I just mutter “I’m Batman” and go straight for the cake.

Okay, let’s cut right to it: People are, by and large, absolute flakes. Out of their tiny little minds. For most people, the cheese hasn’t just “slipped” off of their cracker… it has snuck out the window in the dead of night and hopped a steamer for a small South Pacific isle where they don’t even know what a goddamned cracker is. I know, I know, I bitch about this same basic concept on a daily basis (and certainly in virtually every article I write) but ya see, it just keeps getting weirder and my life is basically a series of sudden realizations as to just how drastically I’ve miscalculated people’s innate ability to be chronic chowderheads.

It’s not just that people end up doing stupid shit because they aren’t paying attention either. There are well-documented cases, gajillions of them, of people committing clearly premeditated acts of utter flakeosity. For example, from the Chicago Sun Times we have this little gem:

A 6-foot-tall, 275-pound bearded man crashed a children’s birthday party in Oak Forest, identified himself as “vengeance,” then helped himself to a piece of cake, police said.

The incident occurred earlier this month at a home in the 14800 block of South Landings Lane in the south suburb, Deputy Police Chief Nick Sparacino said.

When the owner of the home asked the man who he was, the intruder replied, “I am vengeance. I am the knight. I am Batman.” Then the man went into the kitchen, cut a piece of birthday cake, took it into the living room and ate it.

After continued questioning by the homeowner, the man left the house and drove off in a red 1988 Cadillac.

Police haven’t found the man yet and want to charge him with criminal trespass.

“I’ve been on the job 31 years and I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff, but nothing like this,” Sparacino said.

Well Deputy Nick, you’ve obviously spent 31 years looking in the wrong places if it took you this long to see something this weird in Chicago. However, it’s certainly a prime cut of loopiness, I’ll absolutely agree with that. What’s most disturbing is, an online acquaintance of mine who read this story felt it incumbent upon him to ask me, “Hey man… this wasn’t you, was it?” Oh, it was mostly asked in jest, I realize, but there was definitely an undercurrent of genuine concern that I might just be this nuts.

Let’s dispense with the pleasantries right away and get this out: No way was this me. Oh sure, I dig parties and I’m not always known for making the most socially appropriate choices in festive settings, and I’m a bit queer for cake. But anyone who knows me will tell you flat-out that when I randomly invade a child’s birthday party, I don’t go in for any of that “I am vengeance” malarky. My penchant for verbosity more or less begins and ends in my writing. In real life, I can’t put three words together without making a mess of it. I just mutter “I’m Batman” and go straight for the cake.

Also, I don’t sit down in the family room to eat the damned thing. I’m a busy party-crasher and I’ve got, like, shit to do and stuff. I just grab the cake, pop a few balloon animals if there are clowns about, and then I skeedaddle. No muss, no fuss (and no bust) as they say.

But see, maybe it’s because I’ve got some small measure of respect and concern for my fellow monkeys (or it may be stage fright masquerading as concern and respect) but I feel that if I’m going to up and put on a freak show for an unsuspecting crowd, I’d best make it a surgical strike. Y’know, swoop in, do my little song and dance, and zip right the fuck on out of there, leaving the poor souls to scratch their heads and wonder what the hell they just saw, and whether they even actually saw it at all.

But of course, I’m fully aware of the fact that my bus doesn’t always run clear to the end of the line. What’s disturbing is, most people actually believe themselves to be utterly sane… but you and I know better, right? We live in the Land Of The Freak And The Home Of Depraved. And do you want to know what it boils down to? You want the prime cut of feather-headed antics? One single image you can hold in your head and share at will with those who insist that we’re the most advanced, mature, and sane country on the face of the planet? Dig this…

$28,000 for a fucking cheese sandwich.

Even I (who long ago realized that no matter how stupid I might think people were, I was still woefully underestimating their ability to dive frantically for the bottom of the common-sense barrel) was taken completely by surprise on this one. Right there on eBay, the world’s biggest weekend swap meet, some microcephalic trailer queen actually got $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich that she insisted had the Virgin Mary’s face on it. Her opening asking price was $5,000 and up to 27 separate noodle-heads drove the price up to just shy of $30,000. (The exact number of bidders is a mystery, as it was a “private auction”. Apparently the proud Christians who were vying for this particular Holy Relic didn’t want the world to know who they were. God only knows why, I mean it’s not like they were doing something particularly embarrassing like, oh, say… bidding thousands of dollars on a goddamned cheese sandwich or anything!!!

$28,000. Do you have any idea how many Lee-Press-On-Nails and stretch pants that will buy this woman? She might even be able to finally move into that snazzy double-wide she’s been coveting. And all because the Virgin Mary appeared to her in a child’s snack. Why, it’s enough to make a fella want to actually start going to church. I mean, like, y’know, if I was already passing by and had to use the bathroom really, really bad or something like that.

This is what this flaky-ass country of ours has devolved into. Twenty-eight large for a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich that a bunch of Elmers insist has some broad’s face on it.

Let’s take a gander, folks. Let’s take a look at this alleged Sandwichian Virgin Visitation. Here, then, is the actual Snack Of Snacks:

Now then, first things first… how many grilled cheese sandwiches have you ever seen that don’t have at least one vaguely face-like scorch-mark on them? Because I guarantee you, the parking lot at a Grateful Dead show was full of people who were staring deep into their grilled cheese sammiches after a show, and faces were the least of what they were seeing. Copulating unicorns; the building of the pyramids by space aliens that looked like little green Morey Amsterdams; the birth, life, and death of a thousand universes within the space of a second and a half… seeing a face in the midst of all of that was about as noteworthy as seeing a drunk chick at a fraternity party.

As far as I’m concerned, this is just another example of the dangers of psychedelic malnutrition. Some overly-scrubbed Jesus freak whose closest brush with recreational intoxication is that one time when he accidentally poured himself a cup of apple cider from last week’s bottle (“Mercy! That shore does have a zip to it!”) during the semi-annual Praise Fest… he sees what he thinks is a face in his cup of split-pea soup, and he’s shocked and awed and doing Christly backflips of bug-eyed glee, because it must be a holy manifestation of some sort. And, of course, anyone who tells him differently is nothing less than an agent of Satan come to destroy the world.

So… what does it say about your relative distance from basic reality when an acid-head is looking at you and saying, “Dude, get a grip man… you’re letting your imagination go apeshit here,” y’know? Near as I can tell, it tends to mean that the most mentally disturbed people out there, the Flakeus Magni, are those who are the most obsessive-compulsive about being “normal”. It also means, maybe you ought to consider smoking a little hooch now and again, or putting a few funny mushrooms on top of your pizza. Not a lot, just enough to sit your ego down and slap a little sense into it now and then.

Because if there was ever a time in our nation’s history when it was vital that people took steps to shake themselves awake, it’s now.

The blithering fools who took this Sandwich of Turin madness seriously enough to be willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a thirty-cent grilled cheese on white… they just helped to re-elect the most violent, corrupt banana-republic-esque presidential administration this nation has seen in generations. I will absolutely guarantee you that the woman who sold this thing and the geniuses who bid on it voted for El Chimparino on November 2nd. There’s no real mystery to this, of course. These addlepated schmoes will believe anything they’re told, as long as it includes the word “Jesus”. I’ll take a dozen 300-pound aged virgins in imaginary Batman suits crashing children’s parties to feed their sheet-cake jones over a single one of these sky pilots in a heartbeat.

Of course, I’m sure I’m not doing this mess any real justice here. The true nature and religious power of Jesus H. Cheesesammich is probably best described by the True Believer to whom it made its initial appearance. To wit:

You are viewing an extroidinary out of this world item!! I made this sandwich 10 years ago, when I took a bite out of it, I saw a face looking up at me, It was Virgin Mary starring back at me, I was in total shock, I would like to point out there is no mold or disingration, The item has not been preserved or anything, It has been keep in a plastic case, not a special one that seals out air or potiental mold or bacteria, it is like a miracle, It has just preserved itself which in itself I consider a miracle, people ask me if I have had blessings since she has been in my home, I do feel I have, I have won $70,000 (total) on different occasions at the casino near by my house, I can show the recipts to the high bidder if they are interested, I would like all people to know that I do believe that this is the Virgin Mary Mother Of God, That is my solem belief, but you are free to believe that she is whomever you like, I am not scamming anyone,

Isn’t that just an inspiring bit of prose? Oh sure, from an editorial standpoint one would be forced to spray-paint one gigantic “[SIC]” across the entire thing, but yet… an ordinary day in an ordinary trailer park, and an ordinary Jesus freak makes what she thinks is an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich, and suddenly… there is the Virgin Mary, utterly moldless and disintegration-free, “starring” up at her. How absolutely “extroidinary”!! And to prove that this was, indeed a miracle from God, this blessed entrée, from the depths of its cotton-ball-lined plastic case, ensured that this faithful servant won $70,000 at a local casino in what appears to be a long series of visits. Well hell, if a compulsive gambler getting lucky on the slots occasionally isn’t proof of a heavenly visitation, I sure as shootin’ don’t know what is!

And, of course, there is the final proof, the ultimate indication that this is, indeed, a Holy Miracle… the nice lady is, by her own word, Not Scamming Anyone. It’s the Virgin Mary on that thar sammich all right but you, Dear Friends, “are free to believe that she is whomever you like.” What a ringing endorsement, eh? Because let’s be honest… has anyone ever actually seen what the Virgin Mary looked like? I mean, aside from mold patches on iceboxes, or the odd taco salad, where might anyone have gotten a good enough look at the Virgin Mary to be able to spot her in a police line-up? I have to ask this, because my first thought on seeing this Blessed Manifestation du Fromage was “That looks a hell of a lot like Johnny Depp in drag, doesn’t it?” But no… maybe more like a stripper I once got a lap dance from out in Apache Junction, Arizona. Ehhh… closer, but that’s not quite it. Not a strip club, but an old ‘30s nightclub, perhaps even a speakeasy. That was the vibe I was getting. But who? Who was it really staring up out of that ol’ piece of scorched bread? It had me stumped. Then, I happened to be at the home of an actress acquaintance of mine, and there, on the wall, gazing smokily at me from an old movie poster, was my answer.

Yes, it’s official. $28,000 has just exchanged hands for a grilled cheese sandwich emblazoned with the visage of none other than that sultry movie star Marlene Dietrich. Certainly a performer worthy of remembrance, and a very attractive face to see peering up out of one’s lunch to be sure, but I doubt that even in her most egotistic moments she’d have claimed to be the Mother Of God. In fact, I’m not even 100% certain that she even liked grilled cheese. For some reason, Ms. Dietrich strikes me as more of a BLT sorta gal.

The irony-oozing epilogue to this story, of course, is that the final buyer of Sangweech Maria turned out to be… and you knew it just had to be… a casino. And an online casino at that! Oh, but that’s only the beginning. You just know it couldn’t end there. A few days after bidding closed on this auction, the old and new owners of the Virgin Mary made the final hand-off at an Indian casino down in the backwaters of Florida (and could there have been a more suitable location chosen? I’m thinking absolutely not…) with the Cheesy Wonder now scheduled to make what its new owners are calling a “world tour”. Yes, in truck stops and blackjack halls from Tallahassee to Las Vegas, the faithful will apparently be coming out in droves to pay their dollar and see the sandwich of their fevered, fundamentalist dreams (with all proceeds going to charity, of course). And then they can turn right around, step up to the nearest slot machine, and start Betting For Jesus, hoping to get a taste of that blessed $70,000 that the Holy Virgin was kind enough to bestow upon her previous owner. Even if they have to spend twice that amount, they’ll win their $70,000, by gum…

You can’t find a more representative picture of BushCo’s America than that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick up my Boba Fett costume from the cleaners… the Finklestein bar mitzvah is tomorrow, and I have to go practice my lines and warm up my cake-snatching arm.

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