The Life and Times of Evil E: What Would Buddy Jesus Do? May07

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The Life and Times of Evil E: What Would Buddy Jesus Do?


an occasional blogumn by Else Duff

My first dreams of real estate must have occurred when I was a little girl and went to Disneyland and saw Sleeping Beauty’s castle and declared: Someday I’m going to live there!!! As an adult, my real estate dreams changed. I started fantasizing about 1900s Craftsman Houses with big porches, lots of build-ins, and glistening chandeliers.  Now as someone who has been trying to purchase a home for over a year in Los Angeles, let’s just say my dreams have changed even more.  After bidding, not getting house, bidding, not getting house, rinse, repeat, onward and so forth – now I just want something that: is not in the ghetto, is at least the same size of my current apartment, has 2 toilets (I know – crazy!), and was not most recently a crack den (former halfway houses are okay.)

I also realize, according to my friends, that if and when I finally buy a house that homeownership isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Unexpected expenses and repairs are of course the norm.  However, the big X factor is always the neighbors.  My parents built their home when their neighbors in their apartment building bought a lot to build a house and suggested my parents buy the lot next door.  It was the house I grew up in, and lucky for me the neighbors had a girl only a few months older than me.  We grew up like sisters and have maintained a lifelong friendship.

Before my mom died, these neighbors cared for my mom above and beyond the call of duty when she developed dementia and before my brother and I could place mom in a care facility.  So maybe we won’t get neighbors that incredible, but it would be nice to have neighbors that you at least enjoy having over for BBQs and who you trust enough to cat sit when you are out of town.  But I also know from what my friends have told me that neighbors are not always that friendly.  Experiences have ranged from mild annoyances to nearing Hatfield and McCoy level feuds over property lines.

But what if Jesus appears next door? No, not some hippy guy with long hair and a perchance for Jerusalem cruisers, but the actual image of Jesus.  When one of my best friends in New Mexico told me about her neighbor and the Jesus on her house I was a bit confused.  See in New Mexico religious sightings are not uncommon.  In fact while I was in college in New Mexico, one night I got a call from a friend who was telling me how her entire street was practically blocked off because there were people camping out in their cars trying to get into a Virgin Mary sighting on her street.  We immediately had the same idea – CONCESSION STAND!! And quickly organized selling cookies, snacks and drinks to the people who had no idea how long they were going to have to wait and came unprepared food wise.  This was long before the age of Twitter, so I’m not even exactly sure how people found out about it.  Today you might be able to “follow” the Virgin Mary, and my guess is when a sighting occurs, the Grilled Cheese Food Truck promptly appears offering your choice of images of religious idols burned into the bread of your sandwich.  Back then you just had me and my friend competing for your food dollars along with some guy from Dominoes selling pizza by the slice.

The first night of our concession stand the homeowners who were the lucky recipients of the vision of the Virgin Mary offered the neighbors a chance to surpass the lines and immediately see the vision.  My friend and I graciously accepted the invitation and went inside solemnly to witness this great miracle.  However, we were not greeted by the overpowering feeling of awe that I have experienced when seeing the Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace in Thailand, the Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or Eddie Van Halen playing “Eruption.”

Instead, what I saw was a chandelier creating light streaks on the wall that sort of looked like John Lennon, specifically the cover of the Imagine album.  We played nice, bowed, kept reverent, and thanked the neighbors for letting us experience this miracle.  And then we proceeded to walk out of the house, passing basket after basket filled with cash. Ya know – donations for candles.  We immediately knew we had to step up our game.  Plus the local news was getting in on the action, so we knew the crowds would only grow. The next day was Friday and we had a fish fry, Saturday we were selling plates of nachos so fast we barely had time to heat up the cheese, and by Sunday the local paper ran a story on us “Vendors Cash In On Vision of Virgin” and we knew we had to close down shop before the health department tried to get a cut of our profits.

Now back to my friend, if a vision of Jesus appeared on her neighbor’s house I am sure she would just have her son set up a lemonade stand and start earning some college funds.  But this isn’t a vision of Jesus.  No, my dear readers it is a large mural of Buddy Jesus. That’s right – BUDDY JESUS! (Buddy Christ if you’re nasty.) And that’s not all, Buddy Jesus has some friends in the form of flying cats.  Sort of evoking thoughts of the Wicked Witch of the West and her Flying Monkeys.

Buddy Jesus isn’t the only thing that this neighbor has chosen to adorn her home with.  It’s an eclectic mix of art and not that my friend doesn’t appreciate eclectic art, but she also appreciates her

property value.  She would very much like to sell her house that she has worked so hard on improving and move up on the real estate feeding chain. Problem is anytime she goes to list her house, the minute she says her address she is greeted by silence and usually a click.  Let’s face it – he may be Buddy Jesus, and while you might not mind being his friend, you don’t want to be his neighbor.

I have no idea what advice to offer my friend regarding her real estate woes.  Perhaps it’s a case for the People’s Court: The People Versus Buddy Christ and the Flying Cats. As for my own struggles to buy a house, I know now to add to the list: don’t buy a house next to a Buddy Jesus mural because it will ruin the re-sale value.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get my craftsman house with a glistening chandelier that will one day create a vision of the Virgin Mary.  And if that does happen I’ll be sure to let y’all know to stop on by.  Just make sure to bring some cash, ya know for candle donations and nachos.