April 15, 2005
Dear Conclave of Cardinals,
I hope this letter, and the enclosed résumé, does not arrive too late for me to be considered for the position of Pope. It has long been a goal of mine to assume a leadership role within a Big Three sacred organization and, in spite of some softness in your parish numbers and profit-eroding legal fees/settlements, the Roman Catholic Church still ranks as one of the most prestigious, most recognized denominational brands not only in all Christiandom but among faiths and fanaticisms worldwide.
As you review your list of candidates for Bishop of Rome, allow me to point out that I would bring to the papacy an unprecedented diversity of experience and a significant record of achievement in the non-secular sector. Specifically, I spent two years serving the Islamic state of Iran as its Minister of Feces, the highest post ever held by a Western devil. Subsequent to that, I helmed the Church of Scientology during its transformation from kooky, creepy cult to kooky, creepy religion, a shift in nomenclature that secured the organization federal tax-exempt status. Most recently, I orchestrated a merger between a nearly defunct Christian sect and a thriving tribe of nomadic Tibetan Buddhists, now known as the Shakers and the Movers.
I hasten to add, however, that in 1998, in anticipation of the job opening you now have (and, frankly, it didn't take the Prophet Ezekiel to see this empty throne coming), I converted to Catholicism, embracing the Church and its time-honored traditions. (What you guys do with guilt, fear and condemnation is sheer genius, equal parts inspiring and dispiriting.) I believe nearly a decade of Holy Redeemer-/Blessed Virgin-directed piety amply qualifies me to ascend to the position of Holy Father; additionally, my first-hand knowledge of other, competing deities and belief systems gives me a unique perspective on exactly how the Catholic brand differs from, surpasses and can be positioned against today's more nimble, low-overhead, fundamentalist competitors.
In terms of education, as my résumé states, rather than conventional seminary training I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Communications, one of the most highly sought after and malleable degrees in secular academics. And I think you'll agree communication skills (as well as excommunication skills, ha ha) are critical to any Pope's success.
In the area of public speaking, I am articulate, engaging and spontaneous, a style that should be a welcome relief to Vatican visitors all too used to hearing Gospel boilerplate read from Matthew, Mark, Luke and ... yawn. Also, like the late John Paul II, I speak multiple languages, including flatulent Morse code and gangsta-izzle.
Which brings us to the issue of relevance. I know one of your biggest considerations in choosing a new CEO of the Holy See is who will best be able to reach out to young people and bring them, along with their tithes and offerings, into the Church. Let me assure you, I will "mad resonate" with youth worldwide. As just one example of my "off da chain" approach, I intend to choose a fresh, "phat" papal name, like Pope Topher II or Pope 50 Lire, thus sending an instant message that a new day's dawned in Vatican City ... and, yo, His Eminenz rocked all night long to get there.
Additional facts about my personal and professional history that might be of particular interest as you move forward with your decision are:
· I'm right to an uncanny, even an improbable degree. Honestly, in discussions ranging from complicated current events to movie trivia to "What is Katie Couric's problem?" my answers are almost always proven correct, either in the fullness of time or by looking them up. I've even won the office college basketball pool twice! Clearly, a leap from "seldom mistaken" to "infallible" is one I'll accomplish with ease.
· I look good in hats. Put me in a tall, gold brocade, jewel-encrusted mitre or a plain, white silk zucchetto or anything in between; I can bring it off.
· I'm a problem solver. Case in point: I believe we can inoculate ourselves against future child molestation lawsuits by embroidering warning labels (WARNING: May be a sexual predator; WARNING: Prolonged exposure could cause psychological scarring; and so on) onto all priests' tunics and cassocks.
· I'm prepared to assume papal duties immediately. However, I would request a period of two weeks before I have to report to Vatican City in order to wrap up some personal business stateside, like selling my house and breaking things off with the woman I'm currently involved with.
Finally, in regards to compensation, I suggest we not get bogged down in numbers because, for me, money is never a "deal breaker." Moreover, with this position offering benefits I do not currently receive -- supplied work uniforms, use of a company Popemobile, a priceless collection of art and antiquities, etc. -- I'm willing to be flexible on salary.
I'm available for an interview at your convenience and welcome the opportunity to more fully detail my management style and supreme holiness in person. I look forward to hearing from you. And to a plume of white smoke shortly thereafter.
Bob "Pope Topher II" Woodiwiss
PS: Should you get this after you've made your selection, I'd consider taking the job of Vice-Pope.
BOB WOODIWISS: His column appears here the last issue of each month. His book, Keys to Uncomfortable Living, a collection of humorous and satirical essays, is in bookstores now.