There are times in life when one hires a religious figure to complete a ceremony or needed task. Whether it is a priest, pastor, rabbi, or shaman, sometimes a spiritual authority is needed and thus summoned. We expect the figure to behave with the requisite solemnity or authority of someone in such a post. However, at times this is not what happens. A minister at a wedding stumbles over the vows, or a priest sneezes from an excessive amount of incense. Hateful!
So goes another anecdote from Sei Shonagon’s Most Hateful List:
“Someone has suddenly fallen ill and one summons the exorcist. Since he is not at home, one has to send messengers to look for him. After one has had a long, fretful wait, the exorcist finally arrives, and with a sigh of relief one asks him to start his incantations. But perhaps he has been exorcising too many evil spirits lately, for hardly has he installed himself and begun praying when his voice becomes drowsy. Oh, how hateful!”