it over one hour, he will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.003, and after two hours, he will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.00. If anything had happened where I needed to be on the road before that time, I would have called a taxi, Uber, or some other conveyance. There is no conceivable way that I would ever be behind the wheel with alcohol or any other intoxicating substance in my system.
So, you see, I am not abstaining from alcohol or anything else. I choose not to indulge, and that choice is considered and long-learned. You see, my father was a mortician, and his business was also a member of the Ambulance system in East St. Louis, IL. It was one of my duties as apprentice and “the son of the owner,” to go on the ambulance runs to help load up the gurney and get the injured in the ambulance and to the hospital as quickly as possible. I saw first hand, at a young age, what could happen if someone drove in an impaired state, and the fates really didn’t care if he accidentally over imbibed, or if he was a raging alcoholic. Neither did the man we picked up after the fire department had disentangled his vehicle from around the tree he had slammed into at 80 miles per hour, nor did the woman who ran into the back of a car stopped in the road ahead of her. I’m sure she knew better to drink and drive while pregnant… but she did, and we picked up her lifeless body at the scene of the accident, as well as the baby she spontaneously aborted from the impact of the steering wheel violently impacting her stomach during the crash. And it didn’t matter to ME when a drunk hit and run driver clipped me late at night after he sideswiped a car on Kingshighway, and kept on going. And I never got the chance to ask my older brother. A drunk driver crashed into his car at the base of Edgemont Hill, breaking his neck and killing him instantly.
I’ve had the opportunity to “indulge” more times than I can remember as a young civilian, during my twenty years in the military, and again in all of the years since. It’s just not my thing. My indulgences tend to be a bit different; perhaps a fine dinner in an upscale restaurant, a few hands of blackjack in the casino and the warm embraces of my lover, long into the night. I don’t need or want to be intoxicated at times like this, and can enjoy the sensations and pleasures of the moment with a clear mind. These are things that I enjoy, without the need to be compelled to. And life is so much better when you do the things you want to do and leave the things you don’t behind.
So, I agree with Penn Jillette. I do have all of the drinks I want, and all of the drugs I want to take, and that amount is usually zero unless I can completely control the circumstances.