I'd like to share with you a revelation I had while shopping at a hobby store with my wife recently: The world is fucking weird. And it's really, really funny.
Let me elaborate. In his 1999 album Mule Variations, the insanely talented Tom Waits included a track called "Chocolate Jesus." It's a sparse, gravelly, bluesy, funny little song about the titular candy product and it's one of my favorite songs of all time. When asked what brought about the inspiration for such a song, Tom related a story about a business venture his father-in-law had told him about, sort of a Christian version of the Lifesaver called, appropriately, Testamints. The idea was that they'd have these little breath mints that have a cross on one side and a bible verse on the other. You know, for those Sundays on the go...or maybe for when you're having both a spiritual crisis and a double order of garlic bread. Either way, you're saved and ready to hit the town in, like, literally 45 seconds. Good deal. According to Tom himself:
"So we just kind of took it a step further. You got your Testamints. What about your Chocolate Jesus? Melts in your mouth, not your hand. It is kind of direct. Drink this in remembrance of me. Someone might think it's blasphemous, but it's actually kind of a grassroots spirituality."
Tom Waits being the kind of weird, elusive smoke-being that he is, I always figured the whole thing was just another story to add a little extra madness and mystery to things. Tom does that sort of thing a lot, though there's usually at least a grain of truth to it all. Take for example the story he told about Sarah Bernhardt, famous French stage actress. As the story went, Sarah had her right leg amputated later in life and ended up performing Shakespeare in a little bar in the middle of nowhere. Strapped for cash, she supposedly sold her severed leg to famous circus entrepreneur and human/walrus hybrid P.T. Barnum, who then exhibited it in a number of traveling sideshows. The gag is that she was one of the most famous actresses in history, and at the end of her career, her leg was pulling in more money each night then she was.
Funny, yes. Twisted, yes. Weird as hell, oh yeah. True? Well, actually, kind of. Sarah Bernhardt injured her right knee pretty badly leaping from the stage at the end of a production in 1905. The leg didn't heal properly and over the years, infections took their toll and gangrene set in. She had the leg removed in 1915 and proceeded to have a pretty successful, albeit one-legged decade appearing in and even producing many more stage productions until her death in 1923. There were rumors a showman had offered to buy her leg, but she'd turned him down. Since P.T. Barnum died in 1891, and especially given his Houdini-like debunking of mediums and seances and speaking to the dead and the like, if he really had made the offer, it would have been even more super-awesome.
Undoubtedly, Tom heard the rumor someplace or another and decided to spin it into a twisted joke/weird ass anecdote to add to his oddball mythos during live performances. It worked, of course.
Given the evidence presented above, it should have come as no surprise to me when I saw, in the gumrack at the checkout counter of Hobby Lobby, the awesome sight of this:
God bless you crazy-ass Christians and your All-American enterprising spirit. I shit you not, dear readers, this is a really, really real thing. They have a whole range of products: Bible Verses Buttermints, Tangy Tarts Scripture Candy; even personalized Bible Verse Hershey Bars! That last one should come as a boon to all you passive aggressive homophobes out there. Too shy to attend a rally holding a "God Hates Queers!" picket sign while wearing a Budweiser beer hat? Just order up some fun-sized Hershey's Krackle with Leviticus 20:13 printed on them and hand them out to all the kids dressed up kind of faggy on Halloween! Here you go, Sparkly-Twilight-Vampire-Kid, here's a Mr. Goodbar for you...oh, and also little light reading material:
"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
Burn in hell! :) Oh, lordy, but I do love dressing up for pretends!
Anyone interested in checking these wonderful little mouthfuls of insanity can visit the following link:
Testamints Products Page
If any of you order anything from them for a less-than-ironic purpose...please stay away from me. Especially in the grocery store. I swear, I can't go to Wal-Mart at 11:50 at night without being accosted by some preachy middle-aged lady in a cardigan with a bad hair cut, thrusting some pamphlet at me, telling me that Jesus can heal me, and that they'll pray for me. For those of you who don't know, I have cerebral palsy and as a result, I walk with a distinctive, limping gait. Look up spastic diplegia on Wikipedia. It's actually pretty informative. Also, if you've got some extra dough, donate a few bucks to United Cerebral Palsy, or maybe buy one of their neat little "Life Without Limits" wristbands. They're a little upbeat for my taste, but they do lots of good work for lots of different people. And they're a crapload more effective and caring than a pamphlet from Jesus at Wal-Mart.
Now that I think of it...I suppose getting accosted with candy is better than getting accosted with a pamphlet. Candy is candy, after all and Chocolate Jesus is bound to taste about the same as the Cadbury Bunny, when you get right down to it. Still, the 5 minutes it took me to fend off the Jesus lady and throw away her pamphlet right in front of her so that she cries a little means that it's now 11:57pm, the beer cooler is all the way at the back of the store, and they stop selling beer at midnight...as discussed above, I don't walk so fast. So there's no way I'm making it all the way across a Super Wal-Mart in 3 minutes. Especially not loaded up with delicious, refreshing (hell, some nights downright sexually exciting) ice-cold Corona.
So much for "Drink this in memory of me." Thanks, Jesus.
Also, and somehow this is even more awesome, I saw a big chocolate cross in the Easter candy clearance bin the other day. Seriously, three, five years tops, they're GONNA add the little guy to it.