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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Bar Room Prayer Isn't Funny

It is true that I would rather be in a coffee shop than in a bar which is why I went to the cafe on board a cruise ship to have some afternoon java and stare out the window at the ocean and think deep thoughts.  At the other end of the cafe is a bar where people who prefer alcohol can get the drink they prefer and stare out the window too and think their deep thoughts.  It is a congenial way to spend an afternoon cruising from one port to the other.

I don't object to that at all.  What I did object to was a round up of people bellying up to the bar and cheered to spending more money on alcohol by being led by a ship employee in the chanting of what I discovered later had a name:  The Bar Room Prayer, which to my Christian ears, began to sound unbelievably like the Lord's Prayer.  Later I learned that it was a parody of the Lord's Prayer, an invention in such poor taste as to certainly not be funny and, truly, to those of us who view the Lord's Prayer as a model of how to pray, was unwise, disrespectful and, here's the business problem, alienating for the business who was providing an employee to lead this parody in a public setting with little regard for those of us who were cafe-goers and happened to just be standing near enough to hear it and be repulsed by not only the abuse of a beautiful prayer's rhythm but the encouragement of customers to get drunk in order to earn greater profits.

It's a pitful way to do business but a very efficient way to drive off customers.  For there were far more people drinking coffee than drinking beer, and I was not the only one to leave the room.  I went down to the main deck and filed a complaint about using this parody of the Lord's Prayer in a public forum and which was led by a company employee who was in a hurry to finish this chore and get on to the next.  The parody was led by rote, with little thought for the effect it was having--driving customers away, leaving a very bad impression and a bad taste in my mouth about an experience on a ship that had been otherwise quite pleasant.

In an age when businesses compete always for more customers and greater word of mouth, the story I tell of this company is that it doesn't know the product it is selling.  Renowned for setting the bar high for good taste as a ship for people who prefer civility and quiet, in an unchecked moment without anyone monitoring the good taste of the entertainment by a young person who did not know better, this event happened and will most likely happen again.

It shouldn't.

For those of you who think I am exaggerating, here's the parody as I heard it:

Our lager,
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink.
Thy will be drunk, (I will be drunk),
At home as it is in the pub.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillage's,
As we forgive those who spill against us.
And lead us not to incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers.
For thine is the beer, The bitter, The lager.

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