Something I’ve always liked about the Catholic Church’s saints – even
though I’m a Lutheran – is that they come with great stories. My
personal faves are St. George, who dropped a dragon, St. Christopher,
who was given a dog’s head by God to help prevent vanity, and St.
Columba, who scared away a water monster near Loch Ness.
I was pleased, then, the day the statue of St. Nuggie came to me. He
lay crammed into a Zip-lok bag with a handful of bedraggled dollhouse
characters that I found in a flea market. Only a few inches tall, sans
markings or labels, there was nothing remarkable about him. Just a
youthful, contented face and a hand making the peace sign that somehow
reminded me of the way my brother’s hand used to look just as he was
bending his fingers at the knuckle to administer a nuggie.
A nuggie, for the happily uninitiated, is a knuckle rub to the top of
the scalp, usually accomplished by holding the recipient in a firm
headlock. While physical nuggies are unpleasant in the extreme, I
thought perhaps a spiritual nuggie might be useful now and then. A
saint that could give me a light knuckle rap when I spend too long at
the blog or reach for a second Nonni’s biscotti would be a friend
So, St. Nuggie stood watch on the base of my nightstand lamp for two
years. Just recently, however, I got some new glasses, and took a much
closer look at him after he had toppled into the wastebasket for about
the 200th time. It was only then that I noticed he pointed to an eensy
red heart with his other hand.
Sakes alive. I realized with chagrin that this was no Saint, this was
a tiny plastic statue of a tween-age Jesus! I may be a Lutheran, but I
know a Sacred Heart when I see one. Eventually.
I was horror-stricken. Had I committed blasphemy by calling him St.
Nuggie all this time? I cringed for three or four seconds and then
decided not. This is, after all, a three-inch tall piece of hard
plastic with no name written on it. Perhaps Saint Nuggie just likes to
wear jewelry in the shape of a heart because – being a Saint — he’s
got a good one. Or maybe he had bypass surgery and the incision stayed
miraculously open. Yep, a mere deuce of rationalizations did it for
me. Saint Nuggie he will remain.
I do hope no one will report me to any canonization authorities for
making up my own saint. After all, that guy in Green Bay who dresses
like the pope and calls himself St. Vince has been getting away with
it for years, and he’s still admitted into Friday Night Fish Fry.
Besides, I’m sure that if there were anything wrong with the
misidentification, St. Nuggie would have had me rubbing my scalp in
penitence by now. Not that he’s ever stopped me from eating that
second biscotti. All he lacks is a good story. I’m hoping he will
reveal it to me one of these days, and if it’s any good, I’ll share.
It would be heavenly if it involved a monster.