SLACKJAW by JIM KNIPFEL
August 26, 2012

What Jesus Should Have Been

 

It was about ten o’clock when the LIRR train finally pulled into Penn station, and it was raining hard. The thunderstorms had first rolled in while we were waiting at the station near Morgan’s dad’s place, and I was sure we weren’t going to get back at all that night. It seems they shut down the entire system whenever the tracks get damp. Once the train started moving, I still harbored the sick and distant hope that we’d be forced to stop along the way—specifically at the dark and sinister-sounding “Hillside Support Facility,” where we’d be forced to spend the night, but no such luck. (I realize it’s just an LIRR maintenance hub, but it will always sound like a maximum security asylum for the criminally insane.) The Only time we did stop—and in a way it was caused by the thunderstorms—was when some bumbling oaf other than myself slipped in one of the rain-slick aisles and hurt himself, and we had to wait for an ambulance.

            But all that’s beside the point. It was good to be back. We made our way up to the black and soaking street and the unusually heavy Sunday night crowds. We stepped off to the side under a shelter so Morgan could find her umbrella and I could light a smoke. I’d been needing one for some time.

            A few minutes later we plunged into the downpour and set off for the subway. It was only a couple of blocks, but in the heavy rain, and surrounded by all those enormous high-definition billboards glowing in that cold light, it felt like we’d stepped off the train and into the Blade Runner set. Even with the crowds (which only added to the effect) it was the first time I can ever recall feeling comfortable on 34th Street.

            We paused for the light at the corner of Sixth Avenue. Morgan’s little umbrella wasn’t offering much protection, and I was soaked. I didn’t much care. It was a hot night on top of everything, and it cooled me a bit. As we waited there patiently, an Indian man pushing a food cart charged past us in the opposite direction.

            “Asshole!” he shouted.

            “Asshole?” Morgan asked. We’d already had plenty of that on the train from the dickweeds returning from their weekend homes in Greenport.

            “Oh, no,” an Australian man said as he stepped up beside us. He was pushing a stroller. “I believe I’m the asshole in question—I couldn’t get my children out of the way of his cart fast enough.”

            “So you’re the asshole?”

            “It seems that way, yes.”

            “Oh. Well thank you. we thought he was talking to the blind guy.”

            “No, the guy with the kids.”

            The light changed and we went on our way to the subway, leaving the nice Australian asshole behind, and feeling much better about the day in general.

            By the time we reached Morgan’s neighborhood half an hour later, something had started to occur to me. “That guy was like Jesus.”

            “Hmm?” Morgan asked.

            “Well, you thought that Indian was yelling at you. Then this guy steps up and says ‘no, he was calling me an asshole, not you,’ and it changed the entire tone of the evening. You know, that’s what Jesus should have done.”

            “What’s that?”

            “Instead of taking away the sins of the world, he should’ve taken away all the assholes. Just take them all upon himself and be done with it. Sin I can live with. Would’ve been much more useful to get rid of the assholes, wouldn’t it?”

            I don’t mean just symbolically, either, the way the Christians have it—that Jesus just takes away the responsibility of sin so long as you believe all the other claptrap. I’m talking physically, that he’d eradicate the assholes. Send them all someplace far away so we wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore. If he did that, then maybe I’d see fit cause to believe in a god who actually did something worthwhile. Of course if he did do that it would mean getting rid of well over ninety percent of the human population. Not only would our natural resources last longer, we’d have a hell of a lot more room to flap our arms should we choose to. And best of all, we’d finally be rid of all those pesky Christians and their nutty ideas. Ironically enough, come to think of it, getting rid of the assholes would mean getting rid of most anyone who believes most anything—religious, political, social, economic. People who believe in shit have always been the biggest assholes of all. And what a wonderful world it would be without them.

            Well all right then, that’s my ridiculous and pointless thought for the day. Thank you, Jesus!

 

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