Say you're a lapsed Catholic. You haven't seen the inside of a church since Pope what's-his-name was in office. Long ago you forgot the difference between a venial and a mortal sin, but you're pretty sure you've committed bunches of each.
You enjoy being faithless. But deep in your sin-drenched soul there's a longing you're barely willing to admit to yourself, it's so incongruous with the rest of your current debauched lifestyle.
The confession booth. Ah, those were the days.
My own days date back to when I was ten, or thereabouts. I remember my first communion, which included, I'm pretty sure, my first confession. I was too young to have done much serious sinning. I seem to remember that the priest had to jog me into coming up with something confessable.
"So, do you attend Mass every Sunday."
"No, Father, my mother rarely takes me to church."
"Well, you should try to do better. Say ten Our Father's and five Hail Mary's."
I did. And immediately felt better. I knew that I still wasn't going to go to Mass very often, but now I had a time-saving technique that seemed to offer all the benefits of church without the crazy-ass Latin and that damnably hard railing that you had to kneel on a bunch of times during the Mass.
I could whip through ten Our Father's and five Hail Mary's much more quickly than getting dressed up, driving to the Catholic Church, sitting through the impossibly boring service, and going home again – all the while wishing that I was with my friends in Presbyterian Sunday School, where they got to do a lot more fun things than sit, kneel, sit, kneel, sit, kneel while the priest blabbed in a language that nobody could understand.
So confession is cool. Back then I saw it as a shortcut, a quick way to reboot the moral software when you've screwed up the Virtue Operating System (of course, in 1958 slide rules still ruled for almost everybody but a few Univac geeks, so this metaphor wouldn't have applied).
Now that we're in the Internet Age, it figures that online confessions are a trendy approach to absolution. A Los Angeles Times story, "Confessions in Adaptation" mentioned some web sites that enable people to bare their soul anonymously without leaving their laptop.
I kept trying to reach Ivescrewedup.com, offered through Florida's Flamingo Road Church, but it looks like their server is screwed up. Sigh… I'll confess anyway: It pissed me off when I kept getting "The connection was reset" messages and I called this web site some nasty names.
Group Hug is OK, but this was another site with a @#$%&! slow web server that drove me freaking nuts, and I wanted to strangle the bozo who's in charge of it.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
(Ah, web-surfing karmic slate has been wiped clean. Now I can visit sites, like this one, that really bring out the obscenity-filled side of me.)