Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to talk about this saint named Apollonia…
Ok, so I’m not gonna lie. I only chose this Saint because I’m a big Prince fan and I wanted to use that line. I didn’t expect her story to get all American History X tho, but it does…
So, Apollonia was born in the second century, and she’s the patron saint of tooth probs (and the folks who fix them) because she had all of her teeth shattered and violently ripped out by an angry, paranoid mob. Her story is enough to make you wanna duct tape a pillow in front of your face.
She was yet another virgin martyr who was killed during an uprising in Egypt. Basically, one of their well known poets at the time prophesied “calamity,” so this angry mob went out to preemptively fulfill that prophesy themselves by torturing a bunch of Christians and, like, no one stopped them.
All I’m saying is, Maya Angelou never did us us dirty like that. And neither did Prince, who I’m sure some might argue was a poet in his own right. And by “some,” I mean me. I’m some.
Anyway, after the mob American History X’d her teeth, they made a huge bonfire and told her they’d burn her at the stake if she didn’t blaspheme God at which point she was all “boop!” and jumped right in herself.
What I find really fascinating about this saint’s story is the fact that it reminds me of my all-time favorite Twilight Zone episode – “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.”
If you’ve never seen it, it basically starts when the power goes out in a suburban neighborhood. The residents living on Maple Street all come out and start asking if everyone’s electricity is out and that’s when they notice just one house, at the end of street, that still has power. They go from “that’s weird” to “THEY MUST BE FILTHY COMMUNISTS!!!” as fast as you can say, “red scare.” Throughout the episode they keep winding each other up, and their paranoia gets so bad that they eventually start grabbing lawn tools from their garages to go over and murder these people… for having electricity.
Like, obvi just knocking on their door and asking if they have any available freezer space for the ’hood’s perishables was not enough. They were after commie blood by the end of the episode. And then… wait, I guess this is where I should put a spoiler alert because I’m about to tell y’all the twist here… but honestly, come to think of it, you’ve had like 50 years to watch it, so you have no one to blame but yourself at this point, so, spoiler alert RESCINDED. Then, the camera pans out and you see two feds hiding in the bushes all like, “Well, that escalated quickly,” because it was all some sort of government experiment on societal demise and how quickly you could get people to turn on each other. And the answer was clearly less than 30 minutes because that’s how long Twilight Zone episodes are, right?
Just one guy saying “Calamity!” was enough to send some ancient Alexandrians curb stomping virgins which is maybe just maybe something those of us in modern America should pay a little attention to because we’re already pretty divided and y’all I like my teeth.
Also, I give this saint story 5 out of 10 stars because there were far too few places to fit Prince references in. I mean, they did all go crazy, yeah, and Apollonia’s self-discipline in life makes a body think of the lead track on Prince’s The Gold Experience, but that hardly seems appropriate to mention.
Destiny Herndon De La Rosa is the founder of the secular pro-life New Wave Feminists organization. She is a frequent op/ed contributor to the Dallas Morning News and a sought-after speaker.
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