If you’re crafty, you can open a bottle of beer with pretty much anything. But if you want your beer to have that extra sparkle, that certain divine touch, then there is no substitute for a Popener. Now, I’m not a religious man, but I do have a deeply entrenched and very well developed sense of kitsch and irony. And bottle openers with the likeness of the Holy See fit very well into those sensibilities.
Yes, we have two, and no, you cannot have one. Both are emblazoned with the late JP2’s face, and one commemorates Jubilee 2000. We as yet do not have one with Ratzi the Nazi on the front. But it’s only a matter of time!
Shopping for souvenirs at the Vatican is the penultimate kitsch experience; the only thing that could surpass it is if they had a second-hand shop in the back. The first time we were there, we were perusing the mind-boggling array of rosaries, icons, charms and what have you. Beside us, this American
harpy woman was yelling — yelling — at the poor mousy nun behind the counter (yes, the gift shops are entirely staffed with nuns), brandishing some piece of bric-a-brac and demanding, "How much does this cost? No, in American dollars!" Now, as I say, I’m not religious, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s bad karma to yell at nuns. This was pre-Euro, and the exchange was roughly 2,000 lire to the dollar. OK, I know that’s a lot of zeros, but it’s still basically grade-school math. DPaul snarled at her, "It’s ten bucks. It’s not that hard." As we left, I suggested he should have told her it was like a buck, and encouraged her to buy ten.
Speaking of buying in bulk, this was one of the things that we knew was perfect gift material right out of the gate, and did buy several. Still, in retrospect, we should have bought about 50, cuz everyone wants one. Guess we’ll just have to go back …