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An ample (noun) is a small, ceramic religious icon in the shape of a garden gnome, but about one-tenth of the size. An ample is an important part of religious services in an obscure religion called Burbism.

Amples are generally affixed to the end of a ratty old string, an expensive ornamental gold chain or something in between those extremes, depending on the wealth of the Burbist parish. (Actually, Burbs, which is the name for adherents of the Burbist faith, don’t call them parishes, but rather subdivisions.)

During services held in mawls, Burbism’s places of worship, the religious leader, known as a soccermam, holds the end of the string or chain that the ample is attached to. She then swings the ample first in the direction of the nearest McDonalds and then in the direction of the nearest Walmart. She repeats this action eleven times.

While the soccermam is swinging the ample, the congregation chants, “Consistency is great. Mediocracy is sublime. God is OK.” If necessary, they repeat this chant until the soccermam has completed her eleven back and forth swings. If a mass speech impediment slows down the chant significantly, or if the soccermam swings the ample particularly quickly, the congregation might need to intone it only once. The average is about five.

The need to swing the ample in the direction of the nearest McDonalds and Walmart becomes more difficult if the nearest Walmart and the nearest McDonalds are in the same direction. In that case, the soccermam must first swing the ample in that direction, pivot 360 degrees and then swing the ample again in the same direction. Repeating that motion eleven times often causes soccermams to become horribly dizzy and fall down, in which case the Burbist scriptures dictate that she start all over again.

It is also difficult if the mawl is located in an area without any McDonalds and/or Walmart locations. In that case, before conducting her first service, the soccermam must first do considerable research by consulting corporate directories and plotting the direction of the nearest outlet, even if that’s in another country.

In all cases, the soccermam has to keep an eagle eye to ensure that a new McDonalds and/or Walmart hasn’t opened in a closer location.

An interesting side note: Whereas some religions (such as Catholicism or orthodox Judaism) don’t allow women to hold the highest clerical role in the church, Burbism insists on it. Soccermams must be women. Not only that, but they must be mothers with children who, in the United States or Canada, play soccer or, elsewhere in the world, play football.

Once a soccermam no longer has any dependent children, she must retire from her soccermam role. In the cases of particularly nerdy children, this might not happen until they are well into their thirties. That, according to Burbism, is why God gave us basements.

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