Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obey Your Master

Master of PuppetsSometimes the best humor is the kind where the punchline is never revealed, where you simply have to envision in your mind what happened when the idea became reality. That's the way it was for me during one of my grand capers back in good old Stumblebum. That was when I hatched a joke I knew would no doubt get the people a talkin'.

There were two constants in Stumblebum: boredom and Terry's relentless pursuit of the opposite sex. (A tireless conquest that earned him the name Rico Suave from the rest of us.) Almost any story I can tell from my younger days will start with either, "We were bored one day..." or "So, Terry had an interest in...".

True to form, this story begins with Terry's conquest and concludes with my boredom.

So, Terry had an interest in this girl at school named Jenny. She seemed a nice enough girl, though for some odd reason she never seemed to enjoy when I was around. It was not uncommon for her to come sit with Terry at lunch only to end up disgusted that he would be friends with the likes of me.

I really wasn't all that foul and abrasive, I just didn't really care about Jenny's feelings one way or another. And honestly, offending people was a passtime of mine, made all the more interesting by the fact that Terry was attempting to woo this young girl while his best friend did his best to offend her.

Rico was in full effect, though, and before long had sparked an interest from young Jenny. An interest that was keen enough that she invited him out...to her church.

Let it never be said that Terry and I were the religious types. I think I've been to church ten times in my entire life. The last time I went to a church, for Christmas Mass nonetheless, an epic battle broke out between my father and I, as we splashed holy water on each other while screaming that "It burns!". Needless to say, attending church was not something I did with any regularity.

Terry, however, was determined to head to this church, as he desperately wanted into the pants of this young phillie. He managed to convince me to attend with him, though I must admit it was more out of grim interest than anything.

The church we were attending shared building space with the local theater group, a group that I was heavily involved with as a lighting technician. Because of this, I knew the building inside and out and was well within my comfort zone. If things got too Jesusy, I had places I could escape to.

We arrived at the church, said our greetings to young Jenny and then made our way to the back of the audience. I'm all for trying something new, but I also have no interest in calling attention to myself. I figured I could keep from making snarky comments, but you never know when the laughter might start in.

And boy, howdy, did it ever. The ceremony had been going on less than five minutes before the music started and the congregation started getting down and funky. People were jumping around, dancing and talking in tongues.

I've experienced a good deal in my days, but that was the first time that I had witnessed such a large group of people having a religious experience together. All in all, it was rather terrifying, as Terry and I stood out like sore thumbs, looking rather solemn and bored while the attendees of the "Church of the Jumping Jesus" worked up a fervor.

We slipped out the door halfway through the proceedings and I loudly and with color phrasing chastised Terry for dragging me along for that pointless exercise. We entertained notions of returning to that church with some nefarious intent, involving forced regurgitation and the eucharist.

Time went by, and though I was never suckered into attending their services again, I found myself face to face with their remnants, owing to my time working the lights for the theater group.

It was during the rehearsals for one of the plays that I first took notice of their soundboard. It sat on the balcony, right next to my lighting controls. Seeing as how I would spend three to four hours alone on that balcony each night, running my lights and programming in effects, I had plenty of time to inspect just what it is they left up there.

There was their main board, a set of headphones and a selection of tapes containing all their music of love and inspiration. As I flipped through these cassettes, an idea began to form in my mind. Upon reaching a tape called "Praise and Worship Master", the idea was set.

The plan was simple. I needed to record over some of their tapes with my own inspirational music.

I made sure that no one was watching and then grabbed the copy of the "Master" tape. I spent the remainder of my evening determining what I would record over it.

I recalled that particular tape being played during our attendance, so I felt pretty confident that good times were to be found if I copied over it. After mulling it over in my head through the rest of the evening, I decided on the song.

"Praise and Worship Master" was soon to be "Master of Puppets" by Metallica.

"Come crawling faster
Obey your master
Your life burns faster
Obey your master...master
Master of puppets
I'm pulling your strings
Twisting your mind
And smashing your dreams
Blinded by me
You can't see a thing
Just call my name
And I'll hear you scream

Fucking brilliant.

I tore home and made my new recording, picturing the scene that would play out over and over. I pictured the crowd aghast, some breaking down into tears, wondering who would have perpetrated such a horrible crime against the church. I have to admit, it made me all warm and tingly inside.

The next night I replaced the tape in the stack, knowing full well that I would be ruining the expression of deeply held beliefs by more than a handful of people. And I must tell you, it made me laugh to no end.

I was not there for the actual playing of the tape, though I'm certain that it was something to behold.

Somehow Jenny got it in her head that I may have played a role in the blasphemy against her church, but I steadfastly denied it. Apparently some people were rather miffed about the whole affair.

Yep, sometimes the punchlines you miss are the best.


GeologyJoe said...

good choice. but i would have gone with Van Halen, Runnin' with the Devil.

E said...

What can I say? I live my life like there's no tomorrow. ;)

Rev. Hatter said...

That is tooooo FUNNY! Sound like something I would have done in my younger days.

E said...


Fun stuff.