Have AIDS and lupus? Have familial strife and financial failure? Have anything that's gone wrong in your life, even though you don't feel you've done anything to deserve it? Have two eyes, a heart and a penchant to disbelieve scientific inquisition?
If you've said "yes" to any of these -- or even if you haven't -- then you should swing by this Friday's "Curse Removal Event," hosted by Houston's Succeed in Life Center. Because, let's face it: If you're reading Hair Balls, you've probably done something to deserve a curse. And if you checked off anything in their ad in this week's dead-tree Houston Press, then they want to see you at Friday's free cleanse-all.
(It's worth noting that this "Curse Removal Event" ran an ad alongside the cover feature on Zack Kopplin's attempts to bar creationism from public school classrooms. I'm sure there's no connection, but, wait, shit: Coincidences are a sign of curses. Dammit.)
Anyway, this week's event, hosted at 8 p.m. at SLC's Bellaire location, is more than the boilerplate curse-removal service the organization typically offers every Friday. This one offers a special guest.
"We will be honored to welcome a bishop, Bishop Bira, from California," Leyli Ayala, an SCL associate, told me on Monday. "We're going to be spreading the message of Jesus Christ, and at the same time doing strong prayer to break generational curses."
Generational curses, for those faithless in the audience, are anything afflicting you, your family or your liver. Bad luck. Ill health. Cycles of "up and down" -- the NYSE is cursed? -- and the sense that you attract lots of "envy and jealousy." Anything that may have affected you, in any manner, at any point. (Indeed, one of the optional reasons to attend listed in their ad included "Other:________.")
"There are people who practice witchcraft, and we're here to break [that] person from whatever's there, so if there's witchcraft, we're here to break the curse," Ayala said. "What we do is deliverance. Just as in the past in the Bible, Jesus delivered people being oppressed by evil spirits, so it's the same thing we do here in the center for people to be delivered from whatever may be depressing them -- hearing things, seeing things."
Ayala said she was expecting about 500 people to attend, with 500 different theoretical and spiritual and farcical afflictions waiting to be lifted. And it should be noted that those with AIDS and lupus will be as welcome and cleansed as those with ghosts and goblins haunting their nervous systems.
"We have miracles all the time," Ayala said. "We have people cured of AIDS, people cured of cancer."
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And if you don't believe her, well, just ask the doctors who will be in attendance.
"We have doctors attend all the meetings here," Ayala added. "But we don't talk to them about science. It's not scientifical. It's faith."
For what it's worth, I'm looking forward to Friday's curse-expunge. Not for any personal curse, mind you -- but to meet the doctors who will attend, and to share their names, and to make sure I never go near any clinic in which they work. Curses!