Monday, February 15, 2010

Snoopy Brunch! (Part 1)

(Opening note! Snoopy, and anything else Snoopy related in the following entry is CODE!)

(Second opening note! I’ve always have a stat counter on this blog, so I see when people arrive here via googling certain phrases. Should the googlebots report back that people are getting here via very loaded phrases, I’ll take this down in a heartbeat. Let’s see what happens.)

Okay! Even though I’m an internally cranky cynical bitch, I believe the following:

1. People are, at their core, inherently decent people. Sure, they get twisted up in culture, dysfunctional upbringings, or their own neuroses, but every baby that comes out does so pre-loaded with an intrinsic sense of right and wrong. Pretty sure, anyway.

2. If you’re an organization, any absence of information from you will be filled with a storm of half truths and lies by people with their own agendas, so…

3. If you really want to learn, you gotta go to the source, and not take someone’s word for it.

This is how I found myself at the mysterious Snoopy brunch yesterday.

Most of you have heard about the Snoopy organization. Certain famous faces are members, they’ve pissed a lot of people off, there’s organized protests against them, there are many stories that once you become a member, suddenly you’re spending a lot of money, and it’s pretty impossible to leave. Is it truth? Is it propaganda? The absence of information filled with a storm of bullshit by disgruntled ex-members? Nobody knows.

I have never personally met a Snoopyologist, which has always intrigued me. I know plenty of Christians, Jews, I’ve talked to agnostics, atheists, quasi Wiccans, I even shaved the head of a student Buddhist monk at his request before he went back up the mountain. But I’ve never ever met a Snoopyologist.

I drive past their buildings all the time, you can’t live in Los Angeles and not do so, and there must be Snoopyologists in there, but I don’t work with any of them, I’ve never drank with any of them, they’re conspicuously absent from everyday life.

And I always wondered what went on in those big historic Snoopy buildings. You hear whispers and rumors and you have no idea what’s true and what’s not.

I remember hearing early on that the Snoopy institution near me had a Sunday brunch that was to die for. But I thought you had to be invited by a Snoopyologist, and since I didn’t know any of them, I thought I’d never get there.

But one day, I was bored, and despite vague warnings I had heard that they track everyone’s IP address if you click on their website, and suddenly you’ll start getting mail, and phone calls, and people will follow you everywhere, I went to their website, and discovered that all you have to do to go to the Snoopy Sunday Brunch is…make a reservation. If you print out the page from the website, you get ten bucks off!

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!

My goal for 2010 was to go on one big adventure per month. Last month, I went to the Magic Castle, which was awesome. This month, I was determined to get to the Snoopy Brunch. Because like point number three above, I don’t wanna take someone’s vague “A friend of a friend took a class and then they wouldn’t leave them alone for years” as what the institution is really like. I wanna find out for myself.

Now, there is zero danger of me becoming a Snoopy convert. I am 100 percent Christian, and nothing anyone can offer me would shake that. I may not be able to win a theological debate with an angry atheist, I may whine and be a brat about how I haven’t heard God lately, but I know within my internal cranky bitchy Amy-core that God absolutely exists, and so did Jesus, and all the rest that goes with being a metaphorical card carrying occasional F bomb dropping Christian.

Because I’ve got rock solid faith, I’ve got no problem whatsoever about investigating other institutions and what they believe. It’s not about going there and picking a fight, screaming they’re wrong, I’m right, and why do you make your people buy thousands of dollars of books and coursework, you could go to my church for FREE. That would be rude. It’s more of a fact-finding mission. I wanna hear from the source what they believe.

In addition to realizing anyone and their mother can go to the Snoopy brunch if they make a reservation, I realized my friends would want to go with me.

In the past year, I’ve made three really awesome friends. We all met in different small groups at church, and we keep each other accountable, drink often, and jump in the hottub when I’m housesitting at Basil and Ginger Puppy’s house. Let’s call them Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather.

Merriweather said instantly that she didn’t wanna go to the Snoopy brunch, not because she believed the negative hype, but because she simply didn’t have an interest in learning more about Snoopyology, which is totally fine. I have no interest in learning about tax-reform law, so if she invited me to a lecture on that, I would totally pass too.

But Flora and Fauna were game enough, for the same reasons as me. Fauna’s friend Rosalyn was with us when I was talking about it on New Year’s Eve, and wanted to join the fun, so now we were an Inquisitive Gang O’ Four.

Once I started the scheduling email chain, and mentioned to various acquaintances that this was something I was going to do, the reactions were interesting.

Most of the time, the reaction is “why would you wanna do THAT?” To which I say, why WOULDN’T I? It’ll be fun to put us in the line of somewhat shadowy folks! If we go in there unafraid to say what we believe, to ask questions when appropriate, and take steps to make sure they don’t follow us, what’s the big deal? What do you think they’re gonna do, kidnap us? Not let us leave? Brainwash us if we drink the orange juice?

Why would I take the vague friend of a friend stories as gospel? If I want to know, why wouldn’t I find out for myself?

I did get an occasional story from someone who had taken a class once, or had worked with a P.A. who was one once. Never did anyone say, “Yeah, that Snoopyologist was cooler than I’d thought they be, and we became friends.” It was always that they were slightly off, the introductory class had some interesting self help things, but you were expected to pay a bunch of money to get to the next level of classes, and blah blah blah.

I remember there was a small group once where we got sidetracked talking about Snoopyologists, and how weird they are. I pointed out the central principle of the Christian faith is that we believe a guy performed miracles, died for our sins and came back to life three days later. Jesus is the original zombie. Tell me THAT’S not weird.

The only time in my life that anyone has ever attempted to block me from leaving a building was the Crazy Koo Koo Church from years back. The service was running late, I had to be somewhere, I head up the aisle, and they physically stand in front of the door and gesture that I should sit back down. I look them dead in the eye and say, “Your service is too long, and I’m running late. Get out of my way.” And they do. (I never went back after that.)

The only time in my life that any religious group asked me point blank for my phone number within five minutes of meeting me was a Young Life group on my college campus. I gave them a fake number and never heard from them again.

I still get emails from various Los Angeles theater and arts groups who refuse to take me off their mailing lists.

My point being is that every story I’ve ever heard accusing the Snoopy institution of weird behavior, I’ve experienced through other groups first.

But I made the reservation for this past Sunday, for a very curious party of four. We laughed and joked that since we’re expecting the absolute worst, what would most likely happen would be a big fat nothing. We’d go, stuff ourselves at a buffet, poke around, maybe take a tour, ask questions, and find out what exactly people were so afraid of.

We were expecting the worst. We were expecting nothing. We were not expecting the protesters outside.


(part two is HERE )


Gypmar said...

I can't wait to hear the rest. My parents were Snoopyologists in the 70's. They lived in Seattle, but I was born in LA because my dad was studying in that big old historic Snoopy building. On my birth certificate it lists my father's occupation as "Minister of Snoopyology." Shudder. Neither of my parents are Snoopyologists any more.

Lauri said...

We have a mutual friend (at least, I think she's mutual) who lived with a Snoopyologist for a while. Good times. I've always wanted to go to that brunch. We got an invite once, but couldn't make it. I was bummed, but now maybe we'll try again.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Waiting for part 2. Does The Great Pumpkin make an appearance in a giant spaceship?