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Now that my days as a Washington, D.C., church critic have come to a close, I have numerous regrets concerning missed opportunities. Chief among them is that I did not spend more time leaning on one of these staffs.

This Saturday I ducked out of the Dismemberment Plan reunion show a little early to join a few of my friends in attending an all-night prayer service at Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. When we arrived we were each handed one of these four-foot ceremonial staffs and told that we could lean them to relieve our burden during the four-hour-plus service—-much of which would be spent standing.

It really did the trick. Had I been sitting down I might have been inclined to doze off given the late hour, but with one of these bad boys I was able to stand up all night and concentrate fully on M. Moges Seyoum‘s heated chanting while suffering little fatigue.

I can only think how valuable one of these would have been to have around for any of the 63 services that I attended professionally. All the weight I could have shifted onto it! The collection plates I could have warded off! At any rate, if anybody knows where I can snag one of these for secular use, don’t hesitate to get in touch.