There is a new man with a placard on my way home from work.
New because men with placards are not that unusual 'round these parts. (note: it's never women with placards... are we not biologically placard oriented? Or is it that we have better things to do than stand around in the sun holding a sign no one wants to read and shouting a slogan no one bothers to hear. Not sure.) There's a guy who has to wear a sombrero and carry a sandwich sign declaring his support of $3 rotisserie chickens and $2 cans of Tecate. I like him because he serves as a constant and useful reminder to the Children of Why We Go To College (so that when we get a job as a sandwich sign holder that sign will be spelled correctly and will not contain a single misplaced quotation mark) However this is a NEW placard holder.
At first I didn't quite understand his sign though. The "Jesus is coming!" bit was pretty clear, but the "2nd John the Baptist Com" was where I ran into trouble. Because, see, I'm a digital person (yes! Nothing but pixels, me - very, very attractive pixels mind you...) so I automatically thought he was publicizing a web site. I was a little sniffy about it actually - I mean, it wasn't entirely clear whether it was JesusIsComing.com or 2ndJohnTheBaptist.com or some variation thereof and that's just poor marketing. Also I couldn't support the really wishy-washy branding - no way to tell what the product was which is fine if you want to get people all excited about mysteries and things but then you have to look COOL and frankly this sign did not look cool.
Yes, it took me that long to work through all of that and realize
He thinks he's John the Baptist. The second. Like John the Baptist Junior or - John the Baptist II: The Return of Jesus (I see a sort of apocalyptic sci-fi background, probably in deep blues and cool greens, good cloudy sky and a custom font...)
Now, he wasn't there on Friday so I figure he probably got the call on Friday night or Saturday morning which would just give him time to pick up some supplies from the local DIY store (Item: one sheet plywood, cut to specification; item: assorted hardware; item: two pints paint-Moral Purity White and End of the World Scarlet), knock up his sign and still keep Sunday as a day of rest.
I do wonder though just how that went down though.
Voice: I cometh!
Him: Er, what?
Voice: I cometh! Soon!
Him: And you are...
Voice: Look Desmond [he looked like a Desmond]*, I'm a voice from the heavens shaking your very soul and yet audible only to you
Him: Oh God
Him: Is this going to involve animal husbandry or anything? Because I've never had anything other than a goldfish and it only lived two weeks.
Voice: No, no, but there are a few things I should probably tell you...
Now, John II obviously doesn't have a good PR staff supporting him. There was no escalating press campaign, no slick web site, no interviews or editorial articles. He's fighting an up-hill battle to really get the word out so I thought I'd do what I can to help him out.
John's back. Spread the word.
*Desmond, from the Latin meaning, "man of the world," alternately from the American meaning, "name given a skinny white kid thus ensuring he would have the crap beaten out of him throughout school and would ultimately have a slight tendency to religious fervor, hearing of voices and assumption of personalities of those considered sacred but long deceased."