Jesus in Cambria
(Jivester News, Lmtd.) Cambria, California, an hour and a half south of Big Sur and just a ten minute drive from Hearst Castle, is a perfectly quiet and unpretentious, just-plain-folks-bit of America on the West Coast, a place for humanoids to relax and pass time and wind. But apparently Cambria is just as annoying a town as any other, at least according to Jesus of Nazareth, the eponymous Christian leader who fled to this low-key modest seaside town in search of peace and quiet.
"Hey, happy birthday Jesus," yells a passerby as Jesus winces over a cup of Holiday Blend at Gideon's Coffee Shop on Main Street. He then moans as if he had just had a big, fat nail pounded into his flesh. "I cannot get a break," said the man who many believe to be the Christ, which is Greek for "Messiah." "And the hash browns are cold. I can't take this much longer," said Jesus, staring forlornly out the window at a crowd of onlookers, all of whom are clamoring for recognition and imploring him to grant various personal favors. "After breakfast, people!" shouted the Prince of Peace. "After my goddamn breakfast!" My interview with the God who was also a Man was about to begin.
It's hard to say what physical qualities Jesus has that are his most prominent: a large nose, his weathered brow, a couple strands of gray hair that run down along his shaggy sideburns. Perhaps it is his eyes, strange liquid pools that suggest a dark and brooding demiurge skinny-dipping just underneath his wan exterior. Whatever. We sat in a booth at Gideon's and began our journey through his State of the Messiah. Here follows my interview with Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, Father of Christianity and a very average backgammon player.
MJS: Is this okay to talk here, what with everyone pressing up against the glass outside and shoving notes against it and yelling for your attention? Can we go to a bar or something?
(fifteen minutes later at a bar)
MJS: Funny, I never figured you for a scotch drinker.
JESUS: I got interested in single malts back in the early 80â€™s...
MJS: I guess I fell for the stereotype of you and wine.
JESUS: How do you mean?
MJS: Well, you know, the miracle of that wedding you were at when you turned a not insubstantial amount of water into wine...
JESUS: Oh, for crying out loud...just forget all that stuff, okay? I am so sick of being typecast...yes, wine is a wonderful spirit, and one could say I was a kind of wine deity for awhile, like Dionysus: plant the vine, tend to the growth, harvest the grapes, make the wine, which God gives freely, blah, blah, blah. You know, I did recently enjoy a modestly priced delightful Beaujolais Nouvea from Trader Joeâ€™s...a frisky little number. It splashed in my mouth and then did a backstroke across my palate...
MJS: So God doesnâ€™t mind alcohol.
JESUS: Donâ€™t go there. I am the fruit and the vine but I ainâ€™t the liver, if you catch my drift.
MJS: What was it like to live in the first century A.D. (bartender interrupts to tell a joke about a brown calf and a white calf).
MJS: To repeat: the first century in the middle east: what was it like for you?
JESUS: Eh, it was alright. People didnâ€™t live as long back then so you didnâ€™t have to put so many candles on a birthday cake. And they didnâ€™t make small candles back then: these were large honeycomb affairs with wax dripping everywhere.
MJS: (Jesus lights up a hand-rolled something) Is that a joint?
JESUS: No, itâ€™s Bugler.
MJS: They let you smoke in here?
JESUS: Last time they got in my face about lighting up I turned all their Patron into Tang. They got the message.
MJS: What do you think of the whole Intelligent Design debate?
JESUS: What debate? One side produces reams of information and data, the other side stands in a cornfield and makes crowing sounds.
MJS: Well, what do you think of the controversy regarding the Theory of Evolution vs. Intelligent Design?
JESUS: (does impression of ringside announcer) â€œIn this corner...a plethora of scientists and reams of information, ready to take on a couple of gasbags and a drunken lobster...â€ Listen: who is anyone to tell God how to manifest the Universe? Seriously, if that â€œwhich is beyond all names and formsâ€ wants to create life by an ongoing biological process of adaptation, etc., who is anyone to say otherwise? The Bible is a lot of things, but mostly it is an absolute fucking waste of time if you want to understand measurable processes...
MJS: You just said â€œfucking.â€
JESUS: Ooohh...(another scotch is ordered).
MJS: Why relocate in Cambria?
MJS: Why choose to settle down in Cambria? Arenâ€™t you supposed to be somewhere else?
JESUS: I guess my answer would be â€œwhy not?â€ And Iâ€™ll move on in time. These pretzels are stale (Note: fresh pretzels are produced). The only reason we are able to sit here in this bar* (*name of which not divulged by dint of a New Testament Deity asking me not to divulge it) with some privacy is that I know the owner...
MJS: ...doesnâ€™t like his Patron being turned into Tang.
MJS: Thereâ€™s been a lot of coverage this year about the so-called â€œWar On Christmas?â€ Any thoughts?
JESUS: The only place there has been such talk has been on cable. No footage yet of actual fighting.
MJS: But the idea that Christianity is under assault...
JESUS: The United States is what, over eighty percent Christian? Look, if you believe in the Bible and you do good works, etc., then you not only have God but you have Heaven and Eternity as well. To be casting about for religious enemies shows an insecurity, or victimhood if you will, that is just so depressing. Do you want to order some food?
MJS: Well, if I have another Anchor Steam without eating I might pass out.
JESUS: Barkeep, can you get the kitchen to make us a Sacrificial Lamb? Ha-ha...gimme another scotch and get barley boy another Steam.
MJS: You know what? Let me have a shot of your gold Patron.
JESUS: You want to get us into trouble?
MJS: No, I just like a tequila now and then. (a shot is poured) Shit, this tastes like Tang...
(another bar, twenty minutes later)
JESUS: Nice move back there.
MJS: Have you ever thought of writing your own life story?
JESUS: Why bother? I remember it allâ€”I wish I could forget some now and then.
MJS: What, you have a photographic memory?
JESUS: Yes. Mom and dad (earth dad) used to take me around to various bazaars in Egypt, weâ€™d promote the â€œSee the Boy Wonderâ€ aspect and I would perform memory tricks for the crowds.
MJS: Such as...?
JESUS: Oh, like everyone would say their name and I would repeat the lot back to them without blinking. Or how many oxen could produce how much offal. Things like that.
MJS: Your missing years were spent in a kind of traveling medicine show?
JESUS: All the best people spend their missing years with traveling medicine shows, but we didnâ€™t call them that then.
MJS: This Patron tastes like Hawaiian Punch.
(another bar, ten minutes down the road)
JESUS: I swear I had nothing to do with that one. Scoutâ€™s honor.
MJS: Why donâ€™t I believe you?
JESUS: Iâ€™ll admit to the Tang incident, but Hawaiian Punch is not my style. It just isnâ€™t.
MJS: Explain to me this: you have a God, who is like King of the Semites, and then one day He says: fuck it, Iâ€™m going human for atonementâ€™s sake. What gives?
JESUS: If you buy into the whole dynamic it gets rather awkward. Whatâ€™s the point? I mean, I think Yahweh behaved like a twelve year-old in the Old Testament--a petulant and malevolent brat who didn't reflect on his own actions, and when He made me it was part and parcel of an earnest wish to be sixteen.
MJS: Thatâ€™s it? Thatâ€™s the basis for Christianity?
JESUS: Maybe you were expecting the Rosetta Stone?
MJS: Iâ€™m getting fucked up...
JESUS: Oh, yeah? Smoke this.
MJS: What happened to the body and the blood?
JESUS: It just got put in the pipe with everything else.
MJS: (inhaling) Shit, this tastes like Tang...I am so high.
PART TWO OF THIS INTERVIEW TO FOLLOW LATER THIS COMING WEEK
Image of God manifested as Man from here.