The Pope is in the States for five days. He’s delivered Mass in several different locations, spoken to Congress, visited New York City, etc.
I’m not Catholic, but I do know that when Francis became Pope he gave up all his normal life. But what if while he was in the States, he called in for a sick day, and he and I could just hang out for that day?
If he weren’t sick, how could he call in for a sick day? That would be a lie. Wait a minute. He’s here in the States, and we would be using the U. S. government definition of a sick day which says you can take a sick day without being sick. And as long as Pope Francis has been at it, also taking into account the time before he became Pope, he probably has at least 2,000 sick days accumulated.
There would be another problem though. Whom would he call? He’s the top man in the Catholic world. Maybe he could call from one cell phone to another and leave himself a recorded message that he’s taking a sick day.
There’s one thing he and I couldn’t do, even though I imagine the thought has crossed his mind, and it sure has crossed mine. How fast will the Pope mobile go? With the Pope at the wheel and me in the passenger side, when the Pope floored it, and we went careening down Fifth Avenue, do you think any policeman would stop us for speeding? The Pope might even put three or four sinners in the back of the Pope mobile to see if their religion became mobilized during the harrowing ride through the streets of NYC. That couldn’t work. People would see us, and start to gather, and soon there would be 100,000 people blocking our way.
That 100,000 people wouldn’t bother Pope Francis. He’s used to large crowds. When he speaks from the balcony at the Vatican, on a good day down below there must be a 1,000,000 people.
No, if the Pope and I were hanging out for a day, we’d try to fit in, and not arouse suspicion. Naturally I couldn’t let the Pope out in his religious robes, so I’d have to come up with a suit and a plain tie that wouldn’t be noticed, a hat, and some sunglasses.
First thing we’d go by Krispy Kreme for doughnuts and coffee. We’d probably get a few glances, and maybe somebody would come over, and say Pope Francis reminded them of Pope Francis. I would already have warned the Pope that we would not use Francis in public, because that would be a giveaway that he was Pope Francis, and also that Francis is not used that often anymore for a man’s name. I’d call him Frank. When the person identifying him as Pope Francis was waiting for confirmation, both Frank and I would laugh, which I’m sure Pope Francis (Frank) probably hasn’t done for some time, unless his assistant has a good joke to tell him about eleven o’clock before he goes to bed, and nobody but he and his assistant will see him laughing.
I’d also caution Pope Francis to let me do the talking because someone might recognize his voice.
To further enhance the misidentification in Krispy Kreme, after Pope Francis and I had laughed, I would have said, “Gee Frank, how many times have people told you you look like Pope Francis, and we both know that at this very moment Pope Francis is giving a Mass ten blocks away?” The person would walk away disappointed.
Of course we would want to know what people thought of the Pope, and as we were walking down the street, I would stop a bunch of ladies to ask them in Pope Francis’ presence. You have to remember some of the street interviews I’ve seen on TV, and I couldn’t expect these to be any different. In answer to a question that I asked about what they thought of Pope Francis, one of the lady’s would probably say, “He’s very religious.” Another might say, “In the summertime, doesn’t he get hot in all of those clothes?” When I asked one of them what she thought about comments that he made, she would probably say, “I turned off the TV when he came on.”
With that last comment, I would ask Frank (Pope Francis) to take off his sunglasses, and the one or two ladies in the group who were Catholic would recognize him, and all of them would go screaming down the street, while Frank and I ducked into an alley to avoid the notoriety.
For lunch we’d go for a hot dog from one of the street vendors. I believe Catholics eat fish on Friday, so I would want this to be another day than Friday, so Frank could eat a hot dog. Here again Frank would probably get a glance or two, and someone would come up to him, and say, “Aren’t you the actor Michael Constantine?” I’d shrug it off by saying, “Frank, that’s the first time you’ve been accused of looking like an actor.”
We’d be walking around in downtown NYC for a while until we caught an early supper at the actor Paul Sorvino’s restaurant. I have no doubt somebody would come up to Frank with his sunglasses on, and ask him if he were Paul Sorvino. Naturally Paul Sorvino would be in his restaurant, and come up and say he was Paul Sorvino, and that Frank was not Paul Sorvino and that Frank looked like the Pope.”
This would all be a preplanned ruse with Paul Sorvino and his daughter Mira, because then she would walk up, and say Frank was Paul Sorvino, and that the person identifying himself as Paul Sorvino was an imposter.
The person who originally thought Frank was Pope Francis would be so confused, Paul Sorvino would offer him a free meal for his group of four, and everybody would be happy.
In keeping with the identity situation, as we left the restaurant, Frank would stop at the person who came over to our table in the first place, take off his glasses, and Bless all four people, where upon all four of them would realize he was indeed Pope Francis.
Just an ordinary day with an extraordinary person. I think Pope Francis might enjoy that.