Inspired by the art of Mother Mary praying at the foot of the cross.
Inspired by the art of Mother Mary praying at the foot of the cross.
Jesus tastes mmmm good
At the Cricket Café in Portland, Oregon, I have to keep pulling myself upright. The slick booth and gravity keep dragging me to the floor. I’m suffering from the indulgence of a night out on the town. The hangover has rendered me almost speechless, and I can only stare at my friend, Eric, across the table.
The only thought my mind is willing to contemplate: ‘What the hell was I doing last night?’ I’m too old to be living this lifestyle. My throat is sore, nasal passages burn, head hurts, and stomach feels queasy. The omelet is good but bed sounds better. I should be feeling upbeat and happy about trying fake sausage in my omelet for the first time.
I am not a god-fearing individual, but an odd thing takes place at the Cricket Café that many Christians claim can happen in moments like these. I hear the door open and look up to see an angel. The woman does not have large angel wings but large breasts and a t-shirt that reads “Jesus.”
I never had faith in the divine, but the way I’m feeling I’m willing to take a chance on the idea that Jesus might use angel breasts and silkscreen to speak to me. I decide to open my heart and listen for Jesus’s soft voice. This is what I hear:
“Brandon, I want you to become a disciple of consumer Jesus. Everything you purchase must be in my name. This includes everything from automobiles to plastic toys and ashtrays.”
All of a sudden, I see a flash of light and these images.
I feel like the Apostle Paul thrown off his horse.
“Jesus, I will give my life to your ministry of consumerism. Lord, can I do more than just max out my credit card in your name?”
Jesus appears in a business suit. “Yes, son, you can help me with my specialty food line. I need a product as popular as cheap fast food hamburgers and tastes as good as bacon. I want you to promote my new line of food on Earthworm Envy. Here’s my idea based loosely around that fake sausage in your omelet. You eat a fake pig. Why not eat a fake Jesus?”
He opens his Last Supper lunch box and pulls out some drawings. One drawing shows a stick figure cutting Jesus open with a fork and knife. Another shows Jesus’s open chest cavity with little lambs inside wearing dollar sign necklaces. In the last drawing, a stick figure has a little lamb on his fork and says, “Jesus tastes like lamb.”
Jesus proudly proclaims, “I was the first to promote fake meat. Do you remember my words at the Last Supper? Take this bread and eat it, for this is my flesh.” He straightens his tie, raises his arms and continues, “Consumer Jesus disciples and heathens need Jesus fake meat. There’s a lot of evil and money to be made in this world, and if I can’t be in the sinners’ hearts, then at least I’ll be in their bellies! Can I get an Amen?”
Poof! Jesus disappears and my body quivers. I feel rejuvenated and bounce up and down in the booth like a young 22-year-old with a hangover drinking Red Bull. I eat the rest of my omelet with a glow and start muttering, “Amen, Jesus is my CEO and he tastes mmmm good!”
The Westerner Suffering from Mental and Sanitation Travel Sickness
Basically, if you’re a Westerner visiting Thailand and can’t laugh and smile while your vegetables are cut on a fly-infested cutting board, then you’re mentally going to have a hard time.
Sure, we would like to drive 30 minutes to the nearest city and dine at a clean outdoor patio with misters or large fans. We would like to be waited on by an attractive server who keeps the soda water, ice cubes, and Johnny Walker flowing, while we eat an omelet with proper utensils and have the option to wash our hands with running water and soap instead of wiping them on our trousers and pretending their clean. Right now, time and money are working against us. We rely on Aidan and Robert to play the role of the attractive server.
Despite our time and money limitations, we can afford some cheap beer, a cheap omelet and good conversation somewhere in the countryside near Warinchamrap. We get two out of three at this rural Thai restaurant, and to our surprise, we get more than good conversation and cheap beer.
We got a four star omelet. I now know how dirty Cinderella felt when she put her warty, corned, fungus-filled peasant foot into the clean slipper. The omelet was my slipper. My dirty hands were like Cinderella’s feet. The moment when my fingers brought the omelet up to my lips and my tongue reached out and tasted the bursting flavor of peppers and egg, I felt like a princess.
The other day, I was reading Ancient Wisdom, Modern World by the Dalai Lama. Here I summarize the Dalai Lama’s words about health:
Sickness is a product of the environment. If you come from the West, the sickness tends to be mental and stress related. If you come from the East, the sickness tends to be water-borne and sanitation related.
I imagine a journal entry from a Westerner suffering from mental and sanitation sickness:
After eating the disease-riddled omelet, I got diarrhea. I attribute my discomfort to poor sanitation practices used at the restaurant. Squatting over a hole in the ground has made my thighs sore. I have come to agree that Western toilets are for out of shape, lazy people. Now I wish I was in better shape and hadn’t spent so much time at the beginning of the vacation sitting by the pool looking at the ocean.
I’m still sick; I get depressed looking at my dirty self in the mirror. I came to Ubon to volunteer at a school. I teach kids about Christ through English Camps. When I look at myself, I no longer see Jesus in my face. I resemble the heathens he was trying to save. In all the pictures of Jesus I’ve never seen him dirty. (Maybe bloody, but that can’t be attributed to his personal hygiene). The only thing whiter than Jesus’s face is his robe. I’m no longer Christ-like. I’m dirty like the devil……..Save me, Jesus!!!!
Suffering Sam, the dirty sinner
The journal ends, but Sam’s story is only beginning. Like the diners who must drive to the café instead of taking a ten-minute Saturday morning walk, Sam is in too big of a hurry. Like the omelet eaters who cannot wait for their tomatoes to ripen in season, Sam can’t wait for Jesus to impress upon him that everything will be all right.
His fast-paced heart lets the anxiety of dirtiness grow big and tall in his life. The grim reaper waltzes Sam’s depressed thoughts over to a gun. His dirty fingers smudge the white ivory grip. He can’t put the barrel in his mouth because he’s afraid of catching a cold from the last person who might have blown his or her head off. His Western mental sickness of being afraid of objects that don’t smell lemon fresh saved his life.
The gun fires but only takes off his ear. Friends find him passed out from shock, lying on the ground, with one hole still suffering from sanitation sickness and a new hole suffering from mental sickness.