I found it, oddly enough, through music. Really, really bad music. I was at my son’s school music recital. If you’ve never been to an elementary school recital you know they can last for hours. Ours lasted over two nights, with every ensemble, class, and instrument getting performing six to eight hundred songs. Just to improve everyone’s patience, the performance was on the first hot day of summer in an enclosed metal building.
As the children played broken notes and sang off key, the heat in the room rose to a hundred degrees. It wouldn’t have been so bad it hadn’t been for the music teacher. I can’t say his real name, but lets call him Mr. Bastard. Bastard had to make a speech after each song. He spoke about the perseverance of the students, about his pride in them, about the kinds of flowers he was growing in his garden, about the last time he brushed his teeth, and on and on.
As the temperature of the room reached the point where human hair spontaneously combusts, I began to pray.
“God,” I whispered, “Please make him shut up. I’ll do anything.”
Mr. Bastard told about the time he taught his chain gang how to sing. It seemed Nietzsche was right. I decided to try again.
“Jesus, please give him an aneurysm.”
Bastard told the audience about how he put a sticker on the end of his baton catch flies for his pet toad. I felt desperate, but somewhat justified that I don’t celebrate Christmas. I tried Allah. Nothing. I tried three hundred different Hindu gods. Mr. Bastard gave a quick lesson on proper breathing technique while singing Star Spangled Banner. As the metal buttons on my shirt began to melt and got desperate.
I prayed to Buddha. I went through the Greek and Norse Gods. I prayed to every entry in the Dungeons and Dragons book Deities and Demigods. Bastard told us how the beginning guitar ensemble invented the Treble Clef. Heat exhaustion set in and I began to hallucinate bunnies made out of needles. I raked my mind for something, any god who might help me. I grabbed something from my memory at random and prayed one last time.
Mr. Bastard said “Thanks for coming!” and gestured to the principal to unchain the doors. As cold air blew through the room and paramedics began reviving audience members, I realized my prayer had been answered. I was saved. More important, I had found the One True Faith. I have found the real savior. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Bob Barker.
Behold his deep, compassionate eyes, the purity of his white hair, the tan that’s so perfect it could only have been caused by ultraviolet holy light.
His is a face that shows he is more than a game show host, but a transcendent being who quickly and effectively answers your prayers. If you wish to join his church, as I have, you need to understand some of the basic points of the worship of Bob Barker:
- Adherents are called “contestants.”
- In the Church of Bob Barker contestants are expected to bid on salvation, but are damned if they bid too much.
- If a contestant bids correctly, he or she will receive salvation when Bob calls out “Come on down!”
I hope you’ll join me. Oh, and remember to spay and neuter your pets!