The other day, I was riding up U.S. 1 when we passed one of those Christian bookstores. Outside was an illuminated sign describing the week's specials and such.
That week, the sign proudly announced, the featured items were "Books and Videos Refuting The Da Vinci Code."
Hmmm, I thought. That's odd. When I got home, I looked in my copy of Dan Brown's mega-selling thriller. Sure enough, the disclaimer on the flyleaf was just as I remembered it: "All of the characters and events in this book are fictitious," etc.
I scratched my head. Last time I checked, "fictitious" meant "something someone made up." So why, I wondered, was there this sudden need for books and videos refuting made-up stuff?
In case you're one of the five people in the English-speaking world who haven't read the book or seen the movie, it's about a brilliant but studly college professor and a brilliant but smokin' hot French cryptologist who've stumbled across a secret that could shake the foundations of modern religion: Mary Magdalene, rather than being one of those ladies of negotiable virtue, was in reality the wife of Jesus and bore him a child.
The child's descendants live among us today and are being protected by a mysterious organization called the Priory of Sion.
The conservative Catholic organization known as Opus Dei, on the other hand, is willing to do anything to protect the secret, up to and including dispatching killer albino monks to wipe out anyone threatening to expose it.
When all these people collide, hijinks ensue. There are puzzles to be solved and bad guys to be eluded, including the aforementioned killer albino monk. OK, I confess, I just like writing "killer albino monk."
Now, I found The Da Vinci Code quite entertaining, but it seems a little silly to me for anyone to be going to great lengths to refute all this stuff, since it's the sort of thing that would only be treated as fact by the sort of people who line their hats with tinfoil to keep out the rays from the secret mind-control satellites, if you catch my drift.
Then I did a little more research and found something astonishing. While The Da Vinci Code is making a fortune, a smaller but still substantial fortune is being made by people striving mightily to refute a work of fiction.
Well, you know me, folks. Where some people see foolishness, your Humble Columnist sees opportunity. It may be too late for me to jump on the Anti-Da Vinci Code bandwagon, but by golly, there's plenty of other wildly popular entertainment based on wacky religious theories that I can refute.
So I"m announcing the publication of a series of works doing just that. I'll be starting with the series of popular action-adventure films that began with Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first book in the series, Big Stinkin' Liars of the Lost Ark, will conclusively prove that:
*The Bible does not, in fact, speak of Ark of the Covenant "laying waste to entire regions." (It did kill one poor sap whose only sin was touching the Ark to keep it from falling off a wagon and being smashed to bits, which seems inordinately harsh. But I'm sure it's just an error in biblical translation).
* The Nazis did not, in fact, find a city that had been buried in the desert by a sandstorm that lasted a whole year.
* It is not, in fact, possible to ride for thousands of miles on the outside of a submarine with nothing more than the clothes on your back and not die of either drowning, thirst or exposure, to say nothing of being discovered by the crew.
* If someone picks up a piece of red-hot artwork, it is not, in fact, likely that you will be able to recreate the inscription on the artwork from the burn scars on the person"s hand.
The second book, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Big Stinkin' Lies, will expose the long-buried truths that:
* It is not, in fact, possible to slide down a Himalayan mountain using a rubber raft as a sled.
* Smart-alecky little Asian kids are not, in fact, cute.
* Kate Capshaw cannot, in fact, act her way out of a paper bag.
In Book Three, Indiana Jones Is Still a Big Stinkin' Liar, I will reveal to the world that:
* While Sean Connery played Harrison Ford's father in the film, he is only 12 years older than Ford in real life.
So. I've got a concept. I've got an outline. Now all I need is a publisher. Oh, and I also need to find a way to work killer albino monks into the book. Then I'm good to go. Happy reading!