Ever see one of these fugazi hundred dollar bills? You notice it lying on the ground and think, "Holy shit! Dinner and drinks are on me tonight, bizatch!"
Then, you pick it up, take a close look and are utterly deflated beyond comprehension.
Last week at the Steelers game, there was a corpulent bearded individual (not male) distributing them outside the Hyatt. She had a stack roughly the size of a mini-promotional box of Cheez-Its. I glared at her with contempt as I eagerly accepted the "bill." After all, twas a gift from God. Or in this case... a gift from hag.
It reminded me of a journey Mark and I took to Mardi Gras back in 1995. We drove it straight through (Wheeling to N'Awlins). Took about 18 hours or so. Nothing like an eight hour haul through Mississippi and Alabama. If anything, it makes you really appreciate the magical journey of Gump.
For those who've never attended any action in the Big Easy, the amount of crap lying on the ground is unquantifiable. Beads, trinkets, candy, made-in-China gizmos, etc. Pamphlets, brochures, confetti, coupons, and of course, religious money. It's largely a result of the never-ending stream of parades and their accompanying "throws." Everyone on the floats tosses knickknacks to the legions of trained minions. And they swarm and literally gobble up the shit like gnats on a rotting turkey carcass.
It's the truth! I saw a hulking granny lunge out of her wheelchair. Comparable to stealing second base, she sprung head-first toward a sewer grate in a desperate attempt to gather up some Dollar Store plastic gadget. Risking life and limb, this elderly woman had no qualms about throwing elbows. Retrieval of the worthless refuse was her #1 priority.
At the parade, I had an involved conversation with this college kid from Tulane. We talked at length about the abundance of "religious money" all over the place. Our discussion centered around a lone topic --- Why was Mardi Gras such an inviting target for spiritual propaganda?
Here was his line of reasoning. Many people go to Mardi Gras with the intention of escaping their problems. It's like a socially acceptable hangout where depravity is commonplace... similar to heroin junkies in a crack house or crusted whores in a rural brothel. These people are, by definition, victims of their own destiny.
For instance, take a 19 yr. old man named Joe. Joe and his frat buddies caught a cheap flight from Newark. While his gang napped at the hotel, Joe was intent on getting a head-start. So he caught a cab and hit up the casino in nearby Biloxi. Joe might have been accustomed to winning the annual poker tournament at the Phi Beta Alpha house, but he didn't fare so well against the blackjack dealer at the Golden Nugget. Broke and despondent, he hitchhikes back to the hotel. His buddies take pity and treat him to the $14.99 all-you-can-eat crab leg buffet.
Rejuvenated, Joe maxes out his credit card limit and treats his buddies to a live sex show featuring Anal Lana (the human sexual palindrome), multiple gerbils and a stunning finale with an imported Ugandan warthog. The conclusion is best left to your imagination. They make a hasty retreat toward the exit and take it to the streets. Just as he's regaining a smidgeon of composure, someone lowers a beer bong from a second floor balcony. The crowd screeches, "Chug! Chug! Chug!" Joe fails to notice that instead of cheap beer, someone's pouring in a bottle of 151. So, in the span of 7 seconds, his blood alcohol level transitions for .19 to .43.
Shortly before midnight, Joe finds himself separated from his crew, lying face down in a garbage strewn alleyway just off Bourbon Street. Covered in his own shellfish-infused vomit and having been the unwelcome recipient of a golden shower, things aren't looking good. Four hours pass and Joe slowly regains consciousness. He staggers to his feet and wonders, "How on earth did I end up like this?
Penniless and desperately in need of a bath and cold ginger ale, Joe spots a $100 bill on the ground. His heart starts racing and pulse starts palpitating. Thank God! Praise the Lord! His dreams have temporarily been answered. There is indeed a higher power!
But the money isn't real. It's counterfeit. For the love of Christ, it's a ticket to heaven. Holy currency Batman!
At this point, Joe is in a dire predicament bordering on suicide. He's completely lost (mentally, physically and emotionally). He's weeping uncontrollably and snot is running down his nose (kudos to Blue Oyster Cult for sharing that vivid imagery). Needless to say, Joe has hit rock bottom.
Now there's one thing everyone knows. When you've reached the lowest of the low, there can be only ONE definitive answer. Fortunately, it's the easiest solution of them all. One that requires zero effort. Zero intellect. Zero perseverance. Zero wisdom. Zero analysis. It's called the God solution. The ultimate way to rebound from anything bad. Blame all your problems on the devil. Exit the darkness and walk in the shadow of light. Is it any wonder this shit sells?
So here's my take. Let's make it easier for the masses to fall in line. Let's take that deception to the next level. How you ask? Well... Papa Saffy is here to help.
Remember the "religious money?" Well, let's take that currency and make it a little more convincing! Whaddya say?
Let's use those origami skills and tweak the appearance of that Jesus cash. BEHOLD! Err uhh, behold the fold.
Ouch! That legal tender just became way more credible.
Now the final piece of the puzzle. As any good realtor will concede... everything hinges on location. Location, location, location. So where should we stash this cash? Well, I have an answer which is heavily grounded in the mindset of a blog I wrote this summer. CONDOM DOG, BABY!
Question: What are we gonna do with all these dressed up prophylactic wieners?
Answer: Place them in random, heaping piles of vomit.
It's the same premise for "religious money." But instead of the aforementioned barf-a-rooni destination, let's try urinals and toilets. Let's make it a real awakening. A challenging adventure. Hey, I just think if you're gonna invoke the god solution, you gotta pay a price. There should be some cost, right? After all, nothing else on the planet earth is free. So why does everyone get a pass when it comes to religious awakenings? Even the fabled Chrisagii know one thing for sure. God doesn't pay for your ticket to ride.
You wanna know something. I should rescind that last observation. There is ONE thing that's completely free --- heightened situational awareness and common sense, public safety information for large crowds (especially NFL stadiums).
Oops. I almost forgot. That information comes at a cost. Not money, you moronic bozo. The price is life and limb. Pain and suffering. Broken bones and shattered kneecaps. Learn the truth about what the federal government and private industry are unwilling to divulge. C'mon, help an atheist jew brother out. Preferably before I suffer the same fate as our buddy Joe.