Jesus, Wet Blanket

The commute home last night was excruciating. The El stopped for fifteen minutes, and when I finally made it to the bus it stopped in the middle of Lakeshore Drive for half an hour. The people next to me were Eaters. One had a meatball sub from Subway, and the other a bag of shit from McDonalds. I was on the verge of saying something to the couple when I saw them communicating through sign language. I realized that at least one of them was deaf, which halted my impulse to try to communicate my horror at how slowly the man was consuming that meatball sub. I really wanted to say something and was pissed that I couldn’t. I then wanted to tell them that deafness was no excuse for disgustingness. Upon scarfing down her McDonald’s, the girl eventually pulled out a psychology textbook, as if to mock my reaction to them.

When the driver finally flagged down an alternate bus for us to board, I found the same seat and sat down comfortably, knowing the Eaters were elsewhere and had completed their meal. Unfortunately, I was joined by two amateur theologians who chose to turn the rest of the bus ride into an impromptu Bible Study.

They were discussing the importance of baptism. The younger of the pair explained to his elder, “Baptism isn’t just about being anointed as one of Christ’s own, the pouring of water over you is mandated. It’s physical.” At this point, I began rooting around my backpack for my ipod so that I could drown these guys out. When I remembered that the battery was dead, I cursed myself for forgetting to recharge it. I tried calling several of my so-called friends and family. To those of you who didn’t pick up in my moment of need or were “on my way to dinner with some friends and can’t talk,” all I can say to you now is fuck you. With no more distractions left to me, I knew there was only one way to end this torture.

“…It’s like going to police academy. You can go and graduate, but unless you get that badge you’re not a policeman. You’ve gone through the whole training, but you need the name of a policeman bestowed on you. That’s what it’s like to have the water poured on you. It’s the visible sign that you’re a follower of Christ, like the badge is the visible sign that you’ve become a policeman.”

As he explained, my mind raced until it found a point where I could interrupt. “Yeah, but eventually you dry off,” I said.

“What?”

“When you’re baptised, right? You do eventually have to dry off.”

“But you still have Christ’s name. You see…”

He went on to explain the whole comparison to me once again.

“Yes,” I interrupted. “I get it. It’s a clever analogy. But it’s a false one. After all, you people are eventually given a blanket or something to dry off, right?”

He nodded, following along. “Well, that means you don’t walk around wet all the time, whereas a cop always has to have his badge in order for me to recognize he’s a policeman.”

“But it’s still the visible sign that you’ve changed.”

“Sure, until you dry off. I guess you could carry around the wet blanket that dried you off, but even that’s going to dry up or get moldy eventually. Sooner or later you Catholics or Christians, or whichever, aren’t going to have a a symbol like the cop’s badge.”

This basically ended the conversation as my thoughtful interlocuter pulled out his Bible from underneath his copy of Sports Illustrated to consult the relevant passages. A girl nearby smiled and mouthed out “thank you.”

As the amateur theologians got up to leave, the younger one turned to me and said, “I guess it’s more like a high school diploma.”

“What?”

“Being baptised. It’s liked getting your high school diploma. You don’t have to carry that around. Is that a better analogy?”

“Yeah, I’d run with that one.”

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5 Responses to “Jesus, Wet Blanket”

  1. sareeta Says:

    that’s nothing. on my way home from work last night i passed a young, round-faced man in baggy pants and a baseball cap standing about on 6th avenue with his decidedly flaccid and somewhat diminutive prick hanging about outside his trousers like a sailor on shore leave. at least your aural harassers used the fig leaf of analogy however inexpertly applied, after all, they didn’t show you their holy water, did they?

  2. darknessatnoon Says:

    hey hey hey, now!The obscenity was eating the meatball sub in front of me. I think a literal prick would have been easier to handle. Metaphorization is human nature, and watching someone eat a meatball sub on the bus next to you is akin to not only watching him suck cock, but also to seeing him eating a shit sandwich.

  3. darknessatnoon Says:

    In the case of the amateur theologians, I think the obscenity went the other way around. I was the asshole to them. This is what happens when my friends don’t answer the phone: I’m forced to persecute Christians.

  4. Zed Says:

    I bet Nero used the same excuse. You should start learning the phrase, “Your eating in public disgusts me” in ASL, Spanish, Polish, Vietnamese, Bosnian … all the Chicago languages. Maybe you could print up a little card.

  5. darknessatnoon Says:

    No, not that it “disgusts me.” Rather “it is disgusting.” Objectively.

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