March 1997
s m u g
net worth
by Leslie Harpold

Are you there God?
It's me, Leslie.

I've always considered myself a spiritual person, but there are times when I am left a little cold. While trying to put the finishing touches on this month's SMUG I found myself invoking the name of the Lord several times, not always in a way that was pure and reverential, and eventually, as writers missed deadlines or bailed out altogether, I was making silent pleas to strike a bargain with the dark underlord and ruler of the internet, Satan.

Catching myself before I fell wholly from grace I decided to seek spiritual guidance on the web. I searched "God" on all the major search engines, and as luck would have it God has a homepage - well, several of them, and after reading text like:


Omnipotent being of all creation (then and now): My responsibilities are, maintaining the general order of the universe, managing a workforce of 5.4 billion souls on planet earth.

Hardees Restaurant Preparation of food, sales representative. (1990-1991) Responsibilities: Operating a deep fat fryer, and a Casio 11-b3 cash register/adder. At one point, organized the damnation of the soul of the manager, and two co-workers.

I decided I would have a hard time bowing down to a God that sought a couple extra bucks by taking a gig at Hardee's. There were a bunch of other entries for God's Homepage, but I kept getting "Error 404 File Not Found" messages, and I couldn't decide if God was just dodging my calls or if he, like Elvis, had left the building. I was too paranoid to think he had merely struck his impersonators dead.

Rather than take the existential challenge and decide whether or not God was dead, I decided to look to the mystical East for Wisdom. Buddha doesn't have a web presence, but many kids that like Stone Temple Pilots or IRC seem to like to call themselves "buddha," probably due to some physical resemblance, and so all I got was a bunch of links to the now defunct lyrics server.

What I did find was the random Zen Generator, and I kept getting this exact koan:

Warm oils coax us into a dream;
Who knew?
In this world of illusion, you can often see the mike in the shot.

Well, as much as I liked Buddha before, it seemed that he too was sleeping on the job. I found a big Krishna web site, but without the time to learn to speak German by deadline, I figured I would have to choose a different path to enlightenment, since I was a little pressed for time, and the thought of cutting my hair for God or Country is a scary prospect for me.

The Church of Satan's Homepage had gone off-line too, and I was starting to formulate a holy conspiracy theory - fearing the rapture had come some time earlier that day and I would be forced to soullessly roam the earth in a state of perpetual flux, not ascending into heaven or falling into hell, and like most Capricorns, I'm just not happy if I think I'm underachieving. I like to either be all the way at the top or writhing around at the bottom, and after remembering all the bad things I had done in high school alone - not to mention the 13 years after - were enough to lock up a hot seat for me in hell.

Calling Me Home

After an hour or so of perusing the ideologies of numerous "New Age" sects, and deciding that immersing myself in crystal light or talking to people in pajamas claiming to channel voices - I decided to try one more thing - seeking spiritual satisfaction from the God I had been raised with, the first boy picture to ever grace my dresser, Jesus. My deadlines were getting too close to question the whole immaculate conception issue, or the needing a conduit to talk to God - (I've been disappointed that Santa has left my requests for a 900 number to the godhead for Christmas unfulfilled year after year) - I just wanted a little band aid on my heart to remedy me from my laziness, a chemical free pick me up and an alternative to selling out part and parcel to Beelzebub. If I sold all the way out, after all, all you'd find in SMUG would be articles about Hootie and few links to Spin Online like those other nice internet magazines.

Jesus has a homepage, and much to my surprise, Jesus is on AOL. Now, my first reaction was mortification, you'd think if anyone, Jesus would have a direct T3 connection. Then I remembered the whole "of the people" thing and I realized there was no place more logical for him to set up shop. The gullible masses are right there on AOL, plus, he'd have access to all his favorite chat rooms like "Jesus Saves" where he can dispense with all his best shopping tips and "Find Jesus" the celestial answer to "Where's Waldo?"

The page is hysterical, and provides the most effortless road to salvation I've ever been presented with. A few clicks in, and Jesus was reminding me to "click on the praying hands to send me email, because this page is interactive, baby." A messiah who calls me baby? Alright! I feel perfectly comfortable with that.

Also present are the standard homepage elements - pictures of his family, wacky links, hobbies, autobiographical information, and stuff about his friends. By the time I had gone all the way through his site, my soul was saved, I had been presented with a certificate (suitable for framing) confirming my place in the afterlife, and a fierce pain in my sides from laughing so hard.

back to the junk drawer

and such
and such


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