Comedian and actor W.C. Fields (1880-1946) presented his first performances, juggling, in churches and theaters at the age of 15. Three years later he left his parents’ Christian home in Pennsylvania and soon became a headliner on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Many years later, a friend found him — now a known atheist — reading a Bible in a hospital. When the surprised visitor asked why, Fields replied, “I’m checking for loopholes.”
Weeks later he died of an alcohol-related stomach hemorrhage.
Whether flippant or sincere, his attitude is hardly limited to those at the end of life. A joke tells of a Catholic school cafeteria with a crate of milk cartons and a sign that reads: “Take only one. God is watching.” At the end of the lunch line sat chocolate cookies. On a napkin someone had scrawled: “Take all you want. God is watching the milk.” ...