I watched the presidential debates in a Pensacola, Florida bar. The man next to me kept shouting at the television, saying, “Oh, for the love of Jeezus!”
The first time I remember hearing that name was when Mrs. Gelding swatted my five-year-old hindparts for telling a certain joke—with a less-than-reputable punchline.
While she beat the whiteness out of my hindcheeks, she hollered, “A little more Jesus never hurt anybody!”
I didn’t know who Jesus was. But later, I would learn how fondly Mrs. Gelding felt for him. Rumors claimed she cross-stitched his face onto her cotton britches.
She called him Savior. And this was a revelation. Because until then, I’d understood Roy Rogers held this title.
Over time, I grew to admire Jesus—even though he didn’t ride a well-trained horse. You couldn’t help but like him, he’s famous. Here in the South, you hear about him everywhere. In Tom Thumbs, beauty pageants, billboards, bingo-houses, and beer-joints.
A few nights ago, I drove past a billboard reading: “Jesus will scare the hell out of you.”
Then, I turned on the radio and caught the tail end of a preacher’s prayer, which closed with, “…in Jesus’ name, amen.”
I’ve even known a man named Jesus. He was Mexican. We worked construction together. On the job-site, we nicknamed him, Lordy. He was a good sport about it. Sometimes, he’d pretend he could change water into beer.
We’d roll on the floor when he did that.
Jesus once said that his mother gave him the most holy name she could think of. She wanted him to have every chance he could get, since he was born into base poverty. Jesus didn’t own shoes until thirteen. At fifteen, he hopped a train for the U.S.
During his time here, he was not treated kindly. If you’ve ever wanted to know what real hate is, ask Jesus.
Jesus said, “When I was little, my father say, ‘Your name come with big burden, chucho. Most loving man who ever lived, was also the most hated.’”
I think about that a lot.
Anyway, I paid my tab and left before the debates ended. They were about as educational as chewing on Energizer batteries.
I’m sorry to say, this world is angrier. People aren’t getting nicer. Love is becoming expensive. Hate is free. I believe they’d even crucify Roy Rogers in town square if he were alive—then hang Trigger out of spite.
I don’t care what your religion is. Old Mrs. Gelding was right.
A little more Jesus never hurt anyone.