Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jesus, the Customer Service Representative

Really, everyone, I'm not being especially prolific today.  I wrote this over Spring Break when I didn't have wifi and also when I was too busy doing nothing to go find wifi so I could post.

Just south of Richmond is a long, crappy stretch of I-95.  It is crappy for many reasons.  Primarily, it is always busy and not fun to drive upon, but also it passes through most of Richmond's heavily industrialized areas so whatever scenic value the land had was destroyed long before 95 existed.  Add the belching smoke from the factories and the horrendous smell of the huge paper mills and you end up with one really annoying whole.

For whatever reason--proximity to the Capital? Sheer amount of traffic volume? the local Bible bangers have elected this stretch above all others in Virginia to plaster with various Jesus-y billboards.  I find these endlessly amusing.  Most of them are the really admonitory type that say things like "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God."  Anyone who already agrees with that doesn't need the billboard; anyone who doesn't won't put any stock in it anyway--especially not after the billboard has just called him a fool. Whether I believe in God or not I don't cotton to being insulted by billboards.  Also, who the hell gets converted by a billboard anyway?  Unless it's a billboard advertising Krispy Kremes which would totally convert me to Krispy Kremes if I didn't worship them already.

One of the billboards offers a hotline phone number. While the others are just sort of amusing, this one weirds me out.

See, I've always wanted to call a hotline for something, just to see what they actually say.  Unfortunately there are really no hotlines that cater to my specific brands of freakazoid, so I've never had a valid option.  I mean, I'm pretty sure that it would be unethical to call the suicide hotline or the cancer hotline and be all "My favorite department store closed in 1990 and I'm out of mixers and also the cat just puked on the rug, WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW????"

I'm not sure what one is supposed to accomplish with the Jesus hotline.  One assumes that it's there in case people feel the need to turn to God.  Once again, though, if one already believes in God, does one need a hotline to convince oneself even further?  Those who don't believe in God would be highly unlikely, I think, to be zipping up 95 and think, "Hey, I've never believed in God before but that billboard totes has a hotline. Maybe I should check that shit out."

Furthermore, what actually happens when you call?  If I didn't believe in God, and I called, the only way I could be reasonably expected to start believing in God is if God actually answered. And if He did this is how the conversation would probably go:

"God here. So you're having some trouble believing in me?"
"Actually, I already do, but I was driving up 95 and I wanted to see happened if I called the hotline."
"You really shouldn't be on the cell phone while you're driving, you know."
"Well, but I'm talking to You. I mean, you would totally keep me from dying, right?"
"That's your guardian angel's job, technically, but I suppose so."
"You're a pretty major deity. What are you doing working in a call center? That's like, what, $10.10 an hour? Assuming you're in the continental US?"
"I'm omnipotent, bro. I can do this AND cause floods.", 
"So how do I know you're actually God and not some dude in Lahore? Can you turn the Philip Morris smokestack into a giant jujube, or something?"
"I could, but would that really make you believe?"
"I told you I already do. I just think it would be really cool if that smokestack turned into a jujube."
"And then you'd wreck the car and we'd be right back to you not talking on the phone while you drive."
"What are you, dude? My mom? Oh, wait--that showed that you're omniscient, right? Cool. But the jujube would still be awesome."
"No jujube, brah. But I'll tell you what--Broad street is seriously backed up. You might wanna take the Mayo Bridge today."
"Sweet! Thanks, God! Hey, could you turn the Mayo Bridge into..."

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Thanks! Now, go get a drink, sit down and enjoy the show.