An illustration from my fellow bartender Derek (King Of Puns) Muse-Lambert.
I just finished reading an amazing, eye-opening book by Reza Aslan called Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth. I have always been curious about Jesus. He’s such an interesting character. In the book, Aslan strips down all the BS in the bible, to find the true, historical Jesus. And in many instances, it goes against how we’ve been led to understand this complicated character in undoubtedly the most profoundly absurd book that is the Holy Bible.
According to Aslan’s book, Jesus was not born in Bethlehem, but Nazareth. So, let’s just throw out the whole born in a manger in Bethlehem myth. Nazareth was a very, very, small town a ways away from Jerusalem. Population 100. Most, if not all the residents of this town were illiterate. Which means Jesus was probably illiterate. If you’ve read any of the New Testament, you’ll know that from after the time of his birth, to age 30, there is little to no information about the man they call Jesus. Jesus WAS NOT a carpenter, but a day laborer, which was one small step up from a slave. I believe there’s one short story about Jesus following his family to Jerusalem, getting “lost”, and having philosophical and religious discourse with the elders of the town. That’s about it as far as we know about Jesus as a young adult. I think the reason we know nothing about Jesus at the time is because his real life didn’t fit into the messiah myth. He wasn’t special. But by 30, he meets up with John The Baptist, learns from him, then begins his own ministry.
Aslan points out from the very beginning of the book that the New Testament is NOT a historical account of Jesus, but a bunch of stories written as an agenda for tampering down zealotry of revolutionaries. As the stories of the bible progress, you can see how they change to fit in with the agendas of the Roman people. In one instance, the way Pontius Pilot, the Roman who condemns Jesus to death, is characterized changes a great deal. At first, he asks Jesus, are you the King of the Jews? His answer condemns him to crucifixion. In later stories, Pontius Pilot considers Jesus an innocent man, and proposes to the Jews of Jerusalem, that they can free Jesus, or another bandit. They scream for the death of Jesus. Pontius pilot “literally” washes his hands of Jesus’s death, placing the blame completely on the shoulders of the Jews.
This creative change in the Bible, Aslan attests, was the cause of the next 2,000 years of Anti-Semitism.
By the end of the book, you’re left wondering if there’s any truth about Jesus in the Bible. Let’s throw out all the hocus-pocus and the magic tricks. Let’s throw out a lot of what Jesus says. His ministry was not about turning the other cheek, but bringing the sword to the hypocrisy of the times. Throw out the passion stories. The Last Supper, for one. Stories used to create religious rituals. Throw out all these things,
And what you are left with the Bible, unfortunately, is a clouded view of a man that could’ve actually brought us some truth on how we should live our lives, if we just knew who he really was, and what he truly stood for.
I’ve recently realized that I’m a dick. Ok, here’s where a person backtracks. Oh, well, I CAN be a dick. Or, I was being a dick in that situation, I admit. No. I’m a dick. I take FULL RESPONSIBILITY. So why do you spend time with me? Yeah, you. You read my stories, you laugh along to Clint being a dick. Good job, you. Hope you feel good about yourself.
Now, I’m not going to backtrack on this, and tell you some rationalization WHY I’m a dick. Wouldn’t that be lame? As if, I have a justification for being one. There’s no justification. I have none, and don’t deserve one.
But hey, let’s make it interesting, I’ll explain a few things.
I’ve TRIED to write nice stories about nice people. OF COURSE I HAVE. But you know what? They all turn out LAME. I write them, I think, good, Clint. You’re not being a dick in this one, making fun of someone. And then, the next day, I read it, right before I post, and I think,
This is horseshit.
My wife says it, and I agree with her. You’re always making fun of people. My justification back to her is, hey, I make fun of myself right along with it. THAT’S COMEDY RIGHT THERE. You’re fat, you tell fat jokes. You make fun of yourself. Then, other people laugh at you, and maybe, they laugh with you sometimes. You get the audience to think, ok, yeah, this guy is embracing his faults, why can’t I?
I’m a firm believer in this: if you’re not laughing, there’s something wrong with you. Think about that the next time you’re depressed. What is wrong with me? I should be laughing about this. Yeah, you’re taking yourself too seriously. I do it ALL THE TIME. Oh this is SO SERIOUS. And then I stop myself. In actuality, this is bullshit, and I’m a dipshit.
As well as a dick.
So what do I write about for my bartender stories? Do I write about, oh this customer came up, and he was so nice to me. So polite! He said thank you a couple times, and then he tipped me handsomely. Oh gee-wiz.
Yeah, you read two lines of that, and, NEXT.
And oh I’m writing for a music venue. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to talk about the bands that play the bar every once in a while, Clint? Sure, how about this: Man, I saw this band last night, and they were so fricking good. They rocked my world!!! From start to finish, they killed it. I was on the FLOOR. So if you’re interested in checking them out, here’s a link to their Bandcamp, or you can check them out on Facebook, or Instagram, or Porn Tube….
Blah, blah, blah.
So in closing, I’m a dick. I’m going to write stories about people that make me laugh, and I’m going to write them so you laugh at them too. And maybe, every once in a while, I’ll open up, show you how HUMAN I am, and how, ohhhh.
I make mistakes, too.
I’m hungry, I’m at the Mews, I decide to go next door to Java Joes, a coffee shop, to get some hummus and pita. I order it, get it to-go.
You know, when you order hummus and pita to-go, there’s always that moment, right before you open the styrofoam container, that you hold your breath with trepidation. Will the ratio be right? And it NEVER IS. Always not enough bread, or not enough hummus. You’d think they’d perfect it after awhile. You know what? I’m gonna eat this elegant dish, and then at the end of it, see what’s left. And then when I make it for somebody in the future, I’m gonna add more bread…or more hummus.
You look at it, after you open it, and you contemplate what the best way to eat it is gonna be. Ok, gotta put a shit-ton of hummus on the small, triangular slices, cause I got a huge ball of hummus the size of a major-league baseball to plow through.
I “finish” my meal, and there you go, not enough pita. I think about going back to complain. I NEED MORE FRICKIN PITA!!! But I decide, to just shove it in the fridge for later.
And it will sit in said fridge, for 2 weeks, 5 days, and 2 hours, until I get around to throwing it away.
From my heart to yours,
Clint Curtis. Bartender.