I didn’t see a Jesus face in a sandwich. My Virgin Mary salt and pepper shakers didn’t begin to cry blood. Neither of those amazing events did not occur in my life. Something more miraculous happened. I interacted with devout Christians twice in the span of 4 days. What is this world coming to? The lion is really lying down with the lamb. I’m the lion. Lambs are kind of wimps. I also haven’t shaved in about a week.
I’ve never had a big argument with a follower of Christ. There’s no point in it. What am I going to yell at them? GRARG!!! ? Chances are, we’re both wrong in what we believe. I don’t go out spewing my beliefs and when others yell out theirs I usually just agree to keep the violence level down. It’s like that famous argument between Barney Gumble and Wade Boggs:
There’s no point in arguing over something like the origin of man or where we go after we die. What matters is the here and now. Lets live together in peace and fight it out when we are reincarnated into spiders.
My first religious encounter came at a bar. That’s where I guess most people find God. I thought I found God in a bar bathroom before. He was tall and boisterous with a long coat on. Directly out of a Medieval Image of God himself. Turned out that it was a homeless man shaving. I found that out when he told me to tug on his beard and was met with a handful of shaving cream. I avoid public bathrooms now. Tugging on beards as well.
I’m sitting at the bar minding my own business with my buddy listening to the musician that is there every week playing the same Oasis songs. Oasis must be the easiest band to cover. Everybody knows how to play Wonderwall. We’re sitting there when a man in a Texas Longhorns hat walks up to us. He has a very small face and squints a lot. His goatee is a fiery red. The woman he’s there with, a ghoul. He turns to us and asks if we’re from Seattle. He must be drunk. Then he explains that we’re dressed with the “Seattle style” and that he lived there before. The Seattle style meaning I’m dressed like a bully from The Simpsons and my friend has on a plaid shirt. We took it as a compliment. Much nicer than saying we’re dressed like someone from Princeton, the location of this encounter. People in Princeton dress like Ivy Leaguers. They tie sweaters around their waists and walks around with women on their arms who wear jewelry that would sell for more than my entire family. In other words, it’s hell.
The man goes on to tell us that he’s a seminary student and works at the church up the street. He didn’t ask us to come sometime which surprised me. Religious people will sell you anything. They never follow-up though. I gave one religious man my e-mail address to send me information on his church and how I could be enlightened. Never got an e-mail from him. My guess, he was hit by a bus after turning the corner.
What surprised me with my interaction with this holy man was that I did not lie to him. I usually lie to people I meet at bars. Usually, it’s not hard. But with this guy I couldn’t tell a lie. I told him my name, where I was from, and the last time I masturbated, just for good measure. He had a hex on me. His charm and unwillingness to convert me disabled my ability to lie. Maybe he found his true calling. If he can get an ass like me to be honest to strangers, maybe he does have Jesus on his side.
Then came my second encounter with some religious folks. I was at the library updating my blog, e-mailing television agents who will have a good laugh at my query letter then delete it, and searching about what the latest results were on last night’s episode of Monday Night RAW. I was wearing my Boondock Saints hoodie which on the front contains the two stars pointing guns downward, execution style. On the back is what they say before blowing someone’s brains out. I’d type it all out, but do not feel like standing up. Something about shepherds and thus and ye. It’s a popular hoodie of mine. Girls have come up to me and talked to me about it. I begin to flirt then they yell “Hey honey, remember that movie?” and their boyfriends twice my size approaches and begins to talk to me. Fuck. Thought I had this one.
I’m sitting there wondering how many people in my township don’t have day jobs. The library is packed for it being noon on a Tuesday. Not everyone is old either. The man cleaning the toilet is, but the girl asking her friend if they should rent Kramer vs. Kramer must be around my age.
I feel a tap on my shoulder. Shit! I’m about to be asked to leave. I turn to see a bearded man with lines on his face. You know when you wake up in the morning and your bed sheets are all folded over and wrinkly? That was this man’s face! He had his ugly wife/girlfriend/partner/fuck buddy with him. She was short and fat. I didn’t look at her much. But I did notice that I could see her tonsils through the gaps in her teeth.
Sheet Face told me he really liked my hoodie. Then he began to read the back of it. He was amazed. I think he stopped reading when he got near my ass. That would be a sin. He asked me where I got it from and I told him the truth, Hot Topic. Then, almost in a cocky manner, he said “So I take it you’re a Christian?” I stuttered out a “Yes, of course.” He and his lumpy partner were impressed. In a world with so many horrors, they could still find a young man who believed. They shook my hand and told me that they were good Christians too. I just remembered that I touched their hands. Shit. I need some soap. Religious people always have dirty hands. Probably from never cleaning out their holy water. Holy water recycles itself. It’s made of 23% hand grease.
The two holy rollers left thinking that they had made a new Christian friend. Despite the fact that the front of my shirt had men with guns on it and I was wearing an Opie & Anthony hat, I must be a good human being. Or maybe they weren’t just that observant. They saw one detail and thought that it must be true. They didn’t analyze the rest of the situation. Like if I had porn up on my computer, but still had a religious psalm on the back of my shirt, I must be a good Christian. Pay attention to all the facts! That’s how people come to believe half the ridiculous things they read.
I felt a little guilty lying and saying that I was a Christian. The weird thing, it was the same type of guilt I used to feel when I would say that I wasn’t. Have I grown to accept my own beliefs? I think so. It doesn’t matter what I believe. Really, it’s not up to me. I can learn whatever it is that I want, but for me to believe something takes life experiences and depends on the personality that I have. I’m not exactly sure what it is that I believe. What I do know is that I am not a Christian.
So what did I learn from this? With one religious guy I managed to tell the truth. With another, I managed to tell a bold-faced lie. I made the second guy feel good, like there is hope out there for this world anyway. Okay, probably not. But who knows? None of us do. I think the only thing I can take away from this is that when strangers talk to me that I get nervous and say whatever it is that I think they want to hear. If that man asked me if I liked to suck cocks you can bet I would say that I did.
I don’t mind lying to strangers. It’s hard for me to do though. Maybe I’m an honest guy. Or at least slow-witted on thinking up something clever and rude to say. Yep, let’s go with that one.
Before posting this, I had yet a new experience with a pushy religious nut. I was getting my 7,000 mile oil change (it helps the car build up an immunity waiting so long). The shop only contained 5 seats and 4 of them were occupied. I wasn’t about to sit next to a stranger. What am I, a whore? So I went outside and sat on those chairs. I read the book that I brought with me using a ticket from a baseball game as the book mark. While reading, a man came outside on his phone. He spit a lot and had a hoodie over his head. When the phone call ended he turned to me and asked what book I was reading. I told him and explained it then laughed. He seemed disinterested. Until he said something horrible.
“Have you ever read the Bible?”
What does that have to do with a book written by one of the writers of the Simpsons? Did he not hear me explain what my book interests were? I lied and said that I had read parts. I figured, if I said I read it all and he quizzed me and I got it wrong, I’d look like a buffoon. If I got a few questions incorrect, they could be parts that I hadn’t yet read. I was thinking on my toes.
He continued to praise Jesus. Saying how he saved him from drugs, alcohol, and hormones. Those dangerous deadly hormones. I made up a quick story in my head about how he had been taking hormone supplements during a sex change gone awry. I don’t think he would have enjoyed the story.
Aaron, as he introduced himself as before leaving, continue to spew out nonsense. He said that The Bible is a guide to how to live your life and how to get to heaven. I really wanted to tell him that I was enjoying my book and to please go away. I just can’t do it though. The power of Christ compels me to be a non-confrontational liar.
“I can tell that you were raised in church.” said Aaron. I was not raised in church. I’ve been inside churches maybe 10 times in my life. Half were for auctions. The other half were me being tricked into thinking it was some place more fun, like a carpet store. He asked when the last time I had been in church was. I said only a few months ago which I guess is true. The last church I went to was in a fancy hotel. They had big screen televisions and a token Hasidic Jew. What? My excuse for not going to church recently was because I had just moved into town. I’ve been here almost 2 years. Yet another amazing lie told to a religious man.
So maybe what it comes down to is that I can lie to people who annoy me. I didn’t lie to the religious man who didn’t shove his beliefs in my face. I was completely honest with him. Plus he was at a bar. That’s pretty slick for a guy who doesn’t think dinosaurs were real.