Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Turns out Jesus in America is Actually Satan in America!
Not sure I can convey the strangeness, the weird existential dread, and danger I felt yesterday, but I will try. This is all true. No names have been changed. No one is innocent in this particular story.
I was walking a dog on the lakefront. Near a busy beach. A bike-rider, someone I've seen many times before, a sort of Hispanic-looking Guy, that I have referenced to myself as "Jesus in America," but never acknowledged publicly, whizzed past me. As he went by he "caught my eye," and said, "Fuck You Willard."
My name is not Willard. I must have reacted, but not sure if I laughed, or smirked, or just went, "Huh?" It happened so fast. Later I did think to myself, maybe "Willard," is some kind of ethnic slur (nope, not on the list)? Wasn't Willard a "White Rat" in that old movie? Willard. Captain Willard that was Martin Sheen's character in "Apocalypse Now." He was the errand-boy sent to hunt down Kurtz.
This guy, Jesus in America, rode on about 50 feet past me, then stopped, and got off his bike, turned around, and walked right up to me, right up into my face. He was angry, wild, gesturing.
"Fuck you Willard. I own this land. This is MY LAND. (Actually, we were in the middle of Dawes Park, a public park, in the shadow of the old Charles Gates Dawes mansion, which is now a Historical Museum). Get off my land."
I didn't say a word. What can you say, right? I'm thinking to myself: "This is a public park, Charles Dawes used to own this land, but somewhere along the line it was made parkland, and before Dawes, I mean, I don't know, maybe the Native Americans claimed it as their territory, but really, wasn't it Black Elk who said, I'm paraphrasing now... No Man owns the land..."
I didn't say any of that, those were just thoughts running thru my head.
Jesus in America then asked, "Do you know who you are talking to? (I hadn't said a word), Satan. I am Satan." He then looked down at the dog sitting beside me and said, "That dog is my bitch."
It all kind of seems sort of funny, absurd, ridiculous now. But, at the time, late morning, walking along, minding my own business, and now, inexplicably, improbably, a wild man is up in my face telling me he is "SATAN," and I'm on "HIS LAND," and the dog I'm walking is his girlfriend. A bit of a chill ran down my spine. I was kind of assessing my situation: this very angry, unhinged person looks younger, stronger and crazier than me.
"Take your sunglasses off."
It's weird to write this now, I mean, I can't explain why, but when he asked me to take my sunglasses off, I did. He looked into my eyes (I have blue eyes), then he sneered, "Go back to Europe." So, I'm thinking to myself, yes, this might be a racial/ethnic thing. Satan hates me because I'm a white guy?!
By the way, now that I think of it, I was wearing my Robert Indiana T-Shirt, you know, Indiana is the artist famous for his LOVE print. So yeah, I am standing there, in my LOVE t-shirt, staring down Satan, wordless, speechless, holding my sunglasses in my hand, faithful dog at my side, being told to go back to Europe. I was thinking to myself, "I am American, I was born here, my people came over on boats from Germany, Poland, Ireland, but that was long time ago, generations, all my grandparents were born in the USA," but these were just thought-bubbles, I didn't say a word, I knew that I was not engaged in a dialogue, this was a monologue.
"This is my land. Get off my land."
Message delivered. He got on his bike, raised his middle finger and rode off. I must admit I was a bit rattled. Shaken, not stirred. Not sure if I handled the situation correctly. I did stand my ground, but I felt totally threatened, violated. And what of my silence? Was my silence weakness, or strength? I wasn't really sure.
Later, I asked around at my favorite coffeehouse if anyone had ever encountered a long-haired, wild guy on a bike who calls himself Satan. The two folks behind the counter immediately said, "Javier!" Katie, the girl barista replied "Oh yeah, that's Javier. He does cocaine and tells people he's the Prince of Darkness. We've had to kick him out of the coffeeshop a couple times. He gets up in people's faces."
Weirdly, that was kind of reassuring. It's wasn't just me. I am not Satan's only victim. Blame it on the cocaine! Funny. Turns out Jesus in America isn't Jesus, he's actually Satan, Satan in America and he frequently does cocaine, and well, often, fireworks ensue. Perfect.
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