Dear Jeebus, I wish this were a joke:
Maine National Guard members in Iraq and Afghanistan are never far from the thoughts of their loved ones.
But now, thanks to a popular family-support program, they're even closer.
Welcome to the ``Flat Daddy" and ``Flat Mommy" phenomenon, in which life-size cutouts of deployed service members are given by the Maine National Guard to spouses, children, and relatives back home.
The Flat Daddies ride in cars, sit at the dinner table, visit the dentist, and even are brought to confession, according to their significant others on the home front.
``I prop him up in a chair, or sometimes put him on the couch and cover him up with a blanket," said Kay Judkins of Caribou, whose husband, Jim, is a minesweeper mechanic in Afghanistan. ``The cat will curl up on the blanket, and it looks kind of weird. I've tricked several people by that. They think he's home again."
This is disturbing on so many levels. I wonder what Tom Friedman thinks. Of course the best part is taking a cardboard cutout to confession. Pretty impressive that a cardboard cuttout can participate in a sacrament. Of course, I'd like to see how it fares with the sacrament of baptism:
John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.