Driving my daughter to school every morning I feel like I'm cruising the religious landscape of America.
On a stretch of road no more than a mile long I pass a gaggle of robed Muslim women waiting for a bus, bearded ultra orthodox Jewish men with heads down and books tucked under their arms hurrying off to morning prayers, and of course mini-vans full of my fellow goyim rushing their kids to school.
And then of course there's the Mormon boys. Black pants, white shirts, bicycle helmets. All on their way to work, doing their missionary thing. I suspect since they live in the ultra-orthoddox Jewish neighborhood their jobs are not local, but you never know.
I was feeling bad for the Mormon boys this morning. Gordon Hinckley's dead, Mitt Romney didn't exactly wow the nation last night- the times aren't so good for Joe Smith's crew.
Then I get home and check the headlines. And what do I find?
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's dead.
You remember him. Short, fat little brown guy. At least I assume he was short. Hard to tell, since he never stood up. He was always photographed in that lotus postion. Long hair, long beard, big, satisfied smile. The guy who introduced "mantra" to the West. As in "You gotta help me, I forgot my mantra."
Maharishi was one of the first people to catch on to the key to success in the guru biz: snag clebrities. When the Beatles were filmed coming off that plane in 1968 to spend a month with him, Mr. M's inner child must have been shrieking for joy. "Yippee! That's worth millions right there!"
But as DIH recalls it ended badly. Didn't at least one Beatle end up denouncing the guru? And what about "Sexy Sadie"? The rumor at the time was the not-too-flattering song was actually about MMY. "Maharishi, you'll get yours yet..." See? The syllables fit and everything.
But there were always tons of Beatles-related rumors, so DIH will have to do some research before going on record with that one. The Maharishi moved on and bagged Shirley Maclaine. Apparently no one told him to check IQ before letting someone into the ashram. You know who else was into TM? Howard Stern. And look what it made of him! Actress Mia Farrow got so enlightened she hooked up with Woody Allen- now there's a mental health move. Maybe we should all start humming mantras to ourselves.
Anyway. Now there are 4 million prophet-less Mormons and God knows how many guru-less transcendental meditators. My condolences, guys. Hey, I been there, it's rough.
So where do you all go to watch for the white smoke?