Part 9: Ryan: Cryptoarcheology and Muffins
While sitting at Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery with my friend Seth, a thought occurred to me. Some people are born to play a role, and only they can properly fill that role. Take, for example, the boy who plays the banjo in Deliverance, Billy Redden… just some kid playing the banjo, right? But could anyone else have pulled off the creepy vibe he had as he picked his way through “Dueling Banjos”? As the years go on, the boy becomes a man and never again gets another movie role. Well, almost never that is, until director Tim Burton decides to adapt Big Fish thirty-one years later. And what role is the man placed in? A cameo as a man on a porch… playing the banjo.
Another Tim Burton masterpiece, Batman, is a great example. I would never have pictured Michael Keaton as Batman after seeing Night Shift and Mr. Mom, but he was the only one who could fill the void left by Adam West. As soon as Val Kilmer took over the cape and cowl, I could no longer take the character seriously. You can’t replace dark, rough and rugged with a sunny, blond pretty boy. And George Clooney? He is one of those actors where you say “It’s George Clooney” once he appears on the screen and you can’t even remember his character’s name five minutes after the credits roll.
The best man for the role of Indiana Jones was clearly Harrison Ford, though. And I had proof.
“Have you ever considered the subtle religious aspects of Indiana Jones,” I opened, pouring a Sweet’n Low and creamer into my coffee, stirring lightly.
Seth inhaled deeply on his Camel Filter, as if in deep thought. “Religious? Indiana Jones? You’re so full of shit. The only thing Indiana Jones does is find ancient artifacts and whip Nazi ass.” Well, yes, I thought to myself; he does do his fair share of Nazi ass-whipping.
“No way. You have to read into it — he is the reincarnation of Jesus.” Here I was, staking my claim.
“How?” His interest was piqued.
“Think about it. The religious artifacts, the snakes, the name. It’s all there. And he even has God for a father.”
“God for a father? Indy’s dad has a fetish with finding the Holy Grail. That’s explained crystal clear in the Last Crusade.” I did not have my annotated Last Crusade script handy to verify how “crystal clear” this plot point really is.
“Yes, but who is Indy’s father?” I assure you, I had a point.
“Sean Connery; or, if you prefer, Dr. Jones Senior.”
“Sean Connery — the voice of God.” A stretch maybe, but still plausible.
Seth refilled my coffee for me, as I was drinking my tasty beverage at a rapid rate. Once I get going, there’s no stopping my coffee intake and my wild hand gestures. I’m liable to knock mugs over after my second pot of the Arabian goodness.
“The voice of God?” He scoffed. “You’re still full of shit.”
“If God had a voice, what would it sound like?” Probably Alanis Morrisette, but I wasn’t going to admit this point of contention. Or perhaps even Graham Chapman or George Burns.
“Well, if you follow dogma, God’s voice would destroy us. Therefore, he speaks through his angels.” I’m not sure if he said “dogma” or “Dogma“, but the distinction is not important. Sure, the film features Metatron (played by Alan Rickman), the voice of God, and the Bible does not. And the Bible seems to have occasions where God speaks directly to Adam and other times where he must go through Gabriel. So there was no sense in getting sidetracked down this path, as the discussion would take all night.
“Okay, we’ll come back to that. The snakes. Indy fears them. Surely you cannot deny the symbolism there — the Garden of Eden, Satan tempting Jesus in the desert…”
“You’re right, I can see that much.” I was gaining a foothold.
“Okay. Now, the Grail. Who can retrieve it?”
“The penitent, or the just.” Seth was falling right into my trap.
“And who is the only man who is truly just — sinless?”
“That would be Christ, according to the Bible. But Indy gets the Grail using his dad’s diary.” The Bible did, in fact, reveal that Jesus lived his entire life without sin. 1 Peter 2:22 says, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 John 3:5 proclaims, “…And in him is no sin.” Finally, in Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, Jesus said of himself, “Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says…” Not that you doubted Seth’s account, but sources are important to cite.
“Through the help of his Father, you mean.”
“You’re reading too much into this.” Perhaps I was, but what fun is there in backing down?
“Not at all. I assure you, I am just beginning.”
“Okay, fine, through the help of his ‘father’… I understand where you’re going, so keep on going.”
“Let’s discuss the symbolism of his name for a moment.”
“Indiana Jones or Henry Jones or Junior?”
“Jones; just the name Jones. What do you think of this name?”
“I don’t know. It’s a common enough surname.”
“Precisely. It symbolizes the common man. The everyman. What did Jesus call himself?”
“Son of Man… Son of God. Many things.”
“Yes, Son of Man. He made the point of associating himself with all mortal men. The everyman. It is what made his sacrifice meaningful for others.”
I was getting very distracted by the waitress right about now. I had seen her many times before, but I never got her name. He was a cutie. About five and half feet tall. Glasses, pigtails tied back. A very sweet creature if ever there were one. But as soon as she looked over, I was quick to rejoin the conversation.
“But, Ryan, Indiana Jones doesn’t sacrifice himself to save anyone. There is no parallel at all.”
“Wait for the fourth installment.”
“I knew you were full of shit.” His grin got more sinister as he took another deep drag.
“Okay, next question. After Jesus gave up carpentry, what did he do?” At this point, I lit my own cigarette. My brand of choice was Doral, a splendidly blended full flavor nicotine injection.
“He wandered around preaching.”
“He was a teacher, yes — a rabbi.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it — Indiana Jones is a professor. But his main ambition is to find artifacts — he does archeology.”
“To unlock ancient mysteries, to find hidden knowledge, you mean. Particularly Biblical items, helping to reveal the truth of the Hebrew god.”
I should mention that the waitstaff is made up of some fine specimens, not just the one beauty I have singled out. While she may have caught my eye, many others fall in the category of stunning. One Latina waitress is not only friendly and has a beautiful laugh, but she has an accent that will leave you in awe. She exudes innocence, which I have no doubt is a cover.
Another waitress, who works only seasonally, is one of my favorites. I do not know her name, but I have called her Natasha for the sake of giving her an identity. She comes off as flighty and superficial, but that is just the mystique. I have overheard her with her friends and she is a brilliant lady with a bright future ahead of her.
Back in the conversation, I hear, “No, that’s not what I mean. For fortune and glory.”
“The glory of his father.”
“Now you’re just making stuff up to fit your schema. Quit being such a faggot.”
“You’re not opening up your mind enough. It’s there, dude, it’s totally there.” I was beginning to believe my own bullshit, if you can smell what I’m stepping in. As President Bush would say, “in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” At the risk of earning a Godwin Award, I could have also referenced Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who said to be successful in promoting an agenda an administration “must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
“Well, if I haven’t already offered you proof enough, I have one more point that will convince you.”
“I’m waiting to be impressed.”
“He’s banging Calista Flockhart.” I think the sexy waitress heard me say this, and I’m not really sure how she felt about my crude language. Me in my retro periwinkle Monty Python tee and Seth in his black oversized Eternal Hell hooded sweatshirt with the words “Eviscerating the Lamb” blazing across his chest.
“Oh my God! You are so full of shit! Harrison Ford is banging Calista Flockhart. Not Indiana Jones. What are you going to pull out of your ass next? Even if Indy and Harrison are one in the same, Christ was a virgin.”
“No he wasn’t! Dude, Jesus was a total pimp.”
“Whatever. Sure, fine. It’s stated in some gnostic gospel — like the Gospel According to St. Bastard — that Christ banged Mary Magdalene and she moaned so loud the neighbors woke up and started banging, too. I know. But I don’t think Mister Lucas would follow that. Only somebody really wicked — like the Wachowski brothers — would do that.”
“But you admit there’s no bigger whore than Calista Flockhart?” While the biggest whore in Hollywood would probably in reality be Tara Reid, Cameron Diaz or Paris Hilton, I really needed to drive home the Calista / Mary Magdalene connection.
“I don’t admit it! She’s too scrawny to be a whore. A big cock would rip her apart. Her uterus would fucking explode!”
“Do you realize what you just said?”
“That a big cock would rip her apart? It would be even messier than an axe splitting a ripe melon!” Was this a poor attempt at a Gallagher reference?
“No, no, no. You just said Jesus was hung like a squirrel.”
“Jesus certainly was hung,” countered Seth with a poor joke, “and he was a hermaphrodite.” While some mythology scholars would support this contention, I think Seth was clearly fed up with the pseudointellectual pandering and decided to go down the silly route instead.
“And a vampire hunter.”
“I still haven’t seen that movie.” The movie in question being, of course, Lee Demarbre’s 2001 smash hit Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, starring Claudia Jurt.
“Don’t. It will make you shit blood.”
“What if I want to shit blood?”
“That’s your own damn problem. The last time I shit blood I couldn’t masturbate properly for two whole weeks.” For those of you keeping score at home, this claim is entirely fabricated.
“I’ve heard enough of your masturbation problems, Ryan.”
“Shit, man, you’ve heard nothing. The list goes on and on.”
“You know what? We should get high and go to the Eternal Flame.” Why were people always trying to get me to the one bar with the most flamboyant name?
“Um… ummm… hmmm… how about we, um, you know, play our special game?”
“…” He seemed shocked, but I knew he knew what I wanted.
“Don’t be coy.”
“… you are so gay.”
“No way! I’m all hetero! I can prove it!”
“Alright, let’s go to the Eternal Flame and get some pussy. I know there’s no anime chicks, but maybe you can finally get yourself a real piece.”
“Seth, uh, I need to admit something to you.”
“What? That the whole Indiana Jones thing was pulled out of your stupid ass?”
“No, it’s about the Eternal Flame.”
“Yeah, I’m afraid to go there. I had an affair with a bartender and now her boyfriend wants my nuts in a vise.” This was, of course, a complete and utter work of fiction, but the rationalization was my only chance to avoid the bar scene. I hadn’t realized the time was past bar close and my dishonesty was entire unnecessary.
“I’ll protect you. No one fucks with the Sethums.”
“But dude, this chick is hot.” Not nearly as hot as the copper-haired waitress, though, who was now bending over to serve some woman a glass of water.
“So? Fuck her again.”
“No, I can’t do that to Mary.”
“Alright, alright. Wanna go watch some Romero movies?” Wow, Seth was really going the extra mile to please me if he was substituting some cinematic living dead for the taverns.
“Hmmmm… okay, as long as I can sleep on your mom’s couch.”
“Alright. Just don’t try to probe my dog’s ass.” The story behind this is too repulsive to share, but the tale is not what you think.
“Okay. But if you find any stains on your VCR, it wasn’t me.”
“Do you own A Walk to Remember?”
“My God. I know you think about Mandy Moore when you take a shower.”
“You know, I only have three goals in life. And I will achieve them one way or another. I need practice.” Luckily, he didn’t bother to ask and find out one of those three was to give Mandy my hand in marriage. But I’m sure he could have guessed my motives.
“You’re so gay.”
“No way. You’re so gay. You’re gayer than AIDS.”
“You stroke it to Ashton Kutcher.” In our world, Ashton Kutcher ranked on a sliding gay scale just below Brendan Fraser and Delta Burke.
“I should kill you here and now for just saying that.”
“No, You must die, I alone am best. There can be only one.” Is spouting off Highlander taglines still legal in Wisconsin?
“Ugh. I’ll buy your coffee if you leave a tip.”
“It’s on. Let’s go take a shower.”
“Fag,” I preemptively struck.
“Slut,” he parried.
“Ass rammer,” I offered. A George Tenet slam dunk!
“Alright, alright. Let’s go.” I chuckled to myself, thinking You surrender like the French, douchebag.