I visited Mepkin Abbey over the Christmas holiday for a few weeks of soul inspiring janitorial work with Trappist monks! I thought I’d share this short story about my recent trip to the monastery.
One of my former Duke students sent me a copy of the movie My Life which I had never seen for Christmas. First because she loves the movie, and second because it stars a friend of mine, Michael Keaton – who was kind enough to endorse my book.
It is an “uplifting” flick so I took it with me to Mepkin Abbey and gave the DVD to the abbot, Fr. Stan. Much to my joy he decided to show it over Christmas to the monks and guests. (As far as I know the monks watch one movie a year over Christmas.)
Well, the good news is that the monks and the abbot loved the movie. The bad news is that there is a scene in it where Keaton’s character and his wife are trying to come up with a name for their baby. Keaton suggests a “Roman name” and after a half hearted “Julius” from his wife he in turn suggests “Augustus.” The he says, “We could call him “Augie!”
This of course sent both Keaton and Nicole Kidman (playing his wife) into stitches of laughter at such an outlandish suggestion: An outburst which was quickly followed by a similar guffaw from all the monks at my expense. As Rodney used to say, I can’t get no respect!
(Can’t help but wonder if Keaton thought of me at all when he mentioned my name. Hell, how many Augie’s can he know??? )