Sample medications from NuTH0uSe Magazine


The faithful are flocking to the Church of Mayberry

To say that viewing reruns of a television sitcom can be a religious experience may sound as sacrilegious as whistling in church. Yet thousands of Christians across this nation are doing both.

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW premiered Oct. 3, 1960, stayed a top 10 favorite throughout its eight years and has been in syndicated revival ever since. Now, however, devotees regard it as a source of more than light entertainment. Bible study teachers use its 249 video parables as course material.

Andy Taylor, the widower sheriff who enforces the moral code of an apocryphal North Carolina town, stands transformed into a spiritual guide for those who believe humorous storytelling can come with a meaningful message - even when it's done via the often vapid medium of commercial TV. And Barney, Opie, Otis, Goober, Gomer, Floyd, Ernest, Helen, Thelma Lou and Aunt Bee serve as acolytes along with comical path to enlightenment.

The first school of Mayberry theology started in Huntsville, Ala., in June 1998. Twickenham Church of Christ parishioners Joey Fann and Brad Grasham offered an evening class at which groups watched an episode of TAGS (fans' shorthand for the show's title) and discussed what could be learned from the characters' experiences.

"I believe the show is filled with the basic morals and Christian principles taught by the scriptures," Fann explained to the CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE. "Each show tended to have a good moral theme that was brought out by the story line. Basic values such as character, personal responsibility, honesty and integrity were routinely exemplified by the show. I believe these characteristics to be uncommon for most television shows past and present."

The homespun flavor of TAGS, fans note, cannot be attributed to a simpler era. The show aired during a tumultuous decade of assassinations, riots, protests and war. Audiences responded to it because it protectively held on to the core values they didn't want society to forget or lose in good times or bad.

Unlike most TV comedies, TAGS did not extract laughter by having characters insult each other. The scripts weren't loaded with one liners. Without being preachy, TAGS used situational humor to show us that a sense of decency and spirit of community are not hard to achieve. A little love, forgiveness or encouragement can indeed bring about a happy ending.

"Mayberry may be fictitious but its lessons are not," Pat Allison, who taught a TAGS class at a church in Tullahoma, Ala., told the Associated Press.

One-bullet Barney's boastfulness reminds us all of the dangerous slope we create out of pride. Aunt Bee's flirtations with an old beau make us realize that love can make us blind to another's failings. Andy's admonitions to his son about honesty make all parents pause as they, took, think about when and why they shaded the truth.

The episode in which Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with his slingshot is perhaps the most poignant, memorable and studied. It is a lesson about growing up and letting go. Opie raises the baby birds he has orphaned. And, painfully, he must release them when they are mature enough to care for themselves.

"The cage sure looks awful empty, don't it, Pa?" he asks Andy.

"Yes, son, it sure does," his father says - soon noticing a lot of chirping outside Opie's window. "But don't the trees seem nice and full?"

chinese misfortune cookies

What's your future? You don't want to know.

* Leave big tip. No worries. Next time waiter NOT spit in food.

* Duck and look behind you! QUICK!

* Bad shellfish in egg roll. You throw up now.

* You soon reunite with past lover. First, spouse ask to read cookie fortune that make you smile.

* Investment bring big dividends, followed by federal investigation.

* Protect dependents. Buy life insurance. SOON!

* Encounter with hooker cause pain in groin.

* Chopsticks may be made of recycled tainted drywall. You throw up now.

* First born to have born-again, religious experience - inside prison.

* You soon apply here for dishwasher job.


It's not all about location...

MORNING WOOD. This bedroom community is known for its hardly desperate housewives. While waking up here is certainly a pleasure, afternoon delights are frequent as well.

INTERSTATE VIEW. Let the all-night-long wail of sirens and crescendos of crashing bumpers sooth you to sleep, knowing you live in one of the most hopping and convenient spots in town. Your friends and co-workers will be envious when you tell them your new address is Exit 74-B - within easy walking distance of the Waffle House.

LITTLE BANGLADESH. The developer trimmed back on the amenities to keep prices in this 1,500-unit, federally subsidized high-rise within an affordable housing range. Who needs a laundry room anyway? Get to know your neighbors on washing day as all of you beat your wet clothes against the communal rock.

BROKEBACK RANCH. This rural neighborhood of ranchette homes is perfect for weekend cowboys. Plenty of space for horses - and sheep. If you like to wear chaps and leather, you won't look out of place here.

SUNKEN ACRES. Built atop a sinkhole, this subdivision will eventually become a secluded, underground paradise. Stake your claim soon. Just don't pound the stake too hard.

HOOKER CORNERS. Now, this is grimy, urban living. Yet it can be friendly and casual as well. People love to drive slowly down the main drag and stop to chat with the mini-skirted residents about personal favors and the cost of living. And the police patrols are very reliable. Look for apartments swathed in crime scene tape to find a possible bargain.

SEPTIC SPRINGS. Never pay a water bill again. Every new home here comes with a well and a special water faucet filter.

ROCKBOTTOM HARBOR. Overwhelmed by your mortgage payments? Got bad credit? This subdivision of older, slightly neglected homes is where you belong. No cable TV or other expensive, needless extras.

SEAWEED SHORES. The smell of an occasional toxic tide and fish kill can be pungent. Still, you get to enjoy life in a seaside cottage made of authentic driftwood and recovered shipwreck parts. All aboard, maties.