This season, the Holy City was all a buzz. It would appear that this year, Monsignor has completely been swept up in the commercialization of Christmas. Unbeknown to me, Big Red turned the other cheek, and became a major player in the merchandising bonanza brought on by the holidays. His “Vatican Collection” of fragrant toiletries was introduced in up-scale stores, just in time to capitalize on the Christmas spirit, and the public response to these sacred bath ensembles was sensational. One of the hottest items is an anointment in a convenient spritzer pump, named “Original Sin”, with a pronounced ode de fig leaf, lubriciously suspended in myrrh oil. The macho cologne, “Smite”, is an aromatic concoction, consisting chiefly of sperm whale vomit, feral cat spray, and trace pheromones from Saint Paul’s donkey. Another overwhelming hit was the mud-mask amalgam, “Turn the Other Chic”, made from Dead Sea dust and powdered host wafers, reconstituted in holy water, and infused with a green liqueur from the Order of the Chartreusian Monks. His Holiness did confess to a few clinkers in His lineup, however. His “Loofa of Lazarus” was a major sales disappointment, and His personal favorite, the soap & sash, “Pope on a Rope”, was without hope in this season’s must have list.

Still, all in all, it was a good season for His Eminence, and He was all excited to show me His new Christmas presents. First, there was a set of prayer stools, outfitted with Campagnolo’s “Sella Pneumatic” (Campy’s saddle with their internal air bladder). Which, as the Chief Ecclesiastic pointed out, adjusts in firmness to compensate for the atonement made to bear on the sins of one’s pelvic bones. Next He showed me his new “Ergo Brain 10”, Campagnolo’s bike computer, which had been reprogrammed by the technician’s in Vicenza, so as to display (as a kind of cheat sheet for the Pope) the Ten Commandments. And finally His niece showed us His new, Campagnolo “Perma-Link”, chain tool, which she had found works great on body-piercing Barbie dolls. She then proudly showed us her Ken, who’s anatomical smoothness had been deftly hung with Christmas cheer.

Here’s hoping that you and yours got all the Campy gear you wanted this holiday -Euro Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie