Finding Jesus May Not Save Your Soul, But It Can Make You Famous

Why do so many Americans see his face in food?

Last week, Chyenna Richards got what every American seems to lust for nowadays: her name in a Huffington Post headline. It read, “Chyenna Richards sees Jesus in bathroom mold.” There was even video of Chyenna and her very filthy bathroom. “One of God’s mysteries,” a neighbor marveled, and it is one of God’s mysteries that everyone in that house doesn’t have cholera. Chyenna’s roommate, Thomas George, was in jail when the mold took on its divine resemblance. His theory is that the Christ is keeping an eye on him, to make sure he doesn’t wind up doing more time.

So Chyenna’s famous Jesus image joins such other modern-day visitations as the Jesus in the TV set, the Jesus in the stingray, the Jesus in the power meter, the Jesus in the tortilla, the Jesus in the iron, Grilled Cheesus, and the Jesus in the terrier’s arse. An awful lot of people, it seems, are looking for Jesus all the time, no matter what they might be doing. And they don’t seem at all discombobulated that Jesus might be looking at them in the bath.

You know what always pops into my head when somebody sees Jesus in, say, a pancake? It’s this: Nobody actually has any idea what Jesus looked like. What people  see when they think they see Jesus could be any bearded guy at all: the Unabomber, or Lincoln, or Vladimir Lenin, or John Lennon. And why be sexist? It could also be a woman, like Lady Olga or Annie Jones.

The problem with seeing Annie Jones in your fish stick is that nobody is likely to come to your door with a TV camera to see it and help spread the gospel. Nor can you put your Bearded Lady Fish Stick up for auction on eBay and get some dumb casino to pay you $28,000 for it. Oh, you might get your husband to come to the kitchen from the living room to see it, but even that’s not a sure bet. Much safer to say Jesus—that will at least get him out of the Laz-E-Boy.

Which starts me wondering: Do people in China see images of Confucius in their scallion pancakes? How come you never read about, say, somebody in India seeing the face of Vishnu in a piece of naan? Is it because Americans have so much more food, and are thus more likely to sit around staring at it instead of eating it? Or is it because we’re simply more gullible? By which I mean, of course, holier? Or is it that we ingest the body of Jesus all the time anyway at the Holy Eucharist, and so seeing Him in our banana doesn’t seem weird at all?

None of those theories, alas, explains Chyenna’s disgusting bathtub. But I can tell you,  if my bathroom looked like that, I’d invest in some serious chlorine bleach before I showed it to the world. In this case, cleanliness should come before godliness. Meantime, you crazy kids out there, you keep on seeing Jesus in your chewing gum and your kudzu and your pierogi and even on your (blissfullly clean) toilet seat.