The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Finding God At Ben's Chili Bowl

I am soon to leave DC again, by necessity. I'm moving to Phoenix, good part: I'm going to be closer to my family for the first time in a long time. Bad part: almost everything else, although it is beautiful this time of year. I've tried to take in the sites of the district the past couple of days and the weather could not have been better for January. It saddens me how I've taken such little advantage of the fabulous FREE museums in the District after living here for 10 years.

But this isn't about that, this is about a trip I made to the World Famous Ben's Chili Bowl on U street a little while before. As I prepared to dig my fork into a steaming order of chili cheese fries, I felt a presence I can only describe as divine, I looked up to see the mouth on a one of the many pictures of Bill Cosby move.
"Hello, Peter."
I answered hesitantly, "Yes?"
The picture of the Coz said, "This is God."
"Really?" I was willing to play along, "What's the meaning of life, then?", I said in a manner that suggested my doubt.
God said, "You people and your 'meaning of life', I shouldn't be surprised so many people ask, but I still am."
(I would like to say at this point that- as strong as the feeling might be to read it that way- the voice of God sounded nothing like Bill Cosby. He actually sounded more like Woody Allen.)
God said, "O.K., fine. Look in front of you"
And I did, I looked at the beautiful mess before me; molten cheese and chili topping, slowly sliding around the perfectly brown tips of the fries jutting in every direction.
"That, my friend, is the meaning of life."
"Really ?", I said, through my second forkful of gelatinous heaven. It was so good it actually made the claim make a lot of sense.
"In a way, it is. Does that make you feel joy?"
"Oh, yeah," I said, rounding the fries for a fifth time.
"Humans can think and reason and sometimes they do it straight into unhappiness, but they don't have to. They can seek and find joy, if they choose to; you just walked in here and got your fries of joy. Throughly unhealthy fries are fine once and a while, but if you eat them everyday and eventually your heart will freakin' explode." God stopped as I chuckled at the Lord's slight funny into choking up a greasy, starchy blockage, then The Almighty continued slyly, "or you'll choke to death."
I was starting to get what he meant.
God continued, "There is all kinds of joy on this Earth and Chili Cheese Fries are an easy joy, but many easy joys can hurt you in the long run. Hard joys like a good career or happy family are good and fine, but they take so much WORK! And if you follow someone else's version of joy, you'll probably lose your own and you'll do all that work for nothing."
"So what should I do?" I asked.
"You just asked about the meaning of life, and I answered you, smart guy. If you're honest with yourself and what you want out of life, you'll know. Just grab all the joy you can, but just be careful what kind."
"And if I don't?"
And God said, with a flourish, "Well, the world will always need burger-flippers!"

I wouldn't say that God made these past few days so beautiful so I'd have the chance to see The Bill Of Rights and Prince's guitar in the best possible weather, I just got whatever joy I could gather while the getting was good.

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