'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
NEWS FLASH! IMAGE OF JESUS APPEARS ON WINDSHIELD!
A few weeks ago I read a front page newspaper story about a Florida woman who claimed that she saw the image of the Virgin Mary on a potato chip. At first I thought it was a really slow news day. But there were many other important stories that day, such as a record-setting blizzard in the northeast, an escalation of the violence in Iraq, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s little hunting accident—a story to which the news media has now officially devoted more man-hours than any other news story in history, including World War II.
I read the Virgin Mary potato chip article waiting for the punch line. But it wasn’t April Fool’s Day and there was no punch line. It was a serious news story.
Then a couple of weeks later there was another prominent story in the newspaper about a guy who claims he saw the image of Jesus on a piece of sheet metal in a hardware store. Again, it was not April Fool’s Day and there was no punch line. Although other people said the image looked more like deceased rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors, the man immediately put the piece of metal up for auction on e-Bay.
It turns out these are not isolated incidents. Last year a Nebraska couple claimed to find a pretzel bearing the image of Mary holding the baby Jesus. Also in 2005, it was claimed that Mary’s image appeared on the wall of a highway underpass in Chicago.
The year before that, a person claimed that the image of Mary appeared on a grilled cheese sandwich. An online casino, GoldenPalace.com, actually paid $28,000 for the sandwich, proving once and for all that the gambling industry makes far too much money.
Each of these stories has two primary components. First, a person publicly claims that a religious icon has supernaturally appeared on an ordinary item; and second, people in the media choose to publicize the claim as a serious news story rather than do the right thing: quietly notify the Department of Metal Health that someone has stopped taking his or her medication.
I was thinking about this odd phenomenon the other morning when I started my car to go to work. While I waited for the defroster to clean the windshield, suddenly the image of Jesus appeared among the splotches of melting frost. Then the image spoke to me.
“Bill, I have an important mission for you,” he said.
“Yes Lord, what it is?” I replied.
“You must tell the world that I do NOT appear to people on ordinary items—especially overcooked food items. Nor does my mother.”
“But you’re appearing to me on the windshield,” I said.
“Yeah, but this is different. This is only so you can tell people to stop looking for me in all the wrong places. Tell them instead to look for me in church, or in the Scriptures, or in the quiet of their own hearts.”
“But the news media won’t do stories about that,” I pointed out.
“Exactly!” he exclaimed. “The only reason they do those stories is because they love to portray my followers as a bunch of yahoos with the IQ of plankton.” A moment later the image was gone.
So there you have it. The next time you hear a news story about someone who claims to see the image of Jesus or Mary on, say, a moldy mayonnaise stain or a piece of plywood, it is simply not true. My windshield told me so. Oops, almost forgot. Time to take my medicine.
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