Friday, June 6, 2008

Rotisserie Chickens and The Lost Ark

The MTC is a wondrous place.

In the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dr. Jones' quest is to recover the ark of the covenant. A treasure chest of sorts that carried the original ten commandments that was carried by the Hebrews. In the film the ark is discovered and retrieved by Nazi Germany and a French archaeologist named Beloch who plan to used the power of the ark to lay waste to enemies of the SS. In one particular scene, Beloch dresses up in ceremonial Hebrew gear and performs some kind of ritual to open the ark. Initially Beloch is bewildered at the contents of the ark. Sand. Nothing but sand. But slowly he sees something stirring in the sand...a mysterious blue light. It begins to swirl and grow and eventually dozens of small angelic looking apparitions exit the ark and start to float and flit among the nazis. "It's beeeauuutifulllll", says Beloch. One particular vision approaches Beloch, gently considering his face, then instantly turns into a terrible specter of terror and death. At which point Beloch's head catches fire and explodes just as the nazi leaders' faces melt off of their skulls. The destruction lasts about 10 seconds, afterwhich the angels return to the ark along with the melted carcases of the evil nazis.

The MTC is not unlike Spielberg's vision of the ark of the covenant. If you have prepared your spirit, body, and attitude, you will look upon the MTC and see nothing but beautiful angelic spirits. If you are not prepared? Your face will melt. There were several elders and sisters around me with their heads on fire, but I personally saw nothing but angels. I had a riot in the MTC.

Sheldon recently had a funny experience happen involving a young lass and a rotisserie chicken. Sheldon, if you read this, I am formally giving you two weeks notice. Either you blog that story or I will. It is $$$ and belongs on the interweb for all to read. It must be documented. And I'd like to do it. In any case, your story reminded me of one of my classic embarassing moments. Which I shall now share.

The MTC is largely a community of sweaty dirty dudes that need to shower. Being a communal type place, the showers are also communal. With a limited supply of hot water, it was a classic example of "the early bird gets the worm." He who showers first showers warm. Everyone else showered cold. The only other way to guarantee yourself a hot shower was to do it at night. This was not ideal for me; I liked that squeaky clean early morning feeling. But hey...I went through my whole high school experience without caring about hygiene, so this can't be too bad. So I started showering at night.

One particular night I had showered and was shaving at the long multi-sinked counter. I was completely alone in that huge bathroom. Just as I'd started applying the shaving cream, I saw out of the corner of my eye an elder that was bouncing his way into the bathroom. I recognized him as one of the guys headed to Brazil. But instead of walking he was bouncing, like he was in a sack race or something. I was concentrating heavily on shaving so I didn't pay much mind to it. He bounced over to the hangers, hung up his towel, and bounced into the showers. 90 seconds later he bounced back out, dried off, and bounced over to the urinal. At this point I was heavily involved in my razor work. I hated shaving. I only did it once every 3 days but it always resulted in a neck that looked like I'd dragged barbed wire down the front of it. No matter how carefully I shaved it always hurt. But I still tried hard. And concentrated. After the bouncer finished at the urinal he bounced over to the sink next to me and started washing his hands.

I've always had a gift for sarcasm. It was a way of life in my family. Instead of my mother telling me my clothes looked grungy or weird she'd say, "what, is there a hobo convention in town?" The MTC experience was great for me because it allowed me to fine tune my sarcasm craft. There were a few elders in my district that were dry and witty so I had to be on top of my game. This particular night I was feeling extra sarcastic so I turned my eyes to look at the Brazillian elder through the mirror and said, "so is there any particular reason we're hopping around tonight?" His reaction was odd. He just turned his head and stared. Like a manaquin. Or like Arnie in The Terminator. No words, no emotions. Just a cold hard stare that could have burned holes in my cranium with its intensity. Bewildered I turned my head and looked him in the face. Then my eyes fell. To his amputated leg.

I had lived in the same building as this kid for the better part of 5 weeks. I had seen him multiple times every day. His room was three doors down from mine. I even saw him out on P-day during recreation time playing volleyball. He had no limp. He didn't even have a slight hitch in his step. He was as skilled a walker as anyone else on campus. Yet he had a prosthetic leg.

After considering his fleshy stump for what seemed like 11 days my eyes slowly returned to his face. No smile. No frown. Just that stare. What was he, a vulcan? I knew I had nothing to say that would work. No apology sufficient. No dry witty remark that would lighten the mood or fake happy compliment that would stroke his pride. I had nothing. And that's exactly what I said. Nothing. I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head, and returned to my shaving.

And he bounced out of the bathroom into the night.

1 comment:

Sister said...

Wow brother...that is a truly disturbing story. It somehow makes me feel much better about myself though. Thanks.