Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Church of Hotdog: Revisited

For no reason at all, I was recently reading some of my older posts and I stumbled upon the series, The Church of Hotdog, originally posted in October through December of 2009. For the sake of any new readers I might have who might be interested and because it is a very easy way to generate a massive post, I decided to compile the entire series here for you in one big post (is two years an appropriate amount of time to pass before shamelessly recycling material?).

Check out the Church of Hotdog or "Josh" series in chronological order and let me know what you think. If for some reason you really want to revisit the series as they were originally posted (with a handful of comments) you can also click here

originally posted Friday October 16, 2009

So, it's not the usual Friday fare, but I had an incredibly weird lunch yesterday and thought I'd share.

I was busy at work on Thursday and didn't bring a lunch so I decided to just grab a street meat hot dog and eat while I worked. While I was waiting for my hot dog in the incredible cold (what the fuck is going on? Is this the coldest October ever?), this dude approached me who, frankly looked homeless. He said, "Good afternoon brother, my name is Josh." I started to dismiss him, assuming he was about to ask for money, but he didn't.

He just kept talking. I was pretty much ignoring him, but when I heard him say, "The desert is full of roaming, wild spirits," I started to listen, since my hot dog was taking a while, and clearly, this guy had some interesting things to say.

I'll spare you the details, but it seems Josh is from an immortal realm known as "Barbelo," a motherland beyond the stars. He also informed me that he is an "avatar" of Seth and the third little known son of Adam. He neglected to inform me who Seth or Adam were, but I'm sure they were also very cool dudes. He then told me that when the time comes, he will be the one to show the Sethians the way home.

Then my hot dog was ready. Anyway, this dude is pretty much always outside my building, so, if he's got more stuff like this to say, I'm pretty sure I'm going to make a point of talking with him as often as possible and recording the fantastic shit he says. I was thinking maybe we can form a religion around him and worship him. Let me know if you want in. Probably pretty lucrative to get in on these things on the ground floor.

Church of Hot Dog: Sexless mothers, Drag, and Foot Washing
originally posted Wednesday October 28, 2009

So I've been thinking about religion a lot lately. On Friday at work I was in a theological state of mind, so I decided it might be a good time to grab a hot dog and have another chat with my favourite crazy person, Josh (not Josh Reynolds...).
I was thinking about Buddhism specifically when I told the hot dog vendor, "Make me one with everything..."

He handed me my hot dog and I handed him a twenty. I waited a minute for my change, but he just said, "Change only comes from within."

Anyway, as he is every day, the crazy guy who hangs around near my office building was there (I feel bad calling this man a "crazy person" but I don't know what else to call him. Based on my few intense conversations with him, he's clearly not all there. I don't know if he's homeless or what. He's got longish hair and a beard, but he doesn't smell and his clothes, while decidedly out of fashion, always seem pretty clean. Anyway, maybe from now on I'll just call him "Josh." After all, that actually is his name). It was a pretty nice day today despite being October and because I had nothing but a pile of work waiting for me (and because, let's be honest, I wanted material for the blog), I decided to sit outside and chat with Josh while I ate my hot dog.

He certainly gave me some material to consider as I begin to establish what I'm sure will become a new religion based around him (I'm not sure if this will be called the Church of Josh, the Church of Hot Dog...more on that later).

But today's gems opened with the mind bending, "My mother never had sex."

I didn't have the guts to ask him how he thought that was possible.

We also discussed Halloween briefly because I'm still wondering what to be and whether or not I'll go out to a house party or to a bar. I was curious to see if Josh had an opinion on the matter. Surprisingly (Josh is usually quite opinionated when asked direct questions, usually answering "Fuck that," or "Hell yes"), he didn't have an opinion either way on what I should be or even if I should celebrate. However, when I told Josh that I now owned men's size 13 high heels (an expensive souvenir after having participated in the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes campaign), and said maybe I'd go in drag simply to get more use out of them, he told me that wearing women's clothes was an "abomination." He said this with a degree of conviction that made people walking past us visibly alarmed.

This brief and scary note on dressing in drag preceded a lecture on why Josh would never wear clothing made from blended fabrics. I'd transcribe it here if I could but it didn't make a lot of sense. It's best to just assume it's the right thing to do because Josh said it was.

At this point I had finished my hot dog and it was time to go back to work. This is when Josh offered to wash my feet.

I'm not joking. I can't remember exactly how he phrased it, but he literally offered to wash my feet for me. However, the offer was conditional on whether or not I would wash his in return (of course). Based solely on the state of Josh's footwear, I easily concluded this would be a much better deal for him than for me and so I had to decline.

We parted ways amicably, but now, more than ever, I feel strongly that I must eat hot dogs as often as I can stomach in order to pass the good word on to you. More to come, I promise.

Church of Hot Dog: Pigeons, Flattery, and Cows
originally posted Saturday November 21, 2009

As you could probably tell from my recent "People I'd Like To Punch" post, things have been a little hectic at work lately. Accordingly, yesterday I thought it was time for a little spiritual guidance.

Since I'm not a religious person, for me this means talking to the probably crazy, almost definitely homeless guy who hangs around the hot dog cart outside my office building.

Josh has literally become my little chapel break in the day when things get crazy. Something about the smell of hot dogs and insane ramblings is oddly calming and helps me get centered.

But today when I went outside, at first I couldn't see Josh. I was worried that maybe it had become too cold for Josh to hang around outside all day, but then I noticed that the hot dog vendor was looking up.

Off to the side of the cart, and halfway up a light post, there was Josh. I'm not sure how he got up there, but there he was. An average size dude with a shaggy beard clinging to a light post about four feet off the ground.

And that's not even the weird part.

He was clinging to the post at about eye level with the light (it's one of those posts that hooks over to the light part like an upside-down J). On top of the light part was a nest, complete with a decidedly flustered pigeon sitting on her nest; clearly alarmed by the sight of Josh, who was attempting to get a firm position.

Turns out that the pigeon had good cause to be alarmed because, once he was set, Josh reached out, shooed the bird away and plucked an egg out of her nest.

I'm not kidding.

While I was alarmed, my first thought was, "That's actually a pretty smart way to get food for a guy who most likely is homeless." I was beginning to contemplate how he would cook it, when I realized he wasn't coming down the post right away. Instead, Josh held the egg in his hand close to his chest for a second with his eyes closed, then put it back in the nest.

He slid down the post and adjusted his clothes and that was that.

The hot dog guy and I exchanged "What the fuck was that?" looks.

Then Josh saw me and greeted me. He didn't feel it necessary to explain his actions, and I wasn't sure how to ask, so we didn't talk about. He did ask me how my day was going though.

Again, I want don't people to think I'm making light of mental illness or whatever. Josh is actually a very lucid guy, we have perfectly normal chats and he genuinely seems to care when he asks how my day is going and stuff. It's just that, occasionally, he has outbursts where he talks about how people should beat their children with a stick. Or sometimes he rants about women with "promiscuous" clothing. And, now, of course, the pigeon thing.

But he also occasionally says brilliant things too. One day he said, "In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery." Oddly profound, no?
I'm sure the woman I once saw him call a whore didn't appreciate his frankness, but it's still a pretty good thought (to be fair to Josh, this chick did kind of look like a whore).

One morning on my way in, I also once watched Josh eating a sandwich (not a gross dumpster sandwich, an oddly good looking sandwich in saran wrap, part of the reason I'm not sure if he's homeless). When he saw another, clearly homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk across the street, Josh crossed to give him half his sandwich.

So yes, he's probably a little "crazy," but he's also kind of cool. I want to be clear I'm not mocking him, he's just profoundly interesting.

Anyway, yesterday, as it happens, he definitely tipped the scales in the crazy direction a little more than the profound direction. First the pigeon thing, and then, when I told him I was having a shitty day, he recommended that I burn a cow (yep, burn a cow), then mix the ashes of the burnt cow with water and have someone sprinkle them on me.

All I have to say is, it worked like a charm. I recommend you all try it too.

Josh is Dead
originally posted December 8, 2009

Josh is dead. Josh remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?


No, not our good friend Josh Reynolds. He is alive and kicking. Probably feeling up a young girl right now.

That other Josh. The brilliant, enigmatic dude who seemed to live around the hot dog cart at my work. He's dead.

No more will I have some weird guy to chat with. No more will I have crazy shit to witness while I dine on lips, hooves and assholes on my lunch break at work. I'm totally lost.

...OK. Confession time.

There is no Josh. There never was. All the crazy shit he supposedly did? He never actually did it.

That's right, I invented Josh.

And all that crazy shit he did? I invented that, too. Actually, that's not true. There was never a crazy/homeless guy that hangs around my work. But all that "crazy shit" I attributed to him? Well that's real stuff.

Where did I get it you might ask?

The bible.

That's right. Virtually everything "Josh" did on my fictional lunches with him is stuff taken directly from the bible. Most of it is actually stuff that the bible commands you to do.

Remember when I mentioned to Josh that I was considering dressing in drag for Halloween and he called it an abomination?

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Or when Josh held a lengthy diatribe about the wearing of blended fabrics?

Deuteronomy 22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.

Why did I do this you might ask?

Well, I just wanted to show that maybe the "laws" of the bible shouldn't always be followed to a T.

I wanted to show that the bible is kind of...uh...crazy.

That is, the rules and commandments laid out in the bible, today, don't really make sense.
A lot of the stuff in there has become obsolete, irrelevant and frankly, ridiculous. The bible has about a hundred commandments detailing the rules of keeping livestock. The bible has rules about helping your neighbour's donkey.

During the time it was written, I'm sure someone thought it a valuable enterprise to put these agro-laws in the bible. The suggestion often made in the bible that a person should wash another person's feet seems weird when I have someone say it to me in 2009 Toronto. But in biblical times, people wore sandals and often traveled great distances to see one another. Offering someone a bowl to wash their filthy feet in before they came in your house would have been not only a nice gesture, but practical.

Maybe, just maybe, then it's worth using a little common sense when it comes to following "the good book."

The bible says you need to blow a trumpet on the first of every month (Psalms 81:3) and that you should build a hut once a year and live it in for a week (Leviticus 23:33).

The bible also has a long list of rules governing the keeping of slaves.

Don't get me wrong. The bible is an excellent read. There are moments of eloquence, poetry and sometimes even valuable wisdom. When "Josh" said, "In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery." It was actually a direct quote of Proverbs 28:23.

When "Josh" offered some of his sandwich to a homeless guy, he was actually tithing. A practice outlined in the bible that dictates we should give away one tenth of whatever we have.

Some of the stuff in the bible about charity and brotherhood is profound and brilliant.

Then there's all the stuff about the role of women, the "abomination" that is homosexuality, and beating your children to discipline them.

I'm not saying don't be religious. Go ahead. Read the bible. Just try to exercise a little common sense when you find yourself using it to define "family," "marriage," or "life."

And to everyone else, next time you hear someone say you should do something because the bible says so, why not ask them if they made sure they weren't wearing linen and wool? Or when the last time was that they burned a bull in sacrifice? Or if they've touched the skin of a dead pig lately? Or if they eat leavened bread?

For an excellent read, the inspiration for Josh, and a fantastic "Bible for Dummies" you should pick up the book, The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs wherein the author attempts to follow every single rule in the bible for one year.

A Guide To Josh's Craziness in The Bible

Josh claims his mother never had sex.Uh, Jesus.
Josh says dressing in Women's clothes is an abomination. Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Josh speaks out against blended fabrics. Deuteronomy 22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.

Josh shoos away a pigeon before taking its egg.Deuteronomy 22:6 If you chance to come upon a bird's shall not take the mother with the young.
Josh calls a woman a whore for dressing promiscuously. Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
Josh talks about beating kids.Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of discipline drives it from him.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
Josh talks about burning a cow and sprinkling its ashes.Numbers 2-10 "This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke.
3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.
4 Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.
5 While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and offal.
6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.
7 After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening.
8 The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.
9 "A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.
10 The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the aliens living among them.
Josh claims he is from Barbelo, a motherland beyond the stars. He says he is an avatar of Seth, third son of Adam and that he is here to show the Sethians home.OK, I took some liberties here.

But this is actually an explanation of Jesus' origin from the "Gnostic Gospels." These are a collection of gospels believed to be from the same time and place of origin as the "authorized" gospels, but they are not actually accepted by mainstream Christianity (despite being very interesting; featuring the gospels of, among others, Mary Magdalene and Judas - from whom this passage about Barbelo was lifted). But give me a break. It was the first "Josh" post, I had to pull you in with some crazy shit.

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