(© Bryan Way)
Sometimes I have to wonder where my
friends get their sick sense of humor. Most of the time, all I have to do is
look in the mirror. It never really occurred to me that jokes about Jesus just
arenít that funny to most people. Maybe itís just because I think Jesus is a
funny word. Considering the nature of the holiday (i.e. its real
meaning), I got one of the most appropriate gifts Iíve ever gotten.
in bedroom, hands JEFF three thick masonry nails, mallet) So Jeffy, what do you
do with these?
Jesus to the cross?
JEFF a copy of The Passion on DVD) And hereís an instructional video.
(Laughter) I was going to buy this eventuallyÖ but I was too embarrassed.
take the whole box. (Hands JEFF box of masonry nails) I donít need them.
Itís funny to
me. Iíve tried showing it to all my friends, no one laughed quite as hard as I
did, though those who know Edgar had to give him full marks for creativity. I
guess you could say my last chance to give it the appropriate presentation was
to my girlfriend, Alice, who lives about an hour north of me. I live in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. She lives in Allentown. We met at college. This winter break has been the first time
weíve spent apart since the beginning of the year, when we first met. Iíve
been able to spend a lot of time with my friends who I rarely get to see, so
itís been surprisingly easy for me to get on.
For her, itís
been less than easy. This year brought about the revelation that she has very
few close friends, in fact, all her male friends in the past were simply trying
to get in her pants. Her relationships with any of them never lasted longer
than two months, so sheís not used to the emotional stability that Iíve
provided her, and time apart is not exactly nurturing that stability.
Donít get me
wrong; we arenít falling apart, certainly not. Itís simply the fact that I
frequently have something to do when Iím not with her and she does not, which makes
her lonely and paranoid. Iím sure thatís something a lot of young men laugh
at, but I take it completely seriously. If I get the inkling that sheís
unhappy Iím at her house in less than a few hours. I couldnít bear the thought
of her suffering, and I canít simply change the channel in my brain. The
balance is nearly perfect: I care about her, so I go up; I care about my own
mental well being, so I go up.
though, this time I feel oddlyÖ well, odd, for lack of a better term. I feel
compelled to dress warmly, mainly because my mother always says I should have
warm clothes incase I break down. Iíve never taken that seriously until now,
for some reason. I prepare myself a CD of songs to listen to, most of them
instrumentals from my favorite game series, Silent Hill. After that, I pack a
change of clothes incase the weather forces me to stay the night up there.
Itís 8:00 pm, an hour after I wanted to start up
there. After putting up an away message, (Gone to see Alice. May not return tonight. Call cell if urgent.) I take my box of
DVDs that I take everywhere and head downstairs. Itís my collection of films
by my favorite directors: Cronenberg, Hitchcock, Lynch, and Romero. I always
leave a vacant spot for current favorite; The Passion currently occupies
that spot for transportation purposes only.
I hug my mom and
tell her Iíll be careful, then make my way outside and put the box in the back
seat of the running car, where my mallet and box of nails are waiting. I must
give Edgar credit; all components of the gift are of high quality, especially
the nails. If I were going to spike Jesus with any kind of nails, it would be
these. Theyíre jet black and they start out thick and come to a nice point,
not only that, but theyíre designed to nail wood into concrete.
I laugh at
myself as I get in the car, Iím almost totally ignoring the fact that itís
starting to snow a little bit in favor of obsessing over the minute details of
the gift Edgarís given me. Itís so characteristic of myself. I slip the CD in
the stereo and back myself out of the driveway. For a moment I consider
listening to the radio to see if there are any delays or road closings or
anything like that, but not only can I not stand commercials and popular music,
I also wouldnít know any alternate routes to take and wouldnít know where to
get on or off.
are mentally coming into focus, the grainy black road in front of me, the rows
of ill lit suburban houses receding into the darkness, looming enormous and
blocking out the sky seemingly with purpose, and finally the thin white specks
drifting into the windshield and dusting the ground. Itís that peaceful kind
of snow that doesnít stick and looks presentable. I click the wipers of my
2000 Toyota Solara on so I can keep my eyes out for any stupid pedestrians.
[ Continue to page 2 ]