Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Gimme my damn miracle, beeyotch

My mom’s mom was very religious. I’m talking Oral Roberts, singing the praises in the street, visualizing the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, the whole nine yards. Even at 10 years old I thought it was ridiculous to tell a good man who’d lived his life dedicated to helping others that because he didn’t accept Jesus that he was doomed to burn for eternity. Seemed like a technicality to me.

I’m not saying one thing or another about what’s true and what isn’t. I’m really just slamming Baptists here, just so we’re on the same page through this journey.

My grandma had asked us to go to church with her. I remember sitting in the pew as the slick haired man yelled at us, threatening us to be better Christians or face an eternity in hell. Worthless sacks of shit, we apparently were. Then he said it was time for the healing to begin.

All those wanting their miracles tonight were to line up down the center of the church where the bride would traditionally take her last few steps as a free-thinking woman. Each person in line was to ask for a miracle and he, Preacher Boy, would grant our miracle through God’s powers. My grandmother insisted I get in line. What the hell for? Go, go, go. Get your miracle. Yes ma’am.

I got in line and spent my 15 minutes trying to think up what miracle I would ask for. Preacher Boy would announce everyone’s miracle, then he’d say it was so and all was granted. Abracadabra. Who needs a genie?

So while I’m standing in line I start thinking. I’d like a new skateboard, but that’s not really a gift from God. More like a gift from Dad. No, it should be something money can’t buy. Like to be taller. Yeah, that would be cool. It sucked being the shortest boy in my class. But what if I walked out of here as short as I walked in? Then I’d be the only one who didn’t get my miracle and grandma would fuss at me for asking for something ungrantable. Or worse, I would get taller and I’d have to listen to her tell me repeatedly it was due to my miracle and not my pituitary. Not surprisingly, a glance into the future would show I grew another 16 inches over the next couple of years. Good thing I didn’t waste it.

When my turn came Preacher Boy asked me in his loud better-than-thou voice what miracle I wanted from God this day. I took off my glasses and told him I wanted to see clearly. Fix that shit, motherfucker. Make it 20/20.

Had the man possessed an inkling of conscience he would have refused. But then, he was already up there offering people miracles simply for asking. To hell with conscience, that dipshit didn’t even have common sense on his side.

He placed his palm on my forehead and prayed to Jesus that my eyes would be healed. He was so sure of himself, so confident in his ability to pass along the ability to heal the terminally nearsighted, that for just a second I believed he just might do it. He gave me a push after his loud request for help to save my soul from my optical dysfunctionalism and he asked me in a voice everyone could hear:

“TELL ME SON, CAN YOU SEE? HAS GOD PERFORMED A MIRACLE FOR YOU TONIGHT?”

Well, fuck, dude, don’t put me on the spot or anything. Everyone turned to me as I stood there with my glasses in my hand and my short bangs standing upright from his sweaty palm. Now what? I glanced behind him at the clock a half a football field away and stared at it. Was it possible? Was it actually clearer?

“Yes. Yes!” I could see!! Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ our Savior, thank you God! I could see! All this time I wore those glasses, put up with the name calling and hassles when all I had to do was ask Preacher Boy to deliver me my miracle. Wow! I turned around to share the wondrous news with my grandma and ran smack into a woman wearing a dress the same color as the carpet.